Letters from March 2000
From Mrs. Bates
I am enclosing two pictures of instances which stick in my memory of visits to the Gas Works when we were children. One is a photo of an Armistice Day occasion. My father, whose title was Mechanical Superintendent, was at Ordnance Wharf from about 1927 to about the outbreak of WW2, when he went to work at Vauxhall Gas Works. Before he became land based he spent a few years on the coastal run between Greenwich and the North East (Tyneside) bringing coal for the Gas works. Before that he had been in the Merchant Navy travelling all over the world.
The other photo is of the damage done to the wharves in the floods and storms of 1938. There was a lot of damage done down the river at this time.
From John West
Referring to the query form Mark Smith regarding Wiedhofft, the New Cross photographer: Frederick Wiedhofft had a studio at 338 New Cross Road (near Deptford Town Hall) from 1897-1914. He also had branches at Holland Park, Highgate and Forest Gate.
Information about other Lewisham and Greenwich Photographers can be found in my ‘The Studio Photographers of Lewisham and Greenwich 1854-1939’ (1995). This work covers all the districts that now comprise the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich, copies which can be seen at Lewisham Local Studies Centre and Greenwich Local History Library.
From Dennis Gubb
I do hope you do not consider this as junk mail! I am trying to trace my history and have reason to believe my great Grandfather had a brickyard/kiln somewhere in Woolwich. His name was Henry Grubb.On my grandmother’s side it seems her father Henry Farr, was killed at the Arsenal in a train accident. I would appreciate if you were able to shed some light on these facts.
From Roger Backhouse
I came across the magazine of Thames Ironworks in Stratford's local history library. A strange mixture but lots on various engineering projects undertaken including a railway footbridge at Ilford, dockworks at Vladivostock and the building of the Fuji for the Japanese Navy. I have read that Thames Ironworks once produced cars but I can't trace any details. Also I have seen a reference to a "Silvertown" electric car pre 1914 and wondered if that was built in Newham. (Walter Hancock's pioneer steam carriages were built in Stratford - 175 anniversary coming up but no interest yet from the local museum people.)
The magazine justifies the 8 hour day and rails against a northern cartel rigging the market for naval vessels. Also gives details of the "Good Fellowship" scheme , a form of bonus distribution based on reduction from estimated costs. And information about the Cycling Club, operatic Society
From Graeme Petit
I found your web pages purely by chance, whilst looking for Angerstein's wharf railway photographs, it led me to an article on John Penn and Sons, by Peter Trigg, and I spotted a potential namesake - Francis Pettit Smith - The Pettits were mill operators before this time (1700's/1800's), and were involved in wind and water mill manufacturer at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk at some stage. Some of their products ended up going south - I wonder if there is a connection?
Also, I'm looking for articles on New Cross (Gate)
From Julie Tadman
I have just found your site on the net, and read with a great deal of interest all that is on it about the area. Really fascinating stuff, and congratulations for the quality of all the information. My great grandfather was an apprentice on the "Samuel Enderby" on its voyage to the Auckland Islands from August 2nd 1849 and return April 1852. His family lived in the area, with various family members leaving England and emigrating. His father is buried in Shooters Hill cemetery. Could you advise where to go for some information on the voyage of the "Samuel Enderby"? I have his
applications and copy of certificates for Second and First Mate and Captain from the (Australian) NMM, excellent and invaluable information which poses as many questions as it gives answers. I would also like to gain an appreciation of the life and times in the Greenwich, Deptford areas over the early nineteenth century.