Friday 8 November 2019

Review and snippets May 2002

Review and snippets May 2002

David Riddle points out to us a letter on the google groups web site rec.subterrenea which asks if the subsidence is really the old plague pits after which some people claim that Blackheath is named.


This will be the successor to the first symposium, which was held at Nelson Dock House, Rotherhithe, in September 2000. Papers offered to date include: William Evans, shipbuilder of Rotherhithe and his steamships - Stuart Rankin Thames built ships of the Orient Line and the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company - Peter Newall The General Steam Navigation Company Yard at Deptford - Peter Gurnett Early steamship machinery installation and repairs on the City Canal, Isle of Dogs - Roger Owen  Coastal shipping and the Thames - John Armstrong Convicts to Australia. The story of HMS Glatton and her sister ship HMS Calcutta, former East Indiamen, 1802-3 - Brian Swann An aspect of warship building on the Thames – Rif Winfield 
Professors Sarah Palmer and Andrew Lambert will co-chair the Symposium. Further details will be issued towards the end of the year.

ISLAND HISTORY OPEN DAYS Dockland Settlement, 197 East Ferry Road, E14 3BA  – walk there from Greenwich! On open display, 5,000 photographs of the Isle of Dogs 1870-1970 schools, families, workplaces, streets, pubs churches.  

Making Memories Matter – will be the title of the June exhibition at the Age Exchange Theatre Trust at 11 Blackheath Village.  

FIREPOWER – have Royal Salutes in the Arsenal 

The Isle of Dogs: A Brief History - Volume 1: 1066-1918 By Eve Hostettler,
Published by the Island History Trust, December 2000. 
This book by the Trust's curator Eve Hostettler is based on archive research and draws extensively on the Trust's collection of reminiscence and ephemera put together by Islanders themselves over the past 20 years. It includes many photographs from the Trust's own collection and
from the Museum of London PLA Collection. The story of the Isle of Dogs from medieval times to the opening of the docks is explored in the context of the expansion of London as an international port and the development of Britain's trading relationship with the rest of the world. Industrial growth on the Isle of Dogs is shown as linked to ship-building in the first six decades of the 19th century, with a new population converging on the area from all over the British Isles. This population growth continued until 1900, by which time the character of the local economy had become much more varied, with engineering and food processing as dominant activities. A settled community was developing with all its associated features of extended families and shared pursuits, only to be shattered by the impact of World War One, illustrated here through the recollections of one individual Islander who served in the trenches.

'A Fisherman of Greenwich' by Julie Tadman.
Published 2002 in Brisbane, Australia.
Those who believe    that   "doing family history” is self-indulgent and without historical merit will find that Julie's book proves them wrong. Her interest in the history of her English ancestors was sparked off when a memorial card came to light in New Zealand. Modern technology came to Julie's aid and an e-mail asking for help in her search for details about the Bracegirdle family, Greenwich and its fishing industry appeared in a Greenwich Industrial History Society journal. I contacted Julie Tadman, not because I knew anything about William Bracegirdle of Ballast Quay  "but because I knew a little about his grandson Frederick Bracegirdle.  Frederick sailed to the Auckland Islands with
Charles Enderby in 1849.  He stayed in the Antipodes and eventually became Assistant Harbour Master in Sydney. William Bracegirdle was not born in Greenwich but he came to the town in about 1795 as a young fisherman apprentice. He became a successful master Fisherman and set himself up in Crowley Wharf and Ballast Quay.

By 1840 Greenwich fishermen were trying to compete with the new fishing ports on the East Coast and William/although still fishing, began to look for a new enterprise to secure his future. Unfortunately he became embroiled in a legal case with the trustees of Morden College. William’s dream of opening a new East Greenwich Steam boat Pier, in partnership with the wealthy developer Coles Child, came to nothing. Arguments with Morden College and the court case brought against William in 1844 are the core of the book. He lost everything and by 1861 he and his wife were living in Queen Elizabeth College, West Greenwich. They both died there in 1863.
Please make cheque payable to M.Price.
Barbara Ludlow, April 2002

A Tree in the Quad. Life in Woolwich 1940s- to 70s. Iris Bryce.
Iris Bryce’s latest book of reminiscences is a fascinating read for anyone interested in Woolwich Local history and in particular with the history of British Jazz. Her husband, Owen, was one of the pioneers of the British Revivalist Movement and a member of George Webb’s Dixelanders in the 1940s.
‘Industrial’ history is not neglected with an account of the embarrassing unveiling of the infamous Woolwich Autostacker. Iris also captures well a period of rapid change with the sharp decline in the small retail and service sector in the mid 20th century.
Most of all her writing is witty and human. Highly recommended.
Alan Mills

(Editorial Note – for those less familiar with the history of British Jazz than our reviewer – basically, British Jazz was invented by George Webb and his chums at the Red Barn pub in Bexleyheath.  The chums included not only Owen Bryce but also such luminaries as Humphrey Lyttleton and Woolwich’s then Museum curator, Reg Rigden!)

Bygone Kent - Vol 20, No3. Contains part 3 of Mary Mills’ seminal articles on the Maudslay Son and Field shipyard on the Greenwich Peninsula.

Mary would also like to thank the anonymous person who sent her, via Bygone Kent, a list of vessels, which may have been built at the yard. These are:
Grappler - 1866 Iron, 30 hp screw for Richard Cory, Commercial Road, Lambeth Surrey.
Tigress 1870 Iron 30 hp screw for William Yeoman, 19 Caervarvon Road, Stratford Essex,
Star - 1867 (registered Preston 1880). Iron screw, steam yacht. For Thomas Townley-Parker, Cuerdon Hall, Preston.
Thyra. 1876 (SGMB formerly Elsbeth, registered London 1881). Iron screw, for Delabore O, Blaine, 2 Suffolk Lane, Cannon Street, City, London.
Hebe. Steam yacht 1856, Maudslay annular piston engine 244 indicated HP.

In addition – from other sources – it is now clear that the Thames Ferries, Jessie May and Pearl, were not built by Maudslay.

Sorry to learn from the Lewisham Local History Newsletter of the death of Lewisham Archivist Jean Waite. Jean had been a supporter of GIHS from the start – but her death will be a real blow to historians in Lewisham.

Greenwich Foot Tunnel’s Centenary

Greenwich Foot Tunnel opened on 4 August 1902. (Exactly 2 years after the late Queen Mother was born). It was not only a major engineering achievement by Alexander Binnie (later made Sir), it also provided for the first time an alternative to the expensive ferry across the river. The Foot Tunnel allowed many people from Greenwich and the isolated Isle of Dogs to cross the Thames very easily for the first time.

So, the Foot Tunnel is 100 years old on Sunday 4 August this year. Oddly, neither Greenwich nor Tower Hamlets Councils had any plans to mark the occasion, and so Greenwich Cyclists have decided to create a suitable event on the day. Tower Hamlets Wheelers are in on the plan too.

Plans are evolving quickly and Greenwich Council is now becoming interested. At the very least there will be a human chain linking Cutty Sark Gardens and Island Gardens and events on both. Alcatel, the largest private sector employer in the borough, have been invited to supply one of their submarine cables to pull through and so link the 2 communities. Binnie, Black and Veatch – the firm started by Alexander Binnie is now a UK-based multi-national partnership of consulting engineers are delighted to get involved, and at the very least, want to mount an exhibition about the tunnel project in, probably, the adjacent World Heritage site interpretative area. 

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