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including Woolwich & Districts

Woolwich and districts

Shops & Streets, Woolwich

Hog Lane, c.1888 Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Beresford Square c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Beresford Square c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Close-up of the Horse Drawn tram. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Royal Artillery Barracks c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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(The Royal Military Academy Woolwich was established in 1741 during the reign of King George II and the Royal Military College in 1800. The Barracks, locally known as the Red Barracks, were unusual in that the rooms opened on to a veranda. I am told there was a story that the plans had been mixed up and the barracks built at Woolwich were originally planned for abroad, most probably India.
The barracks is where both my grandfather Thomas Wilson (as an Army Instructor) and my father, Jack Raymond Riches attended the Military College of Science. These barracks were in Francis Street, Woolwich. When my father mustered at the age of 18, he became an Artificer, Royal Artillery. He then joined the Ordnance Corp.
My mother's eldest brother, Robert Alfred White, went there as a cadet at the age of 14. He appears in uniform in the photograph of Margaret Anderson Wilson and all her seven children - Lorna Chudasama.

Postcard of "Red Barracks" Photo: Lorna Chudasama.

“To the south-west of the Arsenal Station are the Army Service Corps Barracks, the garrison church of St. George, and the Royal Artillery Institution (natural history collection, armour and weapons, library, etc.). To the west of these, on the north side of the Common, are the large Royal Artillery Barracks, in front of which is a tank, a captured German gun, a huge brass gun captured at Bhurtpore in 1828, and a Crimea monument. Between this and the Dockyard station are the Red Barracks and the Ordnance College, where officers are trained for staff appointments.
Woolwich Common, extending for about 1 mile to the south, is used for exercising troops. On its north-west side is the Royal Military Repository, where artillerymen are trained in serving heavy guns and instruction is given in pontooning. On the highest point is the Rotunda (open free daily, 10-12.45 and 2-4 or 5; Sunday 2-4 or 5), originally built as the outer casing of the tent in which the Prince Regent entertained the Allied sovereigns in 1814 in St. James's Park. It now contains an important Museum of Artillery (catalogue 1/6): designs and specimens of artillery in iron and brass, firearms from the earliest period, swords, defensive armour, Oriental arms, weapons of the bronze and stone ages, weapons of savage tribes, rockets, projectiles, models of fortifications, naval models, German and Allied shells, a French 75mm. gun, etc. On the south-east side of the Common, beyond the tramway lines, is the Royal Military Academy, known as 'the Shop,' built in 1805, for the training of cadets studying for the Royal Artillery and Engineers. In front of it is a statue of the Prince Imperial, son of Napoleon III., a Woolwich cadet killed in the Zulu war of 1879. At the south end of the Common, beyond the road, is the Royal Herbert Military Hospital, built in 1865 and named after Lord Herbert of Lea.

Photo: Lorna Chudasama

To the south of Shooters' Hill lies Castlewood and Jackwood Park (1925), which includes Severndroog Castle, a tower (482 feet above sea-level; admission 1d.) erected to commemorate the capture of Severndroog on the Malabar Coast by Sir William James in 1755. An old milestone (8 miles to London Bridge) nearly opposite the park-entrance, bears on its reverse the distance from Ypres (130 miles) and a record of the British losses in the Salient (1914-18).“ Description supplied by Lorna Chudasama.

St. George's Garrison Church c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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St. Georges Garrison Church - Shell of
                          the church after bombing in WWII
Lorna Chudasama (nee Riches):- As you will see from my baptism certificate (see Early Family Photos), this is where I was christened. The church dates from 1863 and the architect was T H Wyatt. The church had stained glass windows depicting famous artillery officers. It also had amazing colourful mosaics some of which still remain. The church suffered a direct hit from a VI in 1944.
My mother tells me all the soldiers and their families were asked to contribute to a restoration fund which they did. My mother has often wondered what became of the proceeds as the Church was not rebuilt but it now a shell of its former self. However, the church remains consecrated and open air services are still conducted on special occasions. I am very pleased to say I have amongst my archives a postcard of the Garrison Church (a hollow shell) as it was in 1955. In 1955 or thereabouts we were living in married quarters in Nightingale Place, Woolwich and I was attending Waverley School.

Railway Station in Vincent Road c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Wellington Street c.1900. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre

Woolwich High Street c.1905. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Looking west from the junction with Hare Street and Nile Street (Ferry Approach) c.1905. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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(Photo: Lorna Chudasama from Postcard dated 1906)
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This lovely old photo is on a used postcard dated Dec 28 1906. The wording high on the Building is Royal Arsenal Co-operative Soc. Ltd and above shop fronts is the wording Butchers Department, Grocery & Provisions, Drapery & Hosiery. I haven't been able to establish precisely when it opened or its exact location in Woolwich or whether indeed the building still stands. I would suspect however, that it was the Co-operative Store where my grandmother shopped (with the disapproval of my grandfather for whatever reason I don't know but probably political) and valued the dividends.

I have learned that in 1760 co-operative corn mills were built in Woolwich by dock workers. The dock workers objected to the high prices charged by mill owners who often supplied adulterated flour. Quoting from publishers Adam Matthews:
“Woolwich features significantly in the history of co-operative action. The first Co-operative corn mill was founded there in 1760 (well before the births of Robert Owen (1771-1858) and George Holyoake (1817-1906), the founding fathers of the British Co-operative movement) and traded successfully for over 80 years. Less successful ventures included a Co-operative butcher's shop (1805-1811); the Woolwich Bakery Society (1842); a Co-operative Coal Society (1845); the Woolwich Co-operative Provident Society (1851); and the Woolwich and Plumstead Co-operative Society (1860). But these all showed that the idea of co-operative action was alive in Woolwich and paved the way for the establishment of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society [henceforth RACS] (founded in 1868 as the Royal Arsenal Supply Association, renamed as the RACS in 1872)”.
One of the links for more information surrounding the co-operative societies background is as follows: Go to the publishers web site then click on “Search” then scroll down and click on ‘LABOUR HISTORY: Series Two: Minute Books & Papers’ then select which years you want to read about.

My mother was looking at the postcard yesterday (24/4/2007) but didn't recognise it. She told me that quite often when they were living in the Army flats, she and her sister Winnie were sent to the Co-op to do the shopping. One day, on their way back with heavy bags, three young boys followed them and calmly helped themselves to the contents of the shopping bags. My mother and her sister were too frightened to do anything. They weren't scolded for losing the groceries but they were never sent again. Presumably the Co-op where my grandmother shopped was within walking distance from Artillery Place.

Hare Street c.1920. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Powis Street, pre war. Photo:Barbara Rosam
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Stent & Lintorn, Butchers, 27 Powis Street, Woolwich, early photo. Photo: Sid Blanch
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This is
                          a picture of my grandfather Oliver Miles who
                          worked at Beasleys Brewery, It looks like
                          Powis St to me , I would date it at 1930.
This is a picture of my grandfather Oliver Miles who worked at Beasley's Brewery. Photo: John Miles.

The area looks like Powis St to me. I would date it at 1930.

New Road, Woolwich tram terminus, c.1930 (from a postcard) Photo: Joe Duncan
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Photo: Brian Willoughby. (Click on photo for a larger view)
The Woolwich swimming and training club formed a football team as a means of keeping fit through the winter months. Mayfield Athletic (named by me after an Australian football team, God knows why!)
Back row left to right: Mick Bonners Dad (trainer/coach) John Pierce, Karl Chapman, Mick Bonner, Tony Matthews, Brian Willoughby, (?), Joe Hillier (Manager)
Front Row: Alan Hillier, (?), Ken Pierce, Barry Puckett, (?)

Maternal (Pearce) family home in Villas Road, now demolished. Photo 1960/70’s. Ford car confirms period. Shop was a greengrocers through 1920/30’s. Photo: Derek Boswell. See story: The Blitz Kid Who Stayed Behind

Kingsman Street c.1959. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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Obliesk in Ha Ha Road, Woolwich
Photo: Clare Crawford.

General Interest about Woolwich

Prison Hulks c.1856. Photo: Greenwich Heritage Centre
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See story Prison Hulks at Woolwich

Photo: Clare Crawford

Photo: Clare Crawford

St Nicholas Church Hall under construction.
Photo: Spencer Morgan (UK) writes "I found this newspaper page whilst working on a roof in Torquay, it's from LLOYDS WEEKLY NEWS - JULY 18 1909"

The Memorial Hospital, Shooters Hill c.1950 Photo: Roy Earnshaw
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See story Memories of Eglinton Road School

The Bull Hotel, Shootersd Hill c.1950. Photo: Roy Earnshaw
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See story Memories of Eglinton Road School

Oxleas meadows, c.1950. Photo: Roy Earnshaw
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The Water Tower on top of Shooters Hill,
                          Woolwich c.1950
The Water Tower on top of Shooters Hill. C.1950. Photo: Roy Earnshaw
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Another view of the Water Tower c.1950 postcard. Photo: Joe Duncan
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General Gordon's Birthplace, Woolwich
Early postcoard of General Gordon's birthplace, Woolwich. Photo: Mike Lucas
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Looking through the guide of the south bank exhibition (Waterloo SE1) priced 2/6d (HM Stationery Office). I spotted this advert for Siemans.
A lot of people in Plumstead worked for this company.

Derek Crompton

A crurrent view frm the top of Shooters Hill Photo: Miram Bastable

Burrage Road 2006. Photo: Joe Duncan.

Eaglesfield 1970. Photo: Joe Duncan.
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Above and below: Two current views of the Thames River barriers.
Photos: Joe Duncan (Click on photo for a larger view)

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