Search This Blog

Monday, 23 December 2013

MILLS, James(1835-1918)

1901census 66 years //at home with family address 20 Arthur Street, Plumstead. SE18
Saw Sharpener

(1901census 63 years // at home with family address 98 Robert Street, Plumstead. SE18
Retired Mechanical Engineer)

1911census at home with family address 66 Brewery Road, Plumstead. SE18
Old Age Pensioner Formerly Saw Mill Machinist. 

Died aged 82.

See ...


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WW 1- govenment shell filling factory

unknown photograph

Was this taken in Woolwich or else where during WW 1 ?

The author writes ….sorting, shed, possibly at the Royal Shell Filling Factory at Woolwich ..

Checking the lifting plugs fitted to completed high explosive shells. These plugs are removed and replaced with fuses when the shell reaches its firing position [gun battery].

Artillery in the Great War by Paul Strong and Sanders Marble
Published by Pen & Sword 2011 (paper back 2013)

This photograph is also used on ...


Saturday, 30 November 2013

1940 airview

This German WW 2 (1940) picture of the Thames shows the Arsenal (Plumstead Marshes).

With the sewage embankment and works at Crossness clearly visible.

view at ...


©IWM (C 5424)


The only main difference for this area, from early 1900hundreds. Was the military change over from horse (mainly Royal Artillery) power to mechanical power.  
With the resulting environmental drop in grassing and its upkeep in general.



Monday, 25 November 2013

Water Supply

 Bing air view

On my recent visit to Rushgrove House (private property). The pond in its gardens looked so natural. (And thankfully looked after which is more then can be said for its Government owners) But what we see today is totally man made and formed a major part of the main clean water supply to the Arsenal. Up until?????.


Perched on the very edge of one the best preserved of Bowater quarries. Edward BOWATER (1712-1777 unchecked*) was approached in the 1750’s to supply water for both the Dockyard and Arsenal. He had constructed a reservoir which is now known as Mulgrave pond.

 cromptonfamily 2013.11

Brought in 1815 by The Board of Ordnance.


The water being piped down via Wellington Street, into underground tanks with an outlet pipe and valve into the Thames near to the Arsenal pier. With water from the unnamed “Brook” running down from Brook Hill. (Information unchecked).


The amount of water required for steam power. The Thames unusable being both salt water and highly polluted at Woolwich. The Arsenal would still off required a much more supply then this. To work. The water tower on Shooters Hill brought water in from Kent. For local supply.


Also during the 18hundreds an unsuccessful series of bore wells to depth of some 400feet (or yards). Was also made.


Victoria House on Woolwich Common also had a pond. Was this also connected towards the Arsenal?

Small brick building on Ha Ha Road, south side.

Many rumours of connecting secret tunnels out from the Arsenal Walls running all over the place. Can be laid at the need for water supply. 

How did the water get in pass the later built North Kent Railway line and the main South London Sewage pipe?


·         British History Online (1796) Edward BOWATER esq owner of Manor of Southall.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Woolwich Arsenal Today


At long last some real sign of regeneration for these two historic buildings.
No1 Street, Woolwich. SE18 6

2013.11.11 (taken)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

No 17 Shop


Photograph of No. 17 Shop in file Bertha SAGE is in the second row from the front, fourth from the left.

see ...


Where and When

unknown photographs (cont'd)

Unknown in WW 1 period uniformed.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The High Explosive Research Department


1912 formed from The Research Department

Location: Woolwich Arsenal
Where and what buildings ?

Research Department


1908 The Chemical Research Department is renamed Research Department.

Location: Woolwich Arsenal
Where and which buildings ?

The Chemical Research Department


1907 The Chemical Research Department formed.

Location: Woolwich Arsenal
Where and what buildings ?

1907.02.11 explosion Chemical Research Department and magazine destroyed. 

any information welcomed

Signals Experimental Establishment


formed in 1916
Signals Experimental Establishment (SEE)

Location: Woolwich Common

Royal Engineers experimenting with radio moved into Woolwich at out break of WW 1.

any information welcomed up to 1922.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

“She Works At The Arsenal Now”

WW 1.
Sheet music “She Works At The Arsenal Now”

Sung by the Woolwich Singers at the Greenwich Heritage Centre celebrate its tenth anniversary this year.

It’s a music hall romance by Robert DONNELLY; about a woman called Florrie who gets a job at the Arsenal while her beau and his chums are off at war.

 “My Florrie, she writes and says don’t worry, I work at Woolwich Arsenal now. Give my message to your chums, Girls are working ‘midst the shells and guns. Although ’tis tiring as you’re requiring Ammunition for the fighting line, We’ll do our share for you out there, For the sake of Auld Lang Syne.”


Thursday, 8 August 2013



1915.06.13 Galveston Daily News
States that the Woolwich Arsenal had a monor rail. The engine and cars being kept upright using a gyroscope.   Any info welcomed.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Greenwich Marsh

 Dr M Mills (Local historian) has started work on a blog about the history of the Greenwich Peninsula south east London.


Monday, 22 July 2013

KNIGHT, AlfredRobert(1873-1933)

KNIGHT, AlfredRobert(1873-1933)


1915.10.07 to


 AR K. man in centre

1917 married GladysEmily BARKER(1892-1976) registered in Woolwich


Information provided by O Knight.
Towards the end of the war he met and married the daughter of a naval outfitter where Alfred bought his suits and they lived at 82 Victoria Road, Charlton where their son LeslieR(1919-1987) was born. Within a few months of his birth Alfred announced, apparently with little or no consultation with his new wife that he would seek employment in Rangoon. They sailed on the  SS. Burma and Alfred worked as engineer in the rice mills, in the oil fields and on merchant ships. Due to failing health the family returned to West Ham in London east 1930.




Certificate hottenfamily

See … ……Barker Family Tree


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Sunday, 26 May 2013


October 01
Closure of the Great Eastern Ferry. Operated from 1847, from the Eastern Counties Railway Station in North Woolwich by steam boats from a North to South pier. 

 1916 Ordinance Survey

JUBY, ThomasHenry(1848-1930)


1901census 32 Riverside Road, Plumstead
1911census 32 Riverside Road, Plumstead
JUBY, ThomasHenry(1848-1930) Shelled Labourer "in charged of bil pumps"
Eliza(wife); *Walter(son) ; Albrt(son);

*also Arsenal Worker

Wednesday, 22 May 2013



1906.04 monthly army list {as of 1906.03.31

army chaplains' department
ran: Captain) 4th class
drury, w rev ba
avent, e rev ba

acting army chaplains
cairns, j rev
kemp, d rev

staff for engineering services

ELTON, HA FSI   1901.11.01 Woolwich Arsenal
Rank:  (Captain) Surveyor (1st Class)
burns, gj B Sc  1898.05.10   Woolwich Arsenal
Rank: (Captain) Surveyor (2nd Class)

Warrant Officers at Woolwich

school masters
middleton, g   1895 1stclass

ogden, fr           1903
constable, wa    1904

royal artillery garrison
Serjeant Majors
JOHNSON, W             1905 Royal Military Academy
mcelwee, p          1895 instructor manufacturing department
stevens, ej             1900Instructor ord college
Clarke, g                 1904 royal aresenal
lyle, j                    1905 Instructor ord college
artillery clerks ; Serjeant Majors
webb, cgf              1903.04.01 record office
Appleton, b           1906.01.05 record office

superintending clerks
gooled,h           1902.11.03

royal engineers ;serjeant majors

singer, dc                1893.04.01 sm storekeeper
taylor, hj                 1898.02.16 foreman of works
murray, a                 1900.11.29 Royal Military Academy  Instructor
Addison, jl              1903.05.06 mechanist

Army Service Corps
1st class Serjeant Majors
switisur, g 1885
warner fmc 1897
Burdett, fw  1903  Woolwich arsenal

serjeant major
Marwick, ac 1903

staff serjeant

Mackie, r 1900 2company
morris, s 1900
spain, t 1901record office

Sunday, 12 May 2013

DICKSON, GeorgeBrotherston(1864-1937)


DICKSON, GeorgeBrotherston(1864-1937)
 1937.01.07North Devon Journal funeral at Landkey [St Paul] Church, Devon.
He was described as Chief Designer of Carriage Department. and then working for Napier's.
Lived at ...
12 St Margaret's Road Plumstead Woolwich (still there in 1931 Electoral Registers)

1901census Mechanical Draughtsman R Carr Dep
Wife: Agnes
Children; Ann; Lillias; George;

1911census Foreman Engineering Draughtsman  born Dumbarton Dumbartonshire


Friday, 10 May 2013


on show at crossrail woolwich station box earlier this year when the outer shell was completed in the excavations of this.

Three navel cannon were discovered in cased in cement. 
with thanks to Paul Evens.

were they used as foundation to machinery?



Created: 23rd July 2004
The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, UK: the Role of Women Workers

BARKER, LilianCharlotte(1874—1955)


© IWM Q 27893

Miss Lilian Barker OBE and a group of women war workers from the 'danger buildings' at Woolwich Arsenal. Miss Barker is the 'Lady Superintendant'.

with women workers in the TNT Department, Quick Firing Cartridge Factory No. 4, Woolwich Arsenal, May 1918.

To be an Additional Dame Commander of the Civil Division of the said Most Excellent Order:—
Miss Lilian Charlotte Barker, C.B.E., J.P. For services in connection with the welfare of women and girls [London Gazette 1944.06.08

WW1- tailor shop

GP Lewis(photographer)

© IWM Q 27858

workers in the tailors shop                         1918.05

WW1- Fuse Danger Buildings

GP Lewis(photographer)

© IWM Q 27874

Workers leave                                             1918.05

WW1- munition uniform

GP Lewis(photographer)

© IWM Q 27894
A full length portrait of two munitions workers.
Both are wearing short overalls, trousers and caps. 

Who were they?

WW1- New Case shop

GP Lewis(photographer)

© IWM Q 27849
Workers range shell cases. 

WW1- Cartridge Factory 5

GP Lewis(photographer)

© IWM Q 27854
Women workers place bullets into trays.  

WW1- Shell Factory 3

GP Lewis(photographer)
© IWM Q 27870
Women war workers gauge shells. 

Which Plumstead gate?

GP Lewis(photographer)
© IWM Q 27857
Workers leaving through gate.

BOWDEN, WilliamJames


Went to Australia in 1912 on the SS Australind. 

The guns manufactured at the Arsenal were tested on the firing ranges at Plumstead marshes, and I can recall as if it were now the days when heavy artillery was being fired and local houses in the area shook with the reverberations. The first one of the day made us jump, but after that we scarcely noticed them.

Will worked at the Arsenal up to the time he emigrated, and many other members of our family were employed there, including his young sister Ivy. Another sister suffered from cordite poisoning and as a result had a yellow complexion for the rest of her life.

For more of his story see ...

JONES, Harry


Donated (assumed in the 1980's) to the Royal Artillery Regiments Museum Archive and Library.

 RAHT AL669_item001

This is a Retirement Certificate for Mr Harry JONES dated 17 February 1950 after more then 35 years service in the Royal Arsenal.   Issued by Ministry of Supply. 

Included with this is a photograph of a man loading a vehicle (inter war years) onto a truck outside Dial Arch Square. Is this him ?
 RAHT AL.669_001

This is only section of the photographic print.
Stamped on back… DD Photo
What does DD stand for?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

BOWDEN, William


Left: Right:
Are these the same person ?

Greenwich Heritage 
Cartridge Factory No2 Ordnance Factory 1919.06

The man on the right is a William BOWDEN. 1920
1911census employed "Explosive Worker Completory Cartridge" 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Feild, EmilyR(1889-1982)


FEILD EmilyRosannah(1889 -1982);
there is ...
FIELD, EmilyRomana born 1890mar Haverfordwest

back row 3rd on the left,

Fuze Shop, Woolwich Arsenal - 1917


After leaving Pembrokeshire. Unfortunately, she never returned to Pembrokeshire again. Other brothers and sisters also left Pembrokeshire about this time, probably in search of work or the high wages that were on offer in the South East.

WW1- Royal Shell Factory


Photo by: Lewis G P
 IWM Q 27872
Turning copper bands for artillery shells.

 IWM Q 27866
 Copper turning machines. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Friday, 8 March 2013

Shell and Fuses Agreement 1915


Sir George ASKWITH's Treasury Committee on Production.
Engineering unions and employers

Was this taken in the RWA?

under the title ...
A woman munition worker gauging shell cases. .......................

The History of the T.U.C. 1868-1968 published by the General Council of the Trade Union Congress 1968