Monday 10 February 2020

Letters November 2004

From: Julie Tadman

I am really fascinated by the waterfront at Ballast Quay, as you can imagine. I have been looking for a photo or painting which shows the house, which was demolished in 1854, Thames Cottage, prior to the Harbour Master's house being built on the site. I am looking at a copy of the "catalogue of building materials" which came from Morden College which givesa pretty good description ofthe materials from which it was made - brick and weatherboard. It was probably very similar to other old buildings in the area. All the paintings I have been able to find seem to use artistic licence in their depiction and concentrate on the grander edifices further along the Thames. And as for a photo, I suspect the building may have missed out, given the time of its demolition - but if anyone can help I would be grateful.

From: Janet LeGault

Has anyone heard of the Old Naval Reserve Bearhouse, Woolwich Road? My great grandfather, Richard Blagrove, was the licensed beer retailer of that establishment in 1889; I would love to know its specific location. For a time, he lived at the Hatcliffe's Buildings, Woolwich Road - again--I have been unable to find a specific location. I would appreciate any help in tracing these buildings. My great grandfather was a beer retailer in the Woolwich Road from 1878-1889. He lived in the area all his life (he died at 126 Woolwich Road) and is reputed to have owned 40 houses. Perhaps someone in your Society would know. I believe that my great grandmother disposed of them before she died in 1922.

From: Jim Jones

In 1958 I joined Telcon Greenwich aged 15 as an apprentice carpenter in the power cables department where there was a massive machine. I was told that it was used to help make PLUTO during the war. After the war it was tried as a power cables manufacturing machine but was too big and not economic. The sun wheel part of the machine was over 25 ft wide in early 1959 it was dismantled. My father, Arthur Jones, worked on these machines, my elder brother Arthur was the blacksmith making equipment to pick cables up from the sea bed, plus my uncle was involved making cable gear fitted to cable ships, plus photo of brand new C S Mercury loading cable at Telcon Greenwich (I was working on her at the time) 1965? I also have the Telcon fire chiefs tin hat (Big Jim) that was part of his equipment during the war. He was still there in the 1950s.

From: Alan Graham

I believe that an ancestor of mine, William John Graham (1856-1927) was a long-term employee of Messrs Siemens Brothers & Co in Woolwich, Kent, England from 1881 until his death in 1927. Siemens Archives in Germany advise me that:

"During World War I this enterprise was confiscated by British authorities and became a British company. The archives of Siemens Brothers probably remained at the new owner. Since 1957 the company uses the firm name Siemens Edison Swan Ltd."

I was wondering if the Greenwich Industrial History Society had any information on this arrangement of Companies and if there any chance that Archive material could be held concerning W J Graham and the work that he performed for the company? I understand that he had extensive experience on the cable ship CS Faraday on which he was in charge of the electrical department. I would be pleased to hear if any relevant material is held in Archives and/or elsewhere, and the cost of the retrieval and copying of such material. If not, I would be pleased to receive suggestions on whom I might contact for further investigation.

From: Iris Bryce

I’m absolutely thrilled that a publisher considers my first canal book worthy of republishing as a Classic Canal Book. My book was first published in 1979 and had seven pictures – this has 140 most of which were taken by Owen, and many of them may puzzle some of today's boaters, as developers have demolished many wonderful canal side buildings. For instance in Birmingham one picture shows a church, but sad to say, today it lies beneath Television Studios. In June 2005 the Blisworth Canal tunnel will be 200 years old and it is the longest canal tunnel still navigable. Celebrations will be televised and take place over a whole weekend. It is expected that around 300 boats will moor either side of the tunnel - so I will have boats to the right, left and centre of my garden. I'd better get a stall on the towpath in sell my books!

I discovered the London Canal Museum recently and I think it is one of great interest to all Londoners. Have you been there? It lies just behind Kings Cross Station and is housed in what was an ice warehouse.

From: Bob Hadlow

I seek your assistance concerning workshop drawings produced in The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich.

I am researching a paper on Australian Military History in the period immediately following the Federation of the Australian Colonies into the Commonwealth of Australia, in 1901, to the end of World War 1. A key element is technical detail but the only lead I have at present comes from government procedures for Army equipment. Documents held by the National Archives of Australia, show that there was an established procedure between the British and Australian Governments, for the notification of details of equipment employed by each Army. In Australia this procedure was centred on the Office of the Governor General. Copies of specifications and drawings of British equipment were received from the Inspection Department, Royal Arsenal Woolwich and forwarded on to the Australian Department of Defence, Melbourne, with a copy of the covering note to the Office of the Prime Minister. The Australian Army designed and developed some equipment of its own which was employed in the Middle East and on The Western Front during WW1 via a reversal of the above procedure. The Australian authorities destroyed the drawings and specifications during WW2 but it may be possible that British authorities retained copies. I am particularly interested in specifications and drawings, which originated from and went to the Drawing Office of the Royal Carriage Department. Both The Public Records Office, Kew and The Royal Artillery Museum, Woolwich advised they do not hold these and I therefore seek your advice of any address or contact details where this material may be held. I understand that in 1915 various drawing offices at The Royal Arsenal were amalgamated into The Design Department, attached to The Ministry of Supply but from that point 1 have lost the trail.

From: L.Bingham and Co.

We act for employees of R H Green and Silley Weir, latterly known as Blackwall Engineering, in the late 50s and early 60s, and we are trying to trace their insurers. We are aware that the company has been placed in liquidation - but our purpose in writing to you is to ascertain whether any of your members may know the insurers?

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