Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend - East Greenwich and North Charlton
Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The railway runs north eastwards through Westcombe Park Station and beyond
Industrial and suburban area a world away from 'Royal Greenwich' to the west
Post to the west East Greenwich
Post to the east North Charlton
Post to the north Silvertown
Post to the north Charlton Angerstein
Anglo-American Oil Company’s works on north side of the street and extended to the Thames. The company shipped lamp oil branded as "Royal Daylight" from America to the United Kingdom. Standard Oil Trust owned Rockefeller in the USA. In the UK they used the brand name of Pratts. In 1935 they became the Esso Petroleum Co Ltd. They were on this site alongside the Angerstein railway with a riverside wharf from at least the 1890s until the 1960s.
Anchor and Hope Lane
United Glass Works. This large works took up the majority of the space between Lombard Wall, the riverside, Anchor and Hope Lane and what is now the line of Bugsby’s Way. There were also numerous rail sidings branching from the Angerstein Railway. The works began as Moore and Nettlefold in 1907 using traditional blown glass methods. In 1919 they moved to Silvertown and the site was taken over by United Glass. They rebuilt the site and installed an Owens Automatic bottle making system, making about 200 million bottles a year, exported by barge and using sand from Redhill. In the Second World War they supplied all London’s milk bottles as well as many wartime bottle needs. The works was bombed on several occasions. After the war medicine bottles for the new NHS was a major manufacture and the Owens system was replaced with something even faster. In the early 1960s plastic bottles led to a huge fall in production and some of the works closed. The whole works closed finally in 1966 with production transferred to Harlow. The site extended over the square to the north. Since then other works have moved onto the site – those to the north will be on a different square.
Hilton Transport. Some of the UGB site was bought in 1967 to Hilton Transport for warehousing. Ralph Hilton had built up the firm from a beginning as a lorry driver. The existing buildings were demolished and a big new complex erected. A large building used by Harvey’s and land in Bugsby’s Way was added and took over other local haulage companies. Eventually everything went wrong, the company name changed to Roadships. The site was eventually taken over by Laings to become the Meridian Trading Estate
Lombard Trading Estate. On the site of the United Glass Works
Angerstein Branch Railway Line. This line which runs north on an embankment to the river from a junction west of Charlton Station. The railway was constructed for a grandson of the original and more Angerstein who obtained powers for the construction of a single-track railway 79 chains long to run from a junction with the South Eastern Railway between Blackheath and Charlton Stations. This was a rare, maybe unique, instance of a private individual obtaining an Act of Parliament for railway construction –only necessary because of the bridge over Woolwich Road, the rest being on private land. It runs on an embankment which has said to be built by spoilt from the Blackwall Tunnel – which is clearly impossible since the tunnel was not built until the 1890s. It opened in 1852 and was leased to, and worked by, the South Eastern Railway from the out-set. The lease was renewed in 1853 and 1879 and South Eastern finally bought the freehold in 1898. The line was later doubled from north of the Woolwich Road Bridge and served sidings to many factories including the South Metropolitan Gas Works in addition to its own riverside Angerstein Wharf. It was electrified in 1959.
The area lies at the junction of the North Kent Line from Blackheath Station which curves to enter Charlton Station and meets the later line from Westcombe Park at Angerstein Junction. The Angerstein Line curves between the two and then turns north. This is in an area of old chalk workings with steep cliff faces on the eastern side. From the Angerstein Line a network of sidings ran south to an industrial area.
Angerstein Junction. When built the junction faced Blackheath but now faces Charlton station
Angerstein Works. The South Eastern Railway signal works was situated near the junction north of Blackheath Tunnel: the Greenwich to Charlton line. South Eastern built their own signal frames here from the 1860s. Painters and other staff also worked from here.
Old chalk pit. Trees and herbs with bracken and sycamore woodland. Birds and animals.
Bernard Ashley Drive
Housing on the site of the original Johnson and Phillips Works.
Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach
Woolwich Road roundabout. The tunnel approach, built in the late sixties, is here carried on a flyover across the Woolwich Road. This was approved in an Act of 1963 and was the largest structure in the scheme. It has five spans, is 70 feet long and has ‘low voltage road heating’.
A road built across marshland in the 1980s to access trading and industrial areas. Named for a 19th shipping magnate
Brocklebank Industrial Estate. An industrial park with terraced units, steel frames and roller shutter doors occupied by light industrial and trade businesses. It has now been closed to allow for development of large retail units.
The road was built across marshland by London Borough of Greenwich and opened in 1984. The name is taken from Bugsby’s Reach - the area of the river with which it is parallel - Bugsby's Reach
Meridian Trading Estate. On the site of the United Glass Works followed by the Hilton Transport Depot. It is now home to a variety of industrial and trading concerns.
Greenwich Shopping Park (ASDA etc). This site is mainly on Harveys Engineering works site which fronted on Woolwich Road.
55 Sainsburys. This ‘telly tubby Sainsburys’ store was a ‘flagship of Eco-design’ by architect Paul Hinkin in 2000. It scored the highest ever official environmental rating for a retail building with a perfect 31 out of 31 points, and was the first store to be awarded a BREEAM Excellent rating. It was shortlisted for the Stirling Prize, was a Design Council Millennium Product, won the RIBA Journal Sustainability Award, won a RIBA Regional Award 2000, won the Design Museum’s Design Sense Award, won Retail Week Store Design of the Year 2000 and was Channel 4 Building of the Year People’s Choice 2000. It is scheduled to be demolished.
Railway Bridge. This carries the Angerstein Line across the road and was built at the same time as the road. It is a double bridge although the line is single track.
Odeon Cinema. Originally opened as The Filmworks, this was a multiplex promoted by United Cinemas International. It opened in 2001 as a fourteen screen cinema. Architecturally it was ‘Industrial’ with ducting for the air conditioning and all beams and joints left exposed. It was taken over by Odeon Theatres in 2006 and renamed.
Westcombe Park Police Station. Opened 1885. It closed to the public in 1990 and subsequently was sold. The building is now flats.
Coach garage. This was most recent used by Lewis Coaches who have since moved to Plumstead.
Greenwich Pump and Plant Co. were here in the 1950s
Mission. This was a branch of the London City Mission following open air evangelism by Richard Tyndall. The hall was built in 1896. When Tyndall died a plaque was put on the building – this has now been lost. The Mission finally closed in 1969 and was used as a clubroom and store by Johnson and Phillips. It was demolished in 1970.
A passage between houses leads to steps going to level crossing on the Angerstein railway. This is said to have been provided for workers from Combe Farm.
Warehousing. New housing on the site of warehousing replacing land which was part of the Johnson & Phillips Victoria Works. This section was from 1919 the site of the company sports and social club, including, in the Second World War, broadcasts for Workers Playtime. The hall was demolished in 1969 after the takeover by Delta Enfield.
Before the construction of the motorway Farmdale Road was parallel to what is now Westerdale Road. Current Farmdale Road runs from Woolwich Road between the Blackwall Tunnel Approach and the Angerstein Line. It is in fact the remains of the northern end of Westcombe Hill – which is now on a new route. At the bottom of the road was until the late 2000s a traffic signal pad embedded in the road which had worked traffic lights at the junction of two major roads.
Coombe Farm – the road is built on some of the area of Coombe Farm.
Charlton Tram Repair Depot. A.L.C.Fell was the General Manager of the London County Council Trams when the Depot began operations here in 1906/7. It was the central maintenance depot for London County Council Tramways with a layout based on the erecting shop at Swindon Great Western Railway works. Some track and turntable remained after demolition. It was also called Charlton Overhaul Works and closed in 1960.
Airfix. Airfix dated form after the Second World War releasing a plastic kit, for a tractor in 1949 and subsequently buying up many older firms. The name of their railway models range was altered to GMR, which stood for 'Great Model Railways', and the assembly line was to be in the old Charlton tram depot – where the word AIRFIX was in giant letters along the gables. By 1980 the models were ready for production but the Airfix empire was crumbling. They had acquired Meccano Ltd and the money used to save that company meant Airfix slid into receivership. The buildings were later demolished.
Fossdene School. This was built in 1895 by the London School Board. It is the earliest known example of a standard design for Schools by TJ Bailey. It has a combined laundry/cookery/schoolkeeper's building, handicraft block and boundary wall. A southern end range was never built. There are panels with '1895' under the top floor windows and entrances with lintels inscribed 'Girls' and 'Infants' between scrolls. There are panels in the pediments with the School Board for London monogram and 'Fossdene Road School'. Inside is a standard Board School plan with a hall, with classrooms leading off.
Frank Burton Close
New housing in road named for Cllr.Frank Burton who was Councillor for Marsh and Trafalgar Wards, but also took up many issues concerned with Charlton. The close was built soon after his death in 1989 and is on the site of an eastern extension of Johnson and Phillips Victoria Works.
Halstow Road Primary School. This began in the early 1890s as Halstow Street (Senior Mixed) School built by the London School Board and designed by T.J.Bailey.
Helicon Mountain. Entrance to pretend station converted from garages.
Sykes Pumps. Sykes had been started in 1857 in Upper Thames Street and became a manufacturer of pumping and other heavy equipment. In 1928 they set up a factory in Charlton where they continued to make a range of pumps and winches. They continued to expand but moved much of their manufacturing and assembly work out of London. They are now part of Andrews Sykes and as such have moved to a site in Peninsular Park Road.
Horn Lane was an ancient ‘manorway’ to the river from the Woolwich Road. The current road name covers only the section south of Busby’s Way.
25 Royal Mail. Greenwich and Charlton Delivery Office.
See Woo. Chinese Supermarket. Issy, Stanley and Tony had come from Hong Kong in the 1960’s and opened a restaurant in 1969. They opened an oriental grocery store in 1975 expanding to more shops and warehouses. The opened a cash and carry in Greenwich in 1993 and have since continued to expand and won many awards.
Horn Link Way
This is the northern end of the old Horn Lane Manorway to the river, unused and abandoned
Modern housing on the North West end of the road is on the site of some of the Johnson and Phillips Victoria Works
This road on the site of embankment constructed by William Lambarde in the 16th and which remained there until the 1920s. “Lambarde's Wall” had become corrupted to “Lombard Wall”. The embankment was to prevent flooding but marked the boundary between Greenwich and Charlton parishes.
54-56 Greenwich Mind Centre. This was originally the Greenwich Poor Relief station which in 1951 became the London County Council Minor Ailments Centre transferred here from Glenister Road School in 1951 and moved away in 1953. It was later a Social Rehabilitation Centre providing support for physically handicapped and blind people
Angerstein Business Park. This is said to be the site of the Angerstein Athletic Ground which is said to be Charlton Athletic Football Club's first proper ground, shared with Deptford Invicta Football Club. They played here until it was taken over as a petrol storage area during the Great War.h
Nature Reserve. This is a small site at the back of the Sainsbury’s store and built as part of a planning agreement with them. Due to be demolished.
Peninsular Park Road
A road built through the trading estates on the site of what was Harvey’s Engineering Works.
AndrewsSykes Pumps. In 2012 a new depot was opened mainly dealing in the hire of a wide range of heavy equipment deriving from Sykes Pumps and Andrews’s air conditioning, heating and other equipment.
BOC Gas. Depot for British Oxygen now part of the Linde Group and a major supplier of industrial and medical gases.
This area to the north east of Westcombe Park station is now a small housing development, Mayston Mews
Sofnol Ltd. This company made water softening materials from 1905 with offices here. This closed in the 1970s.
Arthur Martin. Tool and cutters makers. The firm was here from at least 1897 and were still there in 1958. They probably closed in 1961.
Sperati Button Works. Cornelio Ambrosio Sperati founded this button wholesale business in 1856. Originally it was based in the City until 1961 when they moved here. Speratis distribute buttons, sewing thread and trimmings, manufacturers, the armed forces and the police. Now closed.
2a cable warehouse for Johnson and Phillips. Extended in 1923. Now converted into individual office units.
Westcombe Park Station. The station was opened by the South Eastern Railway in 1879 as part of the through line which connected the original London and Greenwich Railway to the North Kent Line between here and Charlton. The railway itself between Charlton and Maze Hill had opened in 1873, with Maze Hill as the terminus.
Footpath – a footpath runs through to Ormiston Road from the downside forecourt.
Westcombe Park Rail sides, woodland of sycamore and oak.
Footbridge. A footbridge built in the 1960s as part of the works on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach leads from the down side of the station forecourt. This crosses the motor way on a high curve and descends to meet the footpath leading to steps and the crossing of the Angerstein Line to Fairthorn Road.
St. Cecilia’s Place. This is a conversion of a garage and workshop area into recording studios. It is part of the same development as Helicon Mountain and consists of a folly village based on Port Merion in Wales. Owned and conceived by Jules Holland
St Richards Church Hall and Centre. This was built in 1956 on the site of the Sundorne Mission Hall as a parish hall of Charlton, St Luke with a chapel below the main hall reached by steps through a wrought iron gate. . It was designed by R.Covell of Covell and Matthews. All floors and fixtures are African hardwood, and there is artificial stone from Tetbury. There is an altar with a statue of St.Richard. It is now used as a parish hall for St Luke’s. Chapel is closed. According to the Registry it had never been dedicated or consecrated although it is also said to have been dedicated in 1958 by the Bishop of Southwark.
Sundorne Mission. The church centre is built on the site of Sundorne Mission. In 1895 a site was leased from the Roupell Estate trustees to a Mr. Ruffell. As a condition of the lease he built four houses on the site and also an iron mission building used by Brethren and members of the Evangelisation Society of London. It was opened in 1896. By 1903 arrangements were in place between Ruffell and Congregationalists and it was eventually given to them and as Charlton Congregational Church opened in 1904. It was used by them until 1909 when they moved to their own purpose built church. The iron building was then sold to St.Luke’s parish Church who eventually demolished it in 1956,
28-34 houses built by Ruffell as part of the lease agreement on the Sundorne Mission
Called after Edward Troughton of Troughton & Simms whose works backed on to this road. It was previously Bettisfield Street.
Hartwell House. Built on the site of war damaged properties 1-27. Initially in 1947 there were prefabs on the site, replaced in 1949.
51-69 London Borough of Greenwich Housing built in 1977 on the site of Johnson and Phillips workshops themselves partly on the site of the Troughton and Simms Works.
New Covenant Church. This was previously the Rathmore Youth Centre, closed down in the 2000s. Outside are Gaudi like mosaics undertaken by Greenwich Mural Workshop. It was originally the Mission of the Good Shepherd. It developed from Holy Trinity Mission which was run y the Greyladies College and this site was bought from the Roupell Estate. It was built to the designs of J.Rowland and dedicated in 1900. It attracted many young people and became known as Troughton Hall. It suffered bomb damage in the Second World War but was repaired through Urban Aid and became a youth centre.
Railway Electric Substation. This rotary converter substation was built in 1926 on the site of the station’s coal depot following electrification by the Southern Railway. It is a three-storey high steel framed red-brick building on the ‘’down’’ side, at the end of an original single-track siding installed in 1873. This siding was, unusually, extended into the building. It houses static transformers, 1500 KW converters plus switchgear.
2-6 Ernest G. Bond Ltd. Printers. This site has now been replaced by flats
Johnson and Phillips. Victoria Works. In 1875, the Walter Johnson and Samuel Phillips set up business in a small building called Victoria Works on the west side of the road and north of the railway line. They also took on a City office as ‘Telegraph and Electric Engineers’. They began making telegraph cable but expanded into other related products. In 1877 they opened a large workshop to make electric wire and cable. Sixty years the works later had expanded into a large public concern employing hundreds of workers. In 1906 land was bought from the railway to expand the works. At the end of the Great War houses in Fossdene and Inverine Roads were bought and demolished to expand the factoory. By 1930 both partners had died but the firm continued to expand. Much of the works was demolished following a V2 rocket attack in 1945 however a lot of work had been done for PLUTO. After the war they made new breakthroughs in electric cable manufacture and sheathing. A tall circular tower built in 1966 could be seen throughout the area and housed extruded aluminium alloy tubing in a continual coil demolished. They were taken over by Delta & Enfield Ltd. in 1964. Most signs of Johnson & Phillips now gone but much of the equipment they manufactured is still extant in electrical installations here and abroad. Most of the site was cleared in the late 1960s and much of it subsequently developed with warehousing.
Army hut – the last remains of the TA Centre alongside the Birches. This was used by the 91st Cadet Battery, Royal Artillery
Much of what we know now as Westcombe Hill at the northern end was adapted as part of works on the Blackwall Tunnel Approach.
Bus Gate. Installed in the late 2011 between Westcombe Hill and the slip from the Blackwall Tunnel Approach in order to give buses easier access to the roundabout
Hilton Abbey Ltd. Building contractors in what was St.George’s Hall Mission Rooms designed by Romaine, Walker and Tanner and built for Christ Church.
Used to be a footpath which ran alongside Combe Farm. Combe Farm stood on the north side of the road alongside what was the Westcombe Hill on its east side.
Combe Farm. This farm site was very ancient and Combe is mentioned as a settlement or even a village in the 13th. In 1328 30 householders are mentioned. The farm is mentioned in records throughout the 16th and in 1531 Henry VIII bought it for Anne Boleyn. Later, famously, Samuel Pepys recorded an outbreak of plague there in 1665. It appears to have been used as a Congregational meeting house in the mid 17th. It was then a large house with outbuildings including a bake house and a pastry house. In the 18th it was leased by the Moore family, and later was purchased by one of the Angersteins who leased it to the Roberts family who ran it as a market garden. It was demolished in 1901.
9-11 a building in the rear gardens of these properties has often been cited as the last remaining building of Combe Farm. However it appears to have been built between 1869-1894 but shared a boundary with farm. This may have been a building used in connection with a laundry. The building is two storeys and one room deep with a covered way at the front.
Playhouse Cinema. This opened as The Charlton Picture Palace in 1915. By 1937 it had been re-named Playhouse Cinema. It was always independently operated. Still listed in 1940, it had been sold in 1938 to the dog track and demolished in 1950 to extend the Greyhound Stadium
Charlton Greyhound Stadium. This lay east of Gallions Road and was opened in 1928 by Thomas Murphy an amusement contractor. The stadium opened in 1930 and introduced the first electric hare. They later introduced the first mechanical tote. ‘The Charlton Stadium Company Ltd’ was wound up in 1936 and taken over by the ‘The Charlton Stadium (1936) Ltd’. Their programmes including boxing and in 1934 all in wrestling. In 1937 the stadium was completely rebuilt designed by Captain Meston and included an electric Union totalisator. By the end of the Second World War business was booming and totalisator turnover was over £1 million a year. In 1946 it was taken over by London Stadiums Ltd., and in the 1960s bought by the Greyhound Racing Association. The stadium was redesigned again with a new track and stand. The last race at Charlton was in 1971
Troughton & Sims. They were based west of Church Lane on a site covering both Troughton and Woolwich Road both now 1970s local authority housing. The firm moved here from Fleet Street in 1864 but the company originated in 1688. Troughton bought the business which made scientific and surveying instruments in 1782. Edward Troughton made several important contributions to astronomical instruments before 1831 when he retired. William Simms also made instruments notably for the East India Company and the companies merged. In Charlton they made instruments for observatories worldwide including the Altazimuth and the British National Standard was their idea. In 1920 the company was taken over and moved to York although the works in Charlton continued until 1924. The buildings were taken over by Johnson and Phillips and demolished in 1970. The complex included a Mission Hall set up by William Simms which later became offices.
296 Rose of Denmark. The present building is on the site of beer house of 1889 which was taken over by Beasleys Brewery of Plumstead in 1898. It was later modernised but suffered considerable blast damage from rockets in the Second World War.
Phipps House. Local authority flats built on the site of war damaged properties. Initially in 1947 there were prefabs on the site, replaced in 1949. Jack Phipps was a road sweeper who became a prominent local open air speaker on behalf of the Labour Party
325 Fire Station built on the site of Lombard Wall School. Opened in 1985.
Lombard Wall School. Erected in 1881 this was the first Board School to be built in Charlton. It began in iron buildings and was later built in London School Board style. It was extended in 1894. In the 1920s it became a school for junior mixed and infants. In the Second World War it was used by the Auxiliary Fire Services, the Londoners Meals Service and the Air Raid Wardens. It suffered from blast from nearby rocket attacks. In the later 1940s it became a secondary school and closed in 1980 having been amalgamated with Roan as a comprehensive. Demolished in 1980
246 The Pickwick. This began as the Roupell Arms beer house in 1830 and was rebuilt in 1862 b. It was then named for the local ground landlord. It became a Courage House. In 1975 it was taken over by English Inns and Taverns and was renamed The Broom. It was renamed the Pickwick in 1978.
Harvey’s. This engineering company came from Lewisham where George Harvey was making zinc gutters and cisterns and wanted to expand. In 1911 he bought a market garden area in Charlton where he built a new works. He expanded through the Great War with munitions and other work to face a slump in 1919. They began to make steel office future and began to expand.In the Second World War they made aircraft parts, flame-throwers, Wire Weaving Dept., Gasmask gauze and Perforation metal. After the war they went back into office furniture, and also a wide range of metal products, some very large, and with a specialism in perforation. They expanded and set up works in other areas. In 1970 they merged with Butterfield of Shipley. However work gradually reduced and bits of the site were sold off to the Greater London Council and to private developers. The works eventually closed completely n the early 1980s. Frontages of their office block remains in Holmwood Villas. Offices, large, red brick with white stone dressings, sunburst, and a clock. Workshops to the rear. Entrance to Harvey's, 1894.
Railway Bridge. This takes the Angerstein line over the Woolwoch Road and was the only element of the line which needed Parliamentary approval. And built in 1855
Woolwich Road Roundabout. The roundabout is below the flyover for the Blackwall Tunnel Approach road and takes the Woolwich Road under it. Originally it was designed to take the Woolwich Road straight under the middle but the centre is now a dead area while traffic goes round it. In the late 1990s Peartree Way was added as an additional road feeding into the roundabout and new slips were added from the motorway. It is owned y Transport for London and a series of modifications have been made to it since its construction.
108 Angerstein Hotel. Large pub. Built in 1888 and trading since 1891. Named after the 18th business man and dignitary John Julius Angerstein
East Greenwich Fire Station. Built 1901-2 by the Fire Brigade section of the London County Council Architect's Department and probably designed by H. F. T. Cooper. There is also a low engine house projecting between splayed wings. Above are married quarters. Closed. In 1985. It became the Greenwich Hotel and apparently acts as hostel accommodation
East Greenwich Library. Built in 1905 with a Carnegie gift. Designed by S. R. J. Smith. This was the main public library of the Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich and included a flat for librarian as well as extensive offices and other accommodating. It was extended in 1911 but in 1999 this extension fell down. The library was partly let to Greenwich Community College but its structural problems gradually became more apparent.
96 Icthus New Life Church. This new church replaced an older Baptist Chapel along with a set of flats for the elderly.
Airfix. Web site
Anglo American Oil. Wikipedia. Web site
Borough of Greenwich. Web site
Carr. Docklands History Survey
Charlton Society. Charlton Walk
Cinema Treasures. Web site
English Heritage. Web site
Fossdene Road School. Web site
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Greenwich Industrial History Newsletter
Halstow Road School. Web site
Kent Rail. Web site
Kent Underground. Newsletter
Lewis’s Coaches. Web site
London Borough of Greenwich. Local List
London Rivers Association. Reports.
London Tramways. Web site
Ludlow. Combe Farm Greenwich
Ludlow. Whats In a Name. Road names in Greenwich.
Metropolitan Borough of Greenwich. Festival brochure,
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Royal Mail. Web site
See Woo. Web site
Smith. History of Charlton,
Southern Railway Magazine
South East London Industrial Archaeology
Spurgeon. Discovering Greenwich and Charlton
St.Richards Church Hall. Web site
Westcombe Park Police Station History. Pamphlet
Westcombe Park Station. Wikipedia. Web site