Monday, 22 August 2016

Developers and listings, even in the posh bit of Greenwich

Readers will remember that about a year ago we published a plea from some West Greenwich residents about an old industrial building in the posh bit of Greenwich which developers wanted to demolish. http://greenwichindustrialhistory.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/greenwich-dairy-request-for-help.html
The building was subsequently listed and everyone (except, obviously, the developer) was happy.

Amazingly, now, only a year later it has been delisted and there is a planning application for it awaiting approval.

It appears that the developers requested a reivew of the decision - and that at least one local organisation was told about this. We do not know if the people who originally campaigned were involved and we understand they may be on holiday - we would of course love to hear from them.  It then appears that the Secretary of State decided to overturn the listing decision. There is a long statement about parts of the building which have been reviewed.

Comments on this very welcome


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NOW - for other bits of news.

Kent Underground Research Group are organising a visit to the air raid shelters at the Northfleet Henley's Works.  Henleys were a major cable manufacturer - and in fact Mr. Henley himself once worked in East Greenwich.  I am enclosing this in case any of the cable making fans among you are interested. Contact chris_rayner@btconnect.com  and they suggest looking at http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/henley-air-raid-shelters-northfleet-feb-2011.t58274 . 


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PREFAB NEWS
The Prefab Museum are hosting an event on the Isle of Dogs along with the Friends of the Island History Trust on 23 September. Admission to the archive tea party at 2.15 pm is free, and free tickets (which must be pre-booked) for the guided walk and illustrated talk are available on eventbrite. Walk:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/guided-walk-on-the-st-johns-estate-remembering-post-war-prefabs-tickets-26939655234  Talk:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/post-war-prefabs-an-illustrated-talk-tickets-26940007287



OF FOSS WESTCOTT ESQUIRE
WHO SPENT MANY YEARS ABROAD IN THE SERVICE
OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY AT FORT ST GEORGE
WHERE HE FILL'D SEVERAL IMPORTANT STATIONS
WITH HUMOUR & INTEGRITY
HE RETIRED TO EAST GREENWICH, THE PLACE OF HIS NATIVITY
AND DIED THERE UNIVERSALLY ESTEEMED & LAMENTED
ON THE 20TH DAY OF OCTOBER IN 1765 IN THE 42ND YEAR OF HIS AGE
HE WAS FIRST MARRIED IN INDIA TO ANN PYE
FOR WHOM HE ERECTED THE ADJOINING MONUMENT 


AND WHO LIES INTERRED WITH HIM IN A VAULT NEAR THIS PLACE

---------------------------------------------------

AND - we have a note from Danny

I'd like to take the opportunity to remind you of the Newcomen meeting on 5th September at the Royal Institution "ANNIHILATING SPACE & TIME: 150 YEARS OF TRANSATLANTIC TELECOMMUNICATION." Bookings are available through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/annihilating-space-time-150-years-of-transatlantic-telecommunication-tickets-24395664088 .

Do come along.





Violet writes "  I previously found lists of ships built by Edward and later Thomas Snellgrove at Deptford but would like to know how they were related (i.e. were they father & son, brothers, etc.) along with any other detail you may have available.

---------------------------------

and - two things from Norman


First of all he says

"My mother was shown a shop in Greenwich where her grandfather worked and used to make the Lord Mayor's whip for the London Lord Mayor's show every year."

Really - does anyone know anything about this???  Sounds really interesting.

and also Norman says:

"I have an ancestor Ayton Hyde (married name was Watts) born about 1821 and, according to 1861 census, born in Cape of Good Hope.  I am trying to find out what her father was doing in Cape of Good Hope at that time as there were few British settlers there at that time. I do know about the 1820 Settlers but Ayton's parents names are not on the list (or at least I cannot find them)  Ayton's father was William Hyde (or Hide) born about 1791. The 1842 census shows him born in Kent and living then on Ship & Billet Row, Woolwich Road, Greenwich, and his occupation was Shipwright.  He was married to Elizabeth (possibly nee Brown Deller).  Their 2nd child was born in Greenwich in 1826, indicating that they had returned from Africa by then. I suspect William Hyde might have gone to Cape of Good Hope in connection with his occupation as a shipwright.  I understand shipbuilding docks around Greenwich were closing around that time so possibly he followed the work.  I deduce he would have been in the Cape from about 1820 (or a bit earlier) till about 1825.
Any clues or leads you can let me have would be much appreciated.

---------------------

LAMAS  - on 11th April LAMAS has a talk on Britain's historic lighthouses 'with special reference to London's only lighthouse at Blackwall.   This is the building you can see from the Peninsula on across the river.  Museum of London 6.30

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

August is the cruellest month. More bits of news and stuff like that.



This post includes stuff that has come in over the past couple of weeks. August is usually a slack month - but there has just been a sudden rush!!
(sorry about some of the strange variations in type - have wasted 2 hours trying to sort)

FOGWOFT
New Plaque for Greenwich Foot Tunnel
On 5 July 2016 FOGWOFT members turned up at Cutty Sark Gardens to celebrate the unveiling of an interpretive plaque for the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. They were joined by a representative of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The ceremony was led by Deputy Leader Cllr. Danny Thorpe, whose staff had designed and commissioned the plaque. It will do a great job in explaining the history and original reasons for the historic foot tunnel. It may even answer the common visitor questions of whether this is a public lavatory or the Greenwich Observatory! It is the latest in a series of projects by the Royal Borough to enhance users experience of the tunnel.  FOGWOFThave been closely consulted about all three projects. Since the completion of the major refurbishment scheme in 2014, it would have been easy for the Borough to lose sight of the importance of this working heritage. It is to their credit that they have not; and fogwoft will continue to support innovative actions that improve both tunnels.

FOGWOFT has also been involved in the new electronic system in the tunnels to keep cyclists in order - more news soon

- We also note that the recent BBC thriller 'The Secret Agent' had its final scene down it the tunnel. Fame at last!!



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CROSSNESS RECORD
This issue starts with the exciting headline "The Great Stink Exhibition and the start of the Transformation of Crossness into a more formal museum" and continues " The Boiler House has been totally transformed with the introduction of the new National Lottery funded Great Stink exhibition. The exhibition tells the story of why Crossness and the London sewer system was built and the prevention of the spread of Cholera. It also depicts how Crossness was built and comes right up to date with the new Thames Water Treatment Plant" - this apparently includes murals on the walls of the cafe and toilets, a display of old toilets and a new mock sewer tunnel with 'visual and sound effects'.

They also have pictures of their transformed garden - plus a swan and a pheasant who ' struts around .. as if he owns the place'.

More seriously there is an article about Easton and Anderson (based in Southwark and then Erith) and their links to construction and equipment at Crossness.

Open days are all 10-30 am to 5 pm
Prince Consort under steam - 4th September, 9th October
Just open, no steam - 14th August, 23rd October
CET tours - 26th August, 23rd September,. book these two www.eventbrite.co.uk

see more (and all the pictures) at www.crossness.org.uk

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ARCHAEOLOGY
We have a note from Historic England to say that archaeological work is to start on two sites - one Re: 278-65 Greenwich Wharf: 14/0460/F -Phase 2 (LAG/011/278), and the other
Alcatel Lucent Telegraph works (LAG/011/489) CLO12333 .  

In both cases they have sent us pdfs of the desk stop study and work programme - 

please get onto us if you are interested.

The Enderby Group is keeping an eye on the Alcatel site study 

but the Pipers Wharf site is the more worrying.  The site has been 
completely cleared of many items of great interest before work has 
started and the archaeologists pre-report seems totally unaware
of the various works and wharves which were once on the site.


------------------------------


ENDERBY
The Enderby Group have been very busy - they have been 
undertaking a footfall survey on the riverside path - which has 
sadly been cut short by the sudden closure of the path round 
Pipers Wharf.    They have also been preparing their own vision 
document for the future of the area. And challenging the listing 
designation of Enderby House. More on all of this to come. 


----------------

We have just had the following link from British Transport 
Treasures (thank you Stuart)



----------------------------

FRIENDS OF GREENWICH PARK 
their summer newsletter includes some details from the 
Community archaeological dig on the Old Keeper's Cottage.  
Included is a note from Brian Starkey 
about the occupants of the cottage in the mid 19th century.  
One of them was an important Fellow of the Society of 
Antiquaries!! 

------------------------------
GREENWICH SOCIETY
The  July/August Newsletter has 
-  a brief write up of the (lost) planning battle on the 
                     Old Loyal Britons in Thames Street.  
-   a brief note about the remains of the Tudor/Stuart jetty 
                     on the foreshore OF the University site. 
- noted (thank you) the new plaque with information on the 
                       Greenwich Foot Tunnel with a nice picture. 


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GLIAS NEWSLETTER
They note the inauguration of the plaque for the foot tunnel. 
Otherwise - nothing about Greenwich and Woolwich!

The following meetings are noted: 

GLIAS WALK - this is round Erith and led by Andrew Turner.  
1st October,.  to book a place email walks@glias.org.uk

16th November.  - GLIAS pub evening. 
Horseshoe, Clerkenwell Close, at 6.30  
They are happy to have audience contributions - 
bring your own memory stick, preferably Power Point

----------------------

LEWISHAM LOCAL HISTORY NEWSLETTER
Interesting articles - albeit about Lewisham - Catford Dogs, 
the London School Board - and - er - Cliff Richard.

They advertise:
(all these Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way 7.45)
30th September Jane Hearn on the Downham Estate
25th November - Gordon Dennington on Sunday Cinemas 
              and Film Censorship
16th December - Mike Brown on Christmas on the Home Front

- oh and -= 
Bromley Local History Society. Trinity Reformed Church, 
Freelands Road, Bromley  7.45
Mary Mills on The Work of Coles Child in Greenwich

----------------------------------


WOOLWICH ANTIQUARIANS NEWSLETTER
The main article in their current newsletter is about the 
Greenwich Heritage Centre's events around nursing 
in the Great War.

They mention conservation cases current in Woolwich - 

the Granada Cinema and the Guard House.

There is a feature on Gilbert's Pit and the new stairway 

access to it. Visits via  larry.blake@royalgreenwich.gov.uk.  
This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of
the London Geodiversity Partnership. It was used as a 
source of sand for local glassworks and the Arsenal.

The Antiquarians also have a nice obituary to Barbara Ludlow.


Meetings: 
2 pm for 2.15 pm  Charlton House, 
17 Sept    St George’s Garrison Church  Julie Ricketts
8   Oct      Crossness - Past, Present and Future   Mike Jones
11 Mar     Whitechapel 1888 - Murder - Poverty Stuart Robinson
8   Apl      Annual General Meeting  with Show & Tell   
13 May    The Abbey of St Thomas the Martyr at Lesnes,  
                     Vincent Memorial Lecture  Jim Marrett
10 Jun      London Pubs  and  Buildings Charlotte Matthews

CHARLTON SOCIETY www.charltonsociety.org
10 Sept   2.30 pm   Photographs and Stories of Charlton   

WELLING & DISTRICT 
MODEL ENGINEERING SOCIETY
Rochester Way, adjacent to Falconwood Station,   www.wdmes.co.uk
Steam and electric hauled model railway.
Sundays, 2 – 5 pm  14,28 Aug  11,25 Sept  9 Oct.

NAVAL DOCKYARD SOCIETY
Now - sometime ago the Naval Dockyards people asked
 me if  someone could arrange a walk for them round the 
 military and naval sites in Woolwich - now, that seemed 
a tall order and at firsit seemed that if you wanted a 
THOROUGH look at Woolwich you had better book a 
week - because it would take three days minimum 
- however - I put them in  touch with Ian Bull  - and -  

... So - they went on their walk with Ian - who took them 
round the more easily reached bits and there is a terrific 
write up in their newsletter. I am very tempted to quote much 
of it - but - roughly - they saw - 'railway subway ... quite 
an impressive structure' ....... 'impressive brick built 
chimney'.....  'steam factory .. wonderful example'....  
'boat store .. utmost importance' ..... 'Clockhouse ... 
impressive looking building' ....'impressive columns of 
the main gate' ....'many buildings of historical interest'  
'Dial Arch for lunch' ...'Royal Brass Foundry ..
unusual and well looked after' ...'all very 
impressive' ..
Well - glad they were impressed - and 
thank you to Ian.


-----------------------


INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS

This is the national newsletter from the Association for 
Industrial Archaeology. This is really more about the 
provinces -not London - but there are a series of articles 
in the current issue about the challenges which local 
societies meet as well as meetings with Members of 
Parliament - happy to pass on to any one 
interested.
Along with the GLIAS newsletter they feature the 
Kirkaldy Testing Museum in Southwark Street, SE1 - 
and if you haven't been there yet - go at once. Its about 
FACTS not OPINIONS.
As the London representative on the AIA Dr. Robert 
Carr has provided his usual article on London's 
industrial history -but sadly nothing about Greenwich 
this time.
There is however a report on the Enderby Group's March 
seminar - happy to copy and pass onto to anyone 
interested.


I am not going to reproduce their list of meetings -

but happy to send to anyone interested in IA 
conferences in Kansas City, Romania, Lisbon or even Devizes.

-----------------------------------

GREENWICH VISITOR
The current issue headlines 'Engineers baffled as icon
 fails after 133 yrs' - hope the time ball is sorted by the time 
I am writing this. There is a whole page about the inauguration 
of the foot tunnel  plaque -and thanks very much GV for that!!!
They also highlight a little known techie interest 
attraction in Greenwich - the Aviation Experience 
which is down at the cable car 
(which of course pretends to be an airline). 



-----------------------

and - as I write this, the following tweet has come in from "
 ‏@Gashistory  Once the largest #gasholder in the world @ #Greenwich 1904 
#Advert for Clayton Son & Co."


so - this is a lot longer than I thought - must get some lunch - 

sorry if its a bit strange, I had a lot of problems with word-wrap - which has led to me having to put in manual line breaks - but also with fonts and type sizes. I have typed some of this four times and it is still not consistent 
Mary for GIHS




Monday, 1 August 2016

Something personal - a prize trip up the river in 1914




hope GIHS and its readers will indulge me in something personal. I am justifying it with some pictures of the working Thames before the Great War.....  but otherwise .....

In 1914 my Dad would have been six and attending Wrotham Road School in Gravesend - its still there. He won a prize that year 'for reading' - a book presented by Mrs. Huggins - who I assume was the Lady Mayoress of the day.

The book he won is now falling to bits - 'Our Holiday on a barge'  by Alice Talwin Morris.  I am not quite sure what Gravesend Education Committee thought a working class six year old would make of this story of a very middle class family holiday - but now, nearly 100 years later I am beginning to appreciate it.

The story goes that the children - four of them, on the Swallows and Amazons model - want an outdoor holiday, so Father's nice boss, arranges for them all to go on one of the Company's barges, with his teenage son Archie - who also wants an outdoor life.  The barge is all fitted up and off they go. The book sort of suggests they go off into deepest countryside but, as Father commutes every day from his City job I would think its just a bit upriver of Windsor.
 They have the usual adventures - a fright at the weir, meet a game keeper, go fishing, it rains ... and they are stared at by the village people who were clearly not used to middle class children.

What I really love about the book are the illustrations. I love the period feel of them, and in particular the clothes - the girls in black stockings, long sleeved sweaters and their hair tied back. Sunny hats. Father in his long raincoat, cap and stockings. And Mother with long belted skirt, and three quarter length coat - ever so fetching. Archie wears white trousers - even lying on the grass, and on the boat. I like the flatness of the drawings.  They are also not drawings which are 'childish' they are real life drawings, with no attempt to talk down to a young audience.

The book doesn't say who the artist is but it must have been Alice herself.  There isn't much about her on the net - but there is quite a bit about her husband, Talwin Morris. He was art editor for the publisher Blackie and an important innovator in book design.  Living in Glasgow they were deeply involved with Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art,.  He died only in his early 40s and Alice lived on publishing several children's books - all now going for vast prices on Amazon (but my copy is very very tatty).




Hope you like the selection of pictures


Saturday, 30 July 2016

George Landmann - wild beasts and savages in Barking

The next chapter in George Landmann's autobiography starts with him being taken by his father to 'Exeter Change'. George had done up his foot long hair specially for this visit - by tying it into tight pigtails at night it became by day a giant 'furze bush'. He assures it that this was very fashionable for young boys in the 1790s.

On the way there they encountered the 'smoking ruins' of Richmond House and a 'dense mob' out to watch the fire.We can thus date this visit to December 1791 which is when the second Richmond House was gutted by fire.  The house had been the London residence of the Dukes of Richmond, and had been adjacent to the old royal palace of Whitehall. The original Richmond House of about 1660 had been replaced in 1733-4 by a new house  built to the designs of Lord Burlington.
They eventually reached Exeter Exchange. This had been built in 1676, on the site of the demolished Exeter House, London home of the Earls of Exeter, opposite the today's  Savoy Hotel. It originally housed small shops but George comments 'it was gloomy dirty and badly paved'.  From 1773, the upstairs  rooms were let s  a menagerie which included lions, tigers,monkeys, and other exotic species, all confined in iron cages in small rooms.  It is this that young George was keen to see. What happened next concerned George's hairstyle and a lot of commotion - read his account and wonder! (health and safety again!)

George then - briskly as ever changing subject - begins to talk about balloon flights by the famous Italian aeronaut (and publicist), Lunardi.  Lunardi took off for many of his flights from the Artillery Ground in Moorfields - and I am therefore a bit suspicious of a number of web sites which say he left from the Royal Artillery grounds in Woolwich (have they got the right bit of artillery there??). George does not mention these take offs but does say he saw Lunardi's balloon pass over Woolwich and land in Barking.  I am going to quote, more or less verbatim, what George says and you can judge for yourselves

"The people of Barking were regarded by the Woolwichers as a set of barbarians .. and it was commonly believed .. that the air of Barking was so insalubrious to women that no female could survive a year's residence there"

Lunardi was rescued from the clutches of Barking people by 'officers of the Artillery' and taken to dine in the mess.

Monday, 11 July 2016

George Landmann - starting school in Greenwich and some 'well mounted' muggers

George starts school  - and sees  - well mounted gentlemen muggers.


In 1789 the Landmann family left their house at the back of the Royal Military Academy and moved to Greenwich - or, as George says, Blackheath.  This house was somewhere  in the area which is now Westgrove Lane, but which house is not clear..

George was sent to school 'of which the Rev. Dr. Egan was the master'.  James Egan had apparently taken over 'The Royal Park Academy' from his father in law, Dr. Bakewell. Egan was interested in methods of teaching languages and encouraged boys to speak either Latin or French only in school but to do so in a way that 'divests instruction of harshness'.  It should be noted that as an adult George Landmann spoke several languages fluently.

George says that the school was 'close to the new church, at the corner of King Street, and is now converted into tea gardens'  - somewhere near the park gate at the top end of King William Street. George's 'new church' being St.Mary's which stood on the site now taken by William IV's enormous statue.

Having moved to Greenwich and enrolled at school George then launches into a series of descriptions of  muggings on Blackheath - some of which he appears to have witnessed.

1.He describes walking one Sunday afternoon on Chesterfield Walk at a time when many people are having an after dinner stroll.  Suddenly everyone turns towards The Green Man - then at the top of Blackheath Hill. They point to a horseman speeding down the hill 'leading to the lime kilns' - exclaiming 'there .. there.. do you see him'. It turns out that the inhabitant of one of the big houses alongside the park had been sitting on his garden wall reading a book when a 'gentleman mounted on a handsome horse' came up to him in a friendly sort of way.  When he got close 'the gentleman' whipped out a pistol threatening 'with the unpleasant necessity of scattering his brains amongst the rose bushes'.  The victim handed over his valuable at once and the assailant galloped off.

2. A few moments later a 'post chaise with two gentlemen, a lady and a manservant' arrived to say they had been robbed 'near the Rising Sun, by four armed men on foot'.

3. A few days later Paul Sandby arrived on the Landmann's doorstep - Sandby is of course the famous artist who was drawing master at the Royal Military Academy.  He had with him his very distressed daughter and had brought her to the Landmann's house to enable her to recover quietly.  They had had their watches stolen by a robber by the corner of Greenwich Park - 'at one o'clock in the daytime'.

4. Then - Major and Lady Emily Macleod were crossing Woolwich Common 'along the deep ditch' - by which I assume George means the ha ha in Ha Ha Road. 'A well mounted highwayman commanded the driver to stop or have his brains blown out'. The muzzle of his pistol was thrust into Lady Emily's face.  The Major however picked up a bottle of Cologne  and pushed it into the robber's face 'declaring in a voice of thunder that he would instantly shoot him'.  The robber ran off!!

- George does comment however that although there were lots of robberies 'particularly on the Lower Road' that there were very few murders.

5. Major Patterson of the Artillery ' a very rough muscular man' found it necessary while at a review of troops on Blackheath to take himself to a quiet corner and remove one of his boots. The robber who found him was 'well dressed, also well mounted' - and having removed Major Patterson's valuables galloped to the other side of the field to mingle with the crowd, secure from detection.

6. Once a month cash was sent to the army at Woolwich,. for whatever. This could be two or three thousand pounds and came in a post chaise with a pay clerk. To cross Blackheath it was escorted by six artillery men plus a non-commissioned officer.  The officer took up the rear and the soldiers went on either side with fixed bayonets and loaded muskets.

Note - that the robbers always have very very posh horses. No doubt they could afford them.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

George Landmann - his childhood story and how very important is Woolwich

George Landmann's autobiography continues to ramble on through his childhood - with memories of Woolwich in the late 18th century and many posh visitors to the Royal Military Academy (then still located on what we know as the Arsenal site).There are also some insights to research and development in the Arsenal itself  - and some thoughts, from me, that today Woolwich is never considered as having a role in the 'industrial revolution' .... but ...

He says of Woolwich around 1780 - "of the inhabitants though there were several very respectable - but only three kept carriages'

The first of the three he lists is Squire Martin, an 'opulent and independent farmer'.  I am unable to find any reference to a Squire Martin in the Woolwich area and would be keen to hear from anyone who knows who he might be - George's idea of the Woolwich boundaries tend to be a bit vague! 

He then lists 'Squire Bowater' who is much clearer, and the Bowater family are well documented and owned huge areas in the western part of Woolwich. There is also however a bit of a problem. If we take it that George's memories are of his childhood - say 1780-1790 - then the inheritor of the Bowater estate, John, was in Europe avoiding those looking to recover vast debts from him, having fled the country in 1778. There also seems to have been a certain amount of scandal attached to his marriage. Although, I suppose, young George would not have known about all this.

His final resident who he says 'kept a carriage' is a 'Mr.Whitman who built a house on the northern declivity of Shooters Hill". Mr. Whitman is also obscure - or at least he is not mentioned by Survey of Woolwich.  George adds the further information that the house was later owned by "General Cuppage" . I was very disinclined to believe that anyone of such a strange name existed but it turns out that following a distinguished career the General settled in Shooters Hill. His obtituary fails to give his given name, but he was Irish from a family with close ties to Edmund Burke and coming to England he had been educated at the Royal Military Academy.  His Shooters Hill house is said to have extended considerable hospitality to 'educated and scientific men'.  George says it was 'in front of a piece of water which owing to its peculiar position on the side of the hill appears to be out of level'. Once again I would welcome suggestions about both the house and the water.

George's account of Woolwich then drifts off to a long description of the dissolute life of a Royal Artillery Lnt Sutton.  A Captain Thomas Sutton was Assistant Firemaster at the Royal Laboratory and lived near the RMA building when George was a child - and this just might be the same person. George remembers someone with many social contacts, including with 'Lord Eardley of Belvedere'.  This is all very interesting although I would point out that Samson Gideon was not created Baron Eardley until 1789, but George's account is, of course, retrospective.

The next couple of pages concern the visit to Woolwicj of 'Madame la Princess de Lamballe' - Marie Louise de Savoy, the intimate friend of Marie Antoinette. . She was incredibly grand with - "a train full five yards long...borne by a young black page .... her hair dressed to rise very high ... a pink silk hat with many ostrich feathers'.  She received an equally impressive welcome 'nearly two thousand men of the Royal Artillery ... accoutred as troops of the line  .. to man six pieces of artillery .. a salute of nineteen guns'  - although George does admit that they had to scratch round a bit to get the two thousand together and some came from Chatham  and 'distant parts'.   Having read George's account of this grand lady it is actually really disturbing to learn of her end - raped, guillotined, mutilated, her head paraded around Paris on a pike.

The Princess's visit to Woolwich apparently ended with a visit to the Landmann's where she spoke, in French, to George's father Isaac, and ate lunch prepared by his mother. George and his sister were presented to her and she gave him her 'bonbonniere'.  This seems to me remarkable - why did she not get dinner from the top officers at Woolwich? It raises again the question of who exactly Isaac Landmann was, what was his past in France? Why had he come to England?

George then moved on to the more workaday aspects of life in the RMA and devotes a couple of pages to the work of Sergeant Bell concentrating on the Sergeant's suggestions for raising the Royal George wrecked at Portsmouth. John Bell was indeed based at Woolwich - and had actually witnessed the wreck of the Royal George. His ideas for raising the ship were demonstrated - as George Landmann relates - in front of a distinguished audience but were not carried out. The Royal George was eventually raised in 1839, using the method suggested by John Bell, by the distinguished Royal Engineer, Pasley.  Landmann describes other devices invented by Bell, as does Bell's entry in DNB.  He is one of the many people in this period who developed new methods of working - but not one of the ones which will get mentioned in accounts of 'great inventors' or the 'industrial revolution'.

It might be interesting to note the bigwigs who came to see Bell's underwater explosive experiments -

The Duke of Richmond (Master General of the Ordinance - Charles Lennox, distinguished soldier and politician. Ambassador and Privy Councillor - as a sideline he developed Goodwood racecourse),

General Sir W. Green (Chief Royal Engineer. William Green distinguished military innovator, particularly in Gibralter - who later lived in Plumstead)

Col.Morse (Royal Engineer - Robert Morse, who succeeded Green as Chief Royal Engineer)

Major Blomfield, (Thomas Blomfield, Inspector of Artillery, innovator, administrator and much else)

Captain Fage (Royal Artillery - Edward Fage eventually Major General "in his Majesty's Army of Greenwich')

Dr. Masculine (Astronomer Royal)

I am only listing these down because they were the people who came to watch experiments carried out by a non-commissioned officer in Woolwich in the late 18th century. They all have important titles but also all of them were innovators aware of the technical advances being made around them and working on how they could be exploited. An important title sometimes hides a relatively humble background. In the same way technical advances among the military may be transferred to civilian industries but this is rarely noted. Keep in mind that work in Woolwich among these early engineers and artillerymen is a key part of industrial expansion in the 18th and early 19th century.  When people talk about the 'industrial revolution' they won't even think about the military input, and they certainly won't even consider Woolwich - perhaps they need to be informed.

Thanks to George Landmann then - and next he goes to school in Greenwich


Sources
English Heritage. Survey of Woolwich,.
Landmann, Adventures and Recollections
United Service Journal. Web site
Wikipedia. As appropriate.