Letters January 2004
From Sue Bullock
I read with interest a letter posted by Ted Barr concerning the Silvertown explosion on your website. My grandfather was serving with the East Sussex regiment and was in attendance and at the aftermath of the explosion, and was injured himself in the process.
From Mary Cousins
I wonder whether your society has any information on the engineering firm, Lister Bros, which was situated in Nightingale Vale, Woolwich, SE18, demolished in the ‘60s. Or any information on Belmont Laundry situated in the same road, established around 1900 – proprietor Maria Lister.
My father was Samuel Lister who owned Lister Bros and the 'derelict laundry' next door, the Belmont Laundry. He was about 74 when I was born in 1948 and unfortunately because of the age difference with my relations I did not keep in touch. I remember the house in Nightingale Vale, no 59, and running down a steep slope to enter the laundry and of course the engineering works.
I have no family and eventually any bits and pieces I have will most probably end up on a bonfire when I die. I have a couple of photos of the laundry at the end of the nineteenth century with my father and some of the girls that worked there, plus some architectural drawings of buildings my grandmother had built for collection of the laundry in 1901 and wondered if anything like this would be of interest to anyone - maybe some archives somewhere?
From Mary Sheppard
I am having a real problem locating a great grand father. Thomas Knight who we believe was in the Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich in 1861. Have you any suggestions as to where to go for information.
From Rob Ward
I read in your newsletter a letter from Jon Garvey concerning a bakery ran by the Tyler family.
I am researching the Ward family in Woolwich and Greenwich who were also bakers. I am interested in Mary Elizabeth Ward (daughter of John Ward, baker and meatman) who probably married John James Tyler in 1823. I would be most grateful to see if there are any connections.
From Mr. Hambly
I looked at an article by Mr. Harry Pearman on the Plumstead chalk mines in Wickham Lane, well - when I was a young boy in approximately 1967 -68 we used to crawl on our bellies down into the chalk mine which is near if I can remember Abbey Wood camping site just up Bostall Hill on the right. Can any body remember this mine, which we played in. As far as I can see it was sealed off in the late 1960-s I hope this is some use.
From Debbie Burchell
Myself and my cousins have just started the process of tracing our family tree. I have been informed that our Great Grandparents (we think!) were shareholders in the Lovibonds Brewery and had links in the Brewery Trade. I am really asking your advice on how we can find out further details about the brewery and whether they were actually shareholders!!
From Iris Bryce
Re Janet Haworth's History of Woodlands (in our last issue) I wondered if at the time that it was built if land went as far as the street in which I was born, and the surrounding streets as they all have names relevant...i.e.: Woodland Street (renamed in the 1930's to Woodland Walk,. Woodland Grove, Walnut Tree Road, Earlswood Street?
My grandparents and parents lived in Wood Wharf until the 1940s. I am particularly interested in R.H.Green & Siley Weir where my grandfather and father worked on boiler makers plates. I would be grateful for any information.
From Ann Coats, Secretary, Naval Dockyards Society
Currently we have over 200 members throughout the world, including many ex-dockyard personnel, family historians researching their dockyard worker ancestors, and academics. Our first issue of books and articles relating to naval dockyard facilities is available and the latest edition is on our website.
In 1999 the Society started to creating an index and database of a class of documents at the Public Record Office which will increase access to a rich source for dockyard history. The last workshop was at the National Maritime Museum Greenwich, looking at Navy Board Letters 1738-1775 in ADM/B. It also introduced members to the process of creating a computerised database to further our knowledge of dockyard history. We urgently need more volunteers.
As well as news and other snippets, the site contains links to other sites of interest to naval dockyard enthusiasts and maritime history in general. The site depends on input from members so any contributions are welcome especially pictorial.
From Nick Bartlett
I am seeking any information on a watchmakers’ shop at 4 Wellington Street, Woolwich which was in business in the 1870s. It was probably under the name of John Willmann, an immigrant from near Freiburg, Germany.
From Peter Trigg
Now that the water tower of the Brook Hospital has been partly rebuilt to incorporate a flats, does anyone know if any of the original pumping equipment survives?
It is possible that the pumps were steam powered and converted to electric power in more recent times. Even old electrical equipment has a lot of interest and it would be a shame if any such equipment is destroyed.
From Howard Chard
One of my Christmas presents this year was ‘Lost Railways of Surrey’ by Leslie Oppitz (Countryside Books 2002). On page 74 is a picture of a Greenwich built Merryweather tram at Bisley Camp in 1907. In the text it explains that a tramway was built at the National Rifle Association’s original site at Wimbledon in 1864 to carry people from the firing ranges to and from a camp. In 1877 a ‘steam tram car was made available to the NRA comprising a boxed in design and weighing about 4 tons’. The locomotive was named Wharncliffe and inaugurated by the Prince of Wales. In 1898 the NRA moved to Bisley, taking Wharncliffe with them. The book gives details about the further history of the line built there – and the remains which are still to be seen. But nothing about what happened to Wharncliffe itself!