Thursday 28 January 2010

Plumstead Reservoir

We have a communication from Plumstead about the reservoir in Heavitree Road which it is thought is under some threat. They have included the following information and some pictures.
"A plaque above the access doorway indicates a possible date of construction of 1854. The date may refer to the year when the roof was added; it is possible that the reservoir was constructed before 1840.
We believe it to be one of the oldest covered reservoirs in the UK and the longest serving brick built Victorian reservoir in London.
There are two tanks separated by a common wall. The date of the original tanks is not known. The reservoir may have originally been constructed as an open tank. Visual evidence, such as different brickwork at the top of the sidewalls indicates that the reservoir may have been later enclosed with the addition of the arched roof structure. The two tanks may not be the same age.
The tanks are divided by a N-S aligned raised walkway along the central dividing wall and linked by arched openings in the upper part of the wall. The eastern chamber is c.15.66m wide, the western chamber is c.14.9m wide. Each chamber measures c.29.8m long. The roof rises to give a fall away from the common wall which runs North-South. Cast-iron beams, spanning East-West, support brick jack arches; thebeams are supported at midspan on 8” diameter cast-iron columns. The walls are of yellow brick masonry set in a lime mortar.
The corners are curved to eliminate dirt traps. The brick floors fall to a central North-South drain in each tank. Small bridges span the channels.

The tanks are in good condition, and we submit that the building, as a Victorian brick-built reservoir has intrinsic architectural and historic interest and rarity, in both national and local terms. The design, plan and materials make this building a valuable part of the nation’s industrial architectural heritage

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Greenwich Sand Mine

A new Greenwich blog site - covers all things underground in Greenwich. But, perhaps its me doesn't understand - but I can't see anywhere to leave comments on the blog. Their latest post is, interestingly, about the west Greenwich sand mine.
Now- I was going to point out that Greenwich Industrial History Society covered this in the very first edition of our newsletter back in 1998 - I could reproduce the article - following a survey done by Nick Catford for Kent Underground Research and Sub.Brit. We even had a speaker on it.
Would be nice to liaise ........................ and would be nice to invite them to come and speak to us,

Tuesday 26 January 2010

'Walk London' Event - Historic Charlton and Woolwich

Meet at Charlton Station - Saturday 30th January 2010, 11.00am

Walk through the backstreets of Charlton, possibly with Police escort(!), over the level crossing and then into Maryon Park. Chance to go up to the viewing area for those who are feeling fit. Then into Gilberts Pit for the famous geological strata. Thanks to lack of foliage we should be able to see it.

In to Maryon Wilson Park for the animal enclosures and then up the slope into Maryon Park. Maybe a short diversion in here if anyone wants to see where the early scenes from Antonionis 'Blow Up' were filmed. Out of Maryon Park, across the dual carriageway, and into Barrier Park for a look around the Thames Barrier.

Barrier Café for lunch and WCs. They'll know we're coming so should have some food for sale.

Back through Barrier Park to the dual carriageway and along the road/Thames Path to the roundabout. Past the roundabout to the Co-Op funeral services garage which is actually a very old building from the Tudor Royal Naval Dockyard. Now into the Dockyard site to see more old buildings (lots of photos to explain it all) and down to the river. Along the river for half a mile where we go back inland to see more very old and attractive dockyard buildings. Re-trace steps to the river and continue towards Woolwich seeing Ye Olde slipways and dry docks.

Past the Woolwich Ferry and into the Royal Arsenal. Half of group goes into Greenwich Heritage Centre to see Arsenal exhibition. Other half get guided tour around Building 40, also known as Tower Place/The Royal Military Academy/The Model Room. Magnificent interior and usually only open on some 'London Open House' weekends. Other half of group then has their turn whilst first half looks around the Heritage Centre.

Woolwich Arsenal Walk Detail

Walk beside river past the 'Grand Stores'. At end of Stores turn away from river to see the 'Armstrong Gun Factory'. Externally the most original building in the RA - still smoke blackened. Turn right towards the RAs Central Offices alongside south side of the Grand Stores and past both to walk around the old Laboratory building. Back to North side of Central Offices and turn right to see ornamental gates of the Shell Foundry. Continue to south end of Central Offices and turn right to see former Royal Carriage Department on left (now flats) and building 19 'Gun Mounting Shed' on right.

Enter B19 Gun Mounting Shed for the first public visit in NINETY SIX YEARS! Possibly the finest surviving Victorian factory building in London. Half the size of a football pitch and unchanged since

construction in 1887. An wonderful building and a possibly unrepeatable visit. **Highlight of the walk**.

Leave B19 and walk towards former main gates seeing the grade one listed 'Royal Brass Foundry', Verbruggens House and, Dial Square, birthplace of Arsenal Football club. Across dual carriageway to former main Gatehouse. Walk concludes here, within sight of bus stands and railway staions.

You can see the route on the web at...>

Saturday 23 January 2010

Greenwich built lighthouse in Cape Town

Maggie Jones writes:

"the purpose of this mail is to send a photo to you. We've just comeback from a trip to South Africa (which included the wedding of a cousin,who went out there when I wouldn't even buy the oranges). At the lighthousenear the Cape of Good Hope we found a mention of Greenwich industry, and here it is".

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Crossness Engines - amazing progress towards a great future

Crossness Engines is our local industrial museum – but by an accident of 100 yards or so of boundary has ended up in Bexley Borough. The result is we hear very little about them. Last night at the Greenwich Industrial History meeting we were privileged to have an update on progress at the museum from Mike Jones – and thank you very much Mike.
And what amazing progress it is!! Even those of us who read their newsletter and hope we keep in touch can have very little idea of how near we are to having another very major ‘heritage’ site on our doorsteps – and one that will interpret the great municipal work of main drainage in the 19th century.
The site is currently closed whilst a major programme of work is completed but, for those who have not seen the great beam engines at Crossness – go as soon as it opens again! Prince Consort, which is now regularly ‘steamed’ – is a very genuinely awe inspiring sight. The four engines – the biggest concentration of steam power of their type in the world – were last used in the 1953 floods and were then junked and left to rust. In the 1980s a small group of volunteers began work to save one of the engines, Prince Consort, and hopefully get back to work. Over the next 20 years or so they struggled on with very little help, and great deal of ignorance in official circles.
So –now – they have shown what they can do – and the money and support has become available. What Mike told of us of their plans are really amazing. There is going to be a proper road into the site, which will be publicly maintained, visitors will be able to go, through a Victorian garden, to the original front door – and pass through a replica sewer into a vast exhibition space which will describe the main drainage system of London – and many aspects of sewage treatment as well as its affect on the river and so on. They will then be able to pass through and see the four great engines – Prince Consort in steam, Victoria now being worked on – one day she too will move.
Elsewhere on site they hope to show other engines – and hopefully also put them in steam. They have engines locally made and it would be good to show how south east London was in the forefront of steam power manufacture. A longer term aspiration is to create a a workshop with steam powered line shafting. They are also building links with local wild life groups – clearly the site is of great ecological interest and there are many many birds. They are also involved with walking groups – the Thames Path goes past their site, and the Ridgeway (the Southern Outfall sewer path) comes to them directly from Plumstead Station.
The remaining problem is of course access – it is a long walk from Plumstead or Abbey Wood station and despite efforts, it has not been possible to put the site on a regular bus route. Discussions with many bodies are underway to try and address this.
Greenwich people should take a lot more notice of what is going on so near to our boundary. Current plans will make this one of the most important industrial sites in the country – I probably shouldn’t say, given the subject matter, that it is right under our noses! But it is a site which will celebrate inventiveness and ingenuity in solving a major problem in urban development and how this was achieved through local government action.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Soap and Soames

Arrived two minutes ago - The Greenwich Historical Association Programme. Their next meeting will be of particular interest to students of Greenwich industry. It is:

Wednesday 27th January 2010
The Soames Family of Blackheath
NEIL RHIND will talk about The Soames Family in Greenwich and Blackheath, who were wealthy merchants living in Blackheath from the 1840s to the 1930s. One member was James Soames, an industrialist and owner of the famous Thames Steam Soap and Candle Mills; his brother was the Rev William Aldwyn Soames, Vicar of Greenwich. Among their many mansions were the Red House next to Vanbrugh Castle, Maze Hill House, and 27 Vanbrugh Park.

Thames Soap Works was on the site currently being demolished with the Syriol Glucose refinery on it. They made all sorts of soaps for the hard working and hard pressed = "coal tar" soaps made in the days when the most important thing was to kill the germs NOW!!!

This picture was taken inside the site when it was owned by Amylum. It shows a wall which had survived from the soap works and on which underneath the scaffolding was written 'Thames Soap Works'.

Later meetings are:

Wednesday 24th February 2010
Greenwich Park: Trysts and Intrigues
ROSIE HAYLES reminds us of the Hanoverian neglect of Greenwich Park which gave rise to a wide range of ideas for its exploitation. Prostitutes eyed its seclusion, park-keepers and water boards its natural resources, sculptors and railway companies its position; Greenwich Hospital hoped to build houses in it and Queen Caroline demanded a large corner for her private use. The public began to take the park to their hearts and many hopefuls were seen off by force of public opinion. The ball of protest was set rolling by an abused under-keeper called Cawthorne.

Wednesday 24th March 2010
President's Address: Greenwich Lost and Found
ANTHONY CROSS of Warwick Leadlay Gallery, Greenwich, using the visual means of his archive, will seek to re-discover aspects of everyday Greenwich which have otherwise been lost to the present-day observer. This will be given after our traditionally short AGM.

Wednesday 28th April 2010
Memories of Growing Up in 1930s – 40s Blackheath and Greenwich
SYLVIA WHITE was born and brought up in Blackheath, and grew up in the 1930’s and 40’s when poverty was rife. She was one of five children who were given freedom to roam. This meant that the Heath and the Park were their playgrounds and they came in contact with children from different classes. Blessed with a vivid memory she has written two books about growing up in this area and her talk will be about those times. Now an active member of the University of the Third Age, she runs groups encouraging people to preserve their memories.

Friday 8 January 2010

More pictures of Redpath Brown

Redpath Brown's structural steel works stood on the Greenwich Peninsula in what was then Riverway which ran from near the Pilot to the river. They were a Scottish based firm which came to Greenwich in 1911.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Royal Dockyard Deptford

Proposal to List Features of King’s Yard (Convoy’s Wharf) at Deptford
December 2009


In 1999, Alan Howarth, then Culture Secretary, announced comprehensive statutory protection for Britain’s maritime heritage, principally covering the Royal Dockyards as a result of the Defences of Britain Study. Subsequently Engllish Heritage has published its Maritime and Naval Buildings Selection Guide in 2007.

The King’s Yard, established by Henry VIII in 1513 at Deptford, did not form part of this survey, however, archaeological surveys since carried out by CgMs and Pre-Construct Archaeology in 2000 (Hawkins) 2000 (Lowe), 2001 (Divers), at the former Royal Dockyard at Deptford established, “by far the greater part of the dockyard survives as buried structures filled in intact between 1869 and 1950.”
The structures of the yard proper, the docks, slips, basins, mast ponds landing places and stairs, constitute a substantial architectural fabric that is currently extant, though largely invisible, being covered by superficial accretion or infill. (David Divers. Jan 2001:12/ 3.5.14).
Docks are recognised as being the most significant structures in the operation of the yard as well as a dockyard’s defining characteristics.


Based on the new information established from the archaeological surveys and further archive based and site survey based research, the opportunity now exists to ensure that the historic cultural assets of the earliest Royal Naval Dockyard of 1513 benefits from the same statutory protection deployed and enjoyed elsewhere (Defences of Britain Study) and to comply with several English Heritage guideline and policy documents that have been delivered in the intervening period, namely, Sustaining the Historic Environment 1997, An Archaeological Research Framework for the Greater Thames Estuary 1999, Heritage Dividend 2002, A Sense of Place for a New Thames Gateway 2004, Naval Heritage: Managing Change in the Royal Dockyards. Conservation Bulletin 2005 Issue 48, Maritime and Naval Buildings Selection Guide Heritage Protection Department March 2007 and The Tidal Thames Habitat Action Plan (TTHAP).

The opportunity now exists to consider the dockyard landscape with its definitive historic components within the above guidelines and policy. Deptford dockyard is an internationally significant historic site and deserves the opportunity for comparable assessment for listing that has been applied to dockyards elsewhere in the country. Indeed, not to apply such a comprehensive approach would constitute a form of social exclusion from such statutory protection deployed and enjoyed elsewhere.

“We cannot expect these important sites to remain unchanged, but we can expect change and development to occur within the context of informed conservation.”
Maritime and Coastal Heritage. Conservation Bulletin Issue 48, Spring 2005.

The case for listing

The yard at Deptford witnessed the labours of Henry VIII’s Master Shipwrights Matthew and James Baker, laid up Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind, put out ships for the Armada as well as Cook’s, Frobisher’s and Vancouver’s voyages of discovery, as well as for Nelson’s battles including Trafalgar and also served as a military base into the twentieth century as Army Supply Reserve Depot in WWI and WWII and served as U.S. Advance Amphibious Vehicle Base and married quarters in WWII. (PRO WORKS 43/614-6) The area of land in question, far from being a mere brown field site, has served the Nation as a military installation over a period of five centuries.

New evidence and amendments

There are four important re-assessments and amendments to be made to the archaeological assessments carried out to date which impact on the heritage assessment of the value of Deptford’s historic cultural assets and therefore impact on the proposal to list.

1. The Great Georgian Dock

The Double Dry Building Dock, in use as early as 1517 and featured in the John Evelyn map of Deptford of 1623, underwent remodelling in the intermediate period between Samuel Bentham and John Rennie. (see new information, PRO ADM 1/3501-3503 May 18th 1815 and NMM ADM Q/3320-3323 9th Oct 1802, 23 Aug 1805) This work pre-dates work by John Rennie to the listed docks in Chatham, for example and may constitute some of Rennie’s earliest works in Royal dockyards. Recent EH test site excavations have established that the walls are three metres thick, and coped in granite with articulated works in limestone. It is now widely acknowledged that docks from the earliest date, and the Double Dry Building Dock at Deptford may be one of, if not the earliest surviving dock, subsequently rebuilt, express advancements in the technology of shipbuilding and that these developments enhance rather than detract from the historic merit. In Maritime and Naval Buildings Selection Guide, works by Bentham and Rennie are signalled for special consideration. Under subheading, Special Interest, it states, “Docks and harbour walls pre-dating 1840 generally form the most impressive engineering structures of their date and even where they have received alteration, as nearly all have, will normally merit designation, with those displaying technical innovation or association with major developments in shipbuilding, warranting a high grade. Examples would be key developments in modern dock construction such as those pioneered by Smeaton and Rennie or Samuel Bentham’s development c.1800 of caisson gates.” (2007:05) Also mentioned for special consideration is the use of Roman cement. Divers, writing on the Georgian Great Dock at Deptford, states, “Waterproof ‘Roman’ cement (patented 1796) was used towards the front of the wall. (Divers, 2000:58/7.17.2 Trench 17 fig.29) For the reasons stated above, further investigation may bring to light that, as the sole surviving double dry building dock from the Tudor period, reworked by Rennie to proposals by Bentham, the structure is unique. These works are unlikely to have undergone alteration due to the closure of the yard in 1869. Indeed the outline of the Great Dock in George Ledwell-Taylor’s plan of 1820 is commensurate with that of 1868.

2. The Great Basin
The Great Basin was also an early resource of the King’s Yard, mentioned in an Indenture of 1517 (BL Add.6555), as holding amongst other ships the Mary Rose. The Basin was also the site of testing early diving bells by John Evelyn, (Diary 19 July, 1661). In Charnock's "History of Marine Architecture" it is given "A note how many ships the King's Majesty (Henry VIII.) hath in harbour, on the 18th day of September, in the 13th year of his reign (1521); what portage they be of; what estate they be in the same day; also where they ride and be bestowed." From this we are enabled to see what use was made of Deptford as a naval station at that time:—"The Mary Rose, being of the portage of 600 tons, lying in the pond at Deptford beside the storehouse there, &c. The John Baptist, and Barbara, every of them being of the portage of 400 tons, do ryde together in a creke of Deptford Parish, &c. The Great Nicholas, being of portage 400 tons, lyeth in the east end of Deptford Strond, &c. … The Great Barke, being of portage 250 tons, lyeth in the pond at Deptford, &c. The Less Barke, being of the portage of 180 tons, lyeth in the same pond, &c. The twayne Row Barges, every of them of the portage of 60 tons, lye in the said pond, &c. The Great Galley, being of portage 800 tons, lyeth in the said pond, &c." (

Originally a naturally occurring pond in the 14th century, the Basin underwent several periods of re-modelling. New archive-based assessment has established that the final designs were by John Rennie, and re-workings of earlier proposals by Samuel Bentham. The works were carried out by Jolliffe and Banks. Banks was knighted in 1822 for his works to Southwark and Waterloo bridges on the Thames. Rennie was paid a sum of £4,500 to widen and deepen the Basin and move the Basin mouth to the east. In the Abstract of Contracts, related to works to the Basin, Rennie specifies coping the Basin with Craigie or Dundee stone. The mouth to the Basin is shown as open with an extant Swing bridge in the Thames Flood Defence Survey of 1898. (Metropolitan Archives, MBW 2787)
However no outline of Rennie’s 1814 modification is given in the recent archaeological surveys. It is possible therefore that the archaeological site survey placed its trenches, no.s 7 and 9, outside of the final Rennie works to the Basin, thereby determining that no upstanding remains could be found. (See Buro Happold, Summary of the Main Dock Features and Archaeological Trench Results 001.) The photograph, Plate 9, printed in the archaeological survey of 2000 (Hawkins), said to depict the Basin mouth, is also incorrect as it shows instead a blocked slipway. These errors are critical to the forming of an accurate assessment in line with URB20 point A. To properly assess..”
The Basin contributed to the earliest period of the dockyard and remained open until the advent of the twentieth century. Its final layout is commensurate with works proposed by Samuel Bentham as Inspector General of Naval Works and carried out by Joliffe and Banks under the direction of John Rennie. Listing of the Basin as a Group Value consideration even, offers the opportunity for further archaeological investigations in order to re-assess the outline of the Rennie, Joliffe and Banks works.

3. River wall
There was some discrepancy between the archaeological surveys regarding the age of the river wall, with one archaeological survey of 2000 stating that the river wall is post the life of the dockyard. Statement 0.6.4 “The bulk of the river wall appears to have been constructed in the period 1869 to 1916.” This claim has been subjected to a further detailed site and archive-based assessment. It can now be stated that Lowe (2000) was correct in stating, “The bulk of the river wall thought to date to the final re-modelling of the Dockyard during the 1830’s.” Lowe (2000:/3.2.4)
Moving west along the wall, we encounter the survival of George Ledwell-Taylor’s 1828 work creating the canal to the mid-eighteenth century mast pond (NMM ADM Y/D/11-D8 1828). Jonathan Coad refers to Ledwell-Taylor as one of the finest dockyard architects. Further west, to the left and right of the Basin mouth, already established as work by Rennie 1813-17, the presence of 150ft length of Craigie stone specified by Rennie during his works to the Basin mouth is extant and clearly visible. (PRO ADM 106/3185 WORK 41/594 signed John Rennie. NMM ADM Y/D/11-D7 16 Nov 1813. See also, A.W. Skempton A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland. 2002 and CgMs 3.2.4 / 3.2.1)
The Landing Place and Stairs, that feature in John Cleveley’s eighteenth century paintings of the launching of ship, blocked post-1930, formed the ceremonial and Royal entrance to the yard for more than two hundred years. (See Metropolitan Archives, Thames Flood Defence Survey MBW) The granite quoins to these Royal Stairs align with the granite quoins to the Double Dry Building Dock, as shown on George Ledwell-Taylor’s 1820 plan of the yard and correspond to the 1868 O.S. map. It is therefore established beyond doubt, through on site and archive based study that the harbour wall to the King’s yard is early to mid nineteenth century expressing the work of George Ledwell-Taylor and John Rennie following proposals by Samuel Bentham. (NMM ADM Q/3320-3323 9th Oct 1802, 23rd Aug 1805) Knight’s Mechanical Encyclopaedia of the nineteenth century states that cast-iron piling has been successfully used in quay walls at Deptford. accessed 22/12/09.

4. Small seventeenth century mast pond
The early small mast pond, c.1660, does not form part of the archaeological survey carried out in 2000. The mast pond featured in the surveys and referred to is that from the 1760’s only. This is a serious omission as the early small mast pond expresses the first departure from the extent of the Tudor and Stuart dockyard and marks a expansion of the dockyard into the Hanoverian period. This mast pond may be the earliest extant mast pond in a Royal Dockyard and was constructed in the seventeenth century on land purchased from Sir Denis Gauden, Victualler to the Navy. An early draught design of the mast pond is held in the Evelyn Papers at the British Library. It was in this early mast pond, during the tenure of Master Shipwright Joseph Allin, in the early eighteenth century, that the boat used to bring Charles II back from exile was discovered, refurbished and renamed the Royal Escape, eventually finding its way to Heligoland.

“by far the greater part of the dockyard survives as buried structures”

The scope of Lowe’s preliminary archeological assessment in 2000 of surviving historic fabric only covered the following; standing buildings, river wall, perimeter walls and ground surface sections. However, given the evidence established in the surveys carried out by Hawkins and Divers, and further newly uncovered evidence from archive and site based surveys, the comprehensive indication of the majority survival of the dockyard’s distinctive characteristics merits a comprehensive listing to ensure that Deptford’s historic cultural assets of local, national and international significance are not excluded from the statutory protection applied in all other cases of listing of the Royal Dockyards.

Extracts from the recent archaeological surveys carried out at Deptford Dockyard affirm, that “major dockyard features survive across much of the site and that later activities on the site have had relatively little impact on these remains.” (Divers 2001:69/9.1.4)
“The large features targeted by the evaluation trenches have been found in their anticipated locations, often at relatively shallow depths beyond the present ground surface.” (Divers 2001:70/9.1.6)
“The N.E wall of the Georgian Mast Pond was found to survive immediately below the modern concrete ground slab.” (Divers 2001:26/7.2 Trench 2, fig.9)
“The N.W. wall of the Georgian Dock was found just immediately below the modern tarmac surface.” (Divers 2001:58/7.17.1)
Divers concludes, “the evaluation has established that the major features of the dockyard have survived in their predicted locations with little evidence for widespread truncation by later activities on the site.” (Divers 2001:71/9.4.2)

Deptford was the Cape Canaveral of its day, leading the technology of shipbuilding. The position of Master Shipwright at Deptford was the highest and therefore most sought after of the Royal Dockyards. Deptford’s proximity to the Navy Board and Admiralty ensured that advancements in the technology of shipbuilding tended to be carried out there. Due to its closure in 1869 Deptford was not subject to the later remodelling that occurred in other Royal Dockyards. As such, The King’s Yard at Deptford, expresses the early Tudor plan comprising, Master Shipwright’s House and Offices (Grade II), Double Dry Building Dock (proposed) Storehouse (Undercroft, Scheduled Ancient Monument) Great Basin (proposed).
Following the guideline statement in the Maritime and Naval Buildings Selection Guide 2007:05, it is requested that “A holistic approach should be taken where several original or near contemporary associated structures survive together or where a group of structures displays the evolution of port facilities in one significant place.” Statutory recognition of these early manifestations of works by Bentham and Rennie, perhaps expressing some of their earliest works in Royal Dockyards further enhances the Group Value listing of the Master Shipwright’s House and Offices (overlooking the Double Dry Building Dock), the listed perimeter walls and the covered slipways of 1846 (Olympia Sheds).
This early Tudor Dockyard plan, expressed in Evelyn’s annotated map of Deptford of 1623, is altered little by the expansion and developments of the Hanoverian period. The King’s Yard at Deptford remains the sole Royal Dockyard to express its original Tudor and its subsequent expansion into the Hanoverian period. The earliest Master Shipwright’s House and the earliest purpose built naval office building in the country, with additions expressing Bentham’s centric organisational Panopticon principles (Pro Work 41585-6, NMM ADM/ Q 3323 28th Feb 1805), would be further enhanced by statutory protection of the Double Dry Building Dock, The Great Basin and Harbour Wall, mast ponds and slipways, thus bringing Deptford’s historic maritime heritage in alignment with every other Royal Dockyard in the country.

The Royal Dockyards are amongst the most long-lived, extensive and coherent monuments to the history of the United Kingdom. Many of the industrial, technological, military and social changes that occurred in the post-modern and modern periods are embedded within their surviving fabric. Anthony Firth, Wessex Archaeology 2004.

“The Royal Dock, or "King's Yard," as it was locally called in former times, was esteemed one of the most complete repositories for naval stores in Europe. It covered not less than thirty acres of ground, and contained every convenience for building, repairing, and fitting out ships-of-the-line—those veritable "wooden walls of Old England" with which we were familiar before the introduction of armour-plated vessels. Artificers in wood and in iron had here large ranges of workshops and storehouses; and here the hammer and the axe were scarcely ever idle, even in times of peace; but where, during the prevalence of war, they were plied incessantly "in the construction of those floating bulwarks for which England is, or rather was, renowned, and which carry a hundred and twenty guns and a thousand men to guard her shores from the invader, or to bear her fame with her victories to the remotest seas of the ocean”

Royal Dockyard at Deptford circa 1739 showing the Great Basin in the foreground. accessed 22/12/09

Publications Consulted
Hawkins, Duncan. BA MIFA. April 2000. CgMs Consulting. Archaeological Desk Based Assessment
Convoy’s Wharf, Deptford SE8
Divers, David. January 2001. CgMs Ltd.Archaeological Evaluation of Land at Convoy’s Wharf, Deptford.
Lowe, Jon. BA. June 2000. Preliminary Assessment of Surviving Historic Fabric Convoy’s Wharf, Deptford.

Archives Consulted
National Archives
National Maritime Museum
British Library
Metropolitan Archives Corporation of London

(and posted with the author's consent)

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Redpath Brown

We have been sent a number of wonderful pictures of the Redpath Brown works in Greenwich.

This factory - later known as the Riverside Steel Works - stood in Riverway, roughly between the sites of the Pilot and John Harrison Way.

The pictures have no captions and any information would be gratefully received.

Lots more to come