Friday 8 November 2019

Letters May 2002


From Dennis Grubb
I am related to the Grubb families who ran the Cemetery Brickyard next to the Woolwich Cemetery and the Wickham Lane Brickyard and lived at Southland Road, Plumstead.  I am wondering if you know of a publication, articles or source which can give me more information on the manufacturing process of bricks at the yards form about 1850 to early 1900s.  My family of brickmakers were first at Crayford (Barnes Cray) then /Deptford and then Plumstead,

From Denise
I am trying to gather some information on the Royal Ordnance Factory in Woolwich.  I need to do a local history assignment for my course work and the title I have been given is ‘Cause and Effect’ which I need to tie in with how the ROF came into being and what it did for Woolwich as a whole (need to base this project on a 50 year period – up to the First World War).

From China Hamilton
I am most interested in all the material I can find on Crossness Pumping Station there is no mention of the Architect of the building, Charles Henry Driver. Driver was a major Victorian architect, especially in the area of railway stations, his work on the Thames Embankment and one wing of the Crystal Palace etc. You will find his design contribution to the Crossness pumping station in the listed buildings details.

From Mark Landergan
I see you refer on your web site to an article written by my father titled ‘Eltham Park. The Story of A station’. Can I get a copy of this?
[Sorry Mark, the article was actually in Bygone Kent! – editor]

From John Grieg
I would like some information about Grieg’s Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula.  James Robert Greig, with his brother, inherited an estate in the south of Trinidad that was mainly concerned with sugar production in the early days. On various certificates he is described as a sugar merchant or retired ditto.   However, those of his children who took on the estate [incorporated in Trinidad as: Greig (Cedros) Estates Limited] are variously described, with 'planter' being one designation (my grandfather was in Trinidad but died young and my father was born there).
Various family tales suggest that there was a search for alternative products and indeed, in the 1891 census James Robert is described as 'West India Merchant (Oil Miller)' whereas he had just been 'West India Merchant' in the 1881 census). At his death in 1915 he had shares in Cedros Oil Company Limited, though, since I learnt this from the inventory, S have no idea whether it referred to vegetable or mineral oils (with Trinidad both are possible). I will be trying to trace down this Cedros Oil Company but am not at the moment able to be more specific about the nature e of his trade at Greenwich. Much will depend on when he took over the lease of the wharf, I assume from the wording of the inventory that it was not necessarily at the start of the 80- year lease.
With regard to this, the start of the lease was about a fortnight before he was married to a Jessie Rodger in Belfast. Jessie's father James was a sea captain (as was James Robert's father) and there is a family tale, which I have not yet been able to confirm but for which there is quite good circumstantial evidence, that one of Jessie's uncles was Alexander Rodger the owner of several tea clippers including the Taeping. This may all turn out to be coincidence but I will have to keep it in mind.

From Dan Byrnes
I have just placed on the internet a new website book titled 'The Business of Slavery' which is actually to be a predecessor to the main production 'The Blackheath Connection' already on the net and getting a regular 370 hits on average per week.
It presents a new theory ranged around four main themes. Attention is also given to successive expressions of interest that England had, or thought it had, in what we now call Australia. I have some facts, which have not been seen in print before so I’ll be glad to have any reactions people think I should have at this stage of writing.   

From June Baker-Dobson
I am interested in the Thames Soap Works, Greenwich, situated on the peninsula during the 1800s and hope that you may be able to help me. My husband’s father was born at the works, but we have been unable to find out anything.

From Stuart Rankin
I have been asked if anyone might have more information on the Joyce Greenwich Ironworks – can you suggest someone.

From Judy Jenkins
I am wondering if any of your members are at all knowledgeable about tenants of Charlton House in the 1970s.  I understand that Charles Davies Cortoys leased part of Charlton House from the Maryon Wilson family and also leased part of Shooters Hill Road. I would be stunned if anyone can help me with information on this man.

From Catherine Brigden
My great-grandfather Charles Brigden was from Woolwich and was a gunner with the Royal Horse Artillery, serving during the Crimean War. I have come across a reference stating that he was among several men presented with a cannon by Queen Victoria and that these cannons were placed on Woolwich Common. I am wondering if there are any remaining on the common.

From Paul Harcombe
I am wondering if you could possibly help me. I lived in married quarters with my parents (my dad with in the Royal Artillery Motorcycle Display Team) for three years up to 1979 at which point history and military history in particular became of great interest.   My dad always encouraged this especially as being in Woolwich he was really proud of being at Regimental HQ, as it were.  These days I work in HM Land Registry and as a result have access to the up to date map of the UK and some computerised versions of old maps. This point of all this meandering is that I noted on the old maps of the Royal Artillery buildings in Woolwich, a building called the Magnetic Office, just south of the Rotunda.  I couldn’t find out what it was – and it has been bugging us as to what it might have been for. If you could possibly help me I would be very grateful.

From Chris Mansfield

It’s Chris, from Readysnacks cafe.... I was just having a look at your web site and spotted the link to my own (re Tom Cribb)

The site address has now changed and fairly soon this link will not find me.
Also, if you are interested, you got his date of birth listed
Incorrectly.. He was born on the 2nd July 1781 and Christened on the 8th. I have got copies of both his birth cert' and christening cert'. A lot of Tom Cribb devotees got this bit wrong. How goes it with your book of people at work??
Byeeee Chris 

From David Riddle
Do you have, or do you know anyone who is interested in Joseph Paxton? The guy who contacted me about the Dome and Wellcome's plan has just set up a Society to celebrate his bicentennial... Joseph Paxton (1803-1865) is probably the unsung hero of the Victorian age - but in many ways he is a remarkably contemporary figure. In 1851 (the year of the Great Exhibition) he was quite well known, a reputation equivalent to that of Stephenson or Brunei. He was first and foremost a 'horticulturist' - head gardener to the 6th Duke of Devonshire. His contributions to horticulture are many, from his groundbreaking publications to the giant 'Victoria Regia' lily and the 'Cavendish' banana. He was also a railway entrepreneur. He is probably best' known for his pioneering work in Iron and Glass structures – the exposition buildings and greenhouses of the age.  Similar techniques in steel led to skyscrapers. The 'Crystal Palace' was widely imitated, and it was the world's first 'International Exposition' building. Sydenham was probably the World's first Theme Park'. And, as many have observed, the 'Dome' owes part of its existence to this legacy- so marking his Bicentennial in the Dome seems particularly apt.

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