Riverside east of the Tower, north bank.North Woolwich

Riverside east of the Tower. North bank. 
North Woolwich

Old riverside settlement, once in Kent and part of Woolwich proper. and thus the north end of ferry and foot tunnel.  19th railway development plus a pleasure park and later a museum.  Surrounded by industry the area of an important shipyard is now modern housing. Otherwise a down market area with many facilities closed

This post covers north of the river only for this square

Post to the west North Woolwich
Post to the south Woolwich
Post tohe east Broadwater and Arsenal
Post to the north Cyprus and Gallions

Albert Road
12 The California.  Pub of 1914 with art nouveau lettering designed by Robert Banks-Martin. Closed 2007 and demolished.
North Woolwich Police Station, Built 1904 and designed by J. Dixon Butler, in striped brick and stone. The station was "K" Division of the Metropolitan Police.  There is a lamp at the corner of the road with "POLICE" in the glass. It is now partly closed.
74 The Royal Albert. This pub was present by 1867 and was owned by Watney’s Brewery. It closed in 2002 and is now housing.
102-104 The Albion Pub. This pub was known locally as the Cowshed.  It was present by 1872 and was destroyed in an air raid in 1944.
The Kent Arms was at the corner with Dock Street. Its name may relate to North Woolwich’s position in Kent until 1889. It was demolished in 1975. A replacement pub was called Katie's Place – which had been the name of a small road alongside it. It was also later called Churchill’s and Jimmy Dean's but it closed in the 1990s and has been demolished.
The Prince Albert. This was on the corner with Pier Road and was demolished in the 1970s.
The Woodman. This pub was destroyed in Second World War bombing.
Royal Standard. Pub dates from1898 with brick Baroque details and Art Nouveau iron overthrow to the saloon entrance. It is one of the last of the 19th docklands public houses left in the area.

Barge House Road
Woolwich Council Houses. Row of early local authority housing erected by the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich in 1901 with a loan from the London County Council. These were the first houses built by the Woolwich council.  At one time there were notices on them showing their origins which seem to have gone
Barge House Tavern. This is said to have been a barge on the foreshore here which was built up into a pub.
Barge House Ferry. This ran to Warren Lane in Woolwich.  In 1839 a Mr. How built an esplanade here and installed a large boat for the ferry. It was to carry livestock – horses and cattle. It was normally prorated by the proprietor of the Barge House.
Military Ferry. In 1820 the Royal Arsenal set up a ferry from its landing stage to the Barge House for the transport of artillery and provisions by the Royal Army Service Corps.
Barge House draw dock
Hoba Wharf

Woolwich Free Ferry. The ferry has been free of toll from 1889. It was opened by Lord Roseberry, Chairman of the three day old London County Council. Woolwich was arrayed in flags and bunting and there was a procession through the streets with mounted police and all the local organisations with banners and bands. The first ferries, were "Gordon", "Duncan" and "Hutton", and could carry 1000 passengers, and 20 vehicles. After 30 years they were replaced by "Squires", "Gordon" and later "John Benn" and "Will Crooks".  In 1926 Squires was hit by a US freighter. In 1940 they worked all night evacuating people from the blazing Essex shore, with oil burning on the river. They ran a 24 hour service in blackout without navigation lights and with bombs falling around them. It was finally decided to replace the old side loading ferries with "end-loading" vessels. In 1963 three diesel engined boats were built by Caleden shipbuilding Dundee- Ernest Bevin, James Newman and John Burns. They are double ended and able to proceed in either direction.  The terminals are Husband & Co., built 1964-6, with steel-trussed ramps adjustable to a 30-ft tidal range, replacing floating landing-stages of 1889.  Long queues of traffic develop throughout the day and the ferry is still a vital link for heavy lorries. It remains Free.

Foot Tunnel
Woolwich Pedestrian Tunnel. Built 1909-12 by the London County Council engineer Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice for the London County Council. The entrance rotunda is in red brick with a Copper dome with little conical-roofed lantern on top. Lifts were installed in the Woolwich tunnel from its inception until they were closed for replacement in 2009. 

North Woolwich
North Woolwich is in itself an interesting anomaly. It is an enclave of Kent on the north bank of the river. It was originally in Woolwich parish; and as such was eventually part of the Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich until 1963 - and thus part of Kent. This situation probably had its origin in the land around Ham creek which was held in 1086 by Hamon, Sheriff of Kent and there is some speculation that the name ‘Woolwich’ originated here as a trading area for sheep. Two bits of land had been given by Offa the Saxon king to St.Peter's Monastery in Westminster and this was part of the ancient manor of Hammarsh. In 1963 it became part of the London Borough of Newham.

Pier Road
This was previously be called Stanley Road
North Woolwich Pier A pier was built here for the Great Eastern Railway Company for a ferry to Roffs Wharf, Market Hill in Woolwich.  This was known as the Penny Ferry. In 1908 the Great Eastern Railway withdrew the service as it was unable to compete with the free ferry. The pier on the north bank was retained and until the Second World War was used by the LNER as a calling point for river steamers going to Southend and Margate. In later years the pier was used by the Alexander shipping company, who operated their "SUN" tugs. The pier remains although the wooden decking has timbers missing. It includes there is a steel shelter with an asbestos roof and the remains of a small booking office.
Bus Station. A small bus station and turn round exists adjacent to the foot tunnel rotunda, serving the ferry and the foot tunnel – and until recently the now defunct station  The road itself on this stretch is essentially a queuing area for the ferry and designed as such with long lines of waiting traffic. There is a heavy flood protection area along the riverside and at the ferry terminal – and a previous attempt to improve things with red brick planters is now neglected.
1 The Three Crowns. This pub closed in the early 1990s.  This pub was present by 1855 and was a Charrington’s House. It is now flats.
North Woolwich station.  The earliest station may have been in the area of the park. The line had been opened in 1846 from Stratford, by the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway to connect with a ferry from North Woolwich pier, to provide a quick journey from Shoreditch to Woolwich.  There were hourly services until 1854 when the brick station building was erected. It had three platforms, a goods yard and a turntable.    The station was badly damaged in Second World War bombing in 1940.   The goods yard was rationalised and closed by 1970, and the line reduced to a single track in 1969. The other tracks were lifted.  The station building ceased to be use and was used as a rubbish tip.
North Woolwich Station. The original station became a museum and was replaced. From the 1980s only one track went on to North Woolwich from the Connaught Tunnel and in 1985 the station became the eastern terminus of the North London line running to Richmond via Stratford and Highbury.  The station building was moved away from the road behind a small parking area to the west of the old station building beside the old goods yard. A small station building and a single platform were provided. The station and the line to Stratford closed on in 2006. This little station has now been demolished for Crossrail.
North Woolwich Station Museum.  After closure the old station was taken over by the Passmore Edwards Museum. It was built in 1854 and is a striking building with a central single-storey ticket office, originally set back behind an open arcade. There was office and meeting room accommodation on the first floor.  It was restored by Julian Harrap and became the Great Eastern Railway Museum which was opened by the Queen Mother in 1984. The museum, which is run by the Passmore Edwards Trust tells the story' of the Great Eastern Railway. The interior in record of its condition of c1910, with the staff dressed in Edwardian dress the exhibits include a wide variety of steam railway displays and artefacts in train models, equipment, old notices and signs etc to a large booking hall. With a reconstructed ticket office, booking hall and general waiting room. It was at one time also used as a small public library.  On the turntable site was a small shunting tank engine built in at Stratford in 1895.   For whatever reasons London Borough of Newham began to close the museum services run by Passmore Edwards Museum in the 1990s and ceased publicising the museum. The Great Eastern Railway Society removed their exhibits. Inevitably it closed in 2008, despite dedicated staff. It s understood the bulldog will become flats.
Public toilets. These date from the time when the area was part of Woolwich Borough. They have been closed for many years.
Electricity transformer station. This was opposite the ferry entrance and had a plaque on it showing the Woolwich Coat of Arms. These were removed although the building remains – the date 1937 is still on it.
2 Royal Pavilion.  It is large pub of 1849, extended 1852. This pub was close to the ferry and had a jazz club. It closed in the early 2000s and was demolished in 2003. It is to be replaced by a tower block of flats.

Crossrail work. Crossrail will cross the river in this area. A tunnel portal will be created on the site of the former North London line between Albert Road and Factory Road.

Royal Victoria North Woolwich Gardens. 
Royal Victoria North Woolwich Gardens.  During the 1840s the North Woolwich Land Company, owned by George Parker Bidder, railway engineer and entrepreneur promoted a new railway and ferry here. In 1850 William Holland, proprietor of the now demolished Pavilion Hotel had begun to lay out the gardens and he opened them in 1851 as the Royal Pavilion Pleasure Gardens – a cheap alternative to the Great Exhibition.. The Gardens attracted large numbers of people with all sorts of entertainments – recreated as a play by local people in the 1980s. By 1853 there was a bowling green, rose gardens, walks and a maze as well as fairground attractions.There was also an Italian garden with scarlet geraniums, a Chinese dancing platform, the larges dance strafe in London and a lake. However, from 1882 things began to deteriorate. The Bishop of St Albans, the Lord Lieutenant of Kent and the Bishop of Rochester petitioned the City of London to buy the gardens for a public park. A fund was set up and an appeal launched. This money was finally raised in 1889 through the Charity Commissioners and a donation from Queen Victoria. They were the handed to the London County Council and re-opened in 1890 as the Royal Victoria Gardens.  Under the LCC gardens were completely redesigned. The area divided into a series of square or rectangular cells each with a different character or activity. The Gardens suffered bomb damage in 1940 and little remains today, except for the bowling green and a shrubbery. There are enhanced sports facilities and a modern café next to the bowling green and run by the bowlers. . In 1971 the park became the responsibility of Newham Council.
Silvertown Open Air Baths. This was Opened in 1922 and provided by the London County Council via Woolwich Council.  The pool suffered damage from wartime bombing and was closed in 1948.
Steam Hammer. It was made by manufactured by R.Harvey of Glasgow in 1888 and it was used in the blacksmiths shop of the nearby firm of R H Green & Silley Wier Ltd, shipbuilders and repairers. It was used to shape forgings, comprising a hammer-like piston located within a cylinder. The hammer is raised by the pressure of steam injected into the lower part of a cylinder and falls down with great force by removing the steam.

Store Road
Victoria Ale Stores.  Burnt down in 1897.

Woolwich Manorway
Improved in 1896. Manor Way is an old name for road leading to the ricer,
Manor Way draw dock
Sankeys Wharf. Used by a builders merchant
19 Round House. 19th brick pub in the shape of a curved building. This was a Watneys pub which closed in 2003 and has now been converted to flats. 
Pumping Station. Built by the London County Council in. 1900 for main drainage. Red brick, very plain.
The Lodge. This is a 19th house.  It was built as the Pumping Station Manager’s house. It is a detached house facing the adjacent pumping station and the side alley leading east to Barge House Road behind.
Gaslight & Coke Cottages. A terrace of eight cottages built by the Gaslight & Coke Company for its workers in the 1900s.
Harland & Wolff. This very large ship building and ship repair establishment was on the site of what is now known as the Galleons Estate. The firm was formed in 1861 in Belfast by Edward Harland and Gustave Wolff. Famously they built the Titanic and other major vessels. They expanded to Glasgow and elsewhere, including North Woolwich. The machine shop was capable of producing shafting up to 80ft long and crank shafts of 5ft 6 ins, there were upholstery and French polishing workshops, sail making, boiler making, a foundry able to forge iron with up to 14ins square section under hammer, producing castings up to 15 tons. In the 1930s they built here vessels for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company. Known as the Small Woolwich class they were of composite construction, and fitted with National diesel engines. Later they built 24 vessels of the Big Woolwich class.  They also built steam ships in the yard at that time, as well as other working boats, like lighters. The yard also worked on refits for major vessels, including warships. They undertook a range of repair and maintenance contracts for marine equipment.  Other works were for instance eight marine diesel platforms - i.e. Esso Pegwell Bay - built between 1962 and 1964.   One of the last vessels built by Harland & Wolff was the bulk cement carrier Blue Circle launched from their slipway in 1971.  This 1,000 ton vessel was built for Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers Ltd.  The square at the centre of Galleons Estate was the site of a large workshop.  The large ornamental gates to the yard are preserved in Lyle Park.

Carr. Dockland
Carr. Docklands History Survey
Chrismansfieldphotos. Web site
Closed Pubs. Web site
Clunn. The Face of London
East London Old and New
Eastside. Web site
FOGWOFT. Web site.
GLIAS Newsletter
Great Eastern Railway Journal
Industrial Heritage
London Borough of Newham. Web site
London Encyclopaedia
London Gardens Online. Web site
Marcan. London Docklands Guide
Model Engineering
Nature Conservation in Newham   
Newham walks,
Pudney. London River Crossings.
Spurgeon. Discover
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames


Anonymous said…
I think predictive text kicked in re North Woolwich Station Museum - 'bulldog' instead of 'building. Great site by the way.

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