Thursday 7 November 2019

Letters March 2002

Letters March 2002

From Sean Creighton
Agenda Services Book Clearance Sale. Nights drawing in, Why not read a book instead of watching TV? 
[Agenda Services specialise in political history – with an emphasis on local history in South London].

From Barry Taylor & Marcelo Olmedo, English Heritage.
As some of you already know the Greater London Sites and Monuments Record (GLSMR) is a database of over 70,000 sites of historic and archaeological interest across London's 33 boroughs. The last year saw some changes to the office as new staff joined the team. Barry Taylor is the new manager and Marcela Olmedo the assistant, and both are working hard towards the objectives set for this year.

It is our aim to make the GLSMR, not only a powerful tool for research and planning but also a way to encourage and develop a greater understanding of the historic environment for everyone.
Our most important goal is to make the GLSMR more accessible for our existing users and to encourage more people to make use of the information we hold. We now use email to disseminate our data. To receive information in this way please contact us at In partnership with other heritage organisations in London  We have begun the first stages of a project to put our database online. We are also looking into other ways of delivering information using non-paper media such as CD-Rom.  Finally we are considering distributing the entire database to a number of organisations across Greater London and would appreciate your comments on this. We are also planning to increase the both the depth and scope of the GLSMR through a rolling strategy of data enhancement projects. For this we invite you to propose areas where our data needs enhancing, from which key areas for improvement will be highlighted and subsequent projects designed. The first call for suggestions is now open and we have set a deadline of March

We hope to have a close working relationship with your organisation and will keep you updated of all the latest changes and improvements. We will also have a new information leaflet ready by the summer. We would, therefore, be grateful for any suggestions you may have on the targeting of the GLSMR in your area and any ways in which we can improve our service to you.
If the person who deals with these matters or your address has changed then please let us know.
This will help us to keep our records up to date.

I look forward to receiving your reply and would like to thank you in advance for your co- operation. Please feel free to contact us at anytime on the number below.

We have replied pointing out that their officer met our committee some two years ago promising a scheme for us to record industrial buildings in Greenwich – he never came up with the further information and we have heard nothing since – what has happened?

From Barry Bowdidge
Perhaps the Greenwich Industrial History Society could provide or have some information on my family who  were a group of prolific carpenter/joiners in the Deptford Greenwich Borough in 1881. There were seven members who appear in the 1881 census as carpenter/joiners.
181 Church Street, Deptford – father William, and three sons Richard (21), John (16) William (23)
15 Eaton Street, Deptford – Joseph Bowdidge (30)
11 Royal Naval Place, Deptford – Walter Bowdidge (28)
70 Watergate, Deptford – John Bowdidge (30)
In addition my mothers maiden name was Brome and we are descended from Lieutenant General Joseph Brome, Royal Artillery, Woolwich.   He started as a drummer boy and his career spanned from 1751-1793. He died at Woolwich in 1796.

From Lesley Bossine (Kew Bridge Engines Trust)
Thanks to the support of a private benefactor we are currently restoring a horse gin used to lift well water on a farm near Basingstoke. The main frame of the horse gin bears the inscription ‘J.Stone & Co. Engineers, Deptford’ – can anyone supply any information about this company and it’s products, we are particularly keen to know whether the manufacture of horse gins was a speciality.
We are also calling for papers for a seminar to be held next year on Richard Trevithick.

From Myles Dove 

I am writing about the proposed destruction of most of the buildings on the Rachel McMillan.College site in Creek Road.  The College was founded by Margaret McMillan as a memorial to her sister Rachel for the work they did together for the health and education of poor children in Deptford. Queen Mary, great-grandmother of Prince Charles, formally opened the college building in 1950 and it happens to have a porch with classical columns of which he might approve. The halls of residence added at the eastern end of the site by ILEA architects were more carefully detailed.

From Tim Smith,
I came across this yesterday in Nicholas Owen’s Book ‘History of the British Trolleybus, (1974).  In 4th September 1897 a most intriguing reference had appeared in the Autocar to an electric omnibus supplied with current from an overhead wire. The surprising element is that the trials were apparently being made on a quarter mile run in Greenwich, south London, but all records of such an event have disappeared;’ – any ideas???

From Mike Neill, Project Officer, Greenwich Heritage Centre.
The Woolwich Kiln will soon need to be moved from its present site to an area of the site adjacent to the proposed Greenwich Heritage Centre. We will need to have a look to ensure no damage has occurred, so this may be a good opportunity to see what the state of things are.  
On a slightly different issue, we opened up the undercroft and roof of the Charlton House summerhouse yesterday to check for condition etc. before the  imminent paving works. I've posted photos and a few notes at
Editorial Note: this really is a super web site about the underground workings and architecture of the ‘Inigo Jones public toilets’ at Charlton House.

From Jeremy Shearmur, Parks & Open Spaces Dept
Your web site contains somewhere reference to the "convicts flower" or  red dead nettle. Can you give any information on this as I am trying to  make a botanical identification of this plant. This is part of the  research for the new park Royal Arsenal Gardens.

From: J G Walker

My name is Jim Walker, I am a widower living in Yanakie  which is at the southern most point of Victoria, Australia.In 1943 I started work as an apprentice with a company named Robison  Brothers & Company Pty Ltd of Melbourne. Robison Bros commenced business in 1854 and closed for business in 1973 and were pioneers in the engineering history of Australia. In my  old age I am attempting to compile a history of this great company which may  be of future use to some industrial archaeologists.  At this time I am researching the following:  In 1878 a contract for the supply of a steam launch between Robison  Brothers & Company and The Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners was  initiated. The launch was to be 50' long x 10'6" breadth x 5'6" deep. In  general terms the launch was to be used as work boat around Melbourne's  harbor facilities.  Included in the specifications was for Robison Brothers to install for fire  protection purposes a  Merryweather & Sons Improved patent single cylinder steam fire engine No  (b-h-6)  ( Stationary engine for launch). Reference to the pump is shown in  Merryweather & Sons - Book  1874 - page 11. ( I hope the No ( b-h-6 ) is correct)  I am hoping Mary that your Society or some person or organization may have a copy of the Merryweather & Sons - Book, from which a photocopy could be taken, if I could obtain a copy I would be very grateful, the added information would enhance my notes and  give those that view the notes an indication of the quality of fire protection equipment that was available over 120 years ago.

From Sue
My family are all ex-Woolwichies and my parents are currently living in a Somerset village called Woolavington. This is close to a Royal Ordnance Factory site. During recent clearance of the village hall (which was once the ROF social club) a large photo was found of some policemen posing in front of a rather grand building, it has a Woolwich photographer's stamp on the back. Woolavington have put a copy of this photo on their website and asked for help in tracing its history. My parents think the building could be the old town hall but there the connection seems to end. Can you cast any light on this please?
Many thanks for any help you can give on this, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your website and will join up
I am also passing your details to a friend who owns one of the very first Merryweathers (it's in his garden shed!!), I'm sure he'll be most interested.

From Richard Menari

Whilst researching my family tree, I came across a reference to a public house called The Railway Tavern in Hamilton Street Deptford. Apparently one of my ancestors namely a Mr Duncan Jenkins was the publican of this establishment in the 1880s, I believe the pub has long since gone but was once a regular meeting place for the dockers who worked in the area. I would be grateful for any information regarding the above, would particularly like to obtain a photo of this public house if
anyone has one. 

From: Annerley  
I am wondering if you can help me.  My husband's Great Grandfather is believed to have had a timberyard/sawmill on the Thames at Deptford. His name was James Coppell/Copple (m Emma Gidley). His dates are b 1850c, married at Wandsworth 1884, d 1900c. Apparently his funeral procession went down the Thames.  With these basic details I am having problems confirming where his business premises were. I was just wondering if you may have come across his name in your historical studies.  I have found your site very interesting.

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