Sunday, 17 October 2010

Ballast pits and ballast quay

an old Blackheath resident asks for info:

"can remember as a boy with my friends riding our bikes in and around a large pit on Blackheath. This pit was situated opposite the war memorial on the southeast corner of Greenwich Park. During the war it was used by army dispatch riders I assume for training purposes, as they used to fall off quite a lot.

I recall we kids used to call this pit 'the Fuzzies; why I don't know, it was one of those names you heard as a child and never questioned.

I believe this was only one of several pits on the heath, and I would like to know why they were dug. I was told some years ago that they were ballast pits dug to supply ballast to the Royal Navy Dockyard at Deptford and to Merchant shipping in the Thames, hence Ballast Quay on which the 'Cutty Sark' public house (formerly the 'Union Tavern') now stands . I would appreciate any thing you could tell me about this.


Anonymous said...

We used to play there with our sledges in the winter snow during the years after the war.

I think that the reference to "the Fuzzies " is really the word furze, which is a type of gorse, which grew in the pit in abundance.


Bob Land
Blackheath 1939 to 1958

Anonymous said...

As in Furzefield road( north of the Standard)? lived there once but never bothered to find out what meant !

Also remember going down the scary slope with my push bike in the ballast pit.:-))