15th September 1998 7.30 pm INAUGURAL MEETING AND FIRST AGM East Greenwich Community Centre, Christchurch Way, SEl0.
13th October 1998. 7.30 pm INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY IN GREENWICH by Prof. Dave Perrett (Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society & Association for Industrial Archaeology) East Greenwich Community Centre Christchurch Way, SEl0.
December 1998 7.30 pm GREENWICH AND ITS INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE. By Paul Calvocoressi (English Heritage) East Greenwich Community Centre. Christchurch Way. SE10O.
12th January 1999 STONES OF DEPTFORD by Peter Gurnett. Venue to be arranged
From John Day. Very belated thanks for the copy of your newsletter. It speaks well for the future. I don't know whether you are aware of the existence of a large number of drawings of machinery made by Hick Hargreaves for Woolwich are held at Bolton Library. Thanks for the note about the 'Aspects of the Arsenal' book. I persuaded a friend to get it for me as a birthday present'.
From Ian Sharpe. I hope you don't mind me writing to you from the other side of the river. Right opposite the tip of Greenwich Peninsula is a site, Brunswick Wharf, which is very important and needs some attention. The 'First Settlers' left Blackwall in 1606 to land in what is now Virginia USA. These heroic men braved all to set up across the uncharted seas. They founded Jamestown, and started the tobacco trade which was to become the main economy of Virginia. Yet a monument in their honour at Brunswick Wharf (the little mermaid) first unveiled by the American Ambassador in 1928 and again in 1953, has been neglected. It is directly opposite the Millennium Dome project, and although Barretts who are building a housing complex there have offered to restore it but will they get it right? It must have access and facilities for the many visitors that are bound to come. The people planning the Millennium should look beyond Greenwich and across the river.
From Rick Tisdell. Re: Redpath Brown. I have managed to unearth some information from a file I discovered at my sister's house. I worked at Redpath's from 1960 to 1971 where I completed my apprenticeship as an Electrician in the Maintenance Department. My father worked at East Greenwich all his working life in the office where he was the purchasing officer. He was made redundant when British Steel closed the works in 1977. He died in 1979. My mother also worked in the office at Greenwich and it was there that she met and married my father. She was the daughter of Johnny Stewart who was for many years the Template Shop Foreman at the works. His brother also worked in the Drawing Office at Greenwich for a short time. My mother went on to work full time as Secretary to the Managing Director at Duncannon Street Head Office in the 1960s. Her great uncle was called Dan Taylor and he was either Foreman of the Roof Shop or General Foreman at around the time of the First World War.
BYGONE KENT is produced monthly by Meresborough Books of Rainham, Kent . It has published so much about Greenwich and its industries including this list of articles - which will be continued later on. Here are some of the articles on Greenwich industry which had appeared up to a couple of years ago.
Deptford: Former Royal Dockyard. By Philip MacDougal Vo1.2. No.11 Nov. 1981.
Whitebait in the Thames by Eric R..Swan. Vol.3. No.1.. April 1982
A Place of Great Dread by Susan King. VoI.3.No.6. June 1982.
The Princess Alice by Henry J. Green Vol 4. . April 1983.
Visit to Woolwich by Henry Green Vol 4. No.5. June 1983..
Eltham Park. The Story of a Station. By Jim Landergan. Vol 5. No.2. Feb 1984.
The Trans-Atlantic Telegraph Cables of 1865 and 1866, By Arthur Joyce Vol. 5. May 1984
The Royal Arsenal Woolwich. By P. Baigent Vol 5.No.9. Sept 1984
Shipbreaking at Woolwich by Philip Banbury Vol.5. No.9. Sept. 1984.
Housing for the Woolwich Arsenal Munitions Workers. By John Kennett. Vol 6. No. 12. Dec. 1985.
The Closure of Deptford and Woolwich Dockyards. Philip MacDougall. Vol. 7. No.4 . April 1986
Cable Manufacturing in Kent.. Pt.1 by Philip Banbury. Vol.7 No 7.July 1986
Cable Manufacturing in Kent Pt.2. by Philip Banbury. Vol 7. No.9. Sept. 1986.
The Remains of a Naval Base. By Philip MacDougall. Vol. 1 No.9. Sept 1986
The Southern Outfall Works. Crossness. By Robert Eastleigh. Vol. 1 No.11. Nov. 1986
Erith's Tuppeny Trams. Pt 1. By Robert Eastleigh Vo1.8. No. 1. Jan 1987.
The Bexley Urban District Tramways. Pt. 1. By Robert Eastleigh Vol. 9. No.1. Jan. 1988.
The Bexley Urban District Tramways. Pt. 2. By Robert Eastleigh Vol 9 No. 2. Feb 1988.
The Building of the Bostall Estate. Abbey Wood. By Rod LeGear. Vo1.9. N.3. March 1988
As the Crow flies. Milestones in Metropolitan Kent. By Bernard Brown Vol 9. No.3. March 1988
The Other Woolwich Ferry. By Robert Eastleigh. Vol.9. No 11.Nov. 1988
Launching a Barge. By Iris Bryce. Vol. 13. No.1. Jan 1992
The Maritime Duties of London's Bobbies. By Bernard Brown. Vo1.13. No.4. April 1992.
The Deptford Turnpike Road. By Bernard Brown. Vol 13. No.5 May 1992.
Parte of Kent. The Development of North Woolwich. By Bernard Brown. Vo1.14. No 1.Jan 1993
The Deptford Ferry. By Bernard Brown Vol l4. No.8 Aug 1993
The Thirty-nine Steps. By Bernard Brown. Vol.17. No.3. Jan 1996.
The Epic Story of the Effluent Vessels. Pt. 1. By Anthony Lane Vol.18.No.3. Aug. 1997
A Disaster in Blackheath Tunnel. By John Hilton. Vol. 18 No. 8 Aug 1997
The Epic Story of the Effluent Vessels. Pt.2. By Anthony Lane Vol. 18. No.9 Sept 1997
Chapter one - The Early Site
“That area of land roughly triangular in shape bounded by the railway embankment to the south west; Conington Road and Silk Mills Path to the east and the small bridge over the Ravensbourne to the south is one of the most historic sites in Lewisham. A Bronze Age axe head and bones, thought to be the jaw of a wolf, have been unearthed and the fragment of pottery and tiles found nearby suggest that it may have been a Roman site. Here was once once of the great fields of the Manor of Lewisham called Sundermead; corrupted in modem times to Sundry Meadow or Thundery Mead, and across the river was the field known as Loots, Locks or Lock Mead. From early times is has been associated with the tools and trappings of militarism and, therefore, whether intentionally or not, has been surrounded by an air of mystery. On this site, throughout the centuries, has stood a mill whose product encompassed the romance of chivalry, the heroism of warfare, the beauty of silk and the splendour of precious metal.
In the Domesday Survey of 1080- 1086, England's first ever public record; about 5,600 mills are listed. Eleven of these were in Lewisham, on the Ravensbourne, and one was on the site which, many centuries later, would be occupied by the Royal Armoury Mill and the Lewisham Silk MiIls.
The River Ravensbourne rises at Caesar's Well on Keston Common and after being joined at Catford by the Pool River and then by the Quaggy at Lewisham, it winds on until it reaches the Thames at Deptford Creek:, a total distance of nearly eleven miles.
The earliest mills on the Ravensbourne would have been somewhat primitive structures, built: around a timber frame, with walls of wattle and daub and a roof of thatch. One simple type of mill, known as the Greek mill, dates from about 85 B. C, and derived its power from a horizontal waterwheel which fixed to a vertical shaft, turned the mill stones
A second, more efficient type of mill was inspired by a Roman architect and engineer, Vitruvius in the latter part of the first century B.C. His mill had a vertical waterwheel; attached to a horizontal shaft and power was now transmuted via gearing. This was the type that became common in the Ravensbourne. Working parts were made from wood, and since iron was scarce and therefore expensive the bearings for the main drive shaft connected to the waterwheel would have been of stone prepared by a local stonemason. The lower section of the wheel was immersed in the stream and the force of water against the flat wooden paddles fixed at intervals around its circumference, caused it to rotate. Almost certainty, corn mills of this basic type would only have worked a single pair of millstones.
How to read on - in 1979 the Lewisham Local History Society published a 26 page A5 booklet written by two of its members and entitled 'The Lewisham Silk Mills. That booklet has been out of print for some years but now, following nineteen more years of meticulous research on the part of the authors we are proud re have been entrusted with the task of publication in association with GLIAS, of a greatly enlarged Second Edition. This new edition contains iv + 113 pages. With 21 illustrations in 9.5" x 6.5" (242 mm x 165 mm) format, burst bound in heavy gauge gloss laminated card cover with fold-in back.
Contents: - The early Site - The Royal Armoury Mill - Swords and Muskets – the Royal Small. Arms Factory - Robert Arnold Silk Thowster – the First Stantons - Gold and Silver Wyre dressing - The Second Stantons –into the twentieth century – workers at the Royal Small Arms Factory – Trades at the Mill – Mill Employees – Stanton Family Pedigree
The first interesting question, discussed by Mr. Burgess, was 'why a dedicated power station'? The answer is that electrical transport predated the general electricity supply system at a time when electrical supply was very locally based. The London County Council had been set up in 1889 and took over the horse drawn tramway companies. The Greenwich Power Station was designed by the LCC Architect's Department to supply the electric tram system and was opened in two stages in 1906 and 1910. An elegant rain water hopper dated' 1903 AD' is on the rear of the building. It is interesting to note that according the 'The Greenwich and Dartford Tramways” by Robert J. Hurley that a brand new electric tramway was opened from the King William the Fourth pub in Trafalgar Road to central London in 1904. Where did the power come from for that? At around the same time the underground and tube rail ways were being electrified (1st January 1905 for Baker Street to Uxbridge, 1st July 1905 the first stage of the Inner Circle). But Greenwich Power Station did not begin to supply the railway operations until 1933 when the LCC Tramways were absorbed into the London Transport Passenger Board. It was then planned to generate at Greenwich the power for the railway extensions in North East London and for the trolley buses which were to replace the trams in south and east Lon don. Greenwich supplied both systems until1961' when the trolley buses were scrapped. Linkages to Mile End and Mansell Street are identified on the control panels. Greenwich's main function today is to supplement the output of the Lots Road, Chelsea power station at times of peak demand and to provide a standby facility.
The original installation comprised a coal fired boiler house with four chimneys and an engine room housing four vertical horizontal compound reciprocating steam engines driving flywheel type alternators at 6,600 volts, 25 Hz. By 1910 the superiority of steam turbines had been realised and four steam turbine alternators were installed for phase two of the building programme. Coal was landed from colliers which came from North East England, onto the jetty and then to a large system of bunkers. The original reciprocating engines were replaced by steam turbines in 1922. The next major change came in the mid 1960s when the steam plant was replaced by gas turbine generators Rolls Royce 'Avon' engines similar to those used, in jet aircraft. Originally powered solely by gas oil the plant was later converted for dual fuel operation (oil, or natural gas -the latter is now the main source of power). Start up of the generators is powered by a large bank of batteries. Output from the generation is 11,000 volts and use of transformers boosts this, to 22,000.
The jetty is now no longer used. The relatively small quantity of oil used comes by road tanker and gas and oil do not generate the ash, which, when coal was used, was removed via the jetty. The building is of some architectural interest. The chimneys for Phase I were 250 feet high but, following objections from the Royal Observatory, those for Phase 2 were only 182 feet. A hand-out was provided with facts and figures, a simplified plant diagram and a site plan. Altogether a fascinating visit.
The Royal Arsenal Woolwich. Edited by Beverley Burford and Julian Watson.
Chapters are illustrated with Black and white photographs, drawings, maps and plans and there is a bibliography and an index.