Monday, 21 October 2019

The Woolwich Navy


This extract is taken from London Ship Types, by Frank C.Bowen published 1938 by the East Ham Echo

The units of the 'Woolwich Navy' which is maintained by the War Office with its headquarters at Woolwich Arsenal are among the very familiar sights of the River but most people know very little about them.   For one thing their flag is difficult to identify, a Blue Ensign, defaced by gold guns which is not included in most popular books on flags, and, for another thing although they are painted black with a buff funnel and a black top, they do not carry their names painted on their bows like ordinary merchant ships but man of war fashion in very small letters on the stern which are generally difficult to read.  As most of them are built on the lines of coasting cargoe steamers or motor vessels and are quite small the average Londoner who encounters them on the River is quite content to put them down as coasters and leave them at that, although really they deserve much more attention.

The War Office which in the old days controlled the Ordnance Department  which supplied guns and ammunition to the Navy as well as the Army has maintained a fleet sorts from time immemorial.  Not the only had guns and ammunition to be carried round the various forts and naval bases along the coast, but transport and storeships proceeding abroad had to be loaded at whatever port they were using as a base and on the London River itself a large fleet of sailing barges carried ammunition from the various factories to the arsenals, the magazine’s at such places as Purfleet and forts, rifle ranges and gunnery experimental stations in the lower reaches.  These barges, it may be mentioned, were among the best built on the River and several of them have been converted into first class cruising yachts.

In addition to this transporting work the War Office was for many years after the American Civil War had proved the potency of the submarine mine, in charge of all the mining defences of the country, for the Navy regarded the mine as an ungentlemanly weapon and would have nothing to do with it as long as possible.  The Royal Engineers therefore had charge of a larger number of submarine mining vessels of about 80 tuns displacement, each of which were stationed at various points along the coast and which periodically caused interest and considerable confusion by practising mining and counter mining in or alongside of commercial waterways.  It was not until the turn of the century that the Navy took seriously to mining and even so it was quite unprepared for the pitch of perfection which the German Navy had brought that arm to by 1914.

The War Department fleet has nothing to do with mining nowadays it is very busy on the transporting side.  Guns and ammunition from Woolwich Arsenal make the principle and most picturesque cargo and there are always two or three of the ships alongside the various piers and jetties on the riverfront.  Sometimes the run is only down to the gunnery stations on the Isle of Grain or at Shoeburyness; sometimes it may be round the posts which Britain still maintains in Southern Ireland, or to the coast defence fortifications anywhere round Britain.  The large variety of their duties which include the movement of stores, food and occasionally troops as well as amunition and the towing of targets for the gunnery practice of the coastal forts, necessitates a very wide range of types including dumb and motor barges,tugs and vessels very much akin to yachts. 

They are manned by an entirely separate service, the personnel generally being entered as boys and promoted through the various ranks of Ordinary Seaman, AB, Second Mate and Mate to Captain, whole below deck the grades are, Fireman, Leading Hand and Driver.  They wear a uniform of sorts and although the discipline is not be compared with either the Army or the Navy they are generally men of a very superior steady type who have a good job and who look after it well.  Pensions have only been introduced in a comparatively recent years for the officers

Of the many types which are including the fleet the steamer SIR EVEYLN WOOD - must of the vessels are named after famous generals or battles - must be taken as she has been well-known on the River for over 40 years.  She was built by Fleming and Ferguson of Paisley in 1896, a steel screw steamer on the laines of a superior coaster.   Her dimensions are 160 feet by 24 feet by 14 feet depth of hold and as a large part of her work was the csarriage of big guns she was given exceptionally heavy scantlings which perhaps accounts for her long life.  On trial as a new ship she averaged  a speed of ten knots and she still working at about nine which is a fine tribute to her original construction and the way she has been maintained by the Army.  During her long life she has carried every conceivable article that can be required by the troops , from ordinance to food and on many occasions she has also been used for transporting bodies of men over short distances

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Meeting on Tuesday

This is to remind you about the GIHS meeting on 15th at the Bakehouse.  You are going to have me, Mary Mills, talking about thw wider picture of Greenwich industry and how it could be turned into a  book.  I am afraid Mr. Waller who was advertised to give a talk this week pulled out and is now down for April.

Members will be aware that in the last couple fo weeks we have lost Sue Bullivant  - who was still our Chair although she had been ill for some time. and also our Treasurer Steve Daly who died very suddenly

We have now the dates of the funerals :
Steve Daly - is 17th October. 3.30 at Eltham Crematorium. Reception after at Shooters Hill Golf Club
Sue Bullivant - is 1st November 1.30 Plumstead Cemetery, Wickham Lane.  Reception after at Woodlands Farm

I am not sure who our members actually are because Steve had the membership lists and of those I do know I don't know some addresses - so please circulate this if you can. I hope however that we can hold a General Meeting in January to sort things out - and please think very carefully because Steve undertook a number of roles amd I and Andrew Bullivant can't do everything!

Sunday, 6 October 2019

The Siemens Brothers Works Bird’s Eye View Artist

The Siemens Brothers Works Bird’s Eye View Artist

By Stewart Ash

During the 1920s, a talented amateur artist, Edmund William Neale, who was a Siemens Brothers employee throughout his working life, created a series of exquisite line drawings, depicting the Siemens Brothers Works, seen from the air above the River Thames.  Though signed none of these drawings are dated but from the buildings in the drawings and other records we can be certain that they depict the Works in c. 1918-20, 1924-25 and June 1927. In addition, Neale also produced an impression of what the site may have looked like, when it was first acquired by theSiemens brothers,in 1863.It is almost certain that the originals of these wonderful drawings no longer exist, but they have been captured for posterity in high quality photographs and the pages of the company magazine.  So,what do we know about theman who produced these outstanding works of art?
Edmund was born on 16 May 1895, the youngest surviving child of George Thomas Neale (b.1871 and Mary Ann nėe King (b.1867).  They had married at St James’ in Woolwich on 13 March 1891 and their eldest daughter, Ann Martha (1891-1935), was born six months later, followed by a son Thomas (b.1894). In 1901, the Neales were living in Woolwich at 17 Nadine Street, with Mary Ann’s younger brother, Edmund King, and other members of her family, a household of ten in a two-up-two-down terraced house. George was working as a spice packer and Edmund King was a dock worker. 
Over the next few years Mary Ann had two more children, but they both died in infancy. In 1909, Edmund Neale left school and started work at the Siemens Brothers factory in Woolwich.  By 1911, the Neale family was living at 725 Woolwich Road, just a mile to the west of the Siemens Brothers factory.  George was the head of the household,  which then comprised the Neale family together with eleven-year-old Frederick Daly, a nephew, and 33-year-old James King as a boarder.  George was now going by his second name, Thomas, and was a General Labourer in the Spice Trade, while Ann Martha was a sewing machinist making shirts. Thomas was working as an office boy in a dockyard, and James was a chemical labourer at a paint manufacturer.  Edmund’s profession is given in the census as ‘Electrical Labourer’, working on ‘electrical batteries’.  It is possible that Edmund started on his first ‘Bird’s Eye View; of the Works during the First World War.  Whether or not he was commissioned by the company to do it, is unknown.  Photographs of this drawing can be found in Siemens Brothers presentation photo albums that show scenes from the factory in the 1920’s

Edmund’s older brother, Thomas, died in 1920 and Edmund married Mary Ann McCarthy, in April 1922; there was one child from the union, Kathleen, born in January 1926, but she appears to have died young. 
The next version of Edmunds Bird’s Eye View appears as part of the banner headline to the First edition of the company magazine in June 1925.  By then factory buildings had been erected,to the west of Hardens Manorway.  The Siemens Brothers Magazine was published between June 1925 and the company centenary in 1958. For the majority of that time this banner was used.

Banner of the First Siemens Brothers Magazine
Edmund probably also created the line drawing of Faraday (2) in the banner.  She replaced Faraday (1) in 1924 and can be seen at anchor at the Works in the full version of this drawing, dating the drawing to c. 1924-25.  Copies of this exist as high-quality photos and were used as small souvenir albums sold or presented by the company.

 E Neal Drawing with Faraday (2)c.1924-25

From January to June 1927, the Siemens Brothers Magazine ran a series of six articles entitled ‘An Outline of the Company History’ and, in the February edition, Edmund’s impression of what the site may have looked like in 1863 appeared.

The Original Siemens Brothers Site in 1863, by E Neale c 1927
An extract from the article states
‘From information supplied by some of the veterans among our colleagues, who still remember the old days quite vividly, Mr. Neale has been able to produce the accompanying sketch.’ We may almost regard Mr. Neale as official recorder of bird’s eye views of the works.’
In the final article in this series, the last known version of Edmund’s drawing appears with the caption ‘The Works Present Day’.

The Siemens Brothers Works by E Neale June 1927

Tragically, Edmund’s wife died in April 1929. and on 13 October 1935, his sister, Ann Martha, passed away.  In the 1937 electoral roll, Edmund is found living at 516 Woolwich Road, with his mother and father.  This was a large detached house about half a mile to the west of the Siemens Brothers works, in which rooms were rented to Siemens Brothers employees. Edmund’s mother died two years later, in April 1938. 

In the 1939 Register, taken on 29 September, Edmund and his father are still living at 516 Woolwich Road, and George is stated as being a ‘Stoker retired’ while Edmund is given as a ‘Cable Worker’.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the River Thames at 24 Winifred Street in North Woolwich lived 38-year-old Jessie Bramley.  Her profession was given as ‘Assistant Cook’ and she gave her marital status as married.

Jessie was born on 6 February 1901 at 27 Corinthian Road, West Street in Erith, Kent, on 20 January 1901 and baptised Jessie Victoria Low. Her father was Frederick George Low, a general labourer and coal porter. Her mother, Annie, had had 9 children by 1911, two of whom died young. It appears that Jessie’s father did not hold down a regular job and the family moved from one rented accommodation to another.  This can be seen through the birthplaces of their children in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. 1892: Rainham, Essex; 1896: Canning Town; 1900: Erith, Kent, before they moved in 1910 to 56 Claremont Street, North Woolwich.

In October 1921, Jessie married Thomas Bramley. Thomas was born in Bethnal Green in 1897, the only son of Thomas Bramley, a Blacksmith Wheelwright, and his wife, Elizabeth.  Thomas Junior left school at the age of 14 to work as a Van Boy. There were two children from this marriage, Enos Frederick, born July 1922 and Olive Matilda, born October 1924.  From then on, Jessie’s life can be followed through the Electoral Rolls. In 1929, the couple lived at 164 Elizabeth Street in North Woolwich.  However, from 1930 until at least 1934 she was residing at that address, without her husband.  In 1937, Jessie was at 24 Winifred Street, North Woolwich, again without Thomas.  Living next door, at No. 26, was a Lionel Neale and his wife, Julia.  In the 1939 Register, Lionel Neale’s profession is given ‘Cable Maker – Lead Coverer’.  Whether or not he was related to Edmund, or worked for Siemens Brothers, is unknown, but both seem possible.

During the war years there are no records of Edmund or Jessie; however, her daughter, Olive, married Ronald James O’Donnell in Portsmouth in October 1941.  Ronald was in the Royal Navy and it is probable that Olive was evacuated to Portsmouth, as they lived close to the docks in North Woolwich. Jessie’s son, Enos, joined the RAF and, as a Flight Sergeant, he died in Valetta Southern Harbour on 9 July 1943.  He is buried there.

After the war, Jessie and Edmund’s stories come together and they can again be followed through the Electoral Rolls.  In 1945, Jessie, her daughter Olive O’Donnell, and George and Edmund Neale were all at 516 Woolwich Road.  They were joined at that address by Ronald in 1947, after his discharge from the Royal Navy.  It does not appear that Olive and Ronald had any children. 

Edmund’s father, George, died in March 1949 aged 77, and was buried in Greenwich Cemetery on 29 March 1949. From 1950 to 1951, Edmund, Jessie, Olive and Ronald continued to live at 516 Woolwich Road.  On 22 March 1952, Jessie, then aged 51, married Edmund, aged 55, at Greenwich Registry Office. Jessie’s marital ‘Condition’ was given as ‘Formerly the wife of Thomas Bramley from whom she obtained a Divorce’.  They gave their professions as ’Electrical Solderer’ and ‘Machine Cable Hand (Electrical)’, respectively, almost certainly both working at Siemens Brothers.

From 1952 to 1958, mother and daughter with their husbands lived at 516 Woolwich Road then in 1959, they moved to 134 Admaston Road, Plumstead.  In 1960, Edmund would have been 65 and Jessie 60, so they probably both retired that year and would have had to give up their rooms in 516 Woolwich Road.

Edmund died intestate on 24 October 1966 and was cremated at Greenwich Crematorium on 4 November.  Olive died in January 1979; once again there is no record of a will or probate. Jessie outlived her daughter and died in May 1990, again without leaving a will. Ronald died in February 1997, and once again there is no will or probate registered for him.

If anyone can add any further information about the life of this exceptional amateur artists or can provide a photograph of him and Jessie it would be most appreciated.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Bad News

Bad News

People may also have heard of the deaths over the past 10 days of Sue Bullivant (who was still our Chair - despite her long illness) and Steve Daly (our Treasurer). 

and also

there are more notes on the GIHS Facebook page

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Belated news - but anyway its summer

I have been very trmiss not sending some of this off earlier,.   I ought to send it out on the day it comes in! Hwever here is the digest of what has been in the post recently -  keep on to the end there is some important stuff there

Woolwich Antiquarians Newsetter

They note the following dates
9th November Andy Brockman on The Conflict Archaeology of Woolwich. 2 pm Charlton House
4 September.  Richard Buchanan  on Street Furniture. Orpington and District Archaeological Society, Christ Church to Tudor Way, Petts Wood 8 pm
14th September. Charlton Society 50 years. 2 pm Charlton House

Among other items the Newsletter notes use of the Tram Shed in Woolwich. The point out that it was built as an electricity substation using mains driven motors directly coupled to generators to provide the DC supply needed by the trams.

Shrewsbury House. There are concerns about a World War II building converted for use as a house known as Green Garth.  The Community Centre is keen to use  this building since it is designed in bomb resistant reinforced concrete and is thus sound proofed. It also has a good hall for art displays.  They are hoping to get heritage funding.

They also report on the current state of the Avery Hill Winter Garden  which belong to Greenwich  University who would like to sell. Apparently an understanding has been reached with the council

Cruise liner Terminal site - they report that Morgan Stanley have sold the land to Criterion Capital

There is an article about a suite of Astragraphic telescopes - meaning that modern digital is used to generate viewable output. It is to be named after Annie Maunder who was called 'a computer' when she worked there in the 1890s. Some details are given of her life.

Lewisham Local History Society Newsletter

They lead with a obituary to Diana Rimmel whose death we reported earlier in this blog. It includes tributes from Julian Watson and John King

They give some information about Frederick Lanchester who designed the heavy bomber ansd who was apparently born in Lewisham.

In answer to a query they mention the Whitbread bottling plant which was on what is now the Tesco site and the only remaining building there called Eagle House. The Anchor Brewery occupied the site from 1818 and in 1870 built Eagle House but it was bought by Whitbreads in 1984

They advertise meetings
27 September. Women’s Suffrage Movement in Lewisham and working-class campaigners with Jill Mountford
25th October. Lewishams' listed theatre at Catford Broadway by Carmel O’Connor
29th November Leaves from Literary Lewisham by Malcolm Bacchus
They don’t say where the meetings are but I guess they are at the Methodist Church at Albion Road at 7:30

GLIAS Newsletter

They advertise meetings and walks
7th September Camden housing led by John Goodier
5th October City Geology led by Alan Wheeler
email to book

They hope that newsletters during this year which is their anniversary year will be themed:
in October people asked to contribute about GLIAS  coach trips; in December about the GLIAS Recording Group in February walks and conferences

An article on Greenwich and Woolwich ferries includes the new ferry vessels from Poland which are currently being an embarrassment on the old Woolwich ferry route. It also gives some details of the Greenwich steam ferry which operated in the 1880s at what was later known as Wood Wharf.


This has an article by Pieter Van der Merwe on the Tudor and earlier jetty remains found on the foreshore off the Five Foot Walk in Greenwich and exposed by the  emergency repairs to the river wall . He also mentions the Friars Wharf in the same area.


This includes some interesting information about Woolwich and Greenwich in a packed newsletter. It is by John Laxton who I remember well as having done and very noticeable dissertation on Woolwich Labour Party in the 1970s. This article talks about the growth of the Party in Woolwich and saysntht by 1901 the Liberal Association there had ceased to function. A Progressive Association was formed and the Woolwich Trades Council said that the Parliamentary  Candidate had to get a pledge to join the Independently Labour Party members in Parliament. Will Crooks was chosen and fought a by-election in 1903 as the Labour candidate winning with a majority of over 3000. John points out the strength of local trade uniona and that the engineers in Woolwich had 2000 members. The Labour Representation Committee formed in Woolwich was organised it what was to hecome the universal pattern for constituency Labour parties.


We have had a letter to the Planning Department of the council about the site allocations consultation and local plan preferred approach. Hopefully local groups will read the huge amount of material sent out on this and keep us in touch with their views on all those old industrial sites.  Info on the Council web site under 'Consultations'.


Monday, 8 July 2019

This and that and Plumstead Station

There is a petition out on Plumstead Station:
“Network Rail South East: Save Our Station (History) - Plumstead - Sign the Petition!  via @UKChange

The background to this is explained on the Facebook Plumstead People page
and this has been copied at the bottom of this posting.  So - see below.


Meanwhile - What else has come in?

A number of people have pointed out to us  information from the the pan European heritage organisation, EuropaNostra, with reference to their endangered sites programme and the possibility of referring our poor gas holder to it. It's probably much too late to save the gas holder now -  although we are still hoping that some elements from can be kept.  However, I am putting below are some details from Europe Nostra web site.

"Call for Nominations - the 7 Most Endangered 2020 - Deadline extended to 1st August 2019. Most Endangered Programme: Apply Now 

"If you know of an important heritage site in Europe that is endangered – such as a historic monument or archaeological site, a place of worship, an industrial complex, a historic park, a museum or a movable heritage asset – why not nominate it for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2020?  
The Most Endangered programme identifies threatened monuments and sites in Europe and mobilises public and private partners - on a local, national and European level - to find a viable future for those sites. It is not a funding programme. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action.  
Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage network, runs this programme in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute and with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.  You can nominate a heritage site with the support of an organisation in your country that is a member of Europa Nostra or directly by joining our pan-European network of member and associate organisations.  
The 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe for 2020 will be announced in March 2020.  It is only with your help that we can save our shared heritage treasures! Submit your nomination by 1 August 2019 (deadline extended).

EUROPA NOSTRA The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe  |  La Voix du patrimoine culturel en Europe. Headquarters Lange Voorhout 35, 2514 EC The Hague, The Netherlands | +31 70 302 40 50 | . With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union"

And better get in fast before Boris junks any chance we get of being part of the programme 


London Railway Record. The July 2019 number has a colour feature on  Woolwich Line signal boxes. These are pictures taken in the 1960s by Terry Tracy and covers boxes from Woolwich Arsenal to Slade Green. 
It begins with Woolcwich Station signal box which dated from 1906 and continues with Abbey Wood, Belvedere  Crabtree Crossing, Erith, North End and Slade Green.  The photographs are interesting and with each one are details of the box, its purpose and its eventual fate.


Links is produced by the Newcomen Sciety and the cover of the June 2019 issue features a porcelain pot with a picture of our East Greenwich gas holder reproduced on it.  Inside an article describes how all techniques from the past have been used up by  potters is today and cites the work of Raewyn Harrisom who has produced these pots showing the East Greenwich Gas holder.  Hopefully we can get in touch with Raewyn  and find out more about her work and why she picked the holder as a decorative item


Appleby Engineers

Appleby were a major engineering firm based on the Greenwich Peninsula and elsewhere in the late 19th century.  We have had speakers at GIHS on Appleby ands a short article about them in the Greenwich Society Newsletter last year led to a great deal of interest from local people. Research on Appleby has been undertaken by  John Steeds and he ill has been in touch with us recently about some questions from the Museum at Goulburn in Australia where some Appleby engines are preserved, He has sent us the following information which he has sent to  hem

"One of the questions you asked me was where the castings for the Goulburn beam pump were manufactured. Whilst I cannot be certain, I now think that there is a very good chance that they came from the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Company in Derby.  This was also known as the Union Foundry. I have recently discovered that Charles James Appleby was a director of A.S.Haslam and Co. in Derby.

I had thought that I had found details of all of the various Appleby works, in both Leicester and London.  Because of a couple of references I had long suspected that there may also have been another works in Derby, but despite a lot of hunting, and various other experts telling me that I was mistaken, I had rather given up the hunt.   However, I have recently found an article telling me that Charles Appleby was made one of the six directors of the newly re-formed Engineering    and Ironfounding  business of “A.S.Haslam and Co” working at the Union Foundry in Derby.

On 13 Dec 1876 Alfred Searle Haslam resurrected his old company, as a new company, and was joined by 5 new directors. In addition to A.S. Haslam,and C.J.Appleby the other new directors were Edmund A Pontiflex, John Barton and William Henry Ashwell – all clearly Engineers of some distinction, as I have been able to find details of their various careers and Joseph Jessop who had connection with Appleby Brothers.   Initially Haslam’s specialised in heavy and hydraulic machinery but then came ship refrigeration.   Appleby Brothers intention was to send as much of their heavy work as possible to Derby - and I guess that this probably included the castings for the Goulburn Beam Pump. Also, the 1882 date of the pump is relatively soon after the date that the Applebys became involved in the Derby Works.

Mr Alfred Haslam became very successful in the production of refrigeration for ships for the movement of meat from the other side of the world. This he patented in the early 1880’s and he monopolised the industry until the mid 1890’s. In addition to refrigeration of ships he supplied refrigeration to docks, hospitals and hotels. He was so successful that he was knighted by Queen Victoria and became Mayor of Derby.

I am still trying to find more information about the Derby production.  As a part of your researches, have you found any reference to the Haslam Union Foundry?

and John has asked us: "I would really like to find out how long Charles James Appleby and Joseph Jessop remained Directors of A.S.Haslam and Co.   Do you know of any directories etc. where this information may be found?"


Here is the detail for the Plumstead station petition

Save Our Station History! Network Rail are mandated to provide accessibility to all train stations; this is a good thing! Destroying local history and ignoring the local community is not! I am petitioning Network Rail to reconsider their plans, re-visit the very attractive alternative proposals suggested last year (from Positive Plumstead Project - and respect Plumstead. 

Step Free Access for all London Stations, especially Plumstead (SE18) is welcome however not at any cost. Network Rail proposes installing an “off the peg” footbridge and lift shafts, directly from the station building. which will mean demolishing the historic bridge and replacing it with a massive modern box structure. It should be noted, that the station was built in 1859, not just to cater for the area’s rapidly expanding population and Royal Arsenal workforce, but so that materials could be transported to and from the Arsenal via the famous “Hole in the Wall”. Evidence of this use still remains at the station. Its importance to the history of the Arsenal should not be underestimated. Furthermore, the Greenwich Line was the first in London. The only original stations surviving are Greenwich, Westcombe Park and Plumstead – presenting three different styles.

During the Area Planning Meeting Network Rail refused to consider the following points; 1) The current layout presents pinch-points, which are problematic at busy times. Network Rail’s plans will exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project would create two ways to enter/exit the platforms. Indeed, this will be of particular  benefit to people living in Glyndon, for instance.)

Network Rail’s plan will mean the demolition of the 1892 iron lattice footbridge, the removal and replacement of the attractive brick steps, also dating from 1892, damage to the attractive 1892 section of the building, removal of part of an 1892 canopy and removal of a crenellated section of the original 1859 station. The crenellations (repeated over the Sam’s Coffee sign) are mirrored on nearby buildings, creating (in heritage lingo) group value and a sense of place. 
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project would mean that all of the original features, of this charming Victorian Station, will be retained.) 

Network Rail intends to install an unsightly, “off the peg” footbridge close to Plumstead Bridge, at a height that will blight an area earmarked for a “makeover”. Indeed, the Area Planning Committee gave this very reason for its previous refusal. Network Rail has notably failed to address this issue by sticking to its original designs.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project proposal would move the bridge further along the track, westwards, so that the station can continue to tie together the Victorian elements of local architecture, rather than the eye being drawn to the current proposal.)

Concerns have been raised around fear of crime and anti-social behaviour in relation to enclosed bridges and covered stairs, citing experiences of the new footbridge at Church Manor Way as an example.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project suggest ideally the bridge be made of glass, which is less obtrusive and less likely to attract crime and anti-social behaviour than one that is mostly opaque.)

The station will have to be closed, for some considerable period, for the works proposed by Network Rail, to be carried out.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project mean extended closure will be unnecessary.)

The Network Rail plans, by their admission, are the more expensive. 
(So £££ cannot be sued as an excuse to dismiss this.)

Network Rail proposal  received absolutely zero formal submissions of support. 83 people, however objected.
(So local support cannot be cited as a reason to go ahead.)

Network Rail coerced the Area Planning Committee into accepting its lazy, one size fits all proposal, by using emotional blackmail, ignoring requests and reneging on an arrangement for a site visit to explore alternative ideas. Previously, Network Rail endeavoured to protect attractive stations, by locating such additions separately, albeit that these tended to be in more affluent areas. Under the Access for All programme, however, they are applying a one size fits all approach. 

Network Rail is relying on a very old law (dating back, even, to before the creation of the station itself) which means that it can build and demolish whatever it likes within and close to its property. Which means ignoring local community voices.

Recently in Charlton SE7 Network Rail, due to local public pressure, were made to change their minds in shutting an important access crossing, please sign and hare this to get them to change their minds and Save Our Station (History!)*