Thursday 7 November 2019

Letters and reviews


From Nicholas Hall, Curator Fort Nelson Museum
I am just revising my article on Blakely, the gun founder who had a works on the Greenwich Peninsula. This will be for this year’s yearbook..  I cannot remember if I told you that I had acquired a wonderful Blakely mountain gun earlier this year – the very same gun is shown in the album. I also have a report of a Blakely gun in Wales.

From Steve Foster
I was researching the name Molassine and found your site. I have a tin Matchbox approx 3" x 1 1/2" which has the Molassine Trade mark to the front which consists of a bulls head and on the horns it says Molassine Horse Food on one and Molassine Cattle food on the other with a rearing horse and bull either side. On the reverse it has a reclining naked lady holding a tray or plate with one elbow resting on a Pig. Down one side it says 'THE MOLASSINE CO Ltd. 36 Mark Lane, LONDON. E.C. and on the other it says Telegrams:-"SPHAGNUM, LONDON." Telephone 1970 AVENUE, This Item is for sale if any of your members are interested.  

from Lisa Milord,
I am searching for information about some ancestors who  worked as firework makers and foremen at the Royal Laboratory and  Arsenal. The family name was Cook; my great-great-great-grandfather  Thomas Cook worked at the Royal Arsenal and invented a flare  that was used as a distress signal by ships at sea. His father, John  Cook, was listed on an 1813 christening record as a foreman at the Royal Laboratory. Thomas Cook's son Thomas (John's grandson) appears  on the 1891 census in Oare, Kent as "chief artist in fireworks" at the  Green Cotton Factory there. Do you know where I could get more  information about John Cook and his four sons (James, John, Thomas and  William), who lived and worked in the  Woolwich/Plumstead area, or at least more information about British  firework makers in the 18th and 19th centuries?  We even have a family story about Thomas Cook's wife Mary hiding  gunpowder under her skirts, pretending she had a bad leg and couldn't  walk, when government inspectors came one time to their home when  gunpowder was being strictly rationed or otherwise controlled by the  government.

You do have a marvellous website; it brings the area to life.  Thanks for any help you can provide. 

From Barbara Ludlow
I had a really pleasant surprise on Thursday when the Postie delivered a book to me. It came from Canada and at first I thought it had come to the wrong place.  However not so.  In May 2000 I sent a load of information on women workers in the Royal Arsenal to Prince Rupert Library. It was needed by a man writing a book. I also sent information on Cliffe in Kent.  They thanked me and I literally forgot all about the author ant the book. It is a novel  - a rather adult children’s book - is set in 1914. France, Cliffe and Woolwich come into the story. The author is Iain Lawrence and the book’s title is ‘Lord of the Nutcracker Men’. Published by Delacorte Press, New York, 2001. $15.95. ISBN 0-385-72924-3 (trade). Hard back with a very attractive dust cover. Personally I would not call it a children’s book.  Kathleen Larkin of Prince Rupert Library told me that the book has had very positive reviews and Iain has received expressions of interest for turning it into a film. He has written prize-winning books before. I really did not do that much for them and what I did I did for love of the subject.  Iain wrote on the title page "thank you for your help - I hope I did justice to Woolwich and the munitions women’.  He also listed me in his acknowledgements.   So strange to see thanks to ‘Barbara Ludlow of Hawkinge, Kent’.  I suppose I am now!   

From Lesley Bossine, Kew Bridge Steam Museum
We have now produced the CD Rom of the Maudslay Seminar and Exhibition held in this Museum in July 2001.  Further copies can be purchased from the Museum Shop (Green Dragon Lane, Brentford, Middlesex, TW8 DEN  020 8568 4757  for £7 plus post and packing. You may be interested to know that we are working with the Maudslay Society to re-print and update their commemorative brochure on Maudslay Sons and Field again on CD Rom format. The publication date is not fixed yet but we will notify you when it become available should you be interested in purchasing a copy.

From John Milner
This summer I was in a pub in Killarney, Ireland when I saw a ship model with the following inscription ‘Clementia. Bult 1873, for Sir John Tadman. Blackwall. Marylebone’ – any information please?

From Bob Aspinall
Please note that the Museum of London’s Docklands Library and Archive has now been transferred on a loan basis to the new Museum in Docklands.  I have been seconded by the Museum of London to the Museum in Docklands as Librarian.  My new contact details are:  Museum in Docklands, Library and Archive, No.1. Warehouse, West India Quay, Hertsmere Road.  London, E14.

From Ted Barr
Thank you for the latest newsletter (November issue) I see you have given me a whole page! Ho! Ho!  I had hoped to get in the following notes for Bob Patterson (re item in No.4. Vol.4. July issue). Here it is: Holbrook Lathes – I have no personal knowledge or experience of this make of machine but our Chairman, Jack, may be able to help.  A recent contact tells me that he has a 4½” Hollbrook tool room machine guaranteed by the makers to be accurate to 1/10,000 inch (more comments, please Jack).  Apparently of massive design and built with great rigidity, weighing over 1½ tons.  In capacity similar to a Boxford AUD,CUD etc 4½”. The owner has given me some contacts if anyone is interested.
There was also a former member of Dockland and East London Model Engineering Society who had been a time served machine tool maker at Holbrook’s and might be of assistance.  He had built a ⅛” scale model of a Holbrook which has been on show at National Exhibitions at Wembley and Castle Donington.


Subbrit Web site – for Nick Catford’s write up of the Greenwich Borough Control – Southwood Road, New Eltham SE9.  Nick describes how this blockhouse was built in 1954 as the Woolwich Borough Control Centre but became the Greenwich Centre in 1965.  It goes on to say that in 1980 the GLC said it was not fit for use – the website also gives Nick’s photographs of the premises.

GLIAS NEWSLETTER.    Includes an article by Bob Carr about the new riverside path now open around the Dome site.  He mentions the slice of ship, which is still moored alongside the path. ‘There are still a few small ships to be seen at the Tideway. Bob mentions SSVic 56  (which can be seen across the river and also a diesel trawler, Ross Leopard   (Bob does not mention the extremely opulent private cruise vessel which was around at the same time).

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