Railway from London Bridge to Gravesend
The line continues in an eastward direction
Post to the west West Woolwich
Post to the east Plumstead
Post to the north North Woolwich and Woolwich
The road is named after the pub on its corner with Woolwich New Road and dates from the 1850s.
Chrisma New Testament Church of God. This was Woolwich and District Synagogue and is a white modernist building built in 1962. It was previously the site of St Andrews’ Presbyterian Church built in 1873 which was taken over by the Jewish congregation in 1924 and replaced in 1962. The synagogue closed in 1998.
Carmel Chapel. This was a Strict Baptist chapel of 1866 built by John Vaughan. By 1908 it was used by Unitarians and then Oddfellows, and was later St.Peter's Youth Club. It was demolished and the site is now housing.
Built on a market garden area
Built on the site of Field Cottage, built in 1887 and used, and expanded, by a succession of building firms.
5 Ram Darbar. Hindu Temple. Field Cottage was bought by the South East Hindu Association and the temple built on the site in 1996 and made to look English rather than Indian,
5a Angelsea Medical Centre. Built 1999
The Royal Regiment of Artillery was founded by Col.Albert Borgard at Tower Place in The Warren in 1716. The site was too small and the Board of Ordnance purchased farmland here in 1776 from Richard Bowater. In 1802-06 the Board purchased rights to the use of Woolwich Common and from thenceforth expansion led to increased enclosure of it. The Regiment was there to defend what became the Arsenal, the Dockyard and the Dover Road but it was not part of the army for whom barracks were not then usual. By 1810 there were Barracks, the Barrack Field, the Gun Park and the Royal Military Repository and many more buildings have been erected since. The Regiment left Woolwich for Larkhill in 2007 to be replaced by the Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery in 2012.
Royal Artillery Barracks. This is said to be the longest Georgian facade in England and it is all that remains of the original building. Behind it were buildings to house 4,000 men and 100 horses in 1772. The eastern section was built 1775-82 by an unnamed staff architect, the western section in 1802 by James Wyatt. It was eventually one of the largest barracks in Europe. The barracks behind the facade were modernised in 1967 and can now house 1,700 people. In the centre is a triumphal arch, surmounted by trophies, a lion and a unicorn. There have been numerous changes and additions since – Women’s Royal Army Corps Quarters, REME with a computer, and so on. There has recently been major rebuilding with the departure of the Royal Artillery and the arrival of the King’s Troop.
Mess. The projecting colonnade in the frontage of the barracks is the Palm Court, or entrance lobby, to the Officers Mess. It leads into the Hall, with the Mess Room on the left and a staircase to the Music Room. The Mess Room was built in 1802, and extended in 1843 – ‘the most magnificent in the kingdom’. The central chandelier – now at Larkhill - is thought to be have come Carlton House (demolished in 1829). At the end of the room was 'Armed Science', a statue by John Bell – also now at Larkhill. The two rooms contained a large collection of portraits of monarchs and artillery commandants – including General Sabine by George Frederick Watts. There is a stuffed tiger in the ladies.
Royal Artillery Theatre. This had been the Barrack chapel, but later became a theatre and an other ranks recreation room. Burnt out in 1903 it was rebuilt as a professional theatre open to the public and managed as such. After the Second World War it was used for boxing and demolished in 1962
Silver Room. Built in 1967 for permanent display of the mess silver. The collection includes many astonishing pieces – assume they have all gone to Larkhill.
Royal Artillery Barracks Parade Ground. Originally paved with red gravel brought from Shooters Hill.
Rapier Dome – a geodesic dome built in the late 1960s for the Air Defence Regiment, Royal Artillery – it was used for training in anti aircraft missiles, and was latterly a store.
Bhurtpore Gun. A brass gun cast for Emperor Aurangzeb of India in 1677 and captured at the siege of Bhurtpore in 1826. Decorated with lions and tigers. It has now gone to Larkhill along with other guns which were on display
Crimea War Memorial. A bronze statue of Victory by John Bell standing on the front parade of the Royal Artillery Barracks. It dates from 1860. .
Ancient stone from Luneburg Heath, Germany, where Germany surrendered on 7th May 1945. Now moved to Sandhurst.
Woolwich Baths. Designed by Henry Hudson Church in 1894. The original structure had 52 slipper baths, a wash house and a laundry as well as two pools. To cope with the need for water there was an artesian well with a pump and engine house and there were three boilers for hot water to the baths and the library. It was renovated several times and closed in 1982. It was passed to the Polytechnic and was used by the Students Union. It is now offices and rehearsal facilities.
This was previously called Back Lane.
St. Martin’s Mission. This was a mission in a shed from 1879 to 1906. It was later demolished.
Beresford Gate. This was the entrance gate to the Arsenal but which is now isolated from the main site by the intervening through road built to its north in the 1980s. The gate was built here in 1828 by Col John Jones in a new space created with the agreement of the Woolwich Town Commissioners. It is in brick, with footway openings, lodges and decorative piles of shot – as well as replica mortars which were specially cast. The gates themselves were made by Halls of Dartford. The lodges were used for police, and in time a floor was inserted and other rooms built and used as waiting rooms and so on. The gatehouse was supposed to have been demolished when the Arsenal closed but it escaped this and is now owned by Greenwich Council and has been renovated and used as offices.
Woolwich Market. The market charter dates from 1618 and it has had various sites around the town. Traders eventually moved to Beresford Square and would not go elsewhere and in 1897 it became the official site. By 1880 it had been laid out by the local Board and a urinal and a tollhouse had been built by 1890. There were underground lavatories in 1912. It was eventually pedestrianised in 1984 and portals were erected on the side roads with historical references
The Woolwich Ship. Sculpture by Tom Grimsey installed 1999 but has since been removed.
Holy Trinity Church. This stood at the corner with Beresford Street. It was set up by a local group who thought there should be an Anglican church in the town centre. A chapel was built in 1833 by John Hopkins. It was designed to be entered from Beresford Square and it became a fashionable church. It was eventually consecrated in 1852 but road widening for traffic meant that some of the grand frontage was removed and it was closed in 1960 and demolished in 1962.
1 Century Cinema.This opened in 1913 built on the site of a bookshop. It was operated by the Arsenal Cinema Co. set up by retired Royal Artillery officers. It was built by R.Allen of Allen and Eley. It had four dressing rooms for artistes who could appear on the 8 foot deep stage. In the early-1930s it was expanded, and was operated by the Selwyn Cinema circuit and then taken over by the Granada Theatres in 1952, and re-named Century Cinema. It closed in 1961 and was demolished in 1968. There is an supermarket on the site.
3-4 Supermarkets with shops and offices replacing the Salutation Inn and slum housing.
5 this is partly on the site of the Salutation Inn. This had been on a site in Greens End to the south but was rebuilt here when the ropeyard closed in 1833. It was eventually replaced by shops in 1892.
15-18 Ordnance Arms. Built in 1889 by James Chapman on the site of the old pub but much bigger and with some shops. Structural iron columns divide the bars and there was a first floor club room.
36 Duke of Cambridge. Pub of 1856, with Truman’s green tiling on the ground floor. Closed, demolished and replaced with housing
Nightingale Primary School. This was built in 1978 by Alan Sivell on a domestic scale, with home bays and quiet areas around central practical spaces. It is named for Florence Nightingale who was responsible for hospital design and training facilities in Woolwich.
The School House. This is two sites, one in Bloomfield Road, the other in Sandy Hill Road. These flats were originally a school built in 1899 by Thomas Jerram Bailey, Consulting Architect and Surveyor to the London School Board. The Secondary School was on this Bloomfield Road site. On the front elevation is inscribed: 'School Board for London, Bloomfield Road School, Plumstead'. It was called Bloomfield Road School, or Woolwich Secondary School for Boys and was a Secondary Modern, becoming a comprehensive. In the 1970s it merged with Shooters Hill School and moved to become Eaglesfield School on the Red Lion Lane site. The buildings on this site were then taken by the Woolwich Polytechnic Upper School but this closed before 2000. It was then bought by a housing developer and turned into flats.
69 Franz Fanon House. Housing and community care hostel managed by Ujima Housing Association, together with a terrace of 6 houses, also described as an NHS Hospital. This was built in 2000 by Walter Menteth Architects. It is on the site of a former print factory, Precision Presswork Limited
The road is in the valley of the medicinal stream from Shooters Hill. The road was built in 1806 by the Board of Ordnance.
Board of Ordnance land. From 1808 the land on the west side of the road was owned by the Board of Ordnance. By 1810 they had built a mortuary and other buildings along the road and by the 1860s the site was largely stabling. To the north were married quarters for artillery men, known as The Cambridge Quarters or Cambridge Cottages.
Connaught Estate. In the 1950s Cambridge Cottages were cleared and the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich bought the site. The London County Council insisted that it should be used for housing. By 1966 the site, which had been stables but by then the Motor Transport Lines, had been cleared and acquired by the London Borough of Greenwich. Housing was built on both sites.
Pattison’s sandpit. This lay between Brookhill Road and Anglesea Road. Some of the area was also known as Waterman’s Fields.
83 Walpole Arms. This was a successor to the Fountain Tavern, which was built in 1843 with a garden, and concert room. The pub was built in 1857 with a billiard-room replacing the concert room. It was probably built by C. G. Dyson for Charringtons, and was named after the new road opposite which was itself named for Col.Walpole. The pub closed in 2005 and is now New Walpole House with five flats managed by ASRA and a beauty shop below.
This was formerly called William Street, renamed for Polytechnic governor, William Calderwood.
Corner site with Powis Street. On this site had been a house adapted into a bank in 1840. The area was developed in the early 1970s and a Littlewoods' shop built here fronting onto Powis Street.
Woolwich Radical Club. In the 1880s this faced the end of Thomas Street and had previously been an auction house. It is now part of the area developed in the early 1970s which includes what is now the Vista Building.
Sainsburys store. This was part of the area developed in the early 1970s. This opened in 1973 and was then the largest in London. Above it are six storeys of car park.
Masonic Hall. This was behind some buildings on the west side of the street and had, in 1800, been an Ebenezer Chapel. It later became an auction room, and is now part of the multi story car park complex and Morgan Grampion House
Morgan Grampion House. Later known as Miller Freeman House. This is a modernist block of 1972 by Sir John Burnet, Tait and Partners. It was converted to housing in 2002 and is now called The Vista Building.
Market. A market was built on the south side of the street between what is now Calderwood Street and Bathway after 1809. It was laid out by the Town Commissioners with sheds round an open yard inside a wall. Traders did not like it and did not use it and by 1824 it was a sacking factory. Once Town Halls had been built either side of it, it became the borough works yard. And eventually was the site of the library.
First Old Town Hall. A single storey town hall was built in 1840 by the Town Commissioners, west of the ex-market. It was sold to the police on completion.
Woolwich Library. This is on the site of the first short lived Town Hall. It was built by Henry Hudson Church, and has a central bow window. It opened in 1901, adoption of the Libraries’ Act having been resisted by the Woolwich Board of Health. There is a panel with the engraved names of the, by then almost defunct, Board of Health. The library included reading rooms and newspaper rooms, all of which were variously rearranged over the years. It closed in 2011 and is in use as council offices.
Old Town Hall. A classical building of 1842 used as the town hall until 1906. It was built on the east side of the ex-market. There is a rear extension along Polytechnic Street. It is a simple vestry hall with a hall and board room over an apartment and offices. There is a lamp holder over the entrance. From the start there were calls for more space – it was used by the Woolwich Board of Health, the county court, and the coroner’s office as well as other civic functions. It was extended in 1892 but was still inadequate for the new Metropolitan Borough. It was eventually replaced in 1906. From 1927 it was used as an infant welfare centre and later for a variety of other organisations.
Island Business Centre. Woolwich Polytechnic which became the University of Greenwich. The Polytechnic was founded in 1890 by Quintin Hogg, working with George Diddin, an Arsenal fitter, as Woolwich Polytechnic and from 1969 became known as Thames Polytechnic. It was the first to be established in the country after the original Regent Street Polytechnic. Originally the Polytechnic used a house built for John Hudson in 1808 –and around this the Polytechnic grew. Within the Calderwood Street buildings can be found the remains of this house embedded in other buildings. By the 1970s this main campus complex occupied a large space between Calderwood and Wellington Streets. It catered for young people studying for careers in the Royal Arsenal, with the various military organisations as well as other local industries. The complex contains buildings of different periods in a variety of architectural styles. The original Polytechnic building of 1891, by the Woolwich architect, Henry Hudson Church, is in Calderwood Street with the inscription 'Woolwich Polytechnic Young Men a Christian Institute' (but there were always female students) over the original entrance. An original gymnasium and hall became a lecture theatre in 1989. Also added was an art department along with physics, chemistry and engineering laboratories – and eventually libraries, refectories, and much else. At the corner of Calderwood Street and Thomas Street is the baroque entrance of 1915, behind is a foyer, a rotunda in a well, with circular balustrades elegant glazed dome, built in 1915 by architects Figgis & Mumby. At the corner of Calderwood and Polytechnic Streets is the Main Hall, built in 1935 added by J.C. Anderson. In Wellington Street is a modernist building of 1964 by the London County Council Architect’s Department – inside at the back a lecture hall sits as a cantilevered box. What has become the University of Greenwich left the site in 2001, sold it, and the site is now in commercial and other use. The word ‘Polytechnic’ remains written on a high gable and only visible from the reception suite in new Wellington Street offices.
Sikh Temple. Gurdwara. Built in 1816 this was originally the Methodist Chapel for the Royal Artillery. It has a large classical portico and a series of round headed arched recesses and is said to have been inspired by Wesley’s City Road Chapel. The building was sold in 1977 to the local Sikhs who have adapted it.
2-5 This is planned to be a Sikh residential care home
Soldiers Institute and Sunday School. This was built in 1899 next to the chapel. It had a schoolroom, bathrooms for soldiers, and rooms for private study. The Sikhs have adapted it as a community hall and a free kitchen.
Charles Grinling Walk
Charles Grinling was a Christian Socialist who lived in Woolwich 1889-1939. The area was developed in the early 1950s by the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich with the London County Council.
Baptist Chapel built in 1861, closed in 1969, and merged with other Baptist churches in the area
Modern flats on the site of the 1778 military hospital built by the Board of Ordnance.
Brookhill Children’s Centre
Part of Burrage Town 1840s.
42 St Peter's Roman Catholic Primary School. The school was originally in a building adjacent to the church in Woolwich New Road
62 Sir Robert Peel pub. Now in use Guru Nanak Bhai Lalo Khalsa School Skih supplementary school
Congregational Sunday school present in the 1860sh. Later in 1900 there was a Free Methodist Church
34 Freemason’s Tavern. Closed. Also called Bag O’Nails
General Gordon Place
The square had been officially opened in 1928 after the closing of the smoke hole. It was named General Gordon Square after the hero of Khartoum who was born locally and following a petition about the naming. Equitable House was built on one side and the road itself became a bus station but much of the site now covered by the square remained with roads, houses and shops on it. From the 1960s the area was seen as having development potential and 20 years of negotiations and compulsory purchases followed. In 1983 various schemes collapsed and it was decided to turn the area into a temporary public square - – and is now seen as permanent and it now serves as a focal point for the town. It was relandscaped in 2009.
Smoke Hole. This originated from the coming of the railway in 1849 and led to the area being known as "The Smoke Ole" because of the open cutting that ventilated the tunnel into Woolwich Arsenal Station. It was closed in 1926 when the line was electrified and following many petitions.
The Fortune of War. This stood in what was Cross Street in the 1840s and was rebuilt in 1906. Later it became a mosque which was demolished in 1982 as part of the redevelopment of the Square
Woolwich Equitable House. The head office of the Woolwich Building Society, built 1935, with art deco motifs and banking hall. Woolwich Equitable Building Society was founded at 145 Powis Street in 1847. The head office moved here in 1935, and then left for a new head office building in Bexleyheath in 1989. This building is by architects Grace and Farmer - and there is an owl above the entrance on Woolwich New Road. Inside were many labour saving gadgets – centralised vacuum cleaning for one. There was also a basement car park. When the Building Society was demutualised the building was sold by Barclays Bank and is now offices, restaurants and like things.
Duke of Connaught Coffee Tavern and Royal Assembly Rooms. This was a big fireproof building with the coffee on the ground floor and a big hall upstairs, used as a cinema at one time. In the 1960s it was a temperance billiard hall. It was cleared as part of the abortive development scheme in 1980s – and allegedly some relics kept. A supermarket was built on the site in 1990 with inside a mural by Greenwich Mural Workshop ‘Food Production’.
Tramshed. This was an electricity substation of 1910 for the London County Council tramways probably designed by Vincent Harris to look good in a prominent area. Inside was a ten ton overhead crane, switchgear and motor generators. It was bought by Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich from London Transport in 1962 and converted to a theatre under the auspices of Greenwich Theatre. It closed, re-opened and closed several times and in between became a popular music hall and comedy venue. It is now used by Greenwich Young People’s Theatre.
Woolwich Flour Steam Mill. This is the site at the east end of which Equitable House stands. It replaced a Chapel which was originally Methodist and then Roman Catholic. It was advertised to be let in 1858.
Grand Depot Road
The road was built in 1777 to give access to the barracks without cutting across the front of them
Guard House. This stood at the junction with Woolwich New Road. It was built in 1809 and became a gymnasium and then a public toilet. Demolished 1969. A stench pipe remains on the site.
Grand Depot. This was south of Love Lane and east of Wellington Street. Barracks for the Royal Military Artificers – basically builders initially set up to service the dockyard. In 1795 their headquarters was in Woolwich. In 1812 they were renamed Royal Sappers and Miners. These barracks were built for them until in 1856 they were moved to Chatham. Some of the rest of the area was used for storage and by the 1830s it was known as the Grand Depot. In 1856 the Royal Army Clothing Factory was here moving to Pimlico in 1860 although the building remained. The site was sold to the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich in the 1960s and cleared.
Tesco. Has won the Carbuncle Cup and cited as 'arrogant and inept'. It includes a 17 storey block including flats and a large indoor car park. Plans for shops along the Grand Depot Road frontage were dropped. It was designed by Sheppard Robson and opened in 2013.
Peggy Middleton House. Office accommodation for London Borough of Greenwich. It was financed by the sale of Greenwich Town Hall! It was designed by J.M.Moore, Borough Architect and it was seen as the first phase of new council offices of 1973-7. Its exterior staircase was intended to accommodate a larger second stage. Peggy Middleton had been a Greenwich London County Councillor. It was demolished in 2011.
Thomas Spencer Hall of Residence. This was a student hostel for Thames Polytechnic. Nine storey block very plain with bedrooms, bar and some sports facilities. Built 1969 demolished 2008.
Crown Buildings. This was sited about where the barracks of 1803 had been. Built in the 1960s by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works. Demolished 2011.
Woolwich Bus Museum. This was at the junction with John Wilson Street in the late 1960s. It is understood that the collection went to Brooklands.
20 Civic House. This was built on the site of the bus museum as a headquarters for the National Union of Public Employees. .
K2 type of red cast-iron telephone kiosk. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1927. This type is distinguishable from the later K6 in that all panes of glass are the same size.
Royal Garrison Church of St. George. This suffered a V1 rocket attack in the Second World War but its marble and mosaic interior remains albeit open to the elements. It is now a memorial garden. It was built as a polychrome Romanesque basilica by Thomas Henry Wyatt commissioned by Sidney Herbert who was Secretary of State for War in 1863, and modelled on the church at his home in Wilton. It is in brick with red and blue vitrified brick and an apse with tiled patterns and a mosaic of St George. There was much lavish decoration, some of which survived. Over the altar is a memorial to all who have won the Victoria Cross.
Boer War Memorial – South African War Memorial. A red granite obelisk of 1902 to the 61st Battery Royal Artillery
This was an area between the end of the ropeyard and Cholic Lane and now lies between General Gordon Square and Beresford Square and the Market.
Salutation Inn. This was on the sites of 3-5 and had gardens and maybe a playhouse. It was moved when the ropeyard closed.
18 this is an 18th town house converted into the Elephant and Castle Pub in 1848. It was enlarged in 1885 and enlarged in the 1950s by Courage. It also took in no 19, also an 18th town house.
20 redeveloped because of the Docklands Light Railway. It replacing a branch of Lloyds Bank which had a facade of 1905.
28 Duchess of Wellington. Pub in what was Cross Street in the 1840s. lLong gone.
Maritime House. This was Churchill House, developed by Chesterfield Properties on the corner with Thomas Street. This is a nine-storey slab block above shops and named after W. Churchill’s death in 1965. It was used as Council offices and eventually as part of Thames Polytechnic. In 2000 it was converted to flats and renamed
Married quarters for soldiers built in 1978 by the Property Services Agency. Some of these are now privately owned
Military Families Hospital – this had access from Gunner Lane. It had been the Female Hospital of 1862 evolving into the Military Maternity Hospital. Demolished in the 1870s.
Jim Bradley Close.
Housing on the site of the works of Pitter’s Ventilating and Engineering Co. later Pitter Gauge and Precision Tool Co. which closed in 1970. Pitter dated from before the Great War, when they were nationalised as part of the National Gauge factories, and had another factory, Acme Works, at Leatherhead specialising in aircraft parts.
John Wilson Street
This is the last bit of the South Circular Road coming to Woolwich Ferry. It evolved from Brewer Street, which became Charles Street. The London County Council in 1958 wanted a better access to the ferry. In the St.Mary’s Comprehensive Development plan it was dualled and the work done in 1963.
St.Mary Magdalene School. The current school was built in 2009. The first school was a national school in the old Freemasons Hall in Powis Street and this became St. Mary’s school on a small site in this area. Three were various extensions and new additions. In 1998 a nursery school was built close by and in 2011 the whole complex was rebuilt with Neill Werner as architect. The curate’s house opposite is now a car park.
Once called Upper Market Street, this marked the southern boundary of the abortive market scheme of 1809.
Pitter's Ventilating and Engineering Works. In the Great War this became the National Gauge Factory. The works covered the area of Jim Bradley Close.
Zion Chapel. 1853
Town Hall. Entrance to the Public Hall.
Magistrates Court. Built 1912 by John Butler. Two-storey building in red brick. On the pediment is the Royal coat of arms. It is now closed.
Police Station. The original police station was built here 1909 by police architect John Butler. There are offices, a charge room, a mess room, a billiard room and a library. There are sleeping and married quarters and a custody suite. It is now closed
Woolwich Health Centre. Planned and built by Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich and designed by the Borough Engineer. This was a combined maternity and child health clinic with faclities for rickets and TB. Air raid shelters and a pond were provided.
Gurdwara. Sikh Temple, of the Ramgarhia Association. This building dates to 1889 and was originally the Freemasons hall and then the Woolwich Town & Social Club before being acquired by the Sikh Association.
Housing built on what was Mill Hill Field. From the mid-1850s used for field practice by engineering cadets
Shipwrights’s windmill. Set up by the first co-operative society in England. An association of dockyard shipwrights set up a corn mill and bakery here in 1758. It was on an area called Conduit Field. It was burnt down in 1760 but rebuilt as an octagonal smock mill. Demolished by the 1850s.
Mill which may have been a water pump from 1805
11 Engineer House. A house of 1803, with a fanlight. Built in 1803 it commemorates the association between the Royal Engineers and Woolwich. Royal Engineer Barracks were established in 1703. By 1787 five companies of Royal Military Artificers were stationed in the town. Formerly the offices of the Royal Engineers, it is now a community centre for military families
Garrison Dispensary. Brick buildings used as a hospital in the 1880s.
Murray was a carriage contractor who ran 19th livery stables here. The yard has subsequently been used by Furlongs, and then by Woolwich Borough Council Electricity Department.
Pond – this was built in the 1750s as a reservoir to provide water to fight fires and fresh water for army officers. It is held by a brick and earth embankment and has conduits to take the water down hill. It also fed the Royal Artillery Barracks and Arsenal steam engines via a pipe under Wellington Street. The Board of Ordnance bought it in 1805 and fenced it to stop horses drinking the water. It was sold privately in the 1980s.
2a The Woolwich Pottery. This was there in 1985 with Philip Stanbridge as the contact about classes which were held there. This is now a butchers shop.
14 CTC Training College. Offering City and Guilds, etc in practical subjects
16 Disciples Baptist Church
29 Alexander McLeod opened a small co-op shop here in 1860s as one of the forerunners of what became Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society.
2 Mortar pub later called the Royal Mortar Tavern opened with the road in the 1760s. It was rebuilt in 1842 and demolished in 1984. It is now shops and offices.
5 Chapel on the site of what is now the covered market. It was built for the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection in 1770. The congregation left in 1799 and the building became a chapel for the Royal Artillery. In 1809 it became the chapel for the Royal Arsenal called the Ordnance chapel and in 1900 became the Arsenal’s lecture hall and library. It was demolished for road widening in the 1920s.
5 The Covered Market. Designs were drawn up in 1901, but it was not actually built until 1932. It was roofed in 1935 by the Horsley Bridge and Engineering Company using a Lamella roof for which they held the UK licence. It was, an innovative system enabling the roof support system to be constructed from small elements – lamellae - of particular interest here as the sections are made from pressed steel.
9 The Woolwich Infant. This pub, rebuilt in 1906, has etched glass in recessed bay windows. The inn-sign on the front wall shows the gun - the Woolwich Infant – which it is named after. It closed in 2009 and it is now a fast food restaurant.
20 Burrage Arms Pub. Closed and now used as shops
26 The Imperial Picture Palace. This was a shop conversion running as a cinema in 1914. The building is now an African Cash and Carry store
This was previously called Lower Market Street because of the little used and soon defunct market of 1809
Polytechnic. Along the street is the Polytechnic entrance facade of 1898 and buildings designed to be used as an arts and science school.
First laid out around 1799. It was mainly rebuilt 1890 – 1910 when it developed into the main shopping street of Woolwich.
1-7 site of the Scotch Church in the late 18th and remained until 1842. There have been several rebuildings here and the site is now a National Westminster Bank. The current building originates from 1958-60 when it was erected for Eastern’s furnishing company. The architect was Hector Hamilton who had won a competition from the US for the Palace of the Soviets. It was turned into a bank in 1987.
12 William Shakespeare. This was established by the Powis family in 1807. It was rebuilt around 1890s but the ground floor has been altered. There is a Shakespeare bust and a monkey right on the top gable. There is a back extension for a billiard room. The pub closed in 1990 and it is now flats.
14-16 site of the First Woolwich Theatre in 1810. By 1820 it was a Lancastrian school and from 1895 it has been shops.
33-35 in 1803 this was the Freemasons Hall, then a National School until 1840 and then the Harmonic Hall for music events. It later became a temperance hall, a billiard hall, printers, and a Co-op Hall. A shop was eventually built here in 1925.
34-38 South Metropolitan Gas showroom from 1905 and then British Gas until 1994.
37-45 A plaque on this shop is the arms of the City of Northampton. This relates to its earlier use as a shoe shop – Barratts of Northampton.
40 Samuels' shop – they have been here since 1904 and the oldest established business premises in the street.
44 Woolwich Borough Council’s Electricity Showrooms . These originated from 1909 and were rebuilt as Electric House in 1935 designed by the Borough Engineer and the Borough Electrical Engineer – using steelwork from Harland and Woolf. The London Electricity Board eventually took it over and turned the upstairs demonstration room to offices. They sold it in the 1990s.
54—58 in 1974 this became the first shop in Britain for the US based McDonald’s burger chain. Opened by boxer Henry Cooper.
68-86 Kent House. This was formerly Garrets Department Store of 1898. It is decorated on the top gable with the Kentish Invicta. Garratts had taken over from a previous owner in 1879 and subsequently rebuilt the shop. The premises also included workrooms and staff accomodation. It was eventually taken over by the Great Universal Stores and the shop closed in 1972.
This was laid out in 1811.
Rectory. This was a new site for the St. Mary’s Rector built in 1811 designed by John Papworth. It was demolished in 1959.
43 Rectory. This rectory, now used for St. Mary’s, this was originally the vicarage for Holy Trinity. It was built in 1934.
120 George VI Inn. This was built by Courage in 1966. It was originally on the other side of the road on the King Street corner.
Woolwich Congregational Church. This is a 19th Gothic church of 1859, with a tall spire. It was built because of a split in the Salem Chapel leading to a new congregation setting up here.
Mulgrave Primary School. Opened by the Inner London Education Authority in 1972. The original school had been opened in 1893 by the School Board of London overseen by T.J.Bailey. It became a Technical Science and Art School. This school was destroyed in bombing in 1941 and a new school was built behind the pub in 1949. This was a ‘transitional’ school built as prefabricated section and it was extended and rebuilt in the 1970s.
Barrack Field. This has a variety of uses, mainly sporting. There are pitches for the Royal Artillery Cricket Club, pavilions, tennis courts – and in the Second World War barrage balloons and allotments. It was used for some shooting events during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Sandy Hill Road,
The road name reflects the local Thanet sands which were good for bottle glass. The houses were built by the developers of Burrage Town in the 1840s.
63-69 Elim Pentecostal church
The School House. This apartment block is part of the same site as the converted schools in Bloomfield Road. This was the infants’ school built in 1899 by Thomas Jerram Bailey, Consulting Architect to the London School Board. Both schools became the Woolwich Polytechnic Upper School but closed before 2000. It was then bought by a housing developer and turned into flats.
26 Fort Tavern. Pub with a frontage of 1842. Inside, behind the bar, was detailed wooden carving. It once had a garden with summer houses and a skittle alley. Converted to housing 1990s
81 Melbourne Arms. A pub, probably built in the 1840s
108 Avenue Arms. Closed and now housing
Redeemed Christian Church of God
Stables built in the 19th and since used as a furniture depository
Woolwich Central Baptist Church. This replaced the Woolwich Tabernacle on Beresford Street which has merged with the Conduit Road chapel. It was built in 1970 by K. C. White and Partners. The top storey is faced with ‘Granilux’ aggregate panels, and there is a fibreglass spire. There is also a hall.
This was an area of sandpits built up in the 19th. It has many buildings in use by market traders to which more recently are added small churches and colleges. A skating rink was planned here in 1912.
28 Woolwich Telephone Exchange. Built in 1936 and showing the royal crest and monogram of Edward VIII.
32 North Kent Tavern. Demolished 2009
15 LCEM House, this was the Woolwich Employment Exchange and Job Centre, later closed and converted to educational use as the London College of Engineering and Management. This has also since closed.
35 Victory Bible Church
37 Celestial Church of Christ. Rock of Ages Parish
1-5 a pair of houses built in 1760, in one of which lived artist Paul Sandby. These were residential until the 1880s, by which time front gardens had been lost for road widening. Hodgson and Morgan an outfitting firm altered and enlarged the southern house of the pair and built a workshop wing. Later John J. Messent, an undertaker, took over the northern house and built a shop front some of which survives. He extended to the rear, possibly building a chapel of rest. He also built a ten-stall stable, workshop and office block behind in a cobbled yard with a roof on cast-iron columns made by R. Ginman and Son, of Plumstead. This survives and is still in use by the undertakers who continue the business.
15 Earl of Chatham. A pub rebuilt in 1898, for Alfred David Capon, probably by Henry Hudson Church. It has a large recessed bay window and a lot of 19th tiling by A. T. S. Carter Ltd extending along both a passage. There is also curved and etched glass.
10 Bricklayers Arms. Built in the 1840s and long closed and demolished
Woolwich Post Office. This was a late 19th red brick building with terracotta decoration and a single storey extension built in 1915 by architect Albert Robert Myers It was closed in 2008. There was a sorting office at the back which was closed in 2011. It was all demolished in 2011. The site is now part of Tesco’s frontage
Previously Cross Street and Eton Road. Vincent was the Woolwich historian and founder of the Woolwich Antiquarian Society.
14 Bull Tavern. A pub probably built around 1850. Renamed O’Flynns but also might have closed.
The road was planned as part of a scheme to link Greenwich to the Arsenal and it was built in 1811.
1-9 Great Harry. This is a Wetherspoon’s pub. It was built as Thames House for a car dealership in 1956. It was later used as offices by the Chamber of Commerce and the Council. It then became a DIY store. It was gutted by fire in 2011 but has been reopened.
The Grand Theatre and Opera House opened in 1900. From 1908 it was named Woolwich Hippodrome Theatre with twice nightly variety shows. In 1923 a Compton 2Manual straight organ was installed and from 1924 it was a full time cinema. It was taken over by United Picture Theatres Ltd. in 1928 and in 1935 by Associated British Cinemas. It closed in 1939 and demolished.
Woolwich Grand. A renaming of a 1950s cinema. This was built on the site of the Woolwich Hippodrome Theatre which was demolished in 1939. It was replaced by the Regal Cinema, designed by ABC architect William R. Glen. The Second World War intervened and it was never finished. In the early 1950’s work proceeded to complete it to revised plans by C.J. Foster and changes made it in a modern style suitable for the 1950’s. It opened in 19th 1955 and was re-named ABC in 1963. It closed in 1982 and remained derelict for several years to eventually became a nightclub, known as ‘Fusion’ and ‘N-tyce’. In 2011 it was sold to a community based theatre group and re-opened as a live theatre and performance space. There is however planning consent to demolish.
Town Hall. Opened in 1901 for the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich, opened by Will Crooks.MP. It became the Town Hall of the London Borough of Greenwich in 1965.The site was bought next to the Grand Theatre and an architectural competition was won by the man built Belfast Town Hall - Alfred Brumwell Thomas. It is an ornate building of red brick with a tall clock tower. There is a Mayor’s Balcony and the coat of arms of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich. The entrance leads into the Victoria Hall and a statue of Queen Victoria by Frederick Pomeroy. The first floor galleries with stained glass windows by Geoffrey Webb featuring local figures - The main ones are in the Victoria hall and in the council chamber – and some more interesting ones in the public hall. There are offices on all floors and in the basement, where there are also mega safes. The council chamber has finely carved original woodwork but the suite of committee rooms in the front block has been altered to meet modern standards. The public hall to the rear is on a Greek cross footprint with galleries and at one time housed the staff canteen.
45-53 Municipal Offices. These were built by the Borough Engineer in 1934-7 for the Engineers’ Department and the Borough Treasurers. Demolished 2007
29-37 this was a Second World War bomb site. Built by a different Borough Engineer for the Housing and Public Health Departments. Demolished in 2007
35 Woolwich Centre. Built as part of the deal with Tesco. Built in 2009 by HLM Architects. It is six storeys with a lot of reflective glass. It houses a public library and there is a view gallery set on the top at a skew angle.
50 Nelson House built in 1983 for the Council’s Social Services Department.
55 Director General. Built in 1844 for Lamberts Brewery of Greenwich – taken over later by Norfolk and Sons. Originally there was a music hall at the back. It had a tile frontage of 190l with embossed tiles. Closed and demolished in 2007
118 Queen Victoria pub built in the 1850s in ‘Brewers Tudor’. It was later called Arnolds, and is now a shop and hostel.
Church of England Soldier’s Institute. Built 1893 and opened by the Prince of Wales. This had reading rooms, billiards, etc etc. Demolished in 1963
St John’s Church. This church stood between the barracks and the Grand Depot – the site must now be under John Wilson Street. It was an Anglican church, a local committee arguing that there was a need for an extra church due to the number of soldiers. Half the seats were for the military with a separate gallery for the marines. It was designed by Charles Kirk and was never finished, despite collapsing during construction. It gradually lost its congregation and there was a restoration attempt in 1911. It was hit in Second World War bombing and removed in 1948. There appears to have been an attached school or institute.
Woolwich Polytechnic. The Wellington Street frontage was built by the London County Council in 1962. It became the main entrance in succeeding years.
18 Princess of Wales. This was built in 1886-7 on the site of The Duchess of Kent Beerhouse. Closed and demolished.
Woolwich New Road
This was previously called Cholic Lane and it was part of the Turnpike Road to London, established by Act of Parliament in 1765. It was designed to help the traffic to and from The Arsenal and the Dockyard and was laid out in 1790 as the New Road. Later a better route was constructed which avoided the military exercises on the Commn.
Royal Mortar Hotel. Built in 1890. This had 12 bedrooms, banqueting rooms etc. It became the local Tory club. It is now offices and shops.
3 – 5 was the home of the Labour Movement in Woolwich and elsewhere from 1904 to the 1970s – the Pioneer Press was set up here by William Barefoot (publishing the weekly Labour journal The Pioneer') in 1904, and the office of the Labour Representation Association in 1905, which became Woolwich Labour Party in 1916. Two halls were built at the back in 1930. In the 1970s it was the Pioneer bookshop and then the Transport and General Workers Unionn offces
5 was Manze’s eel and pie shop. This retrained its traditional interior until 2010.
27 The Pullman. An Edwardian pub formerly known as the Royal Oak. At a meeting in this pub the Dial Square football team changed its name to Royal Arsenal football club, now famous as Arsenal Football Club -"the Gunners" - in Highbury. Closed and demolished for railway building.
Woolwich Arsenal Station. This was originally opened in 1849 on Pattison's (chalk) Pit. The station was opened by the South Eastern Railway running in a cutting following a bridge over the road. It was first called just Arsenal, then Royal Arsenal, then Woolwich Arsenal Station. But this did not front onto New Road, but onto what is now Vincent Street. It was designed by Peter Barlow and Samuel Beazley. In 1906 a booking station was built on the New Road. The present station is a structure from 1993. It has a horseshoe shaped roof with above it a drum like a lighthouse. On the platforms canopies with iron columns remain from the previous building. On the up platform is a terracotta relief sculpture by Martin Willamson ‘workers of Woolwich', depicting workers producing armaments at the Arsenal. It was designed by British Rail's Architecture and Design Group. The 'up' trains continue through a tunnel 123 metres long under General Gordon Place.
Docklands Light Railway Station. The line from North Woolwich opened in 2009. The station has exits to the rail station and on both sides of the New Road. There is a ceramic mural by Michael Craig Martin called Street Life.
The Palace Picture Theatre operated from 1912. In the early-1930’s, a BTH sound system was installed. It was run by Nesbitt’s Animated Pictures Ltd., and was a second run local cinema, playing mainly ‘B’ pictures. It closed before 1947.
63 was built as the Pioneer Beerhouse and continued as a pub until the 1970s
73 The Blue Nile. Eritrean restaurant, voted best in London.
79 Punjab House. A painting over the door by Brian King shows the journey from the Punjab to Woolwich.
89 In the 1830s this was a Home for Destitute Jews.
91 Angelsea Arms. A classical pub. It moved here in 1841 from an original site, now under the Catholic school, known as the Marquis of Angelsea. It was remodelled by Whitbreads in 1906
93-95 The New Cinema operated from 1912 to the late-1920’s as a silent cinema. It was run by Arundell Ltd, who fitted it with an organ, which they had manufactured. In 2009, the building a car maintenance workshop but has since been demolished
97 This site had been the Providence Chapel for the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connection and later, in 1849, the Carmel Chapel. That was demolished and the Gun Tavern built here. Another pub was built here by Whitbreads in 1900.
St Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church built in 1843 by Augustus Pugin. St Joseph's Chapel was added in 1889 and a planned tower over the entrance was never built.
103-115 presbytery. This is also by Pugin and built in 1849.
St. Peters Centre. A community centre which was originally a school.
111 Central Court. This is on the site of the Scottish Presbyterian Church and Schools. This was for Scottish soldiers and built in 1841 by Thomas Donaldson. It closed in 1965 and was demolished in 1970
Scotch School. Built in 1856 at the back of the site. The early St. John’s ambulance association taught first aid skills here for the first time. It was run by the School Board for London to 1894 and then closed. It later became the garrison infant school. It was demolished in 1929.
International House. A hostel for overseas students at the Poly was built here in 1964. There proved to be a reduced demand and following submissions of many schemes it is now flats.
Connaught Mews. Three buildings of 1780 formerly the Grand Depot. This was originally the Royal Artillery Hospital or Royal Ordnance Hospital the first military hospital in the country. It Became the Connaught Barracks after the Royal Herbert Hospital opened in 1865. The three original buildings were converted by Parkview Properties for housing as Connaught Mews in 1992. 19th century wrought-iron lamp-holder which was once over the entrance is preserved as a feature on the green.
Government House. This is an early 19th house with later additions in brick. Was later an office building of the Artillery Garrison but has since been redeveloped and housing built in the grounds.
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Cinema Treasures. Web site
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Hamilton, Royal Greenwich
Jefferson. The Woolwich Story
London Borough of Greenwich. Local List,
London Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich Guide
London Borough of Greenwich. Civic Centre,
Nature Conservation in Greenwich,
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
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Spurgeon. Discover Woolwich,
South East London Industrial Archaeology
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Toby and Johns’ Transport History. Web site
Woolwich Antiquarians. Journal.
Woolwich Antiquarians. Newsletter
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For this post in particular the 2012 volume of the Survey of London has been crucial. Congratulations and thanks to Peter Guillery and his team from Edith- who wishes she could reach your standards.