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.
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.