Sunday 26 November 2017

News items

Lots of newsletters and interesting articles

Bill Burns has an article on the links between Ireland and Canada and the Atlantic Cable in the TICCIH Bulletin 78,.   The link to the web site is  However - they won't let you read it yet, but when the next one comes out it will be archived and you can see it - or you can join TICCIH, in which case you will be sent it to read

TICCIH is The International Committee For The Conservation Of The Industrial Heritage, with a web site run by MIT in the US<  and their next conference is in Chile - so look at their web site and join them for an interesting, and international life.  The Atlantic cable would be right up their street!!!

They are also asking for articles for Bulletin 79.  email,


FRIENDS OF GREENWICH PARK - advertise the following historical events

++ 1st December 11 am History Group meeting in the Wildlife Centre.  Everybody welcome.

7th March 7.30 Friends Annual Lecture. Peter Marsden, World Heritage Site organiser/  £10 - to 52 Greenwich Park Street, SE10 9LT and please enclose SAE



We have been sent the following link to a current article in The Architects’ Journal (as published in online 9 November), on the progress of the competition being run by the RIBA and National Grid plc for new uses for redundant in-ground gasholder tanks .



This has news of the launch of the Waterways Forum.    This was created to help ensure the River cariesd more passengers and goods while used for sporting and cultural events.  Speakers included representatives of Cory's, City Cruses, and Thames Clippers


The current issue contains an article about co--operatives in Woolwich  (earlier than Rochdale) and the start of the Woolwich Labour Party. (very early too).  This is available by subscription only but they can be accessed via their web site



Readers will remember articles about the Woolwich Kiln and its demise last summer. We have been pointed to a web  link for an analytical view of it - actually this is quite exciting,



Greenwich Council is hoping to bid to be the London Borough of Culture.  Some of us have been trying to persuade them that industrial heritage is one of our main cultural strengths (fingers crossed), We understand they will mention the Atlantic Cable, but - that should just be the start!  See the video



Bob Carr has an article in the current Industrial Archaeology News (183 Winter 2017).. He points out how diffficult and secret this internationally important industrial site was - and how hard it is to research. He talks aboiut its size, and also what remains and what we can find out about them.
He doesn't mention the Arsenal Canal - which is a pity because that is one of the biggest worries at the moment = info later.
The AIA website is

Friday 10 November 2017

Nothing to do but put more news items



853 has published dire warnings of the foot tunnel being full up with cyclists by 2025 (
BUT we understand that a plaque has gone  up inside the tunnel to explain and commemorate the restricted section where it was bombed in the Second World War.
(and thank you Mark Hodgson for the pictures)


They have sent a list of events - leading with a notice of their Annual Forum on 16th November which will feature our ex-MP Nick Raynsford. This is at The Crystal (?? where's that??) and you have to book
(no details given but their web site is

they also advertise Members Only Event. 15th March,. Watermen's Hall


There has been some discussion on the Plumstead People Facebook page about the fate of the railbridge at Plumstead Station which looks to be going. See the page to see local views. GIHS's expert says:

"Network Rail will want to provide access for wheelchairs at Plumstead and by the time they've dug foundations for the lifts they might just as well install a new footbridge. A shame as it's a lovely example. . Once removal has become definite, with a projected date, We should let the railway preservation Societies know about it if it's likely to be scrapped. There'd almost 
certainly be a taker if NR don't want to re-use it. They recently donated its larger sister bridge at Gravesend and I think they paid for relocation".


There has also been some discussion on the Plumstead People Facebook page about the fate of the lock remains of the Arsenal Canal . See the page to see local views. GIHS's expert says:

"The situation with the Royal Arsenal canal entrance lock and swing bridge is most unfortunate. The lock gates were either repaired or renewed in about 1953 and the bridge was given a thorough overhaul at the same time. It dates from c1905/7 and replaced an 1859 example.  The Greater London Council did much further work in 1982 including a new hydraulic drive system for the bridge. And that was that!
The gates are now heavily corroded, possibly beyond economic repair and the bridge sits on blocks, off its trunnions, yet appears to be in excellent structural condition. The lock area now belongs to Peabody who inherited it from Tilfen Land. They probably have very little interest, it's hardly their core activity. The lock, gates and  swing bridge are grade II listed

The whole issue of the Arsenal Canal is an important one and something we should look at carefully.  Can anyone help us with a history of it which we could publish to highlight its past??  What does the wider (and very very large) world of canal enthusiasts out their think about it??


They advertise
11th November Jim Marrett and Richard Buchanan on A date with buildings, and Wricklemarsh. Charlton House. 2.00


9th December. Talk on the Pearly Queen of Greenwich. Charlton Society. Charlton House. 2.30

They have a long and very interesting article on the Crossness Nature Reserve by Karen Sutton
and a History of Woodlands Farm

and news on:
Petition on Automatic Interim Protection for Buildings Proposed for Listing. which had gone to the Raynsford Review on Planning
Sun in the Sands Pub - the Council have refused permission to demolish it (twice)
Petition on the Avery Hill Conservatory - neglected by the University
Kings Arms Pub, Francis Street, objections to demolition
Crossness Engines - closure through asbestos discovery
Love Lane - and the very major campaign of objections to the Meyer Homes development at Tesco


15th November Open Meeting 7 pm Queen Anne Court, University of Greenwich
26th November Lecture on the Armada portrait of Elizabeth. You have to book through their web site.

They are selling Christmas Cards in St.Alphege Church  £5 for 10

News on the opening of the viewpoint at the Point (off Point Hill) with a plaque on a pillar with a panorama by Peter Kent.

Aluna - article on this amazing scheme for a massive lunar clock on the Peninsula by Shane Brownie.  Shane is also part of their community network. Contact him for info

Westcombe Woodlands - this is the old chalk pit above Maze Hill Station - news of their open day and their bee hives.

Page with info on listing procedures and Planning

Historic Pillar boxes - they point out that Royal Mail have refurbished boxes in West Greenwich.

IKEA - and the razing of the nature book and death to the newts

News on Blackheath Joint Working Party - and events on Blackheath. And news of the long derelict toilet block

News on Greenwich Foodbank and its hub in Christ Church, East Greenwich

Article by Pieter Van der Merwe on the history of the border between the Queen's House and the Park. This is much much much more complicated than you could possibly believe!

Article on the Appleby Beam Engine in New South Wales - by - er - me. (and thanks Greenwich Soc. editor for publishing it)


Among lots of local items there is an article by Ann Hill of Wood burners as a source of pollution.

A feature on Gordon of Khartoum - who was a member of our local Enderby family. Some details of this article on the Enderby Group Facebook page.


Westcombe News carries an article on the Council's bid to become London's Capital of Culture. Their is currently a consultation on this run by the Greenwich and Docklands Festival and their have been local meetings. GIHS has taken part in some of these - and we hope others do to - remember that our industrial heritage is part of the Borough's culture and we need to ensure it is included in the bid.


Westcombe News highlight the retirement of Philip Binns from Chair of the Greenwich Conservation Group. This blog and its predecessor newsletter also have reason to be very grateful to Philip.  For 20 over 20 years he has co-ordinated the response on planning applications for local amenity and other societies.  He knows the system and he knows the Borough.
Blackheath Society had a party to celebrate this a few days ago - and this was attended by Mayor Peter Brooks - who told as how grateful he was for Philip's input when he was Chair of Planning and how grateful the Borough should be to him.


The planning brief for the land on which the gasholder sits is going to Cabinet for ratification on 15th November.  This is a public meeting, people can attend and can register to speak.  

The report and draft planning brief are on the council web site and can be downloaded.

This includes the results of the public consultation on the site - and an enormous number of people (I haven't counted) wrote in to say that the gas holder should be kept.  (thank you all of you).  Only one person wrote to say it should be demolished. There are also reports from various developers and local societies and national societies, as well as some statutory organisations, like Thames Water.  Of those able to comment none of them seem gasholder averse.  We are also aware that some people wrote in and for whatever reasons their input is not included. 

The planners are now recommending " structures of heritage significance, in particular the gas holder, should be retained",

This is an important site and one which could be key to the future of the peninsula in providing a focus for non-housing sites and amenity.  It does not just feature the gasholder but the old Dreadnought School now owned and used by the Horniman Museum. There is also the old pub which was recently burnt down and is being rebuilt (without the proper planning consent apparently!!).

Perhaps - finally - we should add that Lewisham Council has just agreed to locally list the two Bell Green gasholders  - BUT if you go through the Tunnel and look to your right you will see only half of the Poplar holder which is being demolished.

Friday 3 November 2017

Notes and news


Their current newsletter lists out several events which might be of interest:

11th November. speakers Jim Marrett and Richard Buchanan on 'A date with buildings' and 'Wricklemarsh'
10th March - Mike Brown on the Spanish Civil War and World War II Britain.
Both 2.15 Grand Salon, Charlton House.

December 10th. . Falconwood Miniature Railway. Santa Special. (behind the Electricity Station on Rochester Way).

The newsletter also features the following article by Richard Buchanan on Enderby House.

"Enderby House Hopes by  Richard Buchanan

Enderby House, listed Grade II,was built as a private house on the Greenwich Peninsula, but is also a major industrial heritage asset (the Gas Holder featured in the last newsletterbeing another). It is most famous as the headquarters of Telcon, the firm which made the first Transatlantic Telegraph Cable.
This cable ran from Valentia in Ireland to Heart’s Content in Newfoundland (with onward connections to London and New York respectively). The Irish Government is applying for Valentia Island to be a World Heritage Site, and encouraging Canada to follow suit for Heart’s Content – or even to form a single joint World Heritage Site.
This must surely add to the perceived importance of Enderby House, and improve the Enderby Group’s chances to have a Telegraph Cable display in it.  This has garnered general acceptance, including that of Greenwich Council.  However, the developers who own it, Barratt, despite making the odd encouraging noise, have not moved from their original proposal to use the House as a pub.
The House was built in 1846 with two floors and a basement, all above the old ground level (appropriate to a lower Thames level).  There is an octagon room on the top floor, with its main window built out at 45to the corner of the building to see ships coming up river.  From inside the octagon room the window is just in one of its sides and one is not conscious of the 45O offset, but it makes an unusual external feature.
Since then the river wall has been raised, and for some years the river path has been at first floor level, where the House has a door to give access to it.  However, the river wall has already been raised a further couple of feet with steps provided to get over it – and is to be raised again – though the river path remains at its existing level (with an ever increasing chance of being flooded).
Barratt currently have an application to raise terrace and other levels behind the new river wall to suit.  The Enderby Group are objecting to this proposal as it would spoil the setting of the House as seen from within the site.  They are also pressing for flood gates to be put in the river wall so that (when open) access between Enderby House and the river path is maintained; Barratt too would want this access for their pub."


Running Past Blog

Running Past blog has produced a really excellent walk with pictures along the line of the old Greenwich Park Railway Line. 

As the blogger points out, the line is relatively easy to follow between the site of the station - now the Ibis Hotel - and the A2. Various infill measures - the closed police station for instance - are pointed out, and include what is described as a 'ghost bridge'. 

More, apparently, to come. 



FOGWOFT (Friends of the Tunnel) have been approached by a Poppy Jackson to say that she has included Greenwich Foot Tunnel in her new book  'For the Love of London. What Makes London Great by the People who Make it Great'.  We await for more info from Poppy/FOGWOFT on this.

and - by the way - we went the other day to a consulation meeting on 'culture' in Greenwich run by the Greenwich and Docklands Festival. We were asked to write down our favourite things in Greenwich and put them up as post it notes - anonymously.   One of the first to go up was a note 'Greenwich foot tunnel'.  We don't know who in the room put it up - but clealry there are some fans.



The American Society for Industrial Archaelogy now have all editions of their Journal on line. If you search on line for this remember to use the US spelling 'Archeology'  or you won't find it. Sorry no linl anyway



Sadly this edition includes an obituary to John West. John has not lived locally for many years but he did co-author an excellent book on the Lewisham Silk Mills. This was the site of the Greenwich Armoury and is where TESCO is now - almost in Greenwich since the border runs along there!  Sad news

The Society is also asking for info on markers for the Meridian Line - and cites some in Lewisham.  They also hightlight a website   

They also mention Air Raid Shelters under Blackheath - with particular reference to the Zeppelins.  Another aeriel thing on Blackheath mentioned is model aeroplane compeitions (Blackheath v. Grove Park!).  



The Enderby Group is pleased to have the international expert on the Atlantic Cable on their committee - but he rarely comes to meetings, after all, he does  live in New York.
Bill has however written an article of great interest in the TICCIH - The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage - Bulletin (No.78 4th Quarter 2017).  The link is  but as you will see you won't be able to read it unless you join TICCIH
Basically the article is about the stations at the two ends of the cable - Heart's Content and Valentia - and Bill talks about the history of the cable, what is remains, and the current World Heritage site bid.

Bill - if you read this - can you let us have a version we could publish here????



We have had a prior sight of David Ramzan's new book 'Secret Greenwich'.  Obviously, this is about all sorts of things, but does include some industry. Perhaps one of the strengths of the book is that industry turns up under a number of subject headings, and makes it part of Greenwich and society in general. The book is good on football - which is, of course, one of David's enthusiams, and, as a member of the Enderby Group, he has added in some good pictures and stuff about the cables.  And it looks to be really good Christmas presenty material!

I am not aware what the publication details are, although I know some shops in Greenwich have had advance copies - and I await instructions from David on cost, etc. It is published by Amberley and the cover price is £14.99