Letters from August 1998
From Katie Jones. is there any mileage in investigating the history of the rather unprepossessing building at the corner of Deals Gateway on the Blackheath Road with a facade marked ‘Kentish Mercury’. this building looks in danger of being demolisjed as it stands against the developing DLR line through to Lewisham. there are several ‘to let’ signs on the building. Is this building well documented already?
From John Day. does anyone know anything about this quotation from Mechanics Magazine, Vol9, 1828 "Mr Perkins continues to prosecute his plans for the application of steam to warlike purposes. last week he had another day’s practice with his gun at the Limekilns, Greenwich.”
From F.G .Gilbert Bentley. although age 84 and in seriously ill health which prevents my attending meetings now, this does not in any way reduce my interests. I listened at midnight on December 31, 1922 to a faint crackling radio to hear the sound of Big Ben chiming in the New Year for the first time on radio – and listing to many ships hooting in the huge docks below and beyond. I did not know then but I would see them ablaze and blown apart in September 1940.
I went to the pictures in October 1940 in Woolwich and saw only half the film. it was 42 years before I saw the end of it because the cinema was hit. the Daily Mirror had a column on it. I was in Woolwich, Greenwich and Deptford throughout the Blitz and in a number of barracks when they were damaged.
My grandparents had a big laundry at Wilmington which served the area (James Bentley) and they had steam engines which I could go on about.
We have such a great affection, attachment and interest in the area. not least its communications- trams, buses, ferry, subways, etc. The area has so much to offer industrial history – docks, shipyards, Arsenal, Royal Obervsatory, Royal Academy, R.M. Repository, Rotimda, Palace, Royal Naval College, Royal Artillery, Grand Depot schools and endless small businesses.
The whole of English has at sometime congregated or passed by and through. thousands of thousands of ordinary people have contrinutrd something to thr tapestry by being there at the riht tme.
From Myles Dove, thank you for the contact information about the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, recently I was phoned by someone in Greenwich Council about the revised Sunday opemmg of the lifts which they are extending to 7 PM now until mid September 1998. he also mentioned Greemwich Conuncil’s proposal to put up to display material about the foot tunnel and other Riverside works in the lift lobbies as part of the Cuty Sark Gardens improvememts
From Philipp Binns . I was particularly interested in the article about Wood Wharf and the adjacent slipway and engine chamber associated with the great Greenwcn steam ferry. its potential as a conservation centre, dynamic historical museum and visitor facilitu sound very attractive
From Colin Thom, Assistant Editor, Survey of London. Peter Guillery recently pointed out to me the note asking for assistance for information on the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. I wrote the section on the history of the tunnel for the Survey of London, Vol. 43-44 on Poplar, Blackwall and the Isle of Dogs. also the reference notes on the volume can be consulted in the RCHME London office which may be of interest.
From Phillip McDougall, Naval Dockyard Society. we can certainly publicise anuthing you might have on Woolwich Arsenal, Deptford or Woolwich dockyard and the picture victusallimg yards, our newsletter incides requests for help about Sir John Cox, Edmund Dummer, George St.Loe and John Tippets. Coaling facilities at Naval ports, Infantry landing craft and penal establishments in the Andaman Islands. Information is also needed for a bibliography of books on civilian facilities for the Navy, and there are details on the society of Model Shipwrights which meets in Orpington.