Thursday 26 March 2020

Greenwich Materials Recycling Facility

By Richard Buchanan

The Blackheath Scientific Society had a visit to the Greenwich Materials Recycling Facility on 16 Jan 2007. Numbers were limited to ten. Unlike other Councils, the Greenwich philosophy is to ask people to put all dry waste in one blue top bin, and to collect it with a single lorry. They then separate it at a mixed, dry, recycling plant. 

The plant occupies a big grey building at the far end of Nathan Way, Plumstead. Mr Peter Dalley, the manager, took us round, on a first floor walkway, and showed us the various machines which are linked by rising conveyor belts. The day we went there was much rubbish on the floor under the conveyors, and paper/plastic separation did not seem as good as it might have been, though presumably acceptable.

The first process is bag splitting, so any pre-sorting one might have done is nullified. Then oversized items are removed with a Trommel Screen, to be manually sorted. This is followed by a Ballistic Separator (a large spinning drum) which does an initial sort of containers from paper. Containers are separated into iron, aluminium and glass: a Magnet (people with pacemakers are not let on the visit) takes out iron cans etc; an Eddy Current separator removes aluminium; leaving glass. Plastic bags, paper and a residue remain. An infra-red lamp detects Plastic and drives a puffer machine to separate it from paper. Paper is sorted first automatically, and then manually - it is important that no glass gets into it, though small wispy pieces of plastic are tolerated. The last piece of equipment is a Baler. Some incoming waste, such as bulk paper from a business, can go straight to the baler. 

Depending on market prices, particularly for plastics, extra manual sorting can be done. Manual Sorters work two or three to a room about 6 m (20 ft) square, for seven hour days, no shift lasting more them four hours. The plant is run with a staff of about 20 per shift.

Mr Dalley took questions afterwards and outlined future plans. He gave various prices: Paper for newsprint earns £250 per ton; Cleanaway, who take the baled waste, put up £6m towards the cost of the plant; National Land Fill permits come with a fine of £150/ton for excess; and an EU fine of F/Wday; a waste disposal lorry costs £125,000; wheelie bins for 120, 240 & 330 litre capacity cost £25, £18 & £40. 

At present 72% of residents voluntarily use blue top bins, and produce high grade waste. It is proposed to revise the use of bins so that all residents use blue-top bins for dry waste and green-top bins for kitchen and garden waste – with weekly collection for both. Other waste would be put in a bag and collected fortnightly. Biodegradble Cornstarch bags would be used for kitchen waste - fitting in a kitchen container, tied off when full and put in the green-top bin. 

It is proposed to build an anaerobic digester for green waste so that methane given off as it rots can be fed to a Combined Heat and Power plant (better than a garden compost bin venting to the atmosphere). If restaurant waste were properly sorted this too would be taken and would improve digester efficiency. Other by-products would be a good quality top soil and liquid fertiliser, both useable by the Council. In the future it might be worthwhile to adapt the digester to produce hydrogen

Tuesday 24 March 2020

Merryweather 'Bottell' and W.R.Crow

We received an enquiry about a Merryweather leather pitcher which we put on our Facebook page. (

Merryweather were the Fire Engine specialist manufacturers based in Greenwich High Road .  They made lots of other things to - pumps, trams, etc etc.

We sent all the stuff off to Merryweather expert, Neil Bennett,  and here is what he says:-

"In reply to your enquiry about the Merryweather pitcher or Black Jack, ................... this is clearly a superb example of the very rare leather 'black jack' and may have come from the Merryweather museum in Greenwich Road / Greenwich High Road, London.

The firm also had longstanding premises in Long Acre (Covent Garden) among others. The inscription 'Merryweather Fecit' most likely refers to Moses Merryweather, although there were other members of his family already in Long Acre when Moses came down from Yorkshire in 1807. (One was a carriage-maker whose work included leather items).

A major customer of Merryweather black jacks was the Greenwich hospital for the Royal Navy, founded in 1694. Some information on black jacks is in a chapter from my book. (we have a copy of this if anyone is interested)

If you are reading the inscription "...ngton" correctly, this would be
Richard Edwin Stubington L I Fire E, A I Fire E, ACA, FCA, RE (TA)
He was  (born 1893, chairman of Merryweathers from 1943, retired from work 1966). So this gives a wide possibility of dates for the gift.

As far as W R Crow and Son are concerned, I cannot find any further evidence as to why they received the black-jack from Merryweather's. Your mother may be right that Crow's provided storage and accommodation after one of MW's bombings (5 Nov 1940 and 24/25 Jun 1944), or for some other favour. Merryweather were always a considerable user of timber in their products and patterns etc, so Crow's may have been a dependable supplier or may have helped out in special circumstances.

I have found the following about W & R Crow & Son Ltd:1885 - see attachment
1891 - still at 6-8 Benjamin Street/Cowcross Street, EC. timber and mahogany merchants and importers of joinery.
In 1943 moved from Greenwich? to Crow's Wharf, Crabtree Manorway, Belvedere, nr Erith, Dartford, Bexley. Had a 300ft quay.
          1948 - Aerial photos - see internet. Jenningtree Point, Erith.
1954 - still at Crabtree Manorway
In 1961 at 6-8 Benjamin Street, London EC1 (registered office), Faringdon/Islington/Clerkenwell.
In 1961 the company was liquidated, apparently on a voluntary basis, by Redford Crosfield Harris FCA
1967 - Crow's (apparently still extant) presented a petition for the winding up of Ridgebild Ltd.
1970s - appears to have morphed into a timber protection company with several addresses - see attachments.
I don't know if the 1945 cutting is relevant.
 The following books and newspaper articles are about black-jacks and Merryweather:
Oliver Baker: Black Jacks and Leather Bottells, 1924, esp. p.116-117 and p.188
Isle of Wight Observer 15 Apr 1916 p.6
Millom Gazette 17 Jan 1902 p.6
'Nor-Rider' (fire brigade magazine) Jun 1955 p.28-29

Monday 23 March 2020

Street furniture - old Greenwich Borough sites


In an issue of  2006 Richard Buchanan and Susan Bullevant described how they and other members of GIHS/Woolwich Antiquarians rescued an old Borough of Woolwich Electricity Junction box. Richard later wrote expanding on the subject. 

Are these features still there - comments?? please??

The junction box with the Woolwich Arms is presumably the earliest type they used (and the only one of this type I have seen in recent years). I have seen three other types of electricity distribution box in the Borough of Woolwich; two made by Siemens, and one by Henleys. These are somewhat bigger - it is never easy to dress the cabling in the confines of a junction box - and are fitted with a door that is hinged at the very edge of the box for maximum accessibility. Woolwich boxes have double sided access, being designed to be put near the edge of the pavement, with a door or removable panel facing the road; and a door facing the pavement. (Modern BT and CATV distribution boxes are single sided and usually set at the inner side of the pavement, backing onto the adjacent property). Overall Height of the distribution boxes described below is above an integral plinth at ground level; below ground they extend about another foot. A rounded height is given, as there is variability in how the box is set in the ground, particularly where the ground is not level. I list below boxes I have seen at the end of 2006. There are probably more.

Woolwich Junction Box with the Woolwich Arms on Shooters Hill: removed from Eaglesfield Road opposite the end of Cleanthus Road. It has a door on either side, hinged on the right with a key operated lock on the left. Overall dimensions: Height: 52 in, Width: 19.5 n, Depth: 14 in. Weight: assuming an average thickness of 1 cm, this junction box works out at 250 kg (1/4 tonne). It is unusual in having a round cap fitted over the centre of the top, suggesting that it was designed to mount a lamp (or alarm?) standard.

Siemens Junction Box I Shooters Hill, Laing Estate (built 1935-6).
I have counted the following on the Laing Estate: Ashridge Crescent: 4, Bushmoor Crescent: Kinlet Road: 2 Plumstead: one in Timbercroft Lane at the junction with The Slade. Overall dimensions: Height: 56 in. Width: 24 in Depth: 15.5 in. 
These boxes have a door hinged at the right hand edge of the side facing the pavement, with pintles held in the base and top; on the left is a key operated lock. Below the door, on the base is cast “SIEMENS”. The roadside face has a removable panel held by six screws. On each side there is a 4 inch square plaque stating: REGISTERED No 750202/29. PATENT No 336752

Siemens Junction Box II - Shooters Hill, Wimpey Estate, one in Condover Crescent. “Siemens” is not visible, the base being sunk in the pavement, but the box has the same plaque on its sides. It is wider than Box I, with full width doors of the same type, on both sides: Overall dimensions: Height: 56 in Width: 30 in Depth: 15.5 in

Henley Junction Box - Plumstead, one in each of Pegwell Street and Lucknow Street by Timbercroft Lane. Overall dimensions: Height: 60 in, Width: 20 in, Depth: 16 in. These boxes have a door on the side facing the pavement, hinged, for maximum accessibility, on the left hand edge. The door has two key holes on the right, at top and bottom. The roadside face has a removable panel held on eight studs by nuts. On the base, below the panel, is cast “HENLEY”.

Woolwich Junction Box with the Woolwich Arms. Further to the one taken from Shooters Hill to the Greenwich Heritage Centre, I have now seen three more. Plumstead: one, at the junction of Burrage Place and Burrage Road; two, diagonally opposite, at the junction of Frederick Place and Bloomfield Road. They have a door on either side, hinged on the right with a key operated lock on the left. The door on the side facing the road is not the full width of the cabinet, while the one on the pavement side is the full width of the cabinet. Both doors bear the Arms of the Borough of Woolwich. These boxes are of a regular pattern, and do not have a cap fitted on top as the one taken from Shooters Hill did.

We have had a number of other details sent in about historic street furniture around the Borough

From a Greenwich Transportation Engineer about an old traffic light pad in Farmdale Road. This dates from when Farmdale was at the end of Westcombe Hill before the construction of the motorway. Recent road works by the Water Board may be in the process of destroying it.

From Mike Neill: The lamp column and base at White Hart Lane Depot have recently been removed – within the last few months - presumably as part of Tilfen's site clearance. It used to stand in the space between the gate pier and the weighbridge office. The weighbridge still survives however, as does an ornate thing that I think was a sign holder - not a light as the old column was right behind it.

There is a Council Tramways cover just beside the bus stop o/s Dreadnaught House on the Woolwich Road

The last surviving wood block paving that I know of in the Borough - maybe from the works featured in the GIHS? - curiously enough in Powis Street, Woolwich.

There is also an old tram telephone box near the Blackwall Tunnel entrance in Blackwall Lane – almost alongside ‘Ranburn’.
(this was cleared during Olympic tidying up)

In Vanburgh Hill outside the nurses homes, now converted to flats, is a metal plate marked ‘Merryweather & Co.’ – was this part of some sort of integrated fire extinguisher system within the building?

Sunday 22 March 2020

Dunkirk and the General Steam Navigation Company

Dunkirk and the General Steam Navigation Company

By Tom Mogg

The General Steam Navigation Company was founded in 1824. At the start of the 1939-45 war they had about 45 ships, of which 10 were pleasure boats. These were ideal as they could carry up to 2000 passengers at up to 21 knots. These, and some of the Company's cargo boats, saved around 10% of all those rescued from the French beaches. This is the full story of those ships.

The twin-screw motor vessel Royal Daffodil, built in 1939, could carry 2073 passengers at 21 knots. She started the war by helping to evacuate school children from London to the east coast ports of Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Yarmouth. She made seven trips to Dunkirk and saved over 8500 troops. On her final voyage she was dive bombed and hit on the starboard side. The bomb passed through three decks, through the engine room, just missing the main fuel tank on that side, and exploded astern of the ship. This caused the engine room to flood. The Master ordered all on board to move over to the port side, causing the ship to list sufficiently to lift the hole out of the water; enabling the second engineer and the donkey man to crawl in and block the hole with mattresses and timber. She then returned to Ramsgate, disembarked her troops, and had temporary repairs. From there she travelled round the coast, into the Thames and on to the Company's repair yard at Deptford for full repairs. The upper structure was riddled with bullet holes, one of the lifeboats having 187 holes, all of which had to be filled.

Her sister ship, the Queen of the Channel, managed only one trip to Dunkirk, taking off some 950 troops, but after leaving she was attacked by Stukas and straddled with a stick of bombs. This lifted her out of the water and broke her back. While every effort was made to save the ship she had to transfer her troops to a coaster and then sank.

The twin-screw motor vessel Royal Sovereign made six trips, four to Dunkirk and two to La Panne, rescuing some 12,000 troops. Later that year she struck a mine in the Bristol Channel and was a total loss.

The paddle steamer Royal Eagle, (built 1932) made two trips to La Panne, saving at least 2000 troops. She was one of the last to leave Dunkirk on 2'"1 June, with a number of wounded on board.

The paddle steamer Golden Eagle made three trips, but on the first visit she found the PS Waverly sinking so she rescued the crew and troops and took them back to Margate. On returning to near the east pier at Dunkirk her lifeboats managed to take men off the beaches; in two trips a total of 3200 were saved.

Another paddle steamer involved was the Medway Queen, bringing back a fall complement of 800 troops each time.

The paddle steamer Crested Eagle arrived at 1400 hrs on 29th May and berthed on the east pier along with a trawler, a cross Channel ferry, and a destroyer. The Germans made a sustained attack, destroying each in turn, troops and crews transferring from one ship to the next, until they were all on the Crested Eagle. But as she left she too was bombed and had to beach farther down the coast, and became a total loss.

A further 4000 troops were rescued by the PS Queen of Thanet, which included 2000 taken off the SS Prague which had been disabled. All of those rescued were taken over to Margate jetty. Fortunately the SS Prague was able to limp back into Dover.

Some of the Company's cargo boats also took part in the rescue. The motor vessel Bullfinch was ordered to stand off the beach at La Panne, but as the troops were unable to reach the ship she was instructed to run ashore. She dropped her anchor and ran up onto the beach, but the anchor did not hold and she swung broadside on and was firmly aground. Quickly 1500 troops piled on board, but she could not pull herself off. While she was stranded the Germans attacked with bombs and strafing. All the troops were below in the holds and 'tween decks. The Bullfinch struggled to get free. A Sergeant Head, one of the troops on board, asked if he could man one of the ship's two Bren guns. When three dive bombers next attacked the Sergeant shot down one, and again with the next attack. 
The GSNC later recommended him for an award. While still struggling to get free the Royal Sovereign came along and soon pulled the Bullfinch off.

All along the French coast right down to Bordeaux GSNC ships rescued refugees and others wanting to leave France, as well as their own staff and agents. Exact numbers are not always known, but the following ships took part: MV Goldfinch saved some 500 from St Valery, where about 2400 waited on the beach. MVs Drake and Crane went to other N French ports and on down into the Bay. The SS Falcon brought back 60 refugees including 24 officers and men of the RAOC from Bordeaux. While the SS Woodlark saved not only the GSNC staff but also 73 members of Lever Brothers who had fled down the coast from port to port hoping to find transport before it was too late.

Other GSNC ships which participated were the SS Groningen, the SS Cormorant and the MV Stork; exact details of their efforts are not recorded though they would have collected GSNC staff from the other agencies in France together with others wishing to escape. Undoubtedly GSNC ships must have rescued at least 35 000 people, perhaps more.

Acknowledgement: "Semper Fidelis ", GSNC's official history from 1924 - 1948.

Tom Mogg served a 5 year apprenticeship at the GSNC's Deptford yard, later serving on 14 of the Company's ships, from 1945 to 1957.

This article appeared in the GIHS Newsletter of April 2007 and had previously appeared I a Woolwich Antiquarians Newsletter

Wednesday 11 March 2020

Enderby family notes

Barbara Ludlow

Enderby Wharf on the Greenwich Peninsula - and the activities of the family who made rope and canvass there, and built Enderby House (the only listed building on the Peninsula) - are of great interest to industrial historians. I have acquired a mass of material over the years about the Enderbys and their business - therefore I am dealing with only a few specific points but would be pleased to expand on, and answer, more if approached.

Samuel Enderby.1640-1723. Samuel and family owned a tannery in Bermondsey. The Enderbys were granted forfeited estates in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland. In l660 these were sold and the money was invested in the oil and Russia trade.

Daniel Enderby, 1681-1766. Several researchers have stated that Daniel married Mary Cook, the sister of Captain Cook. During Daniel’s lifetime the firm of Buxton, Sims and Enderby, Oil Merchants, was established at Paul's Wharf, Thames Street. Daniel's son, Samuel, married Hannah Buxton (1st wife). Samuel was a barrel maker at first. It was through marriage that the business became dominated by the Enderby family.

Samuel Enderby, 1719-1797. His second wife was Elizabeth. Enderby ships were registered in London and Boston in America. They transported goods to the colonists and brought whale oil back to the UK. In 1773 the Boston 'Tea Party' took place and it has been said that an Enderby ship carried the tea. However, Dan Byrnes of Australia has stated that there was no direct involvement of Enderby ships in the event. By 1775 The War of Independence had cut off American whale oil so British ship-owners, and Samuel Enderby in particular, decided to go whaling in the South Atlantic. In about 10 years the whales in the South Atlantic were nearly extinct. The Enderbys then concentrated on the seas around New Zealand with The Bay of Islands as a main base. In 1789 after much pleading with the government the Enderbys won the right to go into the South Seas and were then bitten by the exploring bug. This was the start of a drain on their profits.

Samuel Enderby, 1756-1829. Son of Samuel described above. Samuel and all his brothers and sisters were baptised and entered in the Protestant and Non Conformist Register for London, now kept at the Dr. Williams’ Library. Money was left to the preachers at Sailors Hall. It is just possible that the forfeited lands in Ireland were given to the Enderbys for their allegiance to the Non-Conformists during the English Civil War in the 17th century. No proof as yet, just a thought. Samuel got his Captains to go to the Antarctic - thus Enderby Land. Mount Gordon - his daughter Elizabeth married Henry Gordon and so General Gordon was his grandson. By the time of Samuel's death the British whaling industry was in trouble and his son Charles Enderby thought of ways to expand the firm. He was interested in the new 'technology' that was emerging and he was a founder member of the Royal Geographical Society.

Charles, Henry and George Enderby were Samuel's sons. In 1841 Charles was living in Enderby House at Enderby Wharf, while George and Henry were living with their mother in Old Charlton. Previously the family had moved from Greenwich/Blackheath to Eltham. By 1846 Mary Enderby was dead and Charles tried to save the firm by setting up the South Seas Whaling Company with others. As he sailed out of Plymouth to go to the Auckland Islands, NZ, a notice to the effect that the Enderbys were unable to meet all their financial commitments appeared in a London newspaper. There is an excellent book on the ill-fated settlement.

George Enderby. It is unlikely that George lived on Greenwich Marsh. The Enderby Rope Works and other buildings were destroyed or badly damaged by fire in March 1845. Enderby House was eventually repaired.In 1849 Charles moved away, never to return to Greenwich. I had a letter from a Gravesend historian who found George Enderby living in the 1850s and 1860s at Orme House in Northfleet, Kent. The 1861 census listed him as unmarried, age 58; a retired ship owner. His housekeeper Mary Nunn called him ‘Captain Enderby’ and when George moved to Dover Road, Mary moved with him. I have no death date for him.

Henry Enderby. After leaving the Charlton area at some date, he went to live with a male opera singer in West London.

William Enderby. Born 1805. William had money in the firm but does not appear to have been that involved. He married a Mary Howls in 1830 and they had 8 children, e.g. Baptism entry from St. Luke's Church, Charlton, May 23rd 1837:- Charles, son of William and Mary Enderby. Abode Eltham. Father’s profession - Gentleman. Later William Enderby is listed as a ratepayer in Shooters Hill Road. Other information is taken from a notebook of H.H.Enderby of Kai Iwi Beach, Nr.Wanganui, NZ. - H.H. Enderby was William and Mary's grandson. After the firm crashed it is quite likely that William went to Australia or New Zealand. I have no death date for him.
One whaling historian described the Enderbys as "Clogs to clogs in three generations".

Letters from 12 years ago December 2006

Letters from 12 years ago December 2006

From: Gordon Braughton

Re. Johnson and Phillips material in the August Newsletter. I was born in 1915 in Eastcombe Avenue. Adjacent and to the rear of our flat was the premises of Johnson and Phillips. Through my early years I recall them being a major employer in the area. The works were in three sections spanning the then Southern Railway line in Victoria Road (now Way). The terrace housing of nearby Troughton Road, Rathmore Road, and Fossdene Road suggests that these were established to house Johnson and Phillips workers. As a pupil of Fossdene Road, LCC School, I was well aware that J&P was an important manufacturer of cables in particular. My knowledge of the company after 1939 was cut short by the evacuation of the Research Department – Metallurgy Section at Woolwich Arsenal to Cardiff University. I think that some time in the post war years it was taken over by the Delta Company.

From: Brenda
It’s a wonderful newsletter and I am happy to be able to receive it. My interest is in the Strong Fisher families. They are my direct ancestors and their sons came to New Zealand on the ann in 1848. I believe that there was a business of the name Strong Fisher or Fisher Strong. My lot lived in Silver Street, Rotherhithe and were boatmen, sawyers and watermen.

From: Jeremy Cotton
During the First World War my maternal grandfather, Charles Corner, who had recently retired from building railways in various parts of the world, came out of retirement to help manage the railway inside Woolwich Arsenal (usually described as powered by superheated steam) while the regular managers from the Corps of Royal Engineers went off to run the railways behind the lines in Northern France. That is about as much as anyone in my family knows.
I would be grateful for any further information, (a) on the actual technology of the railway (b) on the way it was manned and managed, in peacetime or © under the conditions of 1914-18. I have lived in Thamesmead since 1984, and began a botanical survey of the area including the railway in 1975 (aborted once the degree of contamination became apparent). There were still a few recognisable relics lying around then, and one or two items of rolling stock at the Railway Museum in North Woolwich Station a little later, but in Thamesmead at least there seem to be no traces left. I find this frustrating. Any documents, references, or other information would be of great family interest.

From: D.A. Parkinson
Would you know if there are any ship's models, paintings, or prints of:
Breda - 70 Guns, 3rd-Rate warship, built Woolwich 1692 or Defiance - 64 Guns, 3rd-Rate Warship, built Chatham, 1675. Rebuilt Woolwich 1695.

From: Malcolm Tucker
Some corrections to the August 2006 Newsletter
1) In my letter on p5, in the last sentence, 'drains' should read 'drums', I this is hope self-explanatory.
2) Response to query, p8: Albion Sugar, makers of glucose, occupied the former Rigging House, Sail Loft and Engine Store of Woolwich Dockyard. It was demolished in 1982 (not 1932 as mis-printed in Pevsner). It was a monumental 4-storey brick building from 1842-6, except for an infilling on the landward side of 1856-7. This had a cast-iron-framed wall with a resemblance to the Boat Store at Sheerness but slightly more ornamented. Unlike the pioneering Boat Store, from 3 years later, it had the brick walls of the existing building to help it stand up. It proudly bore the plaque of the structural ironfounders, “H & MD Grissell”, and it was presumably designed under G.T. Greene, the Director of Engineering and Architectural Works at the Admiralty.

From: Rachel Langdon
My grandfather, Charles Patrick Langdon is 98 years old. He was born in New Zealand in 1908 and was still, until recently, in pretty good health for a person of his age. He has now been diagnosed with a kidney problem and I am concerned about how much longer he will be with us. In 1905 my grandfather's father Charles Robert Langdon came to New Zealand with his wife Hannah Winifred Ryan aboard the steamer SS Morayshire. Charles Robert was an interesting man. He was a shipwright who was very much a socialist and, on coming to New Zealand, became involved in the communist and fledging unionist movements. Possibly this involvement came from his apprenticeship days in England as a shipwright where he had to sign an agreement to be subservient to his 'masters'! Unfortunately for my grandfather and my family, Charles Robert also decided that he would sever all ties with his family in England. He wanted nothing to do with them! This knowledge that my grandfather has never had contact with any of his direct family, has led to my recent quest to try to find some direct relations that he can have contact with before he dies. Apart from his mother and father (and his children), my grandfather has no idea of any other living Langdon relation! I have over the last months gathered and researched the following information.

Apparently Charles Robert was an amateur photographer; and because of this, we have photos' of some of his relations, and images of presumably Greenwich and Kent in the late 1890's. My hope is that by contacting you, you may be able to help me in my quest to find some living relatives of my grandfather.

Notes and snippets from 12 years ago - December 2006

Notes and snippets 
from 12 years ago - December 2006


Whaaat!? The East Greenwich-based Independent Photograph Project have produced an Ordnance Survey-type map of the Greenwich Peninsula based on people’s emotional reactions to it – via a clever little hand-held device and some clever computer software. See The Independent Photography Project has an ambitious programme, much of which is based on research and memories of industry on the Peninsula.

Victoria Deep Water Terminal, Greenwich Peninsula SE10

MoLAS geo-archaeological monitoring of geo-technical test pits and boreholes, November 2002.
The site lies on the western side of the Greenwich Peninsula, where a ridge of floodplain gravel, overlain by sand exists below the alluvium. A peaty soil had developed above the sand, which was buried by a bed of peat, about 1m thick. At the interface of the soil and peat struck flints were recovered, which may be of Neolithic date. The peat represented several cycles of increasingly wet then increasingly dry conditions, with probably episodes of dry woodland, wet Alder Carr and sedge fen interspersed with periods of prolonged flooding in which much wood was found. It was overlain by clays and silts, representing a transition to salt marsh and mudflats. The high clay content and increasing iron-staining especially in the upper parts of the minerogenic alluvium suggests it might represent seasonal flooding of a marshy / grassy floodplain soil as opposed to mudflats and salt marsh. The pre-Victorian land surface was represented by a soil that had developed in the upper part of the alluvium in parts of the site, and in the north of the site waterlain channel-edge or foreshore deposits were found between 0 and +1m OD, which may represent (or link with) a post-medieval sluice, tidal creek or watercourse. A sluice dating from the post-medieval period and linked to drains and watercourses existing into the 19th century is known to have existed in this part of the Peninsula. Tarry contamination was found in the lower levels of the made ground, which was up to 3m thick close to the river, in the western side of the site. This is likely to relate to the use of the site from the 1840's by the Improved Wood Pavement Company to make coal tar-soaked wood blocks for paving using the waste products of the gas industry.
Thanks to David Riddle who spotted this piece.

Dick Moy – who was a founder member of GIHS and whose recent death was a great blow to many who cared about Greenwich left much to remember him by. His involvement with The Spread Eagle is part of the remarkable story of post-war development in Greenwich. In addition to food, music and theatre, The Spread Eagle has had close connections with the visual arts. The Moy family managed an art gallery and antique business in adjoining buildings for more than fifty years. After Dick Moy's death in 2005, The Spread Eagle was acquired by Frank Dowling. Their respective historical art collections are brought together to form The Spread Eagle Art Collection. The catalogue is a pictorial souvenir of the people and places in Greenwich. It features a wide range of distinguished artists and illustrators, from the 17th century to the present day, who were inspired by Greenwich, including many who were familiar with the tavern, coaching inn, and restaurant. The Spread Eagle spans more than 300 years of history. It is situated on Stockwell Street, one of the most ancient roads in Greenwich and a tavern from before 1650.

The advent of rail travel in the 1830s and later the development of motor transport led to the demise of The Spread Eagle as a coaching Inn. It survived as a tavern until 1922. For more than forty years it was occupied by a Printer and bookbinder and finally became the receiving office of a laundry. The Moy family purchased the property in 1964 and Dick began the task of restoring the building as a restaurant. During the restoration process many original features were uncovered and many lost relics were discovered. Roman pottery, a Tudor show and a Kentish 'fives9' board - the forerunner of darts, were found. Also a whip that may well have been used by Joseph Steel the Spread Eagle's coachman renowned in Greenwich for his bare-fist fighting. In 1819 he fought Bishop Sharpe and lost a £25 wager. A print, now part of The Spread Eagle Art Collection, portrays him knocked upside down. A trunk was discovered in the attic which originally belonged to Mrs. Webb - the landlady of The Spread Eagle during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This was also the popular period of English Music Hall and the trunk contained her collection of dedicated photographs and letters of her musical and theatrical clientele. The artistes had all performed at the neighbouring halls of present-day Greenwich Theatre.

These - and many other pictures of Greenwich are included in the catalogue.

We have been given a copy of the 2nd edition of the Gazetteer of pre-1945 industrial sites in Bexley Borough with the compliments of The Bexley Local Studies and Archives Centre who have supervised and paid for the production of the Gazetteer, and The Bexley Civic Society who have given their unstinting support for the preparation of this new edition. It is the work of Michael Dunmow – better known for his devotion to the Crossness Engines Trust. The relics of the industrial past of an area are always under threat from vandalism, dereliction and redevelopment. Bexley has had its historians and photographers at work for many years, most of them working in specific locations or on specific topics. This booklet is based upon a survey which has attempted to secure a record of the industrial relics in the Borough in a systematic way which, it is hoped, will enable future workers to add to and to amend the record and to draw on it for future studies. The work on this gazetteer began some years ago and from the outset was supported by the Planning Committee of
The Bexley Civic Society who have followed its gestation with great patience and have kept the project on their agenda since its inception.

Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower in Priddy's Hard, Gosport, Hampshire, is pleased to announce the launch of this highly anticipated new publication: Arming the Fleet - The Development of the Royal Ordnance Yards 1770 - 1945. The publication, by David Evans, has been produced by the Museum in association with English Heritage. This major new book reveals, for the first time, the complete history of Britain's naval ordnance yards from the early conversion of fortifications such as Upnor Castle and Portsmouth's Square Tower, to the underground strongholds of the Second World War. From extensive research using a wealth of original documents, David Evans, author of the acclaimed Building the Steam Navy, traces the development of the sites, buildings, workers and policies that underpinned Britain's armed forces for over 150 years.

Life in Rural Kent 1950's to 70's by Iris Bryce. 'The Hill Folk' follows Iris' award winning book Remember Greenwich and Tree in the Quad. It is a collection of essays of life on a farm near Wrotham in Kent in the fifties, sixties and early seventies.

It was with some excitement that we received an email from Allan Green – who spoke to GIHS about cable-maker Henley in October – about the Coast programme on BBC TV. The programme was to visit the Telegraph Cable Museum at Porthcurno in Cornwall where Allan is based and where the archives of Greenwich cable makers are kept. Cable enthusiasts everywhere were emailing each other frantically. In the end it was an interesting description of the Museum and the revolutionary nature of the telegraph cable – shame they never mentioned that ALL of them were made in Greenwich!

London's most romantic castle is set to enter a new phase of life, if the support it gained during this year’s London Open House weekend is anything to go by. "As good as the Monument", "a wonderful gem... full of magic and presence" and "really spectacular" were just some of the comments from visitors. "It's not the biggest castle I've been it but it has the best views" and "I would love to live here" were comments from children. Nearly a thousand people queued, some for hours, to go up the 18th century folly in Castle Wood, Shooter's Hill, London SE18, and to see its rarely accessible interior. The three-sided castle, holds fond memories for many South Londoners as a place to visit for relaxation and enjoyment, for children to play - and as the area's only castle.

Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust, the group which has been campaigning to save the Castle, appointed Waloff Associates Ltd in August 2006 to prepare an Audience Development Plan for the castle and its surroundings. The Plan, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, will help the Trust decide which uses are most sustainable and viable for the castle, and then approach the London Borough of Greenwich to obtain a long-term lease. The local authority is currently the owner of Severndroog Castle, which is not accessible to the public at present. Dr Barry Gray, Chair of the Trustees, said: "The Open House event showed the amount of public support. Now we need to be clear what the castle can be used for - and how this can be to everyone's benefit. We look forward to working with Greenwich Council to make sure this happens".
The Trust has also commissioned 2 further reports, a Conservation Management Plan and an Access Plan. This work will be undertaken by Thomas Ford & Partners, a firm of Chartered Architects and surveyors who also act as historic building consultants. When all 3 reports are completed, the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust will approach Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to fully restore the Castle.

Victoria's intermediate pressure (IP) cylinder has been laid bare. All the old metallic cladding has been removed and the lagging stripped off. In the main, the cladding on the cylinder was in a sound condition and although the outer surface was pitted with rust there were patches on the inner surfaces that retained their original 'blued steel' finish. Plain horizontal joins in the cladding were covered by 2 inch wide circumferential brass bands which are in store prior to cleaning and polishing. The metallic cladding itself has also been stored pending a detailed inspection and a decision on which bits to retain. It is interesting that many of the complex non-plain joints in the cladding, such as those between cylindrical and flat parts of the cladding, have brass fascias attached by brass rivets that cover the joins themselves. Again, a decision has to be made as to how many of these brass pieces we retain. Each part of cladding has been measured, a sketch made and a numbered disc attached to it. Removal of the lagging proved to be a very dusty job although much of it came away in chunks. It was applied in about 1900 before asbestos was used for lagging and seems to be a mortar-like material. Samples have been kept for display, testing and record purposes but the rest of the removed lagging has been disposed of as ground in-fill around the site.

With the lagging removed, the intermediate pressure cylinder casting was cleaned down by needle-gunning and wire brushing whereafter it has been primed with red lead paint. The flanges for the steam heating pipes and the pressure tapping points have been left unpainted so that they can be faced off to ensure they make steam-tight joints when the mating flanges are fitted. However, there is still a lot of cleaning to be done and this will be ongoing as we progress. Having removed the lagging, we were then faced with the question 'What do we take off next?' The simple answer was 'The part that is easiest to get at' but that part proved to be crucial to the timing of the cut-off of the steam inlet valve. To ensure that the valve timing is right when the engine is reassembled it is essential that the distances between various adjustable parts of the valve gear go back as found.

On Prince Consort the standard engineering practice of 'pop-marking' the components was used but what we had overlooked was the fact that when the rust and corrosion was cleaned off so the pop-marks were also removed. Therefore, on Victoria, learning from that lesson, before we removed any parts a sketch was made showing the critical setting dimensions by measuring centre-to-centre distances between the pins and bolts also from pins/bolts to flat surfaces of associated parts. The parts that we finally decided to remove were the inlet valve trip rods, complete with adjustment devices that are essential components in determining the trip timing of the steam inlet valve. These parts have now been stripped down to their individual components, detail drawings made of them - and numbered discs attached. They are now being cleaned up and polished prior to being put on display until they can be reassembled back on the engine. This we hope to do progressively - it being probably as efficient a way of storing the various parts as any, and at least we should still be able to remember where they came from!

Published in Crossness Record – apologies for publishing without their consent – due to difficulties in contacting them.

Crane Exported From London
The elderly grey-painted Stothert & Pitt crane, used to unload the small sand and gravel carrying motor ships of J. J. Prior Ltd at their wharf on Deptford Creek has recently been replaced by a tall PLA-type crane of the kind common in the larger London docks about 30 years ago. J. J. Prior carefully dismantled the old crane and it left the Creek on one of their vessels about Friday, 8th September 2006.

Bob Carr - from GLIAS Newsletter.

Siemens Brothers Engineering Society
Members will remember that Siemens Brothers Engineering Society have produced a catalogue of items in their possession. Brian Middlemiss, their Secretary and GIHS member, has written to tell us that following a recent large donation of archive material to the Engineering Society, they have now produced a formal Supplement to this Main Archive Material Catalogue. They have been kind enough to supply us with a copy of the Supplement to be associated with the Main Catalogue previously supplied in 2004. They point out that the need to produce this Supplement was triggered by the sad death of Bill Speller, one of their Members, following which his family made a large donation of archive material to the Society. They took the opportunity to include in the Supplement all the other donations received since publication of the Main Catalogue in June 2004. There will be no further Supplements – all subsequent donations will be treated as 'private donations' and passed, with a covering letter, to an appropriate new holder. The Supplement lists all the items donated, with the identity of the new holders to whom they have been given for the benefit of future generations and researchers. The Society remains indebted to Siemens, UK, Corporate Communications who continue to support their activities and have facilitated the printing and binding of the Supplement.