Monday, 4 November 2019

Locomotive Woolwich


In our last issue we reported on efforts to get the Locomotive ‘Woolwich’ returned to its native town.  Jack Vaughan reports further....

‘Readers may recall that we set out in an ambitious attempt to bring the locomotive ‘Woolwich’ home to its rightful place in the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.  At that time the Bicton Gardens Railway, which consisted in the main of ex-Arsenal components and rails, had been put up for auction.  Of course, several locals were interested ....

The following organisations were contacted, some by letter, some by legwork.  The following catalogue of indifference demonstrates an old story once again
Greenwich Borough Council - Letter to the leader. No acknowledgement or reply.
English Partnerships - Owners of the site.  Refused to have anything to do with the idea.
The Royal Artillery Museum Project, Woolwich Arsenal. No reply.  On the grapevine they said they would approve, but they made no offer of any help.
English Heritage. Replied to our letter but the writer said the letter would be passed on to another official, who would reply. It didn’t happen.
The Heritage Lottery Fund ( a trip to Chelsea). They listened patiently and explained that the fund did not deal with individuals or Societies, and that in this case application for grants would have to come from the site owners, eg. English Partnerships. In any case I perceived that action would be painfully slow (my interpretation). The system was up for auction and could disappear at any moment.

So this was obviously the wrong track.

But, discouraging as it is - all is not gloom. 
The system has been sold to Waltham Abbey Powder Mills.  This was one of the five original Royal Ordnance Factories.  The others were:- Small Arms Factory, Enfield, Royal Laboratories, Royal Gun Factory, Royal Carriage Deptford.  The last three were all within what became the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich in 1805. (ed. note - they all started off in Greenwich, anyway)

At least the Woolwich is a lot nearer to home and perhaps the matter of her future could be resurrected when the dust has settled.

Jack Vaughan

Since this was written - see other postings - Woolwich was taken to Crossness.

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