Reviews and Snippets from April 2007
The Sustainable Historic Arsenals Regeneration Partnership (SHARP) was formed between the EU nations of England, Malta, Estonia and Spain to share lessons learned while seeking new futures for these culturally important but neglected former military sites. As lead partner in the part EU-funded project, English Heritage reviewed the story of the rescue, conservation and re-use of the former Royal Arsenal, Woolwich - an example of the contribution that heritage can make to social, economic and cultural regeneration. This was followed by investigation of the challenges and opportunities presented by comparable sites in Malta, Spain and Estonia. In Malta, the aim is to revitalise a succession of military sites adjoining the Grand Harbour; at Cadiz it is to bring back into public view the fortifications that repulsed Napoleon's army; while at Tallinn it is to help the citizens of the young Republic of Estonia to understand their complex past under Russian Imperial, Soviet and Nazi rule. Each of these projects is providing fascinating lessons and outcomes.
A recent conference on SHARP centred on the launch of a book Regeneration from Heritage. This glossy and lavishly illustrated publication outlines the Historical background to the sites involved in the scheme (Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, Battery Tallinin, Grand Harbour Malta and the Real Carenero Arsenal). It described a number of themes in relation to the sites – Masterplanning, Partnerships, Heritage, Tourism, Education and Sustainable Regeneration. It is published by English Heritage (no price or details given on it).
The Severndroog Castle Campaign has heard from Awards for All England that the application for funding has been successful! And they have been awarded £6,035 for their "Audience Development Project". This will pay for: a laptop and accessories (like bag/ remote for presentations / cordless mouse), software, multimedia projector, display boards, promotional materials (bookmarks/ business cards) to advertise our new website, a year's membership to Volunteering England, digital camera and web design and development training.
The Winter 2007 edition of Industrial Heritage contains an article by Mary Mills on ‘An explosion Two Hundred Years Ago’. This is about the Tide Mill which once stood near the Pilot Pub on the Greenwich Peninsula and the explosion in the boiler of a steam engine supplied by Richard Trevithick there. Industrial Heritage published by Hudson History,
The preceding issue of Industrial Heritage ran an article ‘Crossness Engines to the Rescue’ by Peter Skilton.This is about the Stewart & Co. steam engine which was at the David Evans silk works in Crayford and its subsequent rescue and removal to Crossness when Evans closed.
Woodlands Farm are about to reach their tenth anniversary and we must all congratulate them. They are appealing for any old photographs of the Farm which can be used in an anniversary exhibition. They are about to launch a sustainable food growing scheme on the 341 Shooters Hill site – the area once occupied by the Blackheath donkeys.
Crossness DVD. Crossness Engines have now produced a DVD of the first public steaming of Prince Consort on 4th April 2004. This is £8 from their shop on visitors’ days or by post (plus £1.50 p&p) from Crossness Engines Trust, The Old Works, Thames Water STW, Belvedere Road, Abbey Wood, SE2 9AQ.
Crossness are also advertising for people to help with gardening at the site – lots and lots of fresh air (and not too smelly either).
Dockyards – we have recently received both the newsletter and the Journal of the Naval Dockyards Society. Clearly our area had two of the most important of the Royal Dockyards at Deptford and Woolwich. Strange then that these two publications – once again – make no mention of either while they go on and on and on about Portsmouth and so on. Is this our fault for not sending stuff to them? Or do they really want to ignore us? Is there a nasty suspicion that the Deptford site, arguably that of the foremost of the Royal Dockyards, will be redeveloped with hardly a mention of its illustrious past?
We have been sent a copy of the latest publication by the South East London Industrial Archaeology group. Bizarrely this is about the Sherburn and South Milford Gas Company – but that shouldn’t take away from the many merits of this interesting little book. It is by SELIA’s Chris Rule and is available for £3.75 from SEILA Ltd. , 35 Grange Grove, London, N1 2NP and is worth every penny of it. Highly recommended.
Greenwich Historical Society have published their latest Journal now edited by Julian Watson. It contains articles by several people who are also members of GIHS – but in particular it is dedicated to, and contains eulogies to, the late Alan Pearsall. Alan was of course a GIHS member and gave a number of talks to us but one of his major tasks in Greenwich historical circles was as editor of GHS’s Journal. There are articles about him by Professor Roger Knight, Pieter van der Merwe (actually a poem) and Julian Watson.
Other articles are about the theft of Nelson’s replicas from the Painted Hall by Anthony Cross, and Richard Cheffins' work on Greenwich in Parliament.
Labour Party Staff. A Century of Serving 1906-2006. We have been sent a copy of this book by Labour Party Regional Organiser Terry Ashton. Woolwich was of course the home of the earliest organised Labour Party in Britain and the first mini-biography in the book is about William Barefoot. He is described as having built in Woolwich "a strong local party, a model for the whole country"… he was “the organizing genius who made it all happen”.
Swiftstone Trust. We have the latest newsletter of the Trust which cares for the Swiftstone tug and it describes work on the tug and the difficulties encountered since the redevelopment of Wood Wharf. They are hopeful for donations, so don’t disappoint them if you write.
Matchless and AMC - celebration of Woolwich-made machines at Firepower. AMC Event - Sunday 9th September 2007. In total, some 53,400 Matchless machines were contracted for supply throughout the conflict of WWII and many stayed in use during the 1950's with the final machines being disposed through public auction in the 1960's. Examples of these and many more from both the pre- and post-war models from AJS, Matchless and all those other manufacturers within or associated with the AMC Group will be on display and ridden at the event on 9th September.
Wartime memories of Shooters Hill and Woolwich Common. Shooters Hill was of great strategic importance during World War Two forming part of an Anti Invasion Stop Line as well as hosting elements of the defences of London such as Anti-Aircraft Guns and Barrage Balloons. As part of a research and education project, local archaeologist Andy Brockman is recording the military archaeology of the Shooters Hill/Woolwich Common area. This includes both structures such as Pill Boxes, trenches and other sites used by the Army, RAF and Home Guard as well as buildings and sites used by the civilian services such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services and the ARP Service. If you or members of your family have any memories of wartime Shooters Hill or you have photographs or memorabilia such as documents please contact
A degree in Maritime History? The Greenwich Maritime Institute is right on our doorsteps on the University site. They are currently inviting applicants for September this year to their various postgraduate courses: MA in Maritime Policy, MA in Maritime History, MBA in Maritime Management. Entry needs either a good honours degree or maritime experience.