Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Greenwich Then and Now - new book

Popular local historians Julian Watson and Barbara Ludlow have produced another local history picture book which we must all rush out and buy.

As ever, their comments on the pictures they have chosen is superb - and the work should be bought for that very good reason.

The Sea Witch on the East Greenwich riverside - this picture is in the book but the
reproduction above is my scan from the original
Since this is an industrial history blog we need to look at the pictures they have chosen of Greenwich industries - and since this is a general book, aimed, I guess, at the tourist trade, they are few and far between. Their picture of Billingsgate Dock - a subject which Barbara is particularly strong on - also reminds us of the Noakesoscope (a suitably obscure bit of Greenwich's past).

A nice picture shows us Lovibond's brewery - and buildings which are still with us, although rarely recognised for what they are.

"River Bank, East Greenwich' shows us Lovell's Wharf but does not name it - a pity, since many of the new residents there will not know this is a picture of the site of their homes. The riverside pictures run on down the road to Woolwich - with a view of the Siemens works from Cox' Mount and some views of the Dockyard gateway - but what a pity the Royal Arsenal is only represented by Beresford Gate - and that there is barely a mention of our ground breaking cable making and communications industries.

But never mind - this book is to attract newcomers and visitors and to give them a quick run through what Greenwich Borough was in the past and what it is now. And that it does very well.

The 'old' photographs come from the Martin collection - and it is a pity that, in what is presumably an attempt to make them look old, they are printed in a sort of bright ginger colour, which must have been intended as sepia. This includes a picture taken as recently as 1968! They are also somewhat blurred and again, it should have been remembered that older pictures are generally much clearer than modern ones.

But never mind - Julian and Barbara's input is well worth putting up with a few dodgy prints - and I am sure the book is available from all good bookshops in Greenwich, and elsewhere. Its published by the History Press, £12.99. Buy it, read it, and tell your friends about it.

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