Friday, 5 February 2016

more news

SERIAC 2000  - This is the South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference - this year on 23rd April in Kingston. There are talks on 18th century iron in the Weald, Papermaking history,  Berkshire windmills - and - and - Amazing Malcolm on The Demise of the Gasholder (and seriously that would we worth the journey to Kingston alone)  - the way of booking, or finding out about it seems to be to send a stamped addressed envelope to Mr Bryson, 6 Wychelm Rise, Guildford, GU13TH (no web site, no phone, no nothing)

GLIAS NEWSLETTER.  As ever. forthcoming events:
17th Feb - Father Thames - changing role of the Thames Wharves by David Hilling (6.30 Swednborg Hall)
16th March - Gold Refining in London by Michele Blagg (6.30 75 Cowcross Street)
20th April - Engineers perspective on restoring historic buildings.  James Miller (6.30 75 Cowcross Street)
18th May. AGM plus The City at Play. Simon Inglis (6.30 75 Cowcross Street)

10th April Crossness Open Day with Prince Consort in steam 10.30-5 www.crossness,org,uk
22 April Crossness Guided Tour. www.crossness,org,uk
22nd May Crossness Open Day with Prince Consort in steam 10.30-5 www.crossness,org,uk

Anything about Greenwich in the GLIAS Newsletter??  er  - no

FOOT TUNNEL ENTHUSIASTS -(not sure they exist outside FOGWOFT)  A web site has details of a (very clean) foot tunnel in Antwerp

- we have been sent links to:

This is now online but only to subscribers.  The latest edition has an excellent article about the 'facelift to the bargehouse causeway' - which is  just opposite us on the north bank of the river down from the Ferry. Until the 1960s it was actually in Woolwich so we should definitely take some notice of it.

LEWISHAM LOCAL HISTORY NEWSLETTER.  This includes an article which is actually about the Greenwich riverside. It was written in 1962 by David Knight, and here are some scraps from it:

"By Blackwall Tunnel are the Metropolitan Gas Works. There seemed no access to the River. I got
into a timber yard and ... (into)  hole in the riverside fence .....On this side of the fence, right by the water's edge, ran a tow-path paved with bricks stamped with diamond markings ....barges stacked with timber had nice names Rinqdove, Whitehorse, Maine, Romani. Hardly anyone was about, only two men craning up the long timbers from the barge to the stacking point on the timber yard. The tide was out and the river so low that the black, grimy beach was visible ......At half past nine I came upon the Cutty Sark Tavern, a Free House not yet vanquished by the brewery combinations, but selling Burton bitter ale, draught Worthington, draught Guinness, draught Bass.  Further up the river stands the old Trinity Hospital, now an old people's home ......At 19 Crane Street are Corbett & Son, Boatbuilders. The Yacht Inn just beyond sells Watney's draught Red Barrel ale, and has a garden and terrace overlooking the river. The Curlew Rowing Club next door, founded 1866, looks as if it expired the same year, broken-backed behind dust and shutters. At 10 o'clock, the sun a bit warmer, the Royal  Naval College hove into view, overwhelming a couple of hundred yards of river bank with its two huge domes, large gates with anchors and tridents wrought, and bare formal lawns. Tugs .. all the time, singly or hauling barges. .... Bright sun on Greenwich Pier and, startlingly, Cutty Sark close at hand with her smart white masts, trim black shrouds, and eager-bosomed matron on the prow. ...
Greenwich Tunnel displays an alarming list of by- laws. ..... There are scatterings everywhere at ebb-tide of planks and river wood. ...... Crossing Creekside by the Creek Bridge, had a hot
bacon sandwich and a large cup of strong tea at a dockers' cafe on McMillan Street., Deptford, near
the old church of St Nicholas".

(thanks Lewisham)

Another, present day, walk along the peninsula riverside, with some great pictures, can be found at  -( and, thanks, to the author for the plug for the book.)  Great blog, please read

Crossness Engines trust tell us that they have got Bexley Council to agree to rename 'Belevedere Road' as 'Bazalgette Way'.
so ....................................

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Do one thing and you get ......................before the docks (ad)

we've been asked to put this out for Docklands History Group



No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, London E14 4AL

BOOKINGS – please contact DHG website for details:


AM      9.45 Museum of London Docklands’ doors open; registration, coffee and tea

            10.30 Chris Ellmers Welcome and Opening Remarks

            10.35 First Session: Session Chairman – Pieter van der Merwe

            10.40 Paper 1: Professor Sarah Palmer London River and the Sea

            11.10 Paper 2: Professor Markman Ellis – Picturing the Port

            11.40 Paper 3: Chris Ellmers On the Waterfront: Working the 18th Century Port


            12.10 Paper 4: Jenny Collett From Tyne to Thames: The Life of an 18th Century



PM      12.40-2.00 LunchThis is not provided but local cafe details will be provided


            2.00 Second Session: Session Chairman – Derek Morris


            2.00 Paper 5:  Dr. Margaret Makepeace – The London World of the East India Company


            2.30 Paper 6: Dr. Alexi Baker – Scientific Instrument Making in the Port


            3.00 Paper 7: Dr. Nuala Zahedieh – Hidden from View: London and the Slave Trade


            3.30-4.00 Coffee/tea

            4.00 Third Session:  Session Chairman – Pieter van der Merwe


            4.00 Paper 8: Dr. Margarette Lincoln Women and Crime in the Riverside Parishes

            4.30 Paper 9: Alex Werner – The Merchant Trader, 'Ann': In Port and Beyond, 1794-


            5.00 Questions and Answers

            5.15 Edwards Sargent – Concluding Remarks

            5.30 Closure






Tuesday, 26 January 2016

More news - sorry its been so long

This post really a lot of small items about this and that. Depths of winter must be a bad time for news of industrial history in Greenwich. 

GIHS has however been very busy with an excellent talk by Polly and Michael about Ballast Quay - and shortly something from David Ramzam on sports history in Greenwich.  The Enderby Group has been busy too with plans for events and publications. Last night Friends of the Foot Tunnels had their AGM and hope to announce something very interesting soon - and - by the way - does anyone feel friendly towards the Blackwall Tunnel?? I thought probably not, but, that doesn't mean we should ignore its past and the ideas behind it construction, both in engineering and ideological terms,


Rich Sylvester is doing a talk at Greenwich Library Lates about history map 
Wednesday, 3rd February Making an East Greenwich History Map. Rich Sylvester will share stories, images and objects that have contributed  to this unique local history map designed by Luke Eastop.
Complimentary copies of the map available. Rich is a local resident, storyteller and guide.
Follow Rich at  18:30 - 20:00

London Walks - the Enderby Group has been keen to point out the connection, throught the mega-ship Great Eastern, of Enderby Wharf with 19th century mega engineers, Brunel, father and son.  The Rotherhithe based Brunel Museum runs a series of Brunel walks, which although they don't visit Enderby Wharf, it is pointed out.  Please encourage them to do more - and also visit the excellent little Museum, which is at the rear of Rotherhithe Station
Walks include Sundays at 10.45 at Bermondsey Tube. and Saturdays and Thursdays Brunel's London - 10.45 from Embankment Tube.

Stuart Rankin - who used to be Rothethithe based and did a lot of research there on shipbuilding is now based in Spain and has sent us links to his British Transport Treasures business.
BRITISH TRANSPORT TREASURES makes available material relating to the topic. Prices range from 50p for a simple leaflet, to around £5 for a book of 300 pages plus.
A donation of 5p for each download purchased will go to HELP FOR HEROES.
 An unusual selection of photographs “enhanced”  to improve definition for use in stereoscopic lantern slides by a specialist image processing company in Karlsruhe  Germany. Views include the recently completed Tower Bridge, The Tower, London Bridge, Thames Embankment, the Thames and the Houses of Parliament, and the Southwark H.Q. of the London Fire Brigade.This is an unusual item featuring a technique already obsolescent, which was abandoned c1900
London Bridge, Engineering works in Stamford Street, Shipbuilding at Greenwich etc
Greenwich Pageant - we have a request for information on this event in 1933 - this is from someone who has a metal badge from the event
Labour Heritage - draw attention to an interesting series of talks in Parliament, on prominent parliamentarians. Sadly, the one with the most Greenwich links has passed - this was a talk on James Callaghan, who, of course, lived in Greenwich. Future talks will be on Jo Grimond,  Harold Wilson,  Hugh Gaitskill, Anthony Eden, Michael Foot, Edward Heath, John Smith, Charles Kennedy and Clement Attlee.  There is a ticketing system and numbers of strictly rationed. Please get back GIHS for details of what you have to do to get on the list for a ticket for a specific talk,
Blackheath Scientific Society - next meeting is 19th February on Energy Storage. 7.45 Mycenae House. Their newsletter records a visit from a member to a forge in Docklands on a barge. The blacksmith was demonstrating his wares in the Ballast Quay Garden.  Another member to make a contribution was Terry Watts with a collection of calculating machines - please tell us more about them, Terry??
Blackwall Tunnel - we have a request asking for details of the men killed during construction - any info gratefully received.
Someone else has asked us if we think there would have been a strong demand for carpenters working in Greenwich in the 1860s???
London 1840. This is a project to build a scale model of London from Paddington to Greenwich (by Greenwich I fear they do not mean anything industrial!! just a lot of rather nice houses).
LAMAS - they are advertising their Annual Conference of London Archaeologists on 19th March. This includes - last on the agenda - an item about Royal Naval Pensioners based on the evidence of their skeletons. Info John Cotton, Early Department, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y5HN

Friday, 11 December 2015

News items yet again

Sorry to keep pushing my own works. Need to be a bit shameless maybe,

'Innovation, Enterprise and Change on the Greenwich Peninsula' is still available (but I have just opened the LAST BOX).  Copies are for sale at Sabo, Stockwell Street, The Warwick Leadlay Galley, Nelson Road,  Greenwich Peninsula Ecology Centre, and the NOW Galley, Greenwich Peninsula Square. or from me Or from Rob who can also handle paypal.
- and also buy some of Rob's wonderful calendars of Greenwich or the Thames

Also -next week - I am doing presentations on the peninsula and its history:
16th Wednesday - 6.00-700 Greenwich Centre Library
17th Thursday - 7-8 Blackheath Library

Great launch event at the Greenwich Gallery for Peter Kent's amazing 'The Birth of London's Newest City'.  Go and see it - its on until the 23rd.  9-5.30  weekdays, 12-4 weekends.  Honestly. This is amazing. (the sponsors)

As ever - various events
20th January - The Archaeology and History of the Kings Cross Goods Yard.  Rebecca Haslam.  6.30 Swedenborg Hall.
17th February. Father Thames. Still alive and kicking. The changing role of Thames Wharves.  David Hilling. 6.30 Swedenborg Hall.
16th March,  Gold Refining in London.  Michaele Blagg. 6.30 75 Cowcross Street
20th April The Restoration of Historic Buildings. An Engineer's perspective. 6.15 75 Cowcross Street
18th May. AGM.  Played in London. The Heritage of a City at Play. Simon Inglis  6.15 75 Cowcross Street

Guided Towpath Walks by the Inland Waterways Association, all over Christmas.
10th February. Newcomen Society. Susan Mossman on 'Onward ever' Henry Bessemer and his Works.  5.45  Science Museum (bet she doesn't mention his Greenwich Works)
SERIAC - 23rd April. Kingston on Thames.

The GLIAS Newsletter also lists down items from the London Archaeologists Fieldwork Roundup for 2014.. Greenwich items are:
Enderby House. evaluation to locate c17-18 gunpowder magazine built 1694. Found C17 brick foundation and robbed wall of magazine
King Henry's Dock SE18. evaluation of site of Graving Dock found three phases of features: timber posts and a horizontal beam from an early phase: a wall from the second phase: and a mooring bollard and two brick structures 'most likely a dock crane' from the post 1850's phase.
Greenwich Market - building survey: designed by Joseph Kay. 1833. Hipped roof of market is steel based structure of 1905-8
Pelton Road and Commerell Street SE10. industrial buildings.
Convoys Wharf. found brick and concrete wall foundations and possibly crane bases from the Nineteenth Century; a stone structrure which could be part of Stern Dock Entrance and a possible continuation of a slipway wall. Also dug test pits inside and outside the Olympia Building and a cast iron structure of 1844 originally erected as cover for Slipways.

There is also an article praising Rich Sylvester's Greenwich Peninsula map  and urges that it be made more available

Arco Trent - another article in the GLIAS Newsletter  discusses Richard Wilson's ''Slice of Reality' which has been round the back of the Dome since 2000. It says that this was originally the Arco Trent built in 1971. 'Originally a dredger, in later life she served as a floating booster station, modified to assist other vessels in the discharge of aggregate at more remote locations, even in open water'.  She is currently used as a studi
Finally - there is a note in the newsletter from Gillian Friar who has a collection of books and research materials about John Evelyn and would be happy to donate them to someone interested.

This is the Association for Industrial Archaeology's Winter 2015 edition.
They advertise their new web site
The edition also includes an article on Enderby Wharf - this is by - er - me - and there is also a small advert for my new book - so, thanks AIA.

18th December  - talks on Mechanical Calculators, My Wife's Iron Fork, The Last Vulcan Bomber Flight. 
15th January - Managing the Crossness Nature Reserve.
both at Mycenae House n7.45

Their winter fair is 12th December (that's tomorrow) at Lewisham Arthouse, 140 Lewisham Way. 11-6.  lots of new t-shirts, and other stud with a 'fabulous design'.  You can also buy direct from them.  They also have a new brochure which is available on their web site.

MARIE CELESTE DE CASTERAS. Ann Dingsdale writes: " I am researching the 1,499 women who signed the 1866 womens' suffrage petition in 1866.  We plan to celebrate the local women who signed with a walk in May to mark the 150th anniversary (40 years before the Suffragettes!)

I have been interested to find that one woman who signed in Greenwich took out some interesting engineering patents in the early 1860's, and if GIHS know anything more about her.   She was Marie Celeste de Castres SInibaldi, a naturalised Frenchwoman,born 1808, and married to a Corsican professor of Italian,  Luigi Sinibaldi. Iin the 1860's she was living at 1 South Villas, South
Street. Her son was an engineer,Napoleon Sinibaldi and hHer brother in law Pierre Sinibaldi was a
Military Engineer.

These are the details of the patents: 1862 October 31 No 2945. Improvements in the manufacture of armour plates for ships fortifications and forts, and in the manufacture of plates to be used  in the construction and building of ships and for other purposes, and  for attaching copper or other like protective metal to the outside of metal plates for making copper bottoms or bottoms with a similar protection to Iron ships. The method of constructing armour plates for building ships of war is to use laminated plates combining iron and steel and also plates of iron without steel perfectly wrought and to unite them by soldering with copper brass or other metal in the manner described. To procure great strength laminated plates of steel and iron are used in combination. Plates for building ships for the merchant service are manufactured in like manner but with thinner plates. By the same means I produce all other formation of iron for machinery, beams and other purposes.By the process described, an external coat of copper or other protective metal can be given to each plate of iron which when the plates are used in the construction of ships will produce the effect of copper bottoms

August 22, 1862. 2205. To Marie Celeste Sinibaldi of 1, South villas South-street, Greenwich, in the county of Kent, for the invention of "improvements in the manufacture of chains, and in the
apparatus employed therein."

Notes of meetings - but all they do is West London - and I know they would blame us for not offering them a  south east  London Labour Heritage Day.  However......
20th February  West London History Day.  Ruskin Hall, Acton,. W3
21st May AGM. Unite the Union Offices, Holborn, WC2

EAST END WATERWAYS GROUP- only just over the other side of the river -  they have sent us details of their letters on planning proposals for the Hackney Wick area - 'the science park of the 1840s'.  Happy to pass details on.

Monday, 30 November 2015

and some more bits and pieces

BETTER (which is Greenwich Library Department, as was) says

Come and join us for some  fascinating talks with author and historian Mary Mills who will be launching her new book-Innovation, Enterprise and Change on the Greenwich Peninsula’.  Looking at a new history of the peninsula, its industries and how they brought change to both Greenwich and the world
Wednesday 16th December 2015  6.00-7.00pm At Greenwich Centre Library

Thursday 17th December 2015 7.00-8.00pm At Blackheath Library
- this is their new programme - all talks at the Museum of London Docklands. E14 5.30 for 6
3rd February - David Hilling. On barge carrier systems
2nd March - Len Taphouse. Five years a Dockyard apprentice
6th April  Edward Sargent. The Port of London Authority's works programme in the First World War
4th May  Joan Lock. The Princess Alice Disaster
1st June. Des Pawson. For Sailor, Rigger and Sailmaker. Tools for the Rope and Canvas Working Trades
6th July. Peter Finch. The River Thames Society 
They also report on their November meeting which was on Trinity Buoy Wharf - which is just the other side of the river from GMV - where there is a small lighthouse. We are asking their permission to reproduce this.  Their October meeting was about Roman Walbrook and their August meeting was our own Richard Buchanan on Enderbys.
We have been given a link to an organisation which hopes to rebuild the Cutty Sark (hope they don't spoil bids for funding for the Lenox!!).  http//
TIDAL THAMES NEWS - this bulletin from the Port of London Authority comes regularly. You have to subscribe to it because it is all fixed up so you can't forward it to your friends.  This month has an article about new Clippers for the passenger service.
The latest issue of Industrial Archaeology  has come in the post. No articles about Greenwich - in fact the nearest they get to us in this issue is Cumbria. There is however a very short review of Brian Strong's GLIAS article on the east Greenwich tide mill.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Goodness - more news already

Check out new ways of buying my book on Innovation on the Greenwich Peninsula -

also - would be very grateful for any local outlet which could sell copies for us - or take some flyers for it (do understand if you might not want to sell)

Also I will be doing presentations on the peninsula for Greenwich Libraries
Greenwich Centre Library Wednesday 16th December 18:00-20:00
Blackheath Library Thursday 17th December 19.00-20.00

Lewisham History Journal - the latest Journal has come from Lewisham Local History Society. No 23
It includes articles about George England's (very interesting 19th century at New Cross) Hatcham Iron Works; Industrial Homes in Forest Hill, and Edward Hatfull, Survivor of Trafalgar (he was born in Watergate Street - which is, just, in Greenwich of course.
Also they advertise:
29th January - meeting about, our own, Severndroog Castle. and
26th February - meeting about Tolls, trains and canals (this will be the bit round New Cross)
both at the Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way, Lewisham 7.30-7.45

Peter Kent - has an exhibition of his major new work on current developments in Greenwich and beyond. This is three drawings - aeriel panoramas.
4th December - to 23rd December - Greenwich Gallery, Peyton Place, SE10
or call Tony Othen  020 8465 5968  07956 456647

Thames Discover Programme Foreshore Forum - the next meeting is at the Society of Antiquaries.  on 5th December. No link on the piece of paper they sent me - but there is a web site somewhere.

Friends of Greenwich Park Newsletter - this includes some info on their new history group, which sounds all very interesting. There is a meeting on 7th December at 11 in the Wildlife Centre.  The newsletter also gives details of archaeologists busy on the site of the Old Keepers Cottage with lots of interesting finds.  They also say they are trying to build up a picture of the buildings which were once on the site - which is a nice change for archaeologists!  There is also a note about a project about the Great War and the role of the park and its staff in it.  Their annual lecture is by Pieter Van Der Merwe on Painters and the Park 21st February in the morning, and you have to book.

Facebook  - for some time we have been looking at all the interesting telecoms related information on the Scrambled Messages Facebook Page - they even have our own Enderby Wharf as their banner picture. Look them up, its a great - Bristol based - site.
We have now also discovered GooseyGoo which lists industrial sites where there are campaigns or concerned residents and others trying to get them listed, saved, turned into a museum, photographed before demolition, or whatever.  Its another great Facebook site - look them up too. Goosey Goo also has a web page - check out the Enderby Group on it

Greenwich Society Newsletter - they advertise their annual lecture which is about Fortnum and Masons (suppose that is marginally industrial, but not a Greenwich subject) - its £10 to go in and its on 22nd November in the Maritime Museum Lecture Theatre. see 
They also advertise their Question and Answer Session with Matt Pennycook (16th Jan 11 am - dunno where).  27th February Annual Quiz.  They have included a note about the Enderby Group (thank you very much) and GIHS future meetings (thank you again - very grateful).

Also check out new ways of buying my book on Innovation on the Greenwich Peninsula - (and thanks Rob for sorting this out)

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

More news items after a bit of a gap

More news - the gap being caused by me (Mary) being so busy with my new book.
(Innovation, Enterprise and Change on the Greenwich Peninsula. Available from me £8 plus pp £2 - happy to deliver if you live round here)

Prefab Museum - this project, originally based in Lewisham, has a Brockley prefab walk on 5th December. Check out

Blackheath Scientific Society. Meeting 20th November, 7.45 Mycenae House, Mycenae Road, SE3  Paul Ryan on TV Gathering the Strands.   This is about outside broadcasting.  Info 020 8854 3389

We have been asked for more details on the Shooters Hill Abbatoir.   Grateful for info we can pass on - GIHS did publish an article on the abbatoir and the police raid there and the article is at

We have also been asked for info on pay and conditions in the 1930s at Frederick Braby's Ida Works in Deptford, and Elliotts in Lewisham.  They are also interested in social conditions around the factories and any trade union involvement.

Battle of Waterloo. This is going to take place at the Old Royal Naval College on 5th December at 6.30 https:/

Stuart Rankin has sent us a link to a programme for the launch of HMS Albion - which caused a massive wave where several people were drowned off Woolwich. http://www.britishtransporttrreasures/product/souvenir-of-the-launch-of-hms-albion-by-h-r-h-the-duchess-of-york-june-21st-1898-ebook/

The Lenox Project have a new promotional t shirt for sale as well as other things to fund raise and get you into a present buying mode -

Archaeology - we are told by English Heritage that work is about to start on the western area of the Alcatel Lucent site. Happy to send links, please contact.,

We have an email from someone who has bought an old pewter mug with 'Sea Witch East Greenwich' engraved on it.   The Sea Witch was on the riverside near where the silos stood until recently. Grateful for more info.

Henry - at a recent GIHS meeting John King talked about Sir Francis Joseph and it appears that he was involved with Henry's Sacks in Blackwall Lane.  We know a bit about the firm but it would be good to pass more onto John.  Joseph described how in May 1931 he visited Imperial Wharf in Greenwich - and was not happy with what he saw there. We also have a description of the works and their contribution to the Second World War effort - mainly through producing sacks to put things in which were needed for the war. 

Julie Tadman has sent us a list of local water mills insured in 1824 - this includes Barratts water corn mill at Bugsby's Hole and Riches stream and water corn mills at Greenwich.

Old Loyal Britons - there has been a long planning battle over this old pub in Thames Street and a great deal of research into the building. We were send info in October - but this is now clearly out of date. Would appreciate an update. Planning officers were apparently claiming that it couldn't be old and worth keeping because they said it had been bombed,  Researchers were denying this and saying the building was original.

We have a leaflet from the propeller foundry - would be grateful to hear from them again. Why is it called 'propeller foundry'  - we thought Stone's propeller factory was in Charlton and that what you have in Deptford is the office block. Please explain.

Treason's Harbours.  This is the published version of a conference run by the Naval Dockyards Society in 2011.   It includes articles all of which have some relevance to the Royal Dockyards at Deptford and Woolwich. 'The Dog in the Nighttime. Dockyard in the Genre of Naval Historical Fiction', 'All a-sparkle with Gun flashes. The Bay of Rosas in Naval Literature; 'Art in Dockyards'  'The Iron Slip Roof Cover Roofs of the Royal Dockyards 1844-1857' and "The Application and Scheme of Paintworks in British Men-of-War during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries".  As well as book reviews and notices.

PEPYS - and coke. We note the forthcoming exhibition locally about diarist Samuel Pepys. We hope that there is mention of the first time coke (as in processed coal) is noted - Pepys said he saw it being made in Greenwich having disembarked from the ferry.   Another Greenwich first - so - is it in the exhibition, or once again are industrial firsts locally too indecent for posh exhibitions at the Maritime Museum.