Tuesday 26 September 2017

and even more news

Yet another news page - please someone send me an article!!!


As I write this I have been emailed that the Poplar Gasholders are currently being demolished. These are the holders to the east of the Blackwall Tunnel Approach almost immediately before the Tunnel. They were built by the Commercial Gas Company.  There has been a long campaign to keep them which has been run by a local Stepney and Poplar history group - who have already failed to keep the dramatically sited Bethnal Green holder. (The ones further north which you see from the Tunnel Approach near Tesco are listed)

LANNION Cite des Telcoms

Thanks to Ben Page for this report:

The Cite des Telecoms at Pleumeur-Bodou near Lannion is a large museum of communications sponsored by Orange. We stumbled across it while on holiday and spent a whole day there. There is a gallery within the museum devoted to the history of sub-sea cables, which includes a display of repeaters, one of which is a Telcon one that I guessed might have come from Greenwich, which is why I thought it might interest the group. The central exhibit of the whole museum is the Radome, which is the European end of the first trans-Atlantic TV transmission (now a UNESCO world Heritage site) dating from 1962. For 20 minutes a day (around midnight) the French could watch American TV via the Telstar satellite should they so wish. It takes the form of giant ear trumpet 65 m long and 35m high but precision engineered to the mm. It was protected from the weather by a very elegant, very thin dome which is inflated to retain its spherical shape. There is a ‘son et lumiere’ inside the Radome in English and French which tells its history and explains its engineering.

One of the things that interested me is how the story of communication is told differently in different places by different museums drawing attention to different innovations at different moments. So, the way I tell the story of Enderby Wharf to my undergraduate geography students (as a way of getting them to think about the materials and infrastructure that underpin the history of globalization) works for me because I can localize it for them by bringing them to Greenwich. Yet from the perspective of the curators who tell the story in Lannion there is a rather different ‘centre’ to the story even though some of the elements (the Great Eastern for example) are shared. Lannion is still the site where one of the main fibre-optic cables that crosses the Atlantic comes onshore in Fra


On page 3 of the latest issue they are asking what your favourite things are in Greenwich - email greenwichnewsletter@gmail.com - dare you all to write in and say it is the gasholder (or something similar).

BUT what the Newsletter does include is a really really cracking article about Greenwich Power Station.  This is about the 1906 row which erupted between the power station and the Royal Observatory. 'the finger of blame was largely directed towards the London County Council' and there was a Parliamentary enquiry.  The author advises us to look at the full story which is on the Royal Observatory web site - but it would be good to get someone to come and speak to GIHS on it.


This is a European based industrial heritage organisation (not a web based religion!!). Currently they have an industrial heritage weekend in Barcelona 20-22 October which is the start of their 
campaign for European Cultural Heritage Year.   They are still looking for themes for this and suggest you look at www.industrialheritage.eu/EYCH2018-theme-months.  They want to know what we are planning to do to celebrate next year!



The September 2017 issue of Sub Brit's wonderful Journal has just arrived. Only one Greenwich Borough item in it though. "World War II Air-raid Shelter recorded at Eltham".  This is apparently under a school playground and they refer to an article in Post Medieval Archaeology 50 (3) 459-460.



They are looking for a volunteer administrator  - please look at their website  - http://www.buildthelenox.org/
Also on their web site are details and pictures of their Open House Day event at the Shipwrights Palace


Appleby Brothers were an engineering firm based on the Greenwich Peninsula. We recently had an email from a waterworks in New Zealand  We have put them in touch with an Appleby Brothers specialist and hope to be able to report back soon. Meanwhile have a look at their website - and the pictures of what they have been able to preserve!! www.goulburnwaterworks.com.au 



The Plumstead People Facebook page has been running a feature on Civic House - this stood at the top of Woolwich New Road and was apparently built as a NUPE Headquarters around 1980. It has now been demolished. Some of us have remembered that it was previously the site of the Woolwich Bus Museum. It is our understanding that this is now the Brooklands Bus Museum - is this so - what do people know about it in its incarnation of Woolwich and how it got to - ugh - West London???



Crossness Creative Afternoon - creativity and cake with artist Lily German. You have to book through evenbrite but know no more details except it is 6th October  13.00-17.00



We have invited Lindsay Collier - the brains behind this project and the Walthamstow Pump House Museum to come and tell us about this initiative to bring together several East London industrial heritage projects.
In the short term we are very very impressed  with their leaflet 'Discover the Industrial Heritage of London's Lea Valley'. A lot of this is based on sites in the Lea Valley Park - which is a  very wonderful institution looking after many beautiful sites of many sorts, as well as sports facilities and much else. Greenwich residents will not realise that they partly pay for this as there is a precept on all London Boroughs to fund the Park. So - go over the river and enjoy it - and see this beautiful beautiful leaflet.
And read all of Jim Lewis's series of books which show how everything electrical and electronic and much else (market gardening too) was invented and emerged from the Lea Valley.


Chris Mansfield has put on his Facebook page a wonderful old picture of Woolwich.  He says it is  "Approx' 1870s - 1880s taken from a magic lantern slide this view looks like it was taken from the top of St Marys church .. There is no sign of the free ferry terminals so I think this is probably the oldest photo I have seen of Woolwich".  I also understand he is trying to get an enhanced print.  I am not going to reproduce it here until we see if he can improve it.   I have some interesting comments on it waiting



We have been sent a copy of Ron Roffey's CD with lots and lots of information about the RACS and other local south east co-ops.  It is very amazing and I think we should do a review of it as a separate page.   It points out that the first recorded co-ops were in Woolwich - the author of one article says "There's too much talk of Rochdale and Eighteen Forty Four. The honour belongs to Woolwich ..the Century before"  - quite - we all ought to talk Woolwich up a bit!!  And the mighty Royal Arsenal Co-op is a good place to start.

- I bet there weren't any other consumer co-ops which had their own mine

- and - our info is that Ron is in hospital today (26h Sept) can we wish him well

Monday 11 September 2017

More news again


We have heard that there is an application to issue a certificate of immunity against listing on our great Gasholder in East Greenwich.   There are, of course, some good reasons why listing isn't always a good idea, particularly for such a large structure which would need alteration if it is to have a viable future - in its present state it would cost a fortune to maintain and have no useful purpose. However, if it cannot be listed then it can just be pulled down one day and - hey ho!!!  We don't know who has put this application in but we would urge anyone interested to immediately contact Sebastian.Fry@HistoricEngland.org.uk, and put your views - whether you are for it or against. You need to do this NOW

In the meantime here is a jolly little map prepared by the Enderby Group which points out that the holder is a useful focus point for a lot of leisure facilities on the Peninsula and with a bit of imagination could be turned into an exciting landmark.

Thames Discovery Programme Newsletter

- this is the word from the REAL archaeologists who go round digging things up, (selectively). And they do it on the foreshore of the River.

Eliott Wragg reports on some of his summer work - in July in Deptford on the foreshore of the Royal Dockyard looking at a slipway which became visible in 2016 - and which they think is earlier. They also went to look at the pile of timber from 19th century warships at the end of Anchor and Hope Lane - go see this, it was what was left from a shipbreaking yard, huge great hunks of timber, just abandoned.
Elliot also reports that at Greenwich on the foreshore 'old features had washed away while new ones were revealed including a new windlass and rudder - all probably from 18th/early19th vessels.

There is also a report 'More erosion at Greenwich'.  This change has taken place since the sea wall was strengthened along by the Old Royal Naval College. There is a drop in levels by the King's Stairs and in front of the Bellot Memorial. More of the causeways have now been revealed and also a large chalk barge bed. They have found a base plate between the jetty and the steps . They hope to use photogrammetry (what's that??) and have some 3D models on show

Older Londoners Project - they are apparently running this with the University of the Third Age and have started a project with them called 'Sail to Steam' which will research the transition of wooden ship building on the Thames to iron   This will be shared with Riverpedia (what's that??)

FORESHORE FORUM - this is a weekend of intertidal archaeology - 28th-29th October 2017 at Norton Rose Fulbright, 3 More London Riverside, SE1 2AQ weekend ticket £50  details https//foreshoreforum2017.eventbright.co.uk

Totally Thames Walks - the Greenwich dates for one of these is 22nd September 9.30 am £10.15 each  free if you are over 75
Remembering the Thames Tea Party  10th October 2-4 pm this is Silver Sunday and part of the older peoples thing. It is at Mortimer Wheeler House, N1 and you need to book  020 7410 2200 or email thamesdiscovery@mola.org.uk



We've all heard of cases where the word 'listing' is used about a building - 'we ought to get that listed' people say, and the next night it is mysteriously burnt down. Well, this is a petition against that sort of thing:



The Society are advertising a talk on Blackheath Arts Club building which is now, inevitably, flats. In the 1930s it was the home of the GPO Film Unit where, under John Grierson, a series of groundbreaking documentaries were made, including Night Mail and - I think - Fires were Started.  The visit includes a talk by Steven Foxton who is curator of non-fiction films at the National Film Insitute. The event is on October 12th at St.Mary's Halls, Cresswell Park. The snag is that it is £10 bookable through www.eventbrite.co.uk - but they say you also get some wine (personally would prefer a cheaper event and no wine!! - if you come to Greenwich Industrial History its free for members and £1 for visitors).  The building was also used for making aircraft parts in the Second World War. 



The Enderby Group is concerned with the manufacture of the manufacture in Greenwich of the underwater cables which fed, and still feed, telecommunications around the world. In the first 80 years of the telegraph almost all cable, world wide, was made in Greenwich - and the research facility in Blackwall Lane remains.  The most celebrated cable was that which crossed the Atlantic - and the first three attempts failed. The cable was made in Greenwich and loaded onto Brunel's Great Eastern and taken to Valentia in Ireland - the most westerly point in Europe.  The cable was then laid to Heart's Content in Newfoundland.  

Recently some pictures of monuments in Hearts Content have gone onto the Enderby Group Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/enderby/.
There is also (or will be soon) an article about Valentia and World Heritage Status by Richard Buchanon with details not included below https://www.facebook.com/groups/enderby/

We are also told that the cable station at Heart's Content is a museum, just across the road from
the cable landing.  There are photos at http://atlantic-cable.com/NF2001/hc.htm

The Group has learnt about a series of events around the Valentia/Hearts Content link.
On 27th July last year 3,071 kilometres across the Atlantic Ocean, identical marine bollards were unveiled simultaneously at Valentia and Hearts Content.  It turns out that this was part of a Festival in Valentia last year. This included a lecture on the Trans Atlantic Cable by Bill Burns  ( see his great web page http://atlantic-cable.com) and a launch of a book by Professor Donald de Cogan 'They talk along the deep: a global history of the Valentia Island telegraph cables" .  There was also the launch of a paper on a World Heritage Site on communications technology funded by Tralee and Kerry County Council. 

Since then we understand the Irish Government is pushing for World Heritage status for Valentia and for this to be linked to Heart's Content. A statement by the Chair of the Valentia Transatlantic Cable Foundation says the cable was 'the equivalent of putting a man on the moon'.

There are already moves in Heart's Content to make some sort of heritage link happen and declare the town 'as a twin heritage site'.

It turns out however that the 'Canso' building at Heart's Content was demolished a few days ago.  It was owned by a local group who were unable to raise the money for restoration.  See:

there are a vast number of other web sites on this, can supply if asked

Tuesday 5 September 2017

More Greenwich History News and more this time than last


They have raised an  issue of concern on J.Muir & Co Bookbinders 64-68 Blackheath Road. - GIHS would be grateful for info on this

There are also numerous issue around Enderby House. The Conservation Group has made a submission and it is understood EGRA and the Enderby Group are working with them and each other.  Anyone who wants to find out more and maybe write in themselves are urged to do so - advice from EGRA  (http://www.egra.london), Enderby Group members (https://www.facebook.com/groups/enderby/) - or GIHS via  this blog site - email contact over on the left. (indhistgreenwich@aol.com)

There are two applications  - 17/232/NM looked after by Planning Officer Y.Mederios and 17/2320/L looked after by Planning Officer T.Choudhury.  It appears they will be taken together.

Both are for internal and external amendments to Enderby House. A summary of comments are as follows:
- regret realignment of riverside path and increased height of flood defence walls which puts the setting of the listed house in jeopardy
- regret no secure gate arrangement in the flood defence wall
- question natural lighting at ground floor since the roof light has been removed to allow for outdoor seating on a first floor terrace
- urge that more emphasis is placed on tourist and community aspects in preference to retail used 'now proposed'.


Thanks for their newsletter.

They advertise their next meetings as:
14th October Crossness Nature Reserve by Karen Sutton
11th November  - A date with buildings by Jim Marrett and Wricklemarsh by Richard Buchanan
10th March - The effects of the Spanish Civil War on World War II Britain
All at  2pm Charlton House, Grand Salon

and also - other people's meetings -
6th Sept - Secret Chiselhurst. Orpington DAS Christ Church, Tudor Way, Petts Wood 8 pm
10th Sept  Woodlands Farm 20th Anniversary. 11-3 pm www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
10th Sept  Friends of Shrewsbury Park Foraging Walk. 2.30 Garland Road Gate Falconwood
24th Sept..Falconwood Miniature Railway. Open www.wdmes.btck.co.uk
4th Oct -  Orpington High Street 1967 Orpington DAS Christ Church, Tudor Way, Petts Wood 8 pm
8th Oct - Falconwood Miniature Railway. Open www.wdmes.btck.co.uk
15th Oct- Crossness Engines. Steaming Day 10.30-4 pm www.crossness.org.uk
15th Oct - Woodlands Farm Apple Day www.thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
20th Oct -Crossness Engines. Static Display  10.30-4 pm www.crossness.org.uk
10th Dec. Falconwood Miniature Railway. Santa Special www.wdmes.btck.co.uk

This is followed by an article on a Parish Boundary Stone by Jim Marrett - and follows the sites, removal and retrieval of skips of these items by Jim and Jack Vaughan
There is also an article but a plaque to boxer Tom Cribb and a bit about his life  1781-1848
And an article on mulberry trees - with reference to a project to find them and where they are

- smaller items on - Driverless cars (running along the Greenwich riverside); the future of Shrewsbury House community centre; Rushgrove House in Woolwich and its history and use in the 'Turner' film; the East Greenwich gas holder; changes to the Equitable building in Woolwich,



The group around the Creek and the Ashburnham Triangle have raised an issue around the future of Creekside and the work on the Tideway Tunnel project and the 'reconstruction' of the Bazelgette Pumping Station.  They are looking for increased public access and a Creekside pathway which will involve industrial heritage.  They would like contact with people already involved in this or who would like to be involved. (Contact them via GIHS).  
We are also told by Cllr. Mehboob Khan that he is currently chairing a resident liaison group and is happy to hear ideas and so on.



As everyone knows the first Atlantic cable ran from Valentia in Ireland to Heart's Content in Newfoundland - and last week we were sent pictures from Heart's Content. So?? What about Valentia??

We were sent an email just yesterday saying that there was 'considerable excitement because the Irish government announced it would definitely be putting Valentia forward to UNESCO in the next round of World Heritage site official nominations in 2020, based on the cable story. The Valentia cables - both the unsuccessful 1858 one, and the successful 1866 one - were of course manufactured in Greenwich. If UNESCO accept the Irish govt's nomination, this may help secure wider public acknowledgement of the vital role Telecon's cables played in linking the world via cable by the time Victoria died.

By a complete co-incidence last week we were sent  some pictures from Hearts Content

Bill Burns also adds "The cable station there is of course a museum, just across the road from the cable landing. It's very difficult, however, to protect cable at the shoreline against decay, damage and vandalism without removing it.
My photos of the site in 2001 are on this page:http://atlantic-cable.com/NF2001/hc.htm



We have a request for info as follows from someone researching the history of drinking fountains:

They want info on:

A fountain that was installed on 19-May-1913 in the “v” of Creek Road & Wellington Street. It was 12ft high and made of a combination of grey limestone & red Peterhead granite and contained the inscription:

BORN 12 MARCH 1843  DIED 11 MARCH 1912

A plain 6ft 6in cattle trough was installed next to the drinking fountain. It appears that both the drinking fountain and cattle trough were removed by Greenwich council in June-1992 and were probably broken up
Are there any local experts with knowledge of the Deptford Cattle market and/or the drinking fountain? Do any photos of the fountain exist?



15th September  Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistant Pathogens

5th October - Tales of things in the Olympic Park

Both at Mycenae House. 7.45



they have published their 2017-18 programme, Meetings are at James Wolfe school in Royal Hill  7.30. £3 for non members

27th September Fr Kevin Robinson on Our Lady Star of the Sea - which includes exciting maritime tales

25th October -  Veronica Thornton on Screaming Alice - that's the railway which went to Crystal Palace

22nd November - Richard Hill - the discovery of a Hawkesmoor drawing of St. Alfege's

24th January - Mark Stevenson - The Royal Arsenal

28th February - Andrew Byrne  London 1840: Greenwich

28th March - Anthony Cross on Charles Spurgeon's Magic Lantern Show

25th April - Horatio Blood on Bohemian Greenwich

23rd May - Will Palin on Daniel Asher Alexander



All sorts of goings on in the Foot Tunnel (at least at the Isle of Dogs end)

We understand there is a long term problem with a development site alongside the foot tunnel and that plans for it were originally likely to affect the tunnel. The site is an old wharf and there are ownership and other issues. Cyclists are not welcome in Island Gardens and clealry there are strong feelings.

What do Greenwich historians think about this???



They have sent info on a load of events- lots of these look really interesting but also look as if you have to book. There is no info on this given, so find your own way

7th - 24th September - Events at Erith Lighthouse. (this is a new restaurant and other things space)

8th  September Musical Gems on the Thames . This is a boat trip from Westminster Pier. 

14th London Infrastructure Summit 8am-6.30 pm.  QE Centre

16th- 17th September . Open House at Master Shipwright's House.  16th - 17th 10am-5pm (in Deptford, just turn up. super site)

21st September London First discussion on water scarcity and security  8-10.30 am at Buro Happold 

23rd September Foreshore Festival. This is at Putney on 23rd 10-4

27th-28th September Flood Expo. Exhibition and Conference at Excell

5th October. Thames Estuary Growth Day  8.30 am-5.30 pm

14th -15th October. London on Sea. Film making course for young people. Hermitage Moorings

10th October - Fly tipping Symposium. 10.15-4.30 pm Park Plaza

16th November Thames Estuary Partnership Annual Forum 



Sorry - thats all a bit of a list of people's meetings. Although I don't know what I'm sorry about because its what they send