LETTERS JULY 2002
From Jeremy Bacon
I have a steam car engine. The plate on it says Steamobile built 1962 by N.C. Gregory. I have been told that he was possibly Apprentice foreman/teacher at J.Stone & Co.(Deptford). Can you help at all?
From Pat O’Driscoll
In the May issue a letter from Paul Harcombe mentions some 'old maps’ at the Land Registry showing a building called the Magnetic Office close to the Rotunda, Woolwich. Unfortunately he does not give the dates of the maps.,
In 1844 the newly created Admiralty Compass Department acquired a house on Maryon Road, Charlton for testing compasses for the Royal Navy. It had a large garden in which a wooden observatory was built. The official address of the establishment was ‘The Compass Observatory, Woolwich’. In 1869 as the Royal Dockyard at Woolwich was closed, the Compass Department moved to Deptford Yard where they remained until 1917.
Could the Magnetic Office have any connection with the time when the Compass Department was at Charlton. I hoped to find an answer in ‘Steady as She Goes: A History of the Compass Department of the Admiralty' by A.E.Fanning., published in 1986 but could find no reference to the Magnetic Office in the area described by Mr. Harcombe. This is not to say that there was no connection. I think that this is a good place in which to begin further investigation.
From Nick Martin
I have just come across the above website and your email address. I wonder if you have any information on the following. I am trying to trace details of my great great grandfathers company "Martin & Co". It was started by Robert Martin with his two sons Alfred and Albert. Albert left it to his son Ernest, in 1932. They were manufacturers of Horse Hair clippers, later becoming hairdressers clippers, from about 1875 until at least 1927. Robert Martin lived at No 1, The Village, Old Charlton, Woolwich from 1881 until 1906 and with his sons, had several business addresses over the years, including:
1861 - 4 Upper Market Street, Woolwich
1873 - Old Charlton, Kent
1881 - 15 Rectory Place, Woolwich, Kent
1890 - Charles St, Plumstead, Kent (from Patents)
1891-1900 - 229 Burrage Road, Plumstead, Kent
1893 - North Kent Works, Charles Street, Plumstead, Kent (from Patents)
1910-1928 - 4 Nightingale Place, Woolwich Common, Woolwich (business address? - printed on hair clipper sales pamphlet and from patents)
1913 - Owned factory and adjacent land in Woolwich Dockyard. Owned freehold property, address 9, Gildersome Street, Woolwich (from Will)
From Bill Burns
My friend in Australia, Julian Holland, Curator of Scientific Instruments at the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney, is looking for material on S.H. Silver.
I was very interested to see from your website (which I have only just discovered )that someone from English Heritage recently gave a talk on the Mumford mill. My name is Peter J.G. Mumford and the mill was owned by my family . I was taken around the mill just before my family sold it in the early sixties when it was an empty shell having been stripped of its contents by Rank Hovis when their lease ended . I have many old photographs of the mill and indeed some original plans (I think) . I will have to dig. I lived in London for many years and often used to pass the mill but I hav'nt seen it for about fifteen years . I would be very interested in knowing what info you have about the mill, and indeed if you could advise me of the current ownership. I long to see inside it again and would very much like to show my sons what their grand parents and great grandparents and great great grandparents achieved . Does the mill now have a preservation on it.
From Bruce Peebles
I'm from Laverton in Western Australia. I recently acquired a set of old rigging and sail plans for the Cutty Sark but after many hours of close examination am unable to verify them as correct or to date them in any ways There appears to be no authors name or period on them. They do appear to be of some age due to the discolouring of the paper and hand drawn. Are you able to assist me in the dating and authentication of these plans.
From John Grieg
My cousin from the Hawaiian branch of the family has come up with some interesting papers that might be relevant to the oil milling trade at Griegs’ Wharf in Greenwich. Firstly, it is likely that there could have been considerable changes around 1903 - my great-grandfather was then in financial difficulties and might have had to make economies. Secondly, the estate in Trinidad was more diversified than just sugar cane, there was land under coconuts and also, certainly in later years, some was used for cocoa cultivation. The coconuts might account for the oil milling and you mentioned a fire in the cocoa store at the wharf in 1895. Thirdly, there was a connection with a line of steamers - this was probably the Trinidad Shipping and Trading Company Limited. However, this may only have run between Trinidad, New York and Glasgow.
In addition, I have been in touch with the oil milling trade association and they have put me in contact with three people with a knowledge of the history of the trade. One of them has said that most of the linseed came in from the Baltic rather than from other areas