Letters September 2000
From Dept. Culture, Media and Sport
Lovells Wharf Cranes
Two Cranes on Lovell’s Wharf. As you know a request was made for these two cranes to be listed. English Heritage has advised that the cranes would be more suitable for consideration for scheduling under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. Monuments to be scheduled are being considered in the context of the Monuments Protection Programme - but the MPP has not yet reviewed commercial dockyards and transportation systems.
In the absence of a national overview it is difficult to argue that these modern structures in isolation can be considered to be of national importance and thus merit scheduling. I am sorry to send you a disappointing reply but hope you will be assured that the case for scheduling will be considered in due course.
From David Eve, English Heritage
Sites and Monuments Record in Greenwich
I seem to remember talk of a GIHS database. Did you make any progress on that? I would be very keen to have sight of any records you might have as we really need to add on a full set of basic records to the central Sites and Monuments Record. At the moment we have just 169 Industrial Archaeology records for Greenwich and I’m pretty sure most of them are Listed Naval (rather than commercial) buildings and stuff from the Thames Foreshore Survey. The latter mostly consists of bits of timber that may have been bits of a boat or a slipway.
I have made copies of the 1916 OS 23” map series. The mapped area covers Deptford Creek and the waterfront towards Surrey Docks as well as Greenwich/Woolwich proper and much of the hinterland areas of Plumstead, Eltham, etc. It would be an immense help if sites could be noted on the maps. We are only really looking, at this stage. for an index - what was there, when and where it was - and what you and your colleagues will know about but we are also interested in industries that were founded on the same site later as well as those which preceded 1916.
From Ian McKay
Siemens Factory in Dalston
I have read with interest "Setting Up Siemens' Industrial Museum in Woolwich" by Iain Lovell in your newsletter. I am researching the Siemens Factory at Tyssen Street, Dalston, E8 for a book due for publication in 2001. If in any way anyone knows of any connection with the business carried out at the Siemens factory in Woolwich and the factory in Dalston I would be exceedingly grateful if you could let me know. Although your work in GIHS has done much to publicise the Siemens role in Greenwich's industrial history, sadly there is (or seems to be) very little information available regarding the Dalston operation.
From Judith Parr
I am researching my family history and believe that my grandfather may have worked for Lovibonds. Any information and help you can give me would be great. I know that they were taken over by Courage in 1969 and that Greenwich Local History society holds files of the company. I am unsure where in Greenwich they had their brewery? My grandfather drove Drays.
From Niclas Dahlvang
Perkins Steam Gun
Hi, I am studying history at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, USA. I was wondering if you could help me find a picture of the Perkins Steam Gun . My history professor wanted to have more information about it than just the name, so we did appreciate finding your page--it was the most useful of any search results I found.
From Bill Firth
Great Globe at Swanage
Is there proof positive that the Great Globe was made in Greenwich for shipment to Swanage? The reason I ask is that I have just come across a probably not very reliable mention of it being made in Swanage for erection in London and then never shipped there! The thought does occur to me that shipping stone to Greenwich, making the globe and shipping it back to Swanage involves double movement of stone. However ships returning to Swanage would need ballast and the globe would provide it. It's all very intriguing
From Julie Tadman
Bracegirdle - Greenwich fisherman
I have been having some success with my researches into my great grandfather, Captain Frederick Bracegirdle. I recently found him as chief officer on board the "Star of England", which arrived in Moreton Bay on the 11th June 1866 with four hundred and fifty immigrants and fifty crew. The "Star of England" left London on March 8th 1866, which begs me to ask the question - which wharf and area would they have departed from?
It is interesting to realise how the fishing industry changed from the early 1800's to the 1850's and 1860's with the introduction of the railways and fast transport from the coast. I do not know enough about it at that time to say with certainty that it vanished from the area, but I suspect that I am correct in assuming that any fishermen of the area who did not move to the coast would have found his trade slowly dying.
The effect on the fishing industry in the 1850's and 1860's, as I see it was a huge increase in fresh fish consumption (with chips!) and no doubt a cheaper product as well. There must have been changes in the type of fish product, with less salted fish being consumed, perhaps one should not assume this as fact although I would be interested to know if this was so. And if prices did change for particular fish products.
From Linda Dobinson
My friend and I live on the Isle of Dogs and use the Tunnel a lot and this has set us to asking questions about it. How was it kept clean if it was used by horse and cart - it must have smelt terrible? And how was it built. Nowadays we have lots of sophisticated equipment and in those days they only had horse power - or was there some sort of steam equipment?
From Frank Lockhart
Roof of the Dome of Discovery
We are fairly certain that some of the roof sections of the Dome of Discovery from the South Bank Exhibition went to Kidbrooke School. The original dome was 365 feet in diameter but the school hall is somewhat smaller. As you rightly say, the school was new in 1952. Both before and after the Festival there was outrage that raw building materials and skilled labour were, what was seen as wasted on the Festival. In an effort to reduce the possible political backlash, as much of these materials were re-used on public buildings. The main difference today is the covering. Originally it was skinned with aluminium sheeting. This, as a valuable commodity was all re-used in other projects.
An associate of mine, also very keen on local history, went to Kidbrooke School from new and still lives in the area.
From Anita Higginson
Francis Street, Woolwich.
During the 1950's the houses, which I think were mainly local authority accommodation, were pulled down, and the residents re-housed. I would be interested to hear from any body who lived there before the demolition, and would like to know where these people were re-housed. Thanks.
From Carrie Hawkins
British Empire Medal at the Arsenal
Can you tell me where I could find information on a person who received a British Empire Medal for Arsenal workers? My great-grandfather, William Henry Pym, who lived at 22A Fairthorn Avenue, Charlton, England, received one at age 71.
From Michael Stretton
Jabez West is my Great, Great, Great-Grandfather. He was a champion in the Temperance Movement and a granite drinking fountain was erected in his honour in Southwark Park, London. He was involved in the Temperance Movement in Station Road, Bermondsey from 1875. As far as I know his father was William West from Princes Risborough, in the county of Buckinghamshire. He was a blacksmith and a strong politician who lived on Duke Street.
From Frances Poole
I came across your newsletter on the web and am wondering whether anyone can help me. My great-grandfather was Frederick Gedlich, who I understand was a military tailor at Woolwich Arsenal. I do not know when Frederick came from Germany, or why.
From A. Ward
Cubow shipbuilders: Can you help us? We are trying to trace photographs of ships. We carried out the Electrical design and installation at Cubow Shipbuilders. The ships we are interested were built between 1972 to 1982. I believe in 1972 the Yard was called Fairmile Marine but I may be wrong. I do not know the Ships names but I do have a list of Yard numbers. Will you be able to help or point me in the right direction ?
From Stephen Hinds
Hi. My grandfather or possibly his father was apparently a cablemaker in Woolwich in the latter part of the 1800's. Is there any way that I can find out what businesses there were and how to get hold of their archives such as a list of employees?
From Richard Haughey
Thames Ironworks road vehicles
Hi there. Just came across your very interesting web site and was just wondering if you have any information on Thames Ironworks? I started doing some research on this company a few years ago but for various reasons did not carry on with it. I have a number of photographs of the vehicle which were made by the Thames Ironworks and can point you in the direction of the negs
From Laurie Carpenter
Stones of Deptford
I ran across the Greenwich Industrial History Society web page while doing a search for Deptford,Kent. In your online journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, June 1998, was the following reference:
12th January 1999 STONES OF DEPTFORD by Peter Gurnett. I am unsure of the meaning of "Stones" in this title. I wondered if you would know. "Stones" meaning rock or "Stones" meaning family surname? I'm asking this because this is the family line I am researching, and I have only recently learned of the family Stone being in Deptford in early 1600s.
From Norman Bishop
Barbara Ludlow, the researcher and lecturer, had a very interesting article "Fishermen of Greenwich" published in the June 1993 issue of the Woolwich & District FHS magazine; this has much more detail about the fishing community of Greenwich. We were both at scho ol together before the war, at Invicta Road junior school, Blackheath (near the Standard); unfortunately it was completely destroyed by a parachute mine.
One of my seafaring Bishops, Robert Reuben Bishop, was an apprentice seaman aboard the SAMUEL ENDERBY sometime during 1846 - 1850.