Sunday, 26 January 2020

Reviews and snippets January 2004

Reviews and snippets January 2004 

In Sptember 1903 we published an article by Bruce Osborne about a weight, which may have come from the Ballast Quay area.  The article came from an old GLIAS Newsletter and we had been unable to track down Bruce for permission to reproduce the article. Thanks to Paul Sowan we have now found him and he writes “ There is no problem with publishing the article from my point of view. I had forgotten it!  It is so good to hear that it has surfaced after 20 years.  I am now into spas and so a blast from the past is very refreshing, if not surprising! Dr.Bruce Osborne, Spas Research Fellowship.

Naval Dockyards Society Tour

In October a small number of GIHS members joined members of the Naval Dockyards Society to see the dockyard  models in the National Maritime Museum Kidbrook Store. These date from 1774 and while First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Sandwich instigated the building of these models after his visitation of Plymouth dockyard in June 1771, where he saw 'a very ingenious model of the whole carved in wood by the foreman of the yard'. In July 1771 the Admiralty ordered models of all the yards to be made. They were completed between March and August 1774 and presented to George III with plans of each yard showing their states at three different Periods Viz:' 1689,1698, and 1774, showing at one view the alterations and Improvements from time to time made: The Plans of 1774 agree with the Models of the Yards prepared and herewith sent for His Majesty’s use, showing all the Buildings, Docks, Slips &£:'' in their due proportions, and each distinguished whether of Brick Stone or Timber. A tour was given by John Graves of the National Maritime Museum
It should also be noted that the store itself is a very interesting building to local industrial historians – being the old RAF wartime depot hidden away at the end of Nelson Mandela Way.  More information about either models or depot would be very welcome.


A very obscure web site (I can’t work out the web address because of the pop ups from ‘dogpile’ – but I think it originates in Canada) has a family tree and some information about the Norton Barge Building family whose works was near the site of what is now the Millennium Village.  They reproduce an article from GIHS Newsletter which comes from Pat O’Driscoll about the firm (its ok Pat, they do acknowledge you, if not us!).  The site also includes a very detailed Norton family tree.

The Development of Industry in Woolwich and the Growth of Woolwich.

This year Woolwich Antiquarians asked Tony Robins, their President, to give the Vincent Memorial Lecture and his subject was the 'Development of Industry in Woolwich and the Growth of Woolwich'.
He spoke first of all about ‘The Primary stage’ - the beginnings of Woolwich. It is thought is that Woolwich started as a small fishing village by the River and the inhabitants depended on available natural resources such as farming, fishing, forestry and quarrying of local sand, gravel, chalk etc.
At the Secondary stage Woolwich Dockyard was established by King Henry VIII. There was abundant timber from the local forests and access to the River Thames. The opening of the Dockyard both in Woolwich and further upstream at Deptford brought employment for the variety of skills required in shipbuilding and ship maintenance. With the building of ships they required guns. A place was needed to hold and test the guns. A suitable site was found not far from the Dockyard then known as the Warren. After a disastrous accident when casting cannons at the Bagley's Foundry in Moorfields, London, it was decided to move this work to Woohvich during the 1600's. The Warren was chosen as the new site. From this began the Royal Arsenal armament works, which grew into a major industry in Woolwich affecting the lives of its inhabitants for many years until the 1960's when it eventually closed.
The growth of me Royal Arsenal brought the need for supporting services, which became the Tertiary stage. These included housing for the increasing number of workers.Shops to provide all the daily necessities. Transport to bring people to and from work. Amusements such as public houses, theatres and later cinema not forgetting football including the Arsenal's own team. Several well known institutions were founded " The Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society, The Woolwich Equitable Building Society, The Woolwich Polytechnic to name but a few.
With changing needs on a national level Woolwich began to lose its heavy engineering industries from the 1960's onwards with a consequent decline. This brought it into the Quaternary stage where we are now having to adapt to new technology and ways of living. (adapted from an article by Alastair Miller in WADAS newsletter)

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