Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend. Co-op Estate

Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway continues eastwards
TQ 46485 78406

Area between Plumstead and Abbey Wood with much woodland and open space on hillsides. Housing by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society

Post to the west Plumstead

Abbey Wood Road
25-27 on the site of Abbey Wood Baptist Church, built and closed before 1914

Bostall Heath
Bostall comes from an Old English word meaning a 'place of refuge or protection', from Old English. The word also can mean in the south-east a 'winding path up a steep hill'.
The Heath was part of the Waste of the Manor of Plumstead but also partly in East Wickham. The spread of housing in the 19th threatened the Heath. It was then owned by Queens College, Oxford, who attempted to enclose it in the 1880s and following riotous protests by commoners it was acquired by the Metropolitan Board of Works as public open space.

Bostall Hill
26 Maybloom Club. Working men’s club. Now demolished

Bostall Lane
Bostall Farm was bought by Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in 1886. It stood roughly where the shop stands at 108 Bostall Lane by the corner with Federation Road. The Co-op's Bostall Estate was built from here.
Plaque. The first brick of the estate was laid in 1900 by Alexander McLeod, and a tablet to commemorate the event was put up at the corner with McLeod Road. When the Store was built the tablet was moved and fixed to the wall facing Bostall Lane. It is moulded from creamy gold terracotta, with an inscription panel, between moulded relief pillars. A pediment at the top has moulded acanthus leaves and the badge of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society
Hutments were built at the top end of the lane to house Arsenal workers in the Great War.  They were replaced by the Flowers Estate.

Bostall Manorway
Jam Factory built by Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. This was bombed in the Second World War and remained as a bombed shell through the 1960s and since replaced with housing.
Footbridge over the railway is old and said to be in a poor condition. It has no facilities to assist mobility impaired people.

Bostall Woods
The woods were the focus for dramatic protests following attempts by the landlord, Queen's College Oxford, to sell the land as private property.  After the Metropolitan Board of Works bought the Heath in 1877 The London County Council bought the woods in 1893 from Sir John Goldsmid who agreed to sell the land cheaply.  The woods are mainly secondary broadleaf trees plus a planting of Scotch fir and larch and sweet chestnut.  There is evidence of past coppicing and pollarding,

Bracondale Road
The area between the road and the railway was once allotments.
191 Jolly Marshman Pub. Long closed,

Church Manorway
Bannockburn Primary School. This is now a part of the school to the west in Bannock Burn Road. It was previously Church Manorway Secondary School, which appears to have been a London School Board girls school opened around 1903.
St Nicholas Gardens. The road runs along the eastern boundary of the churchyard, now converted to gardens.  The gardens include a line of evergreen trees along the boundary with Church Manorway, and there are the remains of older churchyard walls with modern railings above. Two entrances with steps lead up to the gardens. At 19th mortuary was also on the eastern side of the park, later replaced with public toilets accessible from the street but these have now gone.
Plumstead Gardens. The majority of the gardens lie in the square to the west. The gates in Church Manorway display the arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich, which originally opened and maintained the park,
Church Manorway Crossing. This footbridge had no ramps to assist mobility impaired persons and is part of the route to school for children who need to cross the tracks to get to the schools on the north side. It is to be replaced as part of the Crossrail scheme.
Church Manorway Halt. This station was opened in 1917 to serve wartime munitions workers. It belonged to the South Eastern and Chatham Railway and closed in 1920.
Seven Acres Sports ground. This was previously the Royal Arsenal Sports & Recreational Association F.C. (RASRA).

Dahlia Road
Abbey Wood Nursery School

Eynsham Drive
Road bridge built in the 1960s. It is the main access road onto Abbey Wood Estate from the south. It is a single carriageway road with footways on both sides. It spans the railway and Bracondale  and


Fuchsia Street
Alexander McLeod Primary School. This was originally Bostall Lane School. The London County Council bought land along Bostall Lane from the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in 1903 and built a school for 1000 children - infants on the ground floor, girls on the middle floor, and boys on the top floor.


McLeod Road
Co-op Shop which was originally the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society store.  The original shop here included a Co-op reading room and library in 1904
Bostall Gardens. This is on the site of Bostall and Suffolk Place Farms. In 1886 the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society bought Bostall Farm and Suffolk Place Farm in 1899. The area which is now the park was left as unused farm land and the farm buildings and a thatched tithe barn. In 1938 the Woolwich Borough Council bought the Tithe Barn and the ground surrounding it to turn it into a park but the Second World War intervened. The Tithe Barn was bombed and destroyed. In 1952 Bostall Gardens was opened, with paths, flowers and lawns. The original walls and railings remain with the Woolwich Borough Council arms on all he gates. In time there were toilets, a bowling green, a pavilion and terraces. In the 1970s the council had a nursery at the rear of the site. In the 1980s this closed and the area locked up. The bowling green closed and the park keeper went. In 2004 the pavilion was refurbished and a children’s playground and court were built on the bowling green site.  The nursery site was used as allotments for a short time and has since been taken by Groundwork.
Abbey Wood Methodist Church. The church began as a Baptist group meeting in Greening Street.  As the group expanded meetings were held in an old off licence. The site in McLeod Road was leased from the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society and the freehold acquired in 1944. The church was opened in July 1934 in what is now the Church Hall).

Myrtledene Street
This was originally called Cordite Street – reflecting some of the local products.

Wickham Lane
95 Spiritualist church


Sources
Abbey Wood Methodist Church. Web site
Barr-Hamilton and Reilly. From Country to Suburb
Bygone Kent-9/3
Clunn. The Face of London,
Connor and L.Halford. The Forgotten Stations of Greater London
Crossrail site documentation. Web site
Field. London Place Names
Hutments. Leaflet
Ideal Homes. Web site
Kent Archaeology. Web site
London Borough of Greenwich. Web site.
London Encyclopaedia
London Gardens On Line. Web site.
Nature Conservation in .Greenwich 
Pevsner and Cherry, South London
PMSA. Web site
Pritchard. Belvedere,
Spurgeon. Discover Erith and Crayford
Spurgeon. Discover Woolwich
Woolwich Antiquarians Journal.

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