Tuesday 5 November 2019

Reports and Snippets November 2000

Reports and Snippets November 2000


Crossness Engines Record gives details of what they describe as a 'Thames Water Event'. This is the opening of the new section of the Thames River Path along the riverfront – basically an extension of the riverside path from Greenwich into Bexley and on to Erith.  The event was held on 20th September with guests of honour, former MP,  Edwina Currie and John Austin MP. Other guests were there from SUSTRANS – plus a historic bicycle exhibition – and the Prince's Trust.   There is an interpretation board and a viewing platform – so walk on from Greenwich and have a look!
Crossness is expanding its Board of Trustees and has invited Jennie Page to join. They also have Simon Jenkins, Joanna Lumley and Lucinda Lampton as Vice-Presidents.
The Trust has also acquired some wonderful prints and paintings – now held in their library. This includes a coloured plan of the WHOLE of the Arsenal.


Iron Shipbuilding on the Thames 1832-1915. By A.J.Arnold.

Visions of Greenwich Reach (A Homage to the Working Thames) by Terry Scales. A selection of his collection of paintings of the river Thames on his doorstep. Images interspersed with extracts from his diaries.  


Neil Rhind wrote, in the October 2000 edition about the Blackheath Art Club. Who would have thought that all those amazing wartime films – Night Mail – Western Approaches – were made in Blackheath at what was then the GPO film Unit? Great Stuff!

Peter Kent continues in the same edition with 'Tales of the River Banks' which details changes along the Ravensbourne/Deptford Creek. All the way from the DLR Station in Lewisham to Convoys.


An amazing new Mosaic was opened in Kingsman Square in Woolwich on 7th September by Nick Raynsford MP. It shows the launch of HMS Trafalgar in 1857 at Woolwich, as well as other Dockyard scenes. The work was done by local children under the watchful eye of Greenwich Mural Workshop.

In early September a Symposium on Thames Shipbuilding was held in Rotherhithe, organised by Stuart Rankin of the Rotherhithe and Bermondsey Local History Group and sponsored by the National Maritime Museum and Greenwich Maritime Institute.  In the comfort of Nelson House (ex Nelson Dock and now part of the Hotel Complex) delegates heard a number of papers on subjects all (obviously) connected with Thames Shipbuilding . Those attending included representatives of the Museum in Docklands,  Museum of London Archaeology Service as well as Professors Tony Arnold, Univ. Essex and Andrew Lambert, Kings College.

Conference Proceedings - Shipbuilding on the Thames and Thames Built Ships. ed. Stuart Rankin. is  published as a limited edition of 100 copies.  A ground breaking publication it contains article as follows: 'The Brent Family of Shipbuilders' (Capt Brent Streit), 'Apprentice at Mills & Knight, Nelson Dock' (Bryan Cumings), 'Review of Recent Work on the Archaeology of Ship and Boat Building on the Thames' (Damien Goodburn), Shipbuilding at East Greenwich (Mary Mills), 'Castles – Shipbuilders and Breakers' (Robert & Linda Tait), 'Naval Shipbuilding on the 18th Century Thames (Rif Winfield), 'The First Post Office Steam Packets Built at Rotherhithe' (Roger Owen), 'Shipwrights – from craft guild to trade union' (Stuart Rankin), 'The Failure of Millwall Ironworks and Overend Gurney' (Tony Arnold, 'The Millwall Ironworks Site' (Edward Sargent), 'The Lower Thames Shipyards' (John Basley),  ' A Brief History of the East India Company site in Poplar', (Tony Fuller)  Copies £7.50. Copies will be only be available from a bookshop in Greenwich.


In early September The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage visited Greenwich as part of a week-long Conference and tour.  (Please see News Shopper for 6th September). A group of Society members – helped by a party of Greenwich Tour Guides – met the party with a view to showing them industrial Greenwich.  It rained .. and it rained.. and it rained.  One group came a short distance and four people (out of 250) walked down the riverside.

Well we tried! But the rain beat us.  All delegates got copies of literature provided by the Council (thank you Janice) and English Partnerships (thank you Kay).  Hopefully one day they will come back when it's drier!


In 1641 there was a glass house at Greenwich owned by Jeremy Bago and Francis Bristow. This glass house contravened Sir Robert Mansel's monopoly and they were ordered to close down, but defied this order and continued working until the House of Lords caught up with them and they were jailed in 1642. John Evelyn, a diarist, states that in June 1673 he "went with friends to the formal and formidable camp at Blackheath and thence to the Italian glass-house at Greenwich, where glass was blown of finer mettal than that of Murano at Venice". At that stage the glass house was probably still owned by the Duke of Buckingham, who had a patent for making crystal glass in 1663 for the period of fourteen years. It is probable that this patent ran most of its course. Jeremy Bago had married Susanna Henzey (from a well-established glass making family) in Oldswinford in 1619 and he had returned there by 1650. Francis Bristow had been involved in a range of different glass houses, including one in Coventry in 1621. Greenwich was not mentioned by Houghton in his list of glass houses in 1696, so it probably closed in the 1670s when it could not compete with the new 'flint' glass.


The current edition of 'Archive' includes an article by Patrick Loobey on 'Lewisham's First Electric Trams' – of course, Lewisham trams ran to Greenwich! 


Kate Jones has sent a cutting from the August/September edition of Axis which describes part of the Berkeley Homes development planned for Woolwich Arsenal by their Regeneration Director, Joanne Lucas. The article talks about the need for a 'joined up approach' which 'encapsulates the three Rs' – 'sustainable and holistic regeneration'. 


this is about the site right opposite the Dome on the other side of the river 

Roxane, the First Lady of Virginia Comes to Town . Virginia's First Lady Roxane Gilmore, Honorary co-chair of the 'Celebration 2007' steering committee, and Wife of Virginian Governor James Gilmore III, paid a flying visit to East London on Saturday morning October 1st. 2000 accompanied by Patricia Cornwell, best selling author, with the object of seeing Blackwall at low tide. It meant an early start but jet-lag didn't bother these intrepid visitors with a special mission, the group also included Charlie Cornwell, Patricia's business manager, Dr. William Kelso, leader of the APVA Jamestown excavation team, accompanied by his wife Mrs Kelso, and Jeanne Bailles a previous First Lady, all had flown over from Virginia the previous day for a long weekend of history research in Docklands, they also visited the newly restored First Settlers Monument at 'Virginia Quay', and, on the following Monday, the British Museum in Docklands.

The VIP's arrived in two limo's with their security escorts, eager and ready to scale any obstacles to glimpse historic Blackwall at low tide, they certainly managed that with no stragglers too, the First Lady Roxane is an experienced archaeologist and works with the APVA team in Virginia, all are capable in tackling the various terrain conditions.

The 'LEA Heritage Group' (re-discovering history) although given very short notice, were able to provide an adequate tour for these important visitors from the USA. Ian Sharpe their Chair said "it was an honour to be chosen to escort such notable visitors .. we were fortunate to have Rosemary Taylor, the Author, who is also an experienced tour guide, and David Clark Secretary was a great host, inviting them to his home nearby for tea served by his charming Philippine's wife Celia". It was a very informal pleasant meeting

An interesting and enjoyable experience for us all, it went very well to further cement Anglo American relations, we share a mutual history at Blackwall, and their visit to the newly restored 'First Settlers Monument' at 'Virginia Quay' by kind permission of the developers 'Barratts' showed how important this mutual history is, we all returned to the 'Gun Pub' in Coldharbour Lane for a well earned drink of fine English beer and a good chat about the future.


It is understood that the National Maritime Museum – working with Goldsmiths – has received money to develop research links in this way. A working group has been set up on Deptford and they are anxious to create links. Info. via David Riddle at Goldsmiths

No comments: