Monday 22 August 2016

Developers and listings, even in the posh bit of Greenwich

Readers will remember that about a year ago we published a plea from some West Greenwich residents about an old industrial building in the posh bit of Greenwich which developers wanted to demolish.
The building was subsequently listed and everyone (except, obviously, the developer) was happy.

Amazingly, now, only a year later it has been delisted and there is a planning application for it awaiting approval.

It appears that the developers requested a reivew of the decision - and that at least one local organisation was told about this. We do not know if the people who originally campaigned were involved and we understand they may be on holiday - we would of course love to hear from them.  It then appears that the Secretary of State decided to overturn the listing decision. There is a long statement about parts of the building which have been reviewed.

Comments on this very welcome

NOW - for other bits of news.

Kent Underground Research Group are organising a visit to the air raid shelters at the Northfleet Henley's Works.  Henleys were a major cable manufacturer - and in fact Mr. Henley himself once worked in East Greenwich.  I am enclosing this in case any of the cable making fans among you are interested. Contact  and they suggest looking at . 


The Prefab Museum are hosting an event on the Isle of Dogs along with the Friends of the Island History Trust on 23 September. Admission to the archive tea party at 2.15 pm is free, and free tickets (which must be pre-booked) for the guided walk and illustrated talk are available on eventbrite. Walk:  Talk:




AND - we have a note from Danny

I'd like to take the opportunity to remind you of the Newcomen meeting on 5th September at the Royal Institution "ANNIHILATING SPACE & TIME: 150 YEARS OF TRANSATLANTIC TELECOMMUNICATION." Bookings are available through Eventbrite at .

Do come along.

Violet writes "  I previously found lists of ships built by Edward and later Thomas Snellgrove at Deptford but would like to know how they were related (i.e. were they father & son, brothers, etc.) along with any other detail you may have available.


and - two things from Norman

First of all he says

"My mother was shown a shop in Greenwich where her grandfather worked and used to make the Lord Mayor's whip for the London Lord Mayor's show every year."

Really - does anyone know anything about this???  Sounds really interesting.

and also Norman says:

"I have an ancestor Ayton Hyde (married name was Watts) born about 1821 and, according to 1861 census, born in Cape of Good Hope.  I am trying to find out what her father was doing in Cape of Good Hope at that time as there were few British settlers there at that time. I do know about the 1820 Settlers but Ayton's parents names are not on the list (or at least I cannot find them)  Ayton's father was William Hyde (or Hide) born about 1791. The 1842 census shows him born in Kent and living then on Ship & Billet Row, Woolwich Road, Greenwich, and his occupation was Shipwright.  He was married to Elizabeth (possibly nee Brown Deller).  Their 2nd child was born in Greenwich in 1826, indicating that they had returned from Africa by then. I suspect William Hyde might have gone to Cape of Good Hope in connection with his occupation as a shipwright.  I understand shipbuilding docks around Greenwich were closing around that time so possibly he followed the work.  I deduce he would have been in the Cape from about 1820 (or a bit earlier) till about 1825.
Any clues or leads you can let me have would be much appreciated.


LAMAS  - on 11th April LAMAS has a talk on Britain's historic lighthouses 'with special reference to London's only lighthouse at Blackwall.   This is the building you can see from the Peninsula on across the river.  Museum of London 6.30


Thursday 4 August 2016

August is the cruellest month. More bits of news and stuff like that.

This post includes stuff that has come in over the past couple of weeks. August is usually a slack month - but there has just been a sudden rush!!
(sorry about some of the strange variations in type - have wasted 2 hours trying to sort)

New Plaque for Greenwich Foot Tunnel
On 5 July 2016 FOGWOFT members turned up at Cutty Sark Gardens to celebrate the unveiling of an interpretive plaque for the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. They were joined by a representative of the Institution of Civil Engineers. The ceremony was led by Deputy Leader Cllr. Danny Thorpe, whose staff had designed and commissioned the plaque. It will do a great job in explaining the history and original reasons for the historic foot tunnel. It may even answer the common visitor questions of whether this is a public lavatory or the Greenwich Observatory! It is the latest in a series of projects by the Royal Borough to enhance users experience of the tunnel.  FOGWOFThave been closely consulted about all three projects. Since the completion of the major refurbishment scheme in 2014, it would have been easy for the Borough to lose sight of the importance of this working heritage. It is to their credit that they have not; and fogwoft will continue to support innovative actions that improve both tunnels.

FOGWOFT has also been involved in the new electronic system in the tunnels to keep cyclists in order - more news soon

- We also note that the recent BBC thriller 'The Secret Agent' had its final scene down it the tunnel. Fame at last!!


This issue starts with the exciting headline "The Great Stink Exhibition and the start of the Transformation of Crossness into a more formal museum" and continues " The Boiler House has been totally transformed with the introduction of the new National Lottery funded Great Stink exhibition. The exhibition tells the story of why Crossness and the London sewer system was built and the prevention of the spread of Cholera. It also depicts how Crossness was built and comes right up to date with the new Thames Water Treatment Plant" - this apparently includes murals on the walls of the cafe and toilets, a display of old toilets and a new mock sewer tunnel with 'visual and sound effects'.

They also have pictures of their transformed garden - plus a swan and a pheasant who ' struts around .. as if he owns the place'.

More seriously there is an article about Easton and Anderson (based in Southwark and then Erith) and their links to construction and equipment at Crossness.

Open days are all 10-30 am to 5 pm
Prince Consort under steam - 4th September, 9th October
Just open, no steam - 14th August, 23rd October
CET tours - 26th August, 23rd September,. book these two

see more (and all the pictures) at


We have a note from Historic England to say that archaeological work is to start on two sites - one Re: 278-65 Greenwich Wharf: 14/0460/F -Phase 2 (LAG/011/278), and the other
Alcatel Lucent Telegraph works (LAG/011/489) CLO12333 .  

In both cases they have sent us pdfs of the desk stop study and work programme - 

please get onto us if you are interested.

The Enderby Group is keeping an eye on the Alcatel site study 

but the Pipers Wharf site is the more worrying.  The site has been 
completely cleared of many items of great interest before work has 
started and the archaeologists pre-report seems totally unaware
of the various works and wharves which were once on the site.


The Enderby Group have been very busy - they have been 
undertaking a footfall survey on the riverside path - which has 
sadly been cut short by the sudden closure of the path round 
Pipers Wharf.    They have also been preparing their own vision 
document for the future of the area. And challenging the listing 
designation of Enderby House. More on all of this to come. 


We have just had the following link from British Transport 
Treasures (thank you Stuart)


their summer newsletter includes some details from the 
Community archaeological dig on the Old Keeper's Cottage.  
Included is a note from Brian Starkey 
about the occupants of the cottage in the mid 19th century.  
One of them was an important Fellow of the Society of 

The  July/August Newsletter has 
-  a brief write up of the (lost) planning battle on the 
                     Old Loyal Britons in Thames Street.  
-   a brief note about the remains of the Tudor/Stuart jetty 
                     on the foreshore OF the University site. 
- noted (thank you) the new plaque with information on the 
                       Greenwich Foot Tunnel with a nice picture. 


They note the inauguration of the plaque for the foot tunnel. 
Otherwise - nothing about Greenwich and Woolwich!

The following meetings are noted: 

GLIAS WALK - this is round Erith and led by Andrew Turner.  
1st October,.  to book a place email

16th November.  - GLIAS pub evening. 
Horseshoe, Clerkenwell Close, at 6.30  
They are happy to have audience contributions - 
bring your own memory stick, preferably Power Point


Interesting articles - albeit about Lewisham - Catford Dogs, 
the London School Board - and - er - Cliff Richard.

They advertise:
(all these Methodist Church Hall, Albion Way 7.45)
30th September Jane Hearn on the Downham Estate
25th November - Gordon Dennington on Sunday Cinemas 
              and Film Censorship
16th December - Mike Brown on Christmas on the Home Front

- oh and -= 
Bromley Local History Society. Trinity Reformed Church, 
Freelands Road, Bromley  7.45
Mary Mills on The Work of Coles Child in Greenwich


The main article in their current newsletter is about the 
Greenwich Heritage Centre's events around nursing 
in the Great War.

They mention conservation cases current in Woolwich - 

the Granada Cinema and the Guard House.

There is a feature on Gilbert's Pit and the new stairway 

access to it. Visits via  
This is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and part of
the London Geodiversity Partnership. It was used as a 
source of sand for local glassworks and the Arsenal.

The Antiquarians also have a nice obituary to Barbara Ludlow.

2 pm for 2.15 pm  Charlton House, 
17 Sept    St George’s Garrison Church  Julie Ricketts
8   Oct      Crossness - Past, Present and Future   Mike Jones
11 Mar     Whitechapel 1888 - Murder - Poverty Stuart Robinson
8   Apl      Annual General Meeting  with Show & Tell   
13 May    The Abbey of St Thomas the Martyr at Lesnes,  
                     Vincent Memorial Lecture  Jim Marrett
10 Jun      London Pubs  and  Buildings Charlotte Matthews

10 Sept   2.30 pm   Photographs and Stories of Charlton   

Rochester Way, adjacent to Falconwood Station,
Steam and electric hauled model railway.
Sundays, 2 – 5 pm  14,28 Aug  11,25 Sept  9 Oct.

Now - sometime ago the Naval Dockyards people asked
 me if  someone could arrange a walk for them round the 
 military and naval sites in Woolwich - now, that seemed 
a tall order and at firsit seemed that if you wanted a 
THOROUGH look at Woolwich you had better book a 
week - because it would take three days minimum 
- however - I put them in  touch with Ian Bull  - and -  

... So - they went on their walk with Ian - who took them 
round the more easily reached bits and there is a terrific 
write up in their newsletter. I am very tempted to quote much 
of it - but - roughly - they saw - 'railway subway ... quite 
an impressive structure' ....... 'impressive brick built 
chimney'.....  'steam factory .. wonderful example'....  
'boat store .. utmost importance' ..... 'Clockhouse ... 
impressive looking building' ....'impressive columns of 
the main gate' ....'many buildings of historical interest'  
'Dial Arch for lunch' ...'Royal Brass Foundry ..
unusual and well looked after' ...'all very 
impressive' ..
Well - glad they were impressed - and 
thank you to Ian.



This is the national newsletter from the Association for 
Industrial Archaeology. This is really more about the 
provinces -not London - but there are a series of articles 
in the current issue about the challenges which local 
societies meet as well as meetings with Members of 
Parliament - happy to pass on to any one 
Along with the GLIAS newsletter they feature the 
Kirkaldy Testing Museum in Southwark Street, SE1 - 
and if you haven't been there yet - go at once. Its about 
As the London representative on the AIA Dr. Robert 
Carr has provided his usual article on London's 
industrial history -but sadly nothing about Greenwich 
this time.
There is however a report on the Enderby Group's March 
seminar - happy to copy and pass onto to anyone 

I am not going to reproduce their list of meetings -

but happy to send to anyone interested in IA 
conferences in Kansas City, Romania, Lisbon or even Devizes.


The current issue headlines 'Engineers baffled as icon
 fails after 133 yrs' - hope the time ball is sorted by the time 
I am writing this. There is a whole page about the inauguration 
of the foot tunnel  plaque -and thanks very much GV for that!!!
They also highlight a little known techie interest 
attraction in Greenwich - the Aviation Experience 
which is down at the cable car 
(which of course pretends to be an airline). 


and - as I write this, the following tweet has come in from "
 ‏@Gashistory  Once the largest #gasholder in the world @ #Greenwich 1904 
#Advert for Clayton Son & Co."

so - this is a lot longer than I thought - must get some lunch - 

sorry if its a bit strange, I had a lot of problems with word-wrap - which has led to me having to put in manual line breaks - but also with fonts and type sizes. I have typed some of this four times and it is still not consistent 
Mary for GIHS

Monday 1 August 2016

Something personal - a prize trip up the river in 1914

hope GIHS and its readers will indulge me in something personal. I am justifying it with some pictures of the working Thames before the Great War.....  but otherwise .....

In 1914 my Dad would have been six and attending Wrotham Road School in Gravesend - its still there. He won a prize that year 'for reading' - a book presented by Mrs. Huggins - who I assume was the Lady Mayoress of the day.

The book he won is now falling to bits - 'Our Holiday on a barge'  by Alice Talwin Morris.  I am not quite sure what Gravesend Education Committee thought a working class six year old would make of this story of a very middle class family holiday - but now, nearly 100 years later I am beginning to appreciate it.

The story goes that the children - four of them, on the Swallows and Amazons model - want an outdoor holiday, so Father's nice boss, arranges for them all to go on one of the Company's barges, with his teenage son Archie - who also wants an outdoor life.  The barge is all fitted up and off they go. The book sort of suggests they go off into deepest countryside but, as Father commutes every day from his City job I would think its just a bit upriver of Windsor.
 They have the usual adventures - a fright at the weir, meet a game keeper, go fishing, it rains ... and they are stared at by the village people who were clearly not used to middle class children.

What I really love about the book are the illustrations. I love the period feel of them, and in particular the clothes - the girls in black stockings, long sleeved sweaters and their hair tied back. Sunny hats. Father in his long raincoat, cap and stockings. And Mother with long belted skirt, and three quarter length coat - ever so fetching. Archie wears white trousers - even lying on the grass, and on the boat. I like the flatness of the drawings.  They are also not drawings which are 'childish' they are real life drawings, with no attempt to talk down to a young audience.

The book doesn't say who the artist is but it must have been Alice herself.  There isn't much about her on the net - but there is quite a bit about her husband, Talwin Morris. He was art editor for the publisher Blackie and an important innovator in book design.  Living in Glasgow they were deeply involved with Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art,.  He died only in his early 40s and Alice lived on publishing several children's books - all now going for vast prices on Amazon (but my copy is very very tatty).

Hope you like the selection of pictures