Monday, 4 November 2019

Reviews and Snippets September 2000

 Reviews and Snippets September 2000


For those who want to do an action re-creation of actual traditional work - Woodlands Farm can give you a farming experience any Sunday morning! Or any day, really. Heavy horses -  hay making - mending fences - pulling ragwort - all the fun of real work with none of the wages!  


A bit of Greenwich’s Industrial past has now been recognised by the trendy incomers - Enderby's Restaurant has now opened on Blackheath in one of the houses reputed to be an old Enderby home.


The Big Dip

Peter Gurnett was clever enough to get hold of a number of copies of ‘The Big Dip - Archaeology and the Jubilee Line Extension’ - produced by the Museum of London Archaeology Service and the Jubilee Line Extension Project.   This glossy booklet - the sort of thing that locals rarely see - gives pictures and details of archaeological finds all the way down the new line.  However, it never really seems to get to Greenwich - does this mean to say they didn’t find anything at all down on the Dome site (that’s not what I heard!).  



A new GLIAS Journal is now available.  This contains two articles of great interest to Greenwich readers -  

First, a definitive article on Greenwich, London Underground, power station written by English Heritage’s (and local resident) Peter Guillery.  This covers the history, architecture and technical background to the power station. This building is often derided as a blot on the Greenwich riverside but the article reveals it as an important piece of architecture in its own right.

The Journal also contains a set of stunning photographs by Bob Carr taken at the closure of the great ship repair works of R.H.Green and Silley Weir Ltd. in the 1980s. This works was in North Woolwich - originally in the Borough of Woolwich.  They reveal the size and scale of industry which was undertaken locally until very recently   - this is very, very heavy industry!

There are also articles on milling machinery at Three Mills - only a short journey on the 108 bus from the Greenwich borders, and on Hopewell Yard in Camberwell, B.Young’s Gelatin Works in Bermondsey, and the first railway station at Kings Cross.



The newsletter includes an article about Chiltonian Biscuits  in Hither Green (is it true that they - heroically - invented the Chocolate Digestive?).



The September issue .. Peter Kent outlines and illustrates maritime visitors to Greenwich. - HMS Invincible - Anastasis  - Burgundy - Balmoral - Royal Clipper - and so on . 

It also carries the news that a blue plaque is to be unveiled at 47 Bennett Park, Blackheath - as a tribute to the use of the Blackheath Art Club at the GPO Film Unit between 1933-43.  This is the place where all those wonderful Humphrey Jennings films  - Nightmail  and so on - were made

The August issue  ...... Contains an article by Peter Kent on the Royal Docks ‘Wise Men from the East’ plus his usual wonderful drawings of the docks. today and in 1906. ..... and  .... 

.............An article by Neil Rhind discusses the life of John Gilbert who lived in Westcombe Park Road, Gilbert was the principal artist for Illustrated London News - drawing an estimated 30,000 ‘cuts’; for them. Every historian of the Victorian period will know that the ILN provides a vital source document of accurate pictures of industry of the period.

The July issue .. Peter Kent writes on the ‘Maritime Connection’ - includes news of the riverside walk, Peter the Great's statue, Sun tugs, Suzanne Hatchling’s rowing prowess, the Millennium Coat and Badge Race... etc. etc. etc. 


Another sparking edition arrived in July from the team at Crossness Engines Trust.
In this month: report on a visit to the Wick Lane Sewers  - the work of the Trust in education (school visits, student projects, etc etc) - News of work underway (position of the boiler, work on ‘Prince Consort’, Museums registration, security, etc.) - opening of the riverside path on 21st June by the Mayor of Bexley - repairs to engines in 1897 - and a report of the return of ‘Isaac newt-on’.


The Changing Face of the Greenwich Riverside - A Journey into the past....

In Issue 25 of ‘Archive’ Pat O’Driscoll has given a vivid description of  revisiting the Greenwich riverside after many years. Her article is illustrated with her riveting pictures of the 1950s - first of all SB Pretoria airing her sails outside the Cutty Sark pub - as dramatic a picture as I have ever seen!  Pat compares the riverside she knew at a time when she was mate on Olive May with what she saw sometime towards the end of last year - and the riverside has changed dramatically since she did her journey.

At ‘Mudlarks Way’ she ‘winced - it was wider than it used to be and surfaced with red bricks’ - Pat would wince even more now because Mudlarks Way is gone, there is a wide walk way and soon the river will be out of sight behind a belt of trees!

Pat has captured a moment in time - and compared it to the past. That moment is also past now but without this record, what would we have of it?

Thanks, Pat, for your memories of the past - and the wonderful pictures. 

PS - yes, they did spare the Pilot, but only just.



The August 2000 issue of Bygone Kent  contains yet another article by Mary Mills. Entitled ‘Two Vanished Greenwich Pubs’  it mainly describes the Sea Witch pub which stood on the Greenwich riverside on the site which is now the Amylum Company’s laboratories - and explores the industrial background to the pub and its name.


 - by Alan Mills           
I recently visited the Berlin Borough of Reinickendorf with the Town Twinning Association - it has been a twin town of Greenwich for some 35 years.  Reinickendorf shares some similarities with Greenwich - leafy suburbs, water facilities and industry - past and present.

Present industry includes a large Siemens factory (does this have links with Greenwich?) and Tegel airport. 

Past industry includes the Borzig locomotive factory - now a shopping complex contained within the shell and proudly featuring much of the structural ironwork of the former engineering works. The water (mentioned above) is the Tegel See - a huge lake linked to Berlin’s extensive canal network.  The canal is used for goods transport as well as by pleasure craft. I saw two strings of canal barges loaded with coal from Poland being pushed along it.

It occured to me that it was worth exploring some contact between industrial history enthusiasts in the two boroughs and I have  begun to investigate  the possible existence of an organisation like GIHS in Berlin.  


In early August Greenwich was visited by a replica of the first ship designed and captained by the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great in 1703 - based on what he had learned at Deptford Dockyard in 1698.  Shtandart was built in St.Petersburg by volunteers who used the original shipbuilding techniques. She was named by Prince Andrew and Vladimir Yakovlev (Governor of St.Petersburg) and launched in September 1999.

SS Shtandart has a 220 tons displacement, 3.05 metres maximum draft. 34.5 metres from bowsprit to stern, and 7.5 metres maximum beam.  She has 16 sails  of 820 sq metres and a maximum mast height of 34 metres. She has a crew of 20 (half trainees) -  and - oh - two 600 hp Volvo engines (did Peter the Great learn about them at Deptford?)

A second ship - Royal Transport - is now under construction. she will be a replica of the ship built in Britain in 1695 for King William III and presented by him to Tsar Peter in 1698.



The review notes digs in Greenwich:

Royal Naval College site - discovery of 16th/17th century wall and foundations.  18th century culvert, and dump layers

Dreadnought Hospital site - 16th structures, perhaps the King’s Barn. Traces of other buildings, dumps, walls, foundations of Helpless Ward and others, culverts and cast iron settling tanks.

Woolwich Arsenal - report of dig by MOLAS - found 4 battleship guns - they were not complete and thus unique.



We had hoped to bring news of the heritage centre being built for Greenwich Council on the Arsenal Site. Hopefully this will be available for our next issue.

The new Heritage Centreis planned to open in the autumn of 2001 in part of New Laboratory Square. The buildings which date back to 1806 were used for cartridge and bullet making up to the First World War.

It will tell the stories of Greenwich and of the Arsenal from earliest times to the present day. In bringing together the Council’s Museum and Local History Library it is planned to create a resource available to all.  By using a wealth of artefacts, archives and documentary sources it is aimed to offer visitors an engaging, ejoyable and instructive experience.

The Arsenal stored or made ordnance from 1671 to 1967 and the fortunes of Woolwich have ebbed and flowed withthose of the Arsenal.  An exhibition will tell a small  part of that long story covering the years 1914 to 1918. This was the period when the Arsenal was at the very peak of its greatness.



In September 1998 a cargo ship, Kaptan Sukru was burnt out in Pazar (Anatolia). Was she the Sahilbent, built at East Greenwich in 1872 by Maudslay Son and Field - and supplied to Turkey as a ferry boat?  More on this later - once it becomes possible to get through to the Turkish maritime history web site!



You can’t actually read them  .... but .... thanks to Groundwork and Alcatel there are now steel information panels on Enderby’s Wharf  giving information about the history of industry on Greenwich peninsula and cable making at the Alcatel/Telcom site. 

Hope that Alcatel opens the jetty up soon so that the hundreds of passing tourists can read it!


Listing old industrial sites in Greenwich and Deptford

We have been approached by David Eve, Greater London Sites and Monuments Record Manager to help him strengthen the list of industrial sites on his list - which is used to alert Planning Authorities to possible archaeological and other remains on site.  A letter from David explaining this can be found on page 6.  We intend to hold a special meeting with David on 12th October to set about this process. 

These articles appeared in the September 2000 GIHS newsletter

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