Tuesday, 23 February 2010

More about Greenwich gasworks

The Historic Gas Times - just through my letter box - has two items on two different Greenwich gas works.

First of all - they have picked up my article on the earliest Greenwich Gas Works from the British Library web site - which had originally described it as East Greenwich works (actually 60 years later). The Library had reproduced a print, on which the steeple of St.Alfege church in the background made a location in Norway Street obvious - leading to a small and short lived gas works from the mid-1820s. Historic Gas Times's Barry Wilkinson has also questioned the Library's attribution to the artist, and done some interesting research.

The Second Article is actually about the great East Greenwich works and is 'Misspent Youth on Gasworks' by Tony Coles. This relates adventures and events in the control room of the works in the 1960s - and while a touch technical for the layperson - describes various goings on by someone who was clearly working their way up.

Historic Gas Times is a subscription newsletter but back numbers can be got from 01937 584672. (no web site advertised - sorry).

While on the subject of gas - someone rang me a couple of weeks ago about a film of Croydon Gas Works - they said they would get back in touch - but they haven't. Please - we want to hear from you!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Requests for info - and visit Markfield Beam Engines

Devotees of the cafe in East Greenwich Pleasaunce - who are hopefully also devotees of old working steam engines - should rush to the Markfield Road project in Tottenham where they can sample the delights of both. Watch this space - and reviews are welcome.

Anyway - we have received the following requests for help

"I am looking at the area surrounding Greenwich Train Station - I was wondering if you could provide me with any old photos of the front of the train station, particularly what was on the site of the current Novotel and pictures of this?"

"The latest issue of family tree magazine (Feb 2010) p. 65 has a letter from from a reader which records that his great grandfather was a blacksmith in the carriage dept. in the Arsenal, had a child every 2 years 1861-1868, then produced a girl in Turkey and returned with her to Woolwich and had more children from 1874 onwards. So it does look as if something was taking Arsenal men to Turkey. Does anyone know who?? or what??"

"I am interested in Carroll's pottery of 97 Blackheath Hill. The pottery was operated in Deptford and was sold to Gibbs and Canning Ltd. Can anyone give me any information"

"Can you give me any information about William Buckwell who operated a stone works on the Greenwich Peninsula in the 19th century"


Greenwich University on Wartime memories


The people of Greenwich are being invited to share their memories of the Second World War and to explore the borough’s rich historical archives, as part of a community history programme being run by the University of Greenwich.
The programme also includes a series of free history talks, which are open to students and to the public. They will cover a wide variety of topics, including the role of the Women’s Land Army during the Second World War and the massacre of thousands of Londoners’ pets at the outbreak of the war.

The next talk is on Wednesday February 24 at 5pm. University of Greenwich graduate Lianne Blanks, who is Marketing and Development Co-ordinator at the Imperial War Museum, will be speaking about career opportunities in heritage and how museums and historic sites deal with sensitive issues, such as conflict, in post-war Europe.

She will be followed by Paul Goodman, a final year History student at the university, who will share some of his findings from the local archives on how the highly infectious disease TB was treated in Greenwich following the First World War and through to the founding of the National Health Service. Both talks will be followed by open discussion.

Dr June Balshaw, History Programme Leader in the University of Greenwich’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said the programme of free talks is part of a research project to gather memories and stories of the Second World War from the wider population.

“The university is planning an exhibition of photographs, memories and memorabilia, to be held in the autumn,” she said. “We are currently looking for volunteers to help us collect oral testimonies from people for this project. Full training will be given.

“We are also hoping that people in the Greenwich area who have stories from the war to share will come forward.”

The series of talks, ‘Other Narratives of War’, is part of a history project being funded by the University of Greenwich.

The talk on Wednesday February 24 at 5pm is in the Greenwich Council Chamber, Queen Anne 063, at the University of Greenwich Old Royal Naval College campus. Although entry is free it is advisable to reserve a place by emailing Dr June Balshaw at bj61@gre.ac.uk or calling 020 8331 7874.

For further information about studying history at the University of Greenwich, call 0800 005 006 or visit www.greenwich.ac.uk.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Women’s work

Did you work in Industry in Bexley or Greenwich at any time from the 1930s - 1970s?

A morning of reminiscence for women workers at the Greenwich Heritage Centre, Wednesday 24th February 2010, 10:30am - 12:00

Did you work on the shop floor, offices, the canteen, the science labs, drawing offices, typing pools or as a cleaner in a factory in Greenwich or Bexley?

Eastside Community Heritage, Bexley Local Studies and Archives and Greenwich Heritage are holding a reminiscence session for women workers. This is a chance to have an informal chat with other women who worked at the time. We would love to hear your stories. Come along and give your account of what it was like at work when women were encouraged to stay at home.

Time & Place: The Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich SE18 4DX, Wednesday February 24th, 10:30am-12. For further details please contact Will Atkinson at Eastside Community Heritage on 0208-553-4343 or will@ech.org.uk.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Strike at UGB Charlton 1960

Time was, thirty years ago, when you couldn't move for articles about labour unrest - but times change, so it was a real change to see an article about a strike. This one was in Charlton (now - who remembered that the biggest glass works in Europe was in Charlton in the 1960s????). The article is in the current edition of Labour Heritage - and the following is a brief precis of it.

The article, by Scott Reeve, describes how a Manager asked to meet members of the workforce. When they did not attend an arranged meeting the Shop Steward, Wally Morton, was sacked. By lunch time all work at the factory had stopped and Les Doust, AEU Steward and Communist was chairing the strike committee. At a mass meeting it was resolved to continue the strike until Wally had his job back. Next the boiler workers struck - meaning that the glass making furnaces would go out, and oil supplies to the site were blacked. Within another two days Co-op workers (whose used UG milk bottles) had blacked the site, as had Thames Lightermen - and workers at next door factory, Harveys, were organising collections. Meeting were taking place at the Ministry of Labour.
The strike was front page news on both Kentish Independent and the Mercury - although their stories of numbers on strike differed by 200! The Daily Worker covered the strike on a daily basis. Brian Behan (brother of playwright Brendan) came to the picket line, on behalf of the Socialist Labour League and covered it for their newsheet.
Inevitably a deal was negotiated by AEU District Officials - which reinstated Wally Morton whole allowing management to examine his fitness for his role as shop steward. After some argument a vote to end the strike was narrowly carried. Socialist Labour League described it as a 'shoddy little deal'.

'For more information about Labour Heritage and articles from previous editions of the bulletin, visit www.labourheritage.com. You can buy a copy of the latest bulletin at £2 (incl. postage) or join Labour Heritage (£10 pa or £4 concessions) by contacting: John Grigg: 020 8743 4189, griggshampan1@ukonline.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Naval Dockyards Society

The Naval Dockyards newsletter has come again with news of a Conference to take place at the Maritime Museum on 17th April 'Pepys and Chips. Naval Administration and Warfare in the 17th Century'. Details from www.navaldockyards.org.

Details of their newsletter can be found at the same web address. It contains an article on Thomas Gravestock of Deptford - Master Cooper of the Cooper's Company and the City of London.