Sunday 26 July 2015


SOME BITS OF PIECES FROM MY IN TRAY.......................................


The Enderby Group is happy to provide a speaker for meetings of all sorts - to tell you about Enderby Wharf and Enderby House and how Greenwich began the telecoms revolution.  Email me for details


Its not good - we still have no idea if the gasholder has been bought by a developer, bent on demolition, who that developer might be, and if there is any support at all for keeping it for whatever use.  We can give lots of ideas for re-use - like is done by people all round the world, except here!!!

However - many people out there are interested in our holder.  A photograph of it has just been exhibited at the Royal Academy summer exhibition.  A limited edition of this photograph was for sale at £150 each (!!) and has now sold out

Neil Sharman has asked us to advertise 'Do you remember the Pleasaunce in World War Two??' please email   This is East Greenwich Pleasaunce - not the park with a similar name in Eltham.  They know there was a public shelter for 150 people, and that two high explosive bombs were dropped - but they want to know where these were and if there were also allotments (and I want to know how the avoided digging on the area where all the mass graves are).

Nicola has an exhibition of, among other things, messages in bottles, "Waves from the Water" is at the Made in Greenwich Gallery 324 Creek Road 1st-12th August. 11am-6pm

The Department of Architecture at Greenwich University has produced a rather important book about students work on the Greenwich Peninsula and Thamesmead.  There is too much of it to put much here - it will be the subject of a separate posting.  But in the meanwhile Ian Worley has put a posting on Facebook about his contribution to it.  This is via a link to Making is Thinking  Please read

Future meetings in their new home:

23rd September - 2000 years of Greenwich. A potted history. Linda Cunningham et al
28th October - Munitions Lasses - Frances Ward
25th November - 50 Years of the London Borough of Greenwich. Julian Watson
27th January - The GHS Pantomime
24th February - Greenwich History Online. Rob Powell
23rd March - F.W.Simms Map - The Parish of Greenwich in the County of Kent 1838. Anthony Cross
27th April - Greenwich. A Photographic Memoir
25th May - possible visit to Chiswick

All at James Wolfe Primary School, Royal Hill.
They also make a note of the DORA Project - another project looking at Second World War bomb sites - they have a presentation on 12th September in St. Alfege Church Hall.

I know this isn't in Greenwich, and it is also the other side of the River - but this is an SOS from a really great group - the East End Waterway Group   Fish Island is the little bit of Hackney Wick full of old industrial buildings - for example the buildings where the first plastic was developed and made, and much else. It escaped being pulled down for the Olympics, but now the developers are sliding in. Swan Wharf is on the Old Ford Lock on the River Lea - and until relatively recently was still in use and a whole load of exotic substances were imported through it.  Now someone wants to build flats  - of course - but this is not just an interesting old building, it is a wharf which could potentially be used for handing goods taken by canal and not by lorry.
The group is also trying to secure retention of a number of east end gasholders - the dramatically sited Bethnal Green holders and Leven Road (just the other side of the tunnel)
There is a lot more -

For those of you who do not get the many twitter postings from @EastLondonGroup  we would recommend it.  There are many postings about Greenwich , and, because the artists were working before the Second World War, there are often queries asking where people think the site is.  Oh - yes - and lots of 1930s paintings of the Bethnal Green holders.

GIHS members will remember Rich's great talk on the history of the Greenwich Square/GDH site. Well - if you walk up Vanburgh Hill as far as the Health Centre, which is being demolished, you will find a whole exhibition about Rich's work posted on the hoardings.  Go see!

I note the headline on their newsletter says 'Our heritage our future' and the front page is all about speakers they have had on Magna Carta.  Hopefully they will move forward and fast!!
Inside is 'News from Royal Museums'  'Magna Carta Celebrations' (ho hum)  and a note about the new venue for Greenwich Historical Society (fair enough, see below).   Must tell them that GIHS always happy to provide info and speakers.

We see their new history group is now up and running with Chocolate Biscuits (must go along!!). Next meeting is 7th September 11 am in the Wildlife Centre.  Please keep us informed - happy to post up info, or whatever.

Lewisham are beginning a project on the history of the Borough and people with info are urged to get in touch. 
They have future meetings  all at 7.45 Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way
31st July Seaside Sauce by Alan Payne -about Greenwich resident Donald McGill
25th September - they have Charlton resident His Eminience The Metropolitan Seraphim of Glastonbury talking about his campaign to save Catford's 19th century Town Hall.
30th October - Martin Costello on Catford Broadway Theatre

they also advertise
6th October Windmills of North West Kent and Kentish London. Bromley Borough Local History Society, Trinity United Reformed Church, Freelands Road, Bromley, 7.45

People round the world are interested in our gasholders and desperate to see them before they are all pulled down.  Recently a marathon tour was conducted round London by GLIAS members to take in as many as possible in one day for foreign journalists..  The didn't get to East Greenwich until late afternoon - they had started at 9am!! - and still had five more sites to go. Happy to give details of what you can see and where you can see it.

The Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society has a walk round the Greenwich Peninsula  3rd October Sat GREENWICH PENINSULA: THIS USED TO BE... Led by Dan Hayton. You have to book to go on this:, and GLIAS limits numbers - so  the whole of East Greenwich can't turn up to tell it like it was/is, however much we might like to.   Hopefully they will spend a lot of time at Enderby's and lots with the gasholder.

The Group has been very busy, albeit, still not sure what will happen to Enderby House. The developers are obliged under the planning consent to repair and reconstruct it - but, since we began making a fuss, a number of organisaitons and individuals have come forward with ideas for it. We will report in duecourse

In the meantime we have produced quite a lot of written material which will be published  in due course. Two of these are on Bill Burns's Atlantic Cable web site - - this site is vast and contains everything you could ever want to know. The two papers produced by the Enderby Group's Stewart Ash are:

Another paper - by me - about the site's non-Enderby and non-cable related industries will appear somewhere or other (probably here, if no one else interested)  and most of it is about the Government Gunpowder Depot and a rather interesting father and son engineeers, the Beales.

We also understand that the Royal Academy summer exhibition (see above)  had an exhibit on 'Enderby Place' -

- the other thing of note is that the Enderby cruise liner terminal planning consent has gone through the system and now has consent - local people are pretty angry about that and about the pollution aspects of the proposed liners. The issue is - biazarrely - something called 'cold ironing'.  We need to know more - could one of you experts please explain......

Tuesday 7 July 2015

New Woolwich High Level Bridge

New Woolwich High Level Bridge -
I think these are mid-1930s and far from sure where the drawing has come from - and clearly it would be difficult to have loaded it up as one long strip.
Who knows more about this??

Monday 6 July 2015

The night Tower Bridge melted

I don't think I should put personal reminisences here - but its hot - and people are moaning about the buses.

In the late '60s - I was working in Stamford Street, and I could get a number 70 bus from outside my office to the Cutty Sark.  So - it was a very, very hot evening and I set off for Greenwich.

The traffic was terrible and the bus was hot - even up the front in an RT with the windows open.  We got slower and slower - by the time we got to Tooley Street there were buses and cars which had boiled, all over the pavements. Buses were pulled over with the driver and conductor sitting on the platform, looking miserable.  Vast great queues at bus stops. Terrible. And it kept getting hotter.  Eventually people began to pass round a story - someone had got on the bus who had told them that Tower Bridge had melted and that the road had fallen into the river.

Well you never know, do you?

I have looked in vain on the net for this incident - although one US newspaper clipping says it was in July 1968..   I know Tower Bridge has stuck again recently but none of the reports of that seem to mention it at all. 

So what was going on??