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Tuesday, 26 February 2013

River Lee


Powder Barge

carried cargos such as gunpowder between Waltham Abbey and Woolwich Arsenal.

Hale Wharf Navigation in North London

Saturday, 23 February 2013

DIDDEN, FrancisGeorge(1858-1912)

William Street, Woolwich {Polytechnic Building

FrancisGeorge working in the Arsenal as a Engineers Fitter aged 33

by 1901census 205 Burrage Road, Plumstead

by 1911census 101 Powis Street, Wookwich as a Bank Manager

CarolineE (wife); FrancisGJ (son);

Died: 1912.05.09

Buried: 16th May Plumstead Cemetry

Probate: to GeorgeWilliam DEWAR fitter

un edited
An early student at the Royal Polytechnic Institution at Regent Street was Francis (Frank) Didden. In 1884 Didden moved to Woolwich to take up a job as a fitter at the Royal Arsenal. He also had a burning ambition to set up a Polytechnic in the Woolwich.

In 1884 Woolwich had a population of about 34,000 people, many of whom were employed as engineers at the Royal Arsenal, or the other large factories in the area. Despite its industries Woolwich had many slums, drunkenness was widespread, and many jobs offered little or no real security. For many people a lack of education and dissolute habits prevented them from "getting on". Didden saw a polytechnic as a way forward, and in 1886 he asked Hogg for support. Hogg’s reply is illuminating.


"You certainly require, as a minimum, a gymnasium, a few class rooms, a reading room and a coffee bar, besides some small hall where meetings can be held."

Didden campaigned passionately, and in 1890 T.A. Denny, a Woolwich bacon merchant, provided most of the £1,000 needed to buy a house in William Street, (now Calderwood Street). Woolwich Polytechnic had its foundation. It grew rapidly. In 1891 it offered 38 courses to 504 students. In 1892 there were 80 courses offered to nearly 800 students. True to Hogg’s model, Didden ensured that there was a very strong sporting and social side to attract and reform the habits of members.


Woolwich Polytechnic founded a number of day schools and junior technical schools,
1912   Woolwich Polytechnic Junior Technical School for Boys.
1956   London County Council- Woolwich Polytechnic Boys School.
1974  Poly was reorganised as a six-form entry comprehensive school spread over two sites. 
MacBean Street,
Woolwich Central School in Sandy Hill Road.
1997 Technology College.
1999 moved to the current site in Thamesmead.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013



1919.01.03 applied for

Mr LILLY, J J. of 267 Gladstone Avenue, Wood Green, London N22

Corps: Royal Arsenal Woolwich.

Rank: Civilian.


Medal card {image online and The National Archives(England) charges apply

War Office: Service Medal and Award Rolls Index, First World War. Medal card of Lilly, J J. Corps Regiment No Rank Royal Arsenal Woolwich Civilian.

Collection: Records created or inherited by the War Office, Armed Forces, Judge Advocate General, and related bodies

Date range:01 January 1914 - 31 December 1920

Reference: WO 372/12/91967

Subjects: Medals, Armed Forces (General), Weapons, Army, Operations, battles and campaigns, Conflict


 IWM Q27889

Female workers.

WW 1- New Gun Factory


 IWM Q27846
Two female workers unnamed?
Shell Case forming machine.

Voices of WW 1

Podcast 16: Munitions

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM’s Voices of the First World War

see ...

Sunday, 17 February 2013

HUME, John(1851-1922)


John Hume (1851-6th April 1922)

Lived 29 Sandyhill Road in 1888 after serving in the Royal Artillery worked at the Royal Arsenal as a Foundry labourer until he died aged 71.

1901cesus and

1911census 101 Barnfield Road Plumstead London

HUME, John Labourer Forge Shop born Scotland

Mary(wife) born Ireland

Children; WilliamThomas; MaryEllen; KateElizabeth; Isabel; AnnieLouisa; JohnRobert; Frank;

Buried On: 12 Apr 1922 His body was borne to his grave at Woolwich Cemetery, on a Royal Field Artillery gun carriage as a mark of respect for his long service with the Regiment.'s%20Family%20Story.htm

discharged labour

Imperial Government in London.

Hansard {HC Deb 26 March 1903 vol 120 c300 300
 MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)     I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War if he will state how many men have been discharged from or are under notice to leave Woolwich Arsenal since peace was proclaimed; and whether the men discharged or under notice are, in all cases, the extra men employed owing to the pressure of work during the war: and will he consider the possibility by a rearrangement of the orders for material and work of stopping the discharges.

 MR. BRODRICK        One thousand three hundred and seventy-five have already gone on reduction since May 31 last, and about 1,000 are under notice to go. The men selected for discharge were those whom it was least desirable to retain, or whose work had actually died away. No practicable rearrangement of orders would stop discharges, as there is a general shrinkage of orders both for the trade and the ordnance factories. The heavy discharges now impending are due to the decision not to discharge men during the winter.

Hansard {HC Deb 16 November 1920 vol 134 cc1677-8 1677

Mr. CROOKS  asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the War Office if he can give any information regarding the 1678 position of employment and proposed discharges at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, and what progress has been made in providing alternative work?

Mr. MILLS  asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the growing apprehension of the workpeople and the general community in Woolwich as a result of the continuous discharges; and whether any forms of alternative work are contemplated that would open the machine shops already closed?

Sir A. WILLIAMSON  The War Office is aware of the apprehensions referred to. There are still about 19,200 persons employed in all departments at Woolwich Arsenal as compared with 13,700 before the War, while the ample amount of military equipment in store reduces the amount of production required. The position is difficult, but while further discharges are unavoidable, every effort is being made to minimise them during the coming winter by obtaining alternative civilian work. This has relieved the situation in the ordnance factory department, and it is hoped that the number of men it will be necessary to discharge from that department during the winter will be small. This is irrespective of discharges arising from substitutions, so far as it may be possible, of ex-soldiers now employed in other departments for men engaged during the War. There is a considerable surplus of such ex-soldiers in the inspection and other departments

Mr. W. THORNE   Have the Government now made up their minds definitely that they will insist upon the discharge of men over 60 years of age?


Sir A. WILLIAMSON   It never was the case that there was a decision to discharge the men over 60 years of age. There were certain men over 60 years of age who were less efficient whom it was necessary to discharge. The Government have to regard the interests of the different classes of men and also to maintain the efficiency of the Arsenal.

Mr John Mills(1882 - 1951) the MP for Dartford

Mr William Thorne(1857 - 1946) the MP for West Ham













1903.06.18 explosion (2)

Imperial Government in London.

Hansard { HC Deb 18 June 1903 vol 123 cc1306-7 1306

Woolwich Arsenal Disaster.


MR. CROOKS (Woolwich)  I beg to ask the Secretary of State for War whether he can give the House any information regarding the awful calamity which happened at Woolwich Arsenal this morning, by which it is reported fifteen men have lost their lives, and forty others have been injured.


 MR. BRODRICK I deeply regret to say that a very serious explosion took place in the lyddite shell-filling rooms, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, at about 8.15 a.m. to-day. The following is the 1307 list of casualties:—

Killed: J. Usher, Frank Curren, W. Edwards, C. Adam, A. Swords, Alfred Greenlees, — Pinhorn, G. Case, E. Newton, — Remington, J. T. Larkins (died after admission to hospital).

 The remains of four men are unrecognised; the following five are missing:— — Morley, S. Johnson, — Herbert, — Marshall, — Connor. Very seriously injured: A. Goldsmith, A. Stevens, F. Stevens.

Less seriously injured: — Webb, G. Crofts, A Saunders, F. Smith, W. Wood, D. Gaurd, E. Stevenson, A. Smedley, E. Howell, E. Hammond, H. Wickham, N. G. Titmarsh, J. Waters, J. Hillers. No further detailed information can be given until the Report of the Board of Inquiry, which will be forthwith assembled, has been received.


CAPTAIN NORTON    Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to see that the families of the men who have been killed do not suffer?


MR. BRODRICK     Of course I shall be glad to do anything which lies in my power in that direction. Any resources we have under the ordinary rules will be used.


1908 public map


Bartholomew's Handy Reference Atlas of London & Suburbs (1908)

Map of the Arsenal how accurate it is anyone’s guess.

Still in the days of balloons and kits. Air raids were things for military planner’s fiction. Later maps were soon to only show a white emptiness.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

1903.02.16 explosion


In the Eastern Arsenal Danger Buildings (Gun-cotton drying shed).

DENNISON, George Labourer killed***

HALL, James Labourer died*** of injuries

JACKSON, George Foreman Cap and Detonator Department. injured

MOREY or MORLEY, Assistant Manager

PARTRIDGE, R(Captain)      died*** of injuries

WOODHEAD, James Labourer injured

(papers say seven were n the shed at the time)

Accidental death on Hall and Dennison.
Their widows each received £250 compensation.

Royal Arsenal Memorial (Plumstead Cemetery)
Hoare & Sons of Woolwich and Shooter's Hill,
Monumental Masons, 83 Church Street, Woolwich
Four panels at the base ...
* side facing chapel
**right hand see 1903.06.18 explosion
***opposite chapel
****left hand see 1903.06.18 explosion
Erected/ to the memory of/the men who lost their/lives in the/gun cotton and lyddite/explosions at the/royal arsenal Woolwich/ in the midst of life we/are in death.
at the bottom of plinth right : Hoare & Sons/Woolwch &.......
at the bottom of plinth left  : This monument was/ erected by / the employees of the / danger buildings / royal arsenal

updated ...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

PARTRIDGE, RichardGrenville(1870-1903)


PARTRIDGE, RichardGrenville(29Au 1870-24Feb 1903) {Kane4861
Rank: Captain Royal Garrison Artillery
Nov 1902 was ic Danger Buildings Royal Laboratory Ars.

Born: India
Married:  CatherineFortune;
Died:  At the Herbert Hospital. From injuries received doing experiments in the gun cotton drying shed {explosion of 16Feb
Funeral 27th with full military honours

Monday, 11 February 2013

MASTERS, GeorgeFinch(1877-)


Born 1877jun in the Arsenal at No3 Avenue 'H'

1901census Hydraulic Engineers Quarters RA Woolwich
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer as were *
Born: 1877 Plumstead, Kent
Son of head: GeorgeH*(father); SarahA(mother); CharlesW*(brother); LouisaA(sister); FrederickJ**(brother); MargaretE(sister); PercyE(brother); EmilyG(sister); Jack(brother); WilliamS(brother);

**was Electrical Engineer.

1911census 92 Greenvale Road, Eltham
Occupation: Principal Forman of Engineers.
Born: 1877 Plumstead, Kent
Married; 9years
Head of family: FrancisDaisy(wife); MarjorieDaisyGrace; GeorgeHenry; Daisy; Nora; KennethLindley;

Manager of the Royal Gun and Carriage Factories.
1921 lived in the official quarters in Avenue 'H'

1936-1942 wasSuperintendent -Royal Gun and Carriage Factories
1942-1947 was Director -Royal Ordnance Factories

from the forward in ...

The Royal Arsenal, Woolwich in Old PhotographsFirst published in 1995
By Roy MASTERS(1914-1995) edited by Alan TURNER
  • Publisher: Alan Sutton Publishing Ltd.
  • Format: Paperback 128 pages
  • ISBN: 0-7509-0894-7

  • Sunday, 10 February 2013

    Queen of the Battlefield

    The Arsenal was not just about the manufacturer of guns and projectiles, for the worlds largest Empire. It was also one of the worlds top scientific establishments of the day. Driven by the needs of the military. In their need to change from direct to indirect firing guns. And replacement of the horse.
    In having the most dominant firepower, artillery has long been the "Queen of the Battlefield", but its reign began to falter towards the end of the 19th Century, when infantry weapons made enormous steps forward in their rate of fire, range and accuracy. Up to that point, artillery had by far the longer range and, in addition to cannonballs and explosive shells, it could deliver punishing salvos of cased shot (canister) at infantry and cavalry targets long before they could retaliate with their own weapons. It remained vulnerable to enemy artillery, of course, but that was true of both sides, and artillery tended to devote most of its effort towards reducing the enemy's infantry and cavalry forces.

    This new infantry firepower had the effect of driving field artillery back from the front line: it was too valuable a resource to leave it in positions where gunners and horses could be picked off by skilled riflemen. After moving out of range of the infantry weapons, it still had the dominating firepower, but the field guns of that period had to be able to see their targets. Frequently these targets were out of sight and guns had to be layed for indirect fire: this brought about a whole new era of change.

    But the gunner first needed to know where the target was, so someone had to be far enough forward to be able to see it and to pass that information to the gun position. In addition, he had to act as an observer of the fall of shot when the target was engaged, so that corrections to the aim could be given. Some means had to be found of pointing the guns at their 'invisible' target. This was resolved by using maps with a grid system that allowed guns and their targets to be plotted accurately. This enabled bearing (direction) and range to be measured, so that this information could be used to point the guns and to set the correct elevation.

    A forward observer was not able to communicate with the gun position unaided, so signalling systems had to be developed to pass orders and corrections between them. Signal flags (semaphore), heliographs and telephones were stages in the progress towards radio communications - all unnecessary, of course, in the days when guns were in the front line.

    New instruments were needed on the guns, too. A means of sighting the gun, using a simple form of theodolite and compass, meant that guns could be reliably pointed at any required bearing. The correct range was set using data from range tables coupled with a form of gunner's quadrant. Sighting systems that were initially rudimentary soon became quite advanced, thanks to the technical skills developed in other branches of artillery, such as coast guns.

    The combination of these changes freed field artillery from the space constraints of the front line, where there was insufficient room for more than a few guns per battalion of infantry. Suddenly there was an enormous amount of room, since guns soon had enough range not only to clear their own front line and hit the enemy, but also to hit targets well behind the enemy's front lines.

    By the time of the Great War in 1914, most of the problems of indirect fire had been ironed out and artillery was being massed to provide devastating firepower, vastly more than had ever been envisaged in the days of direct fire. It was truly a quantum leap and maintained the old tradition of "Queen of the Battlefield".
    Firepower - A Quantum Leap FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2009

    Friday, 8 February 2013

    Brass Foundry(2)


    Post Card ...

    Maker: Kingsway Real Photograph Series
    Date: Unknown
    Note: picture from a post card seller

    Shell Foundry(entrance)


    Post Card ...

    H0696 NMM

    Maker: Kingsway Real Photograph Series
    Date: Unknown
    Note: Millet mortar the round things.  Where are the now?

    see ...

    Boring Mill(South)


    H0690 NMM

    Maker: Kingsway Real Photograph Series
    Date: 19th century

    see ...

    Brass Foundry(1)


    Pot Fines Brass Foundry,

    H0689 NMM

    Maker: Kingsway Real Photograph Series
    Date: 19th century



    H0699 NMM

    Maker: Unknown
    Date: 19th century

    Fuse Factory


    H0698 NMM

    Maker: Unknown
    Date: Unknown

    see ...

    Bullet Factory


    H0687 NMM
    Maker: Kingsway Real Photograph Series
    Date: Unknown

    see ...

    CROOKS, William(1852-1921)

    National Government

     CROOKS, Will(06Apr 1852-05Jun 1921)

                                   Gough Street, Poplar

    Elected Labour Member of Parliament for Woolwich 11th March 1903. The same month set up the Woolwich Labour Party.

    Supported the Liberal Government.

    Lost the seat in 1910 but regained it again the same year.

    1912 opened the Woolwich Foot Tunnel.

    1921 resigned due to ill health

    buried: Tower Hamlets Cemetery

    Thursday, 7 February 2013

    SUMNER, Frank(1865-1914)

    Local Government

    SUMNER, Frank(17May 1865-22Dec 1914)
    Civil Engineer

    Employed by Woolwich Borough (Previously Plumstead Vestry) 1899 to 1905

    1901census 18 Wrottesley Road, Plumstead.
    1911census 33Highland Road, Bromley 

    with his wife Elizabeth nee CHADWICK =(1894sep)=
    Children;  EdithM; FrancisCyril; GuyChadwick; ElizabethChadwick; MargaretMary;

    Constructed 20 miles of sewers, 8 miles of streets,
    Prepared plans for and supervised the erection of a combined electric light station-and refuse destructor at Plumstead, with well and hydraulic machinery for making clinker bricks and flags.

    Prepared plans for a new Library at Plumstead.
    Prepared plans for Public- baths and wash houses at Plumstead, also a coroners court and mortuary.
    Prepared plans for widening Well -Hall Road from Eltham to Shooters Hill to 60 feet, paving for Tramway
    Street improvements
    £30,000, Certifies annually general work.
    Controlling 600 men,
    Passes plans for 1,500 buildings per year.

    Wednesday, 6 February 2013


    Reference AL.566_002 RAHT
    Dated as being taken on 1st November 1901
    This would have been a typical scene in the Arsenal. The sound and vibration of these coastal/ navel guns could be felt for some distance in the neighbourhood. The firing of guns continued well into the 1960's.

    Showing two steam engines and the Butts in back ground.

    No other information is known.
    Assumed Woolwich Arsenal.
    This photographic print is in the Royal Artillery Museum Collection in The Woolwich Arsenal. See their web site.

    Tuesday, 5 February 2013

    Main Gate, Woolwich

    Beresford Square, Woolwich
    Today a main road runs behind this preserved building. Isolating it from the remaining Arsenal

    Post Card ...
    H0684 NMM 
    Maker: Valentines
    Note: horse trams

    Post Card ...
    Maker: Valentines
    Note: frank mark on stamp does not extend over card.

    Post Card ...

    H0686 NMM
    Maker: Molyneux Bros.
    Date: Unknown

    English Heritage

    updated ...

    Sunday, 3 February 2013



    1903.09 newspaper reports ........

    Found on the 9.05 train from Charring Cross(London) to Bickley at New Beckenham. Dead from gun shot to the head.

    JohnChile's SPILLER aged 20. Of 42 Burrage Road, Plumstead. Had been employed in Woolwich Arsenal. After serving in South Africa War and Royal Navy.

    Also, Alice COOK aged 19. Whose father is employed in Woolwich Arsenal.

    Friday, 1 February 2013



    Woolwich 'Dusthole' consisted of what is now Woolwich High Street and the area around the Arsenal Railway station.
    The area which is now covered and part of General Gorden Square was a open railway cutting. In this time passenger and heavy goods steam trains operated along the North Kent line. The trains starting up from the station or passing through would send clouds of smoke and dust up into the air. Both sides had high buildings and this pollution had nowhere to go.
    Although the local authorities had named the surrounding streets after illustrious admirals, due to their proximity to the Navel Dockyard, only the very poorest as well as tramps, criminals prostitutes and labourers crammed into the lodging houses and tumble down houses in the area.
    "I REMEMBER" MEMORIES OF A "SKY PILOT" IN THE PRISON AND THE SLUM by John William Horsely, Wells Gardner Darton & Co. 1911 
    ......................... . The whole parish of Holy Trinity is on the river flat, and so without the alleviation of the currents of air possessed in every other part of the undulating hilly district of Woolwich and Plumstead. It is, in shape, an isosceles triangle, with four hundred yards of the Thames as its base and thirty yards of the Market Square as its apex. Into its thirty-two acres were crammed (without any lofty " model" lodging- houses or tenements) 4,300 people, so that while for Woolwich generally there were thirty-six persons per acre, in my parish there were 125. Into this triangle lanes and courts were crammed, while in many cases even the back yard of a house had been seized upon as a site for another house. The lifting of a brick in a yard showed a substratum of sewage. It was difficult to find any closet in the parish with a water-supply. Whole streets were without dustbins. Cellars were used as bedrooms. Seven adults were found occupying one very dirty room, with one bed, in a house let at five shillings a week for its two rooms, of which the lower one was quite uninhabitable, while the boards of which the whole dwelling was composed were broken away in several places so that the sky could be seen, and the walls were broken and black, and the roof leaked. In another house of ten rooms there were nine families and one closet, without a water-supply.
    In the worst parts I found that the visit of the one inspector of the Local Board was four years ago, which was hardly surprising when he had five thousand houses in Woolwich to inspect. Into one bedroom the rain penetrated in so many places that the mother of six children said "Some nights we did not know how to keep shifting the children about in their beds to keep the water from dropping on them." In the lower room the smaller children could, and did, crawl through the holes in the floor, and the rent of this two-roomed house was £13 a year! Next door I picked from the floor-joists a fungus eighteen inches long that had grown in a fortnight, and I exhibited it at a lecture with the label, "Local Board Vegetation." Another house that was a regular death-trap from dampness (one of the chief causes of consumption) held two families in four rooms, and the rent of this suburban and riverside villa was only £18 4s. a year! There were eighteen public-houses and eighteen four-penny lodging-houses for tramps of both sexes and casual labourers at the docks and elsewhere. Part of the parish was locally and expressively called "The Dusthole," and formed an Alsatia for vice and crime that it was thought by the respectables and rulers of the town convenient to ignore, and even politic to allow. Mr. Montagu Williams, then our police magistrate, described it in print as the worst plague-spot in London, and had in vain called upon the Local Board to do something for its purification. Cannon Row, therein, was almost entirely composed of brothels of the lowest kind, and nearly one hundred crimes came from it to the notice of the police in six months. Rents were high, and frequently raised, sometimes because the owner had effected some so-called improvements, which were, in reality, a tardy discharge of his duty, and sometimes simply because there was then never an empty house, or even room, in the parish, and the difficulty of finding lodging near the work caused almost any rent to be paid.
    Plainly,it was a mockery to preach " temperance, soberness, and chastity," until a better environment made better lives possible. I therefore had to .............................

    "In Darkest England and The Way Out" by General William Booth

    .... . There is scarcely a lower class of girls to be found than a girls of the 'Woolwich 'Dusthole'. The women living and following their dreadful business in this neighbourhood are so degraded that even abandoned men will refuse to accompany them home.

    Soldiers are forbidden to enter the place, or to go down the street, on pain of twenty-five days' imprisonment; pickets are stationed at either end to prevent this.

    One public house is shut up three or four times a day sometimes for fear of losing the licence through the terrible brawls which take place within. A policeman never goes down this street alone at night one having died not long ago from injuries received there but our two [Salvation Army] lasses go unharmed and loved at all hours, spending every other night always upon the streets.

    The girls sink to the 'Dusthole' after coming down several grades. There is but one on record who came there with beautiful clothes, and this poor girl, when last seen by the officers, was a pauper in the workhouse infirmary in a wretched condition.

    The lowest class of all is the girls who stand at the pier head these sell themselves literally for a crust of bread and sleep in the streets." ...........................


    Chemical Research Department


    Formed in 1907

    With the addition of the laboratories of the Chemist to the War Department - a post created in 1854.
    No separate establishments existed specifically to do research, design and development. Nevertheless, from the earliest days, epoch making advances were made, such as the transition from solid round shot fired from a muzzle loader to the explosive filled shell fired from a breech-loading gun, the replacement of gunpowder by cordite as the propellant and the early 19th Century experiments with artillery rockets. 

    With the increase in activity in the armament world, the growing complexity of weapons and in particular the serious faults in the ammunition used by the British Army on the Boer War led to the establishment of the Chemical Research Department, Woolwich in 1907. This organisation was the first in the country to be entirely devoted to armament research; it covered explosives and pyrotechnics, propellants, ballistics and materials for armaments. It was the direct and recognisable fore-runner of the Armament Research Establishment.

    In 1915, the engineering design and development of weapons was concentrated progressively into a separate department but the unified Armament Design Establishment began to assume its final shape in 1922 when the design facilities of the three factories at Woolwich ( the Royal Gun Factory, The Royal Carriage Department and the Royal Laboratory) and one at Enfield were amalgamated into the Design Department. 

    updated ...

    HEAD, StephenJohn()

    see also Plumstead Stories

    The Kentish Independent Newspaper [date ?]


    On Saturday last Messrs. L. M. Lang, E. Edwards, and G. F. Ball, representing the managers and foremen of the Royal Carriage Department, Woolwich Arsenal, met at the residence of Mr, S. J. Head to present a testimonial to him on his retirement after 42 years service.

    Mr. Ball, in making the presentation, said he had worked with Mr. Head for over 40 years, and could speak in very high terms of his valuable service. Forty years ago there were only 12 employed in the shop, and at the present time there were 209, and he was sure no shop in the whole of the department had improved more in both quality and quantity of work produced. This was in no small degree due to Mr. Head, particularly when marker-out. He asked him to accept a little token of their regard a cheque and gold watch. The latter was inscribed: Presented to Mr. S. J. Head on his retirement from the Royal Carriage Department after 42 years service from the managers and foremen of the above department as a token of esteem and regard. November, 1917.

    In presenting Mrs. Head with a gold brooch Mr. Ball said he was very pleased they had decided to share the testimonial, as woman's devotion was a great feature in the success of men, and he hoped Mr. and Mrs. Head would jog along for many years to come.

    Mr. L. M. Lang, in supporting, remarked that he had known Mr. Head for 38 years, and could remember the time when as "Steve Head" he was called upon to do the most particular work in copper, and how as a boy he would stand and admire his work. He always found him ever ready to help anyone in trouble, and he agreed with Mr. Ball that rapid strides had been made in sheet metal work. He congratulated Mr. Head in having such a capable partner, who must have helped him considerably during his life, and he hoped they would live for many years to come.

    Mr. Edwards, who followed, said although he had not known Mr. Head as long as the two previous speakers, he could speak with pleasure of his connection with him for 18 years, and he thought after such valuable service for so many years it was tragedy to retire owing to ill-health, and he hoped the time was not far distant when he would be completely restored to health.

    Mr. Head thanked the gentlemen for their very kind words, particularly regarding his wife, who was worthy of all good things said of her. He would like to have stayed at work a little longer for the good of his King and Country, but it was not to be. He hoped the gentlemen would convey to all subscribers their sincere thanks for their valuable presents, which they would always look at with pride.

    NOT the football team site.
    This web site no longer works is the information still available?

    Civilian Records

    spotted this on
    Posted by Brigadier-General 19 November 2004 - 07:35 PM


    There is a slim (and I mean slim!!) chance that your Grandmother's records survive - albeit thinned down over the years, for the purposes of pensions etc.

    This is the official advice, with regards to records, from the Woolwich Arsenal Historic Society - a small band of former employees.

    This subject is a difficult one to answer, so before emailing us; we must inform you as a website; we  do not hold any personnel records ourselves at all. It has been Government policy for years now that when a military establishment closes or members of staff leave for what ever reason, retirement, redundancy etc; all records relating to persons employed during the 20th century are passed to the relevant centre for storage (currently, for civilian employees, to Wales as indicated below), where they are retained for a period of 100 years from the employee's date of birth, before being destroyed. There are however exceptions - for example if the person had an especial record, or was involved in something notable.

    Unfortunately, if you are lucky, and they do find something associated with your request, they will only release that information to someone they deem relevant, normally a relation.

    Remember, the Royal Arsenal was not the only Ordnance factory, and overall there were many thousands employed, which puts pressure on the number of records that can be stored.

    We do have access though, to a limited number of documents that friends of this website have in their own personal collections, and which mention names and departments, and may provide clues; most of such records refer to the 18th and 19th century, so do e-mail us if you want a request added to the list below and we will do our best to search any documents to which we have access, though remember it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to help with anyone employed during the First World War.

    You can contact the Historical Society by going to their website at  [no longer active]

    You can also try the following:

    Mr I. C. Todd
    Civilian Records Management for Director (D S D C )
    Ministry of Defence
    Defence Storage and Distribution Centre
    SA14 8YP
    Tele 01554 822 352
    Fax 01554 822 350
    Holder of all ex MOD civilian employees personal files only.

    Please note that it is MOD policy to review and then destroy all personal files after 100 years from the date of birth.

    I have just started scanning in the Society's glass plates and archives. All of this material was thrown into a skip and then rescued. It is in a sorry state, with nothing catalogued or listed. Every day I come across some gems which will shortly appear on the website listed above.

    So please check in often.