Tuesday 10 March 2020

Letters August 2006

Letters August 2006

From: Malcolm Tucker

The illustration in GIHS 9 (2) of ‘a fireman’ was not photographed in the retort house of a gasworks. The features behind are a bank of classic Babcock and Wilcox-type water tube boilers, for raising ‘high’ pressure steam. The configuration was patented in the USA in 1867 and continued to be installed well into the 20th century with the addition of mechanical stoking. The stoking arrangements at the front of the firebox are hidden by the man. The cupboard-like doors above gave access for cleaning the ash from around the inclined bank of water tubes and for withdrawing the tubes themselves for renewal. Above, again, are drains in which the steam, separated from the water, provided a reservoir of steam.

From: Tim Serisier

I am researching Thomas Humphreys who described himself as a blacksmith. He died in 1844, leaving his wife and many children quite wealthy. Most of his daughters moved to Australia, but his son Thomas remained in Greenwich along with his sister Mary Ann who married David Fraser, a cooper. Has Thomas been researched previously?


From: Keith Dawson from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia.

I am a descendant of the Whaling Enderbys, being a descendent of a mysterious William Enderby, mysterious because I do not know his Mother or Father - he just appears in the records in 1805.

I have written a book on the Enderbys - who I maintain were responsible for the Endeavour, The Tea Party & the First Fleets all in the name of trade/oil industry of the day and to spread religion of the Evangelical brands of Protestantism, being assisted by the descendents of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Company, the book will be titled The Founding of Sydney.

To the Wharfe - the Enderbys originally operated the oil & Muscovy trade from St. Paul's Wharfe at Lower Thames Street. After 1783 a Henry Vansittart built the wharf on the site of a disused ammunition wharf. Vansittarts & Enderbys had been friendly for years, before Vansittart Snr., an officer for the East India trade went missing together with the ship he was travelling on around 1770. Henry’s brother Nicholas was the Chancellor of the Exchequer for 12 years. The Vansittarts were investors in the Enderby whalers, hence the first whaler known to have sailed around Cape Horn into the Pacific being called Emelia, after the widowed mother of Henry, the ship collected the British government bonus of 800 pounds for so doing which it did sailing from the Thames in 1788 an auspicious year for Australia. My information is that Morden College is quite likely to have had a hand in the ownership of the wharf. It would appear that the Enderby's leased all property, domestic & industrial through the College. With luck, I may be in Greenwich next year. Family correspondence from a Col. Moffit, descendent of the Gordon family of Khartoum fame, says that Uncle George lived in the house on Greenwich Marsh & that he was deaf & argumentive so that when his dwarfed sister was on her weekly visit there was a scene that looked bad to an outsider not in the know. Col Moffit states that he was often called Uncle George because he was argumentive as a child. Hope I have told you something new.

I have numbered the Samuels, it was Samuel Enderby II (1719-1797) that had the wharf built, his son Samuel III (1755-1829) carried on the business, it was his son George II who died in 1891 who lived in the house, and I think he must have purchased it when Charles II (1798-1876) lost the family fortune in the Auckland isles. Lord Auckland was Mr. Eden who is thought to have been Britain’s master spy during the American War of Independence. The aforementioned Nicholas married Lord Auckland’s daughter Isabella. Samuel Enderby II was friendly with Benjamin Franklin, the American, at the time.


From: John Poole

I lived in Aldeburgh Street from 1948 until 1969, then, having married, moved toliterally around the corner in Fearon Street, from 1969 until 1978. As a child and even as a young teenager, the Greenwich Marshes, particularly down at the bottom of Horne Lane and along the riverfront was my playground. My family, at least back to my Great Grandparents, also lived in the area. Great Grandfather McDuff, his wifeand his family, including my paternal Grandmother (Margaret) lived in Aldeburgh Street from when the houses were newly-built for workers on the railway.My Grandmother's brother, (my Great Uncle) Edward McDuff was a Manager in the chemical laboratories at the Gasworks until retirement in around 1968. My paternal Grandfather, Percy Poole, an Old Contemptible and railway worker,also lived in Aldeburgh Street, but on the other side of the road. My wife lived all her single life in Annandale Road and her father worked at Redpath Brown Dorman Long until his retirement.Now living at Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, so I suppose you could say that I've swapped the Greenwich Marshes for the Romney Marshes - a true 'marshman' of one sort or another, anyway.


From: Lorraine Smith

My grandmother was born at Rectory Buildings in Deptford. I can find no record of where in Deptford this actually was. I see from a previous posting on your site that someone had mentioned the building was owned by the Industrial Buildings Company in the 1890's. My grandmother was born in 1914. Was it still owned by them at that stage? What sort of accommodation was it? Do you have any pictures?


From: Brenden Adams

I am trying to locate a small book written by my father in the late 70s. He wrote it whilst on a sabbatical from teaching in Bermondsey. The subject was the locomotive builder George England who had a works in Hatcham. He did lecture on the subject locally and I assisted him sometimes. He is now 87 and does not enjoy good health. When I asked him the other day if he had a copy, he said he did not keep a copy for himself.


From: Jacqui Simkins

I have just received from my distant relative some pages from your website on John Lloyd, the millwright (who built the East Greenwich tide mill). He died in 1835. His will leaves considerable sums to many - including the family of his sister Mary who married Henry Payne Jeffries. I have a copy of John Lloyd’s Will, and a transcription of it. You are welcome to either if they would be of interest. Have you any information about John Lloyd or Lloyd & Ostler?


From: D.A.Parkinson

Would you know if there is any ships models, paintings or prints of Breda, 70 guns, 3rd-rate warship, built Woolwich 1692? Or Defiance, 64 Guns, 3rd-rate warship, built in Chatham 1675, rebuilt Woolwich 1695?


From: Geoffrey Forrest

Back in 1970 I worked for a while at the Albion Sugar Company, located in the old Woolwich Dockyard. At the time my father was working for the RACS Funeral Services, which were also located there, in Commonwealth Buildings. I know the Co-op funeral services are still there, but I have not been able to find any mention of Albion Sugar, either past or present. All I know is that much of the Dockyard site is now housing. I wondered if you or anyone else in your Society knows what happened to the Albion Sugar Company? My recollection was that it occupied quite a large site, right on the river, and had many employees. Thanks for any information you can provide.


From: Victor G. Beaumont (Rev.)

I must agree with Phillip Binns, a committee member of the Greenwich Conservation Group. When speaking of the Woolwich Congregational Church, he said: "We very much regret the loss of such a wonderful Victorian Building."

Although I now live in New Zealand, much of my formative years were bound up with the Rectory Place Church. Consequently I well remember the efforts made, in the 1950s, by the Rev. Harold Eburne, with the support of the congregation, to restore the church which had been damaged in an air raid. Having heard about the proposed demolition of the church, I wrote in April of last year to Pastor Aaron Flanagan expressing my sadness that the present congregation should find it necessary to destroy such a building. In his reply he wrote; "It is true that we are planning to demolish it, (only because of the terrible condition it is in) but we are planning to build a brand new one in its place. This is a big project for us, but I believe that God has led us and brought us to this place." The thing which puzzles me is firstly, why is the building in such a poor state of repair and secondly, if there is money available to build a "brand new church" then surely it would be better to renovate the old structure, which when I saw the outside a few years ago, seemed to be in a reasonable state of repair? There was no mention in the Pastor's letter about building 13 flats. But then architecturally-pleasing historic churches (and often other buildings) seem to be relatively unimportant today. Another question I would like answered, and which the good Pastor in reply to my letter, ignored, is: What will happen to the two-manual organ built by Foster and Andrews of Hull, in 1881 which I used to play for some of the services?

When I last came to Woolwich I also noticed that The Paley Press, a small commercial printers on the corner of John Wilson Street, where I worked for seven years has been demolished, together with Fishers, the military tailors.


From: Jim Jones

I'm looking for a Greenwich street - AIRY? which is on a relative’s birth certificate dated 1914. I've tried every avenue I can think of with no luck. Wondered if you could possibly help?


From: Colin Sawie

Hello. I was an apprentice carpenter in the Central Works (Green & Silley Weir Ltd) in the Royal Albert Dock in the mid-1950s. Around that time, a crest was carved in teak by one of the great craftsmen, Arthur Silversword. As far as I can remember it was for the P&O line. I think it was meant be on a building at the entrance area of the Royal Docks. Does anyone recall such a crest?

I am asking through sheer curiosity as I was telling my Grandson about the crest carving. We now live in British Columbia, Canada.


From: Ray Hoggart

Hello there! In 1960 I was a N/S Royal Artillery soldier and briefly stationed at Woolwich in some old Barracks there. I have memories of the place and as I get older they seem to matter more. I stood guard on a gate there one Saturday night in May but I have never known the name or where they were, the whole area was a warren of old buildings (what history!) and one could get lost easily.
I returned to Woolwich in about 1978 for a visit to see if I could find these old Barracks. The gate was there but the buildings had gone and the Regimental Square was a lorry park. I realize now that I was a few years too late! I have searched all over the place and never found the name. Google always found the Front Parade. 

Today I tried a different type of search and the GIHS turned up with articles on the Barracks which I now know were Red and Cambridge. Are there any photographs anywhere of the barracks that I could download, particularly the gate, and any written articles on the history of them? I've seen a map of the area from about 1917 at Godfrey Maps which I will send for and that should give me a layout of the place.

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