Thursday, 19 January 2017

Notes and bits and pieces

Docklands History Group
This is about their conference on Thames River Crossingson 13th May at the Museum in Docklands. They are now taking bookings - look at their website

Speakers - as you will see the important papers are near the end

Gustav Milne – Crossing the Thames in prehistoric and Roman times.
John Scofield – Old London Bridge and the Pool of London
Hazel Forsyth– Frost Fairs
Chris Dodd – Thames Watermenwherries and ferries
Professor Jerry White – Some 18th century Thames crossings and the shape of London
Peter Cross-Rudkin – John Rennie’s Thames bridges
Chris Everett – Waterloo Bridge: 200 years in the London Physche
Mary Mills and Ian Blore – The story of the LCC tunnels 
Guy Taylor – The incredible disappearing bridge mystery


London Railway Record - article on Blackheath Station
The current edition (January 2017) includes a really wonderful article on Blackheath Station by Peter Kay -although we note thanks to Neil Rhind and that Neil read it and provided the pictures. The article is 11 pages long and I hardly know where to start reviewing it. Most of all I would recommend people to read it! What it doesn't mention is that here in Greenwich it is now the only local station which actually has trains going somewhere useful!


AND - while we are on the subject of Neil Rhind - many of us enjoyed his 80th birthday party at Blackheath Concert Halls on 17th January.  The cake was in the shape of Blackheath Tea Hut which Neil has been keen to demolish.


Planning and Demolitions
We note in the planning papers an application for the demolition of the VIP Trading Estate and VIP Industrial Estate in Anchor and Hope Lane.  This is a huge site at the end of  Anchor and Hope Lane and adjacent to the river. It is so big that it totally encloses and isolates hapless Atlas and Derrick Gardens. The plan is for flats and flats and flats (975) although it is presented with shops and cafes and the rest.  This is an area with numerous small businesses and a lot of people work there - and of course sites of historic interest.  We await more detail. Please submit!! The planning reference is 16/4008/F


Lenox Project
Posting from the Lenox Project urging us to be at the Evelyn Assembly on 21st January to vote for them - sorry, Lenox Project. Whatever the Evelyn Assembly is I am sure it won't want to see a vast congregation of Greenwich residents turning up - so - good luck and that, but I think that's a Lewisham local event.


Greenwich Historical Society have their pantomime on 25th January at James Wolfe School, Royal Hill, 7.15, curtain up 7.30. Free to GHS members - guests £5.   thanks Horatio


Last night - 18th - GLIAS - had as their lecture speaker James Hulme on Charlton - he is due  to speak to us, GIHS, on 13th June. The only review I have had so far of last nights event is 'truly wonderful'  - so, what did others think, and please come and hear him in June.

Still looking at all these Telcon newsletters - some small bits from 28 - 1957

Cable ships which visited Enderby  - C.S.Castillio Olmedo to load cable for the Spanish Government - CS Lasso to load cable for the Admiralty - CS Stanley Angwin to discharge cable from Cable and Wireless and load cable for the South American coast - CS Edward Wilshaw - to load cable for the Indian Ocean.

Staff Association - the speaker noted the 100th anniversary of the launch of Great Eastern - and spoke about the future for cables of all sorts with TV and business men all talking to each other round the world. He said that inter planetary travel would really open up the opportunity for cable sales.

Sports - among the football, cricket and boxing and the like is news of the Telcon Terribles the company's marbles team. They had had a big win in the British Marbles Championship and were awaiting the arrival of a US ship whose crew were keen to take them on.

Mumetal - one of the Greenwich works most important developments was Mumetal, widely used here, then, now and elsewhere, However an item in the newsletter talks about its use in water divining

all good stuff

Monday, 9 January 2017

Its quiet over Christmas

This is a posting with very little, if any, news and a lot of chit chat.


Don't forget our next meeting ......... which will feature ...

Stewart Ash speaking on Sir John Pender.  17th  7.30. at Age Exchange Old Bakehouse.
- all welcome - learn about how Greenwich changed the world

So -

Richard Buchanan has drawn our attention to an article in the current LAMAS Transactions (Vol.66 2015) This is about the proof house in the Tower of London. This is where the nation's gunpowder was tested Tudor period and earlier and this is an archaeological report, rather than a history (there is a difference).  I guess from the archaeologists point of view this is all good stuff - lots of digging up of post medieval bricks and the like.

Why are we interested in this here in Greenwich? As Richard pointed out 'The Proof House is the predecessor of the Magazine at what became Enderby Wharf''.  So - but - here is my problem with the article - it doesn't actually mention Greenwich.   The Greenwich Gunpowder Magazine dated from the 1690s - the site was first investigated as somewhere for it to be built in 1694.and it is thought this move was because the storage of gunpowder in the Tower was seen as dangerous. However the LAMAS article says that a proof house and charging house were built by the Ordinance Board at the Tower in 1682 and that they were replaced in 1709 with larger buildings. So what was going on??

We know that the Greenwich Magazine was used for proofing as well as for a store. Did the two run concurrently, or have we misunderstood the role of the works at Greenwich?  Isn't this something that should be discussed?  But there is no mention of Greenwich in the article - or indeed of Purfleet where the magazine was moved to in the 18th century.

Can anyone throw a bit of light on this??

 (Anthony Mackinder.. The Proof House and later works at Tower Wharf)

More - archaeology - thanks Elizabeth for a copy of an article in London Archaeologist (winter 2017),   'The Bronze Age landscape of the Greenwich Peninsula'.  

This is another article all about digging things up to look for far distant times.  Fair enough I suppose - if all you are interested in is several thousand years ago, and, bother what has been on the site since.  Illustrations in the article show 'Early Holocene surface around the Blackwall Lane site.... to the north on what is now the Greenwich Peninsula lay a network of channels interspersed with gravel islands'.

The article also draws heavily on the discovery of a Bronze Age trackway in Bellott Street (er - technically not on the Peninsula).  Some of the article also rests on archaeological reports which are not available to the likes of you and me.

As ever I have some problems with this sort of stuff, which seems to exist in a little cloud  of its own some distance from reality.

For instance - can we be told what the Thames was doing at this point??  I mean, I'm not good on prehistoric dates but I do know that  the Thames has moved about a bit over the years, I also guess there have been any number of dreadful tidal surges not to mention various shoals and things in the river (one only removed in the 19th).  How did they affect what they found?? How did all these little gravel islands change?  What relation to they have to what is there now??

The article is about the Bronze Age - but the questions I would like answered are about things which are more recent - it would be good to know who exactly we think first embanked the Peninsula??  Do the drainage channels you have identified then in any way match the late medieval drainage system?? Do we think there were other earlier man made drainage systems?? Why do you think there was managed farming and settlement there when in 1600 the Peninsula was almost all marshland held on short term leases for marsh based activies - wildfowling, osiers, etc?  Does usage and tenure not have a very very long back story.  What were all those bits and pieces I used to be shown by local workers who told me they were Roman and picked up on the Dome site (I didn't believe them particularly ....but.. you never know)

I think there are other issues - one is that it is a pity that the potentially interesting area at what was Bugsby's Causeway was built on with no investigation - were MOLA/Pre-Construct not aware of possibilities there??  and - you know there are more features on the Peninsula than the medieval tide mill
and - also - by the way - I can point you to an excellent description of monthly plant growth there from the 1620s onwards, would be useful for comparison??

Archaeologists will love this article and it is clearly an important paper - I want to say something positive about it, but I also want to know where it takes us.  How does it help us understand the world we find ourselves in??