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  • hilly 9:16 am on April 23, 2014
    Tags: christ church,   

    Children’s Nearly New Sale at Christ Church 

    Christ Church Children's nearly new sale poster

    Nicola wrote with details of a children’s nearly new sale at Christ Church on Shooters Hill this Saturday, 26th April from 2-4pm. This is a table sale of baby and toddler items and is being held to raise funds for Christ Church, where they have ambitious plans for a new church hall/community space. The event description says:

    Children’s nearly new sale, featuring delicious homemade cakes! Come along and enjoy some upcycling! Grab a bargain, lots of great kids kit needing a new home! Including clothes, coats, shoes, prams, baths, equipment, toys etc….. Adult entry £1. Come early to get the best stuff. Tables sold out but advertisers wanted for the goody bags to be given out on the door :)
    From 2pm come grab a bargain or some afternoon tea! Entry £1 per adult.

    Sounds like a good place to go for kiddy kit, and cake. And perhaps there’ll be a chance to browse the beautiful stained glass windows at Christ Church, including the one  in memory of Woolfield Fitzhardinge, detail below, who once lived at Elmhurst.

    Detail of stained glass window in memory of Woolfield Fitzhardinge at Christ Chiurch Shooters Hill

    Detail of stained glass window in memory of Woolfield Fitzhardinge


    • nicola 9:56 am on April 23, 2014

      Thank you!
      It should be a great success if everyone gets behind this event!!

  • hilly 12:05 pm on April 19, 2014
    Tags: , , shrewsbury lane   


    Elmhurst Cottage

    Elmhurst Cottage

    Six hundred thousand pounds!? For a three-bedroom wooden bungalow on Shrewsbury Lane? I know house prices are increasing, but that seems a bit much. Ah, but the advert includes the magic word “redevelopment” and also mentions a 0.3 acre plot: “Locally Listed but suitable for redevelopment, the property occupies a plot of approx 0.3 acre atop Shooters Hill on this desirable residential road.” That must explain the price, but that phrase “locally listed but suitable for redevelopment …” sounds a bit presumptuous.

    Would planning permission be given for demolition of the cottage and new development? It’s debatable.  Elmhurst Cottage represents one of the last remaining links to part of the formative history of Shooters Hill, and to some of the individuals and families that shaped the Hill’s development: the Lidgbirds and the Dallins. The description in The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Locally Listed Buildings register hardly scratches the surface of the historical associations:

    No. 40 ‘Elmhurst Cottage’
    Small single storey timber building – originally appeared on Ordnance Survey map of 1846, but rebuilt in previous style in 1976. Lidgebird, brickmaker for the Royal Arsenal, lived here. Built of wood with slate roof and sash windows. Decorative trellis work to sides of windows and projecting porch.

    Henry Lidgbird is described in English Heritage’s Survey of London Woolwich as a “master bricklayer since 1711″,and he comes to prominence when the decision was made to build a royal foundry at Woolwich following the devastating  explosion  on 10th May 1716 at the private Moorfields Foundry that killed 17 people. O.F.G. Hogg’s detailed two volume history of The Royal Arsenal records the decision to send:

    A letter to Mr Henry Lidgbird to attend the Surveyor general the 20th about providing bricks for the Royal Brass Foundry at Woolwich.

    In the end  Henry provided a total of 35,534 Windsor bricks for the Foundry, plus 28,500 place bricks and 10,000 hard stock bricks for the furnace. Not to mention 17tons 2cwt of loam! He went on to work on many other developments at the Arsenal: Chapter 3 of the Survey of London Woolwich book mentions a number of them:

    • The Royal Brass Foundry of 1716–17, largely with bricks brought by barge from Windsor;
    • The site-perimeter wall near the foundry, also in 1717;
    • The Great Pile of Buildings (Dial Arch), 1717–20;
    • Building 40 (the Academy), 1718–20 and 1721–3.

    Henry worked with Master Carpenter William Ogbourne on much of this work, and they are also mentioned together in the Treasury’s accounts for 1715-16, which detail Henry’s work on the repairs of a number of castles and forts sited all round the country, including the Tower of London, Portsmouth, Dover, Deal and Sandwich. The account for Hyde Park and St. James’s Park, for which Henry was paid £222 12s 0d, is a typical example:

    Hyde Park and St. James’s Park: Henry Lidgbird, senior and junior, for two chimneys and pantiling the roof of the Guard House and Officers’ House in Hyde Park where the Artillery Train was encampt; William Ogborne, for work etc. about the storehouses in St. James’s Park; Henry Lidgbird, ditto

    Henry must have had at least two sons as Henry Junior is mentioned frequently in the details of the work at the Royal Arsenal and John Lidgbird also appears in connection with building work in 1745.

    Church of St Nicholas Plumstead

    Church of St Nicholas Plumstead

    Sir John Lidgbird, according to David Lloyd Bathe’s “Steeped In History”, bought an extensive area of Shooters Hill on the north side of the Dover Road in 1733, and built a large Georgian mansion called Broom Hall. The London Metropolitan Archive have a number of photographs of both the exterior and interior of Broom Hall, and it is shown to the west of Shrewsbury Lane  on the snippet of Alan Godfrey’s 1894 OS map below. Bagnold records that John Lidgbird was a church-warden of Plumstead for several years, governor of Plumstead work house in 1740 and High Sheriff of Kent in 1741. He was still involved in building work at the Royal Arsenal: he is recorded as being responsible for building a brick wharf in 1745, and in 1760 the Arsenal bought Shooters Hill gravel from “Mr Lidgbird’s pits” for 3d a load to be mixed with Woolwich Common gravel for the repair of roads and footpaths. The Shooters Hill gravel was essential because the Common gravel wouldn’t bind without an admixture of that from the Hill.

    The Church in Plumstead where John Lidgbird was church warden would have been St Nicholas, at that time the parish church. The fascinating  grade 2* listed church’s history goes back over a thousand years to 960AD, and at one time it was on the banks of the Thames. I’m indebted to the vicar there for letting me have a look round the church, and take the photograph below of John Lidgbird’s memorial plaque, which describes him as “that truly valuable man”. Just above the plaque is John’s coat of arms: “Quarterly gules and azure, a chevron ermine in chief two eagles displayed argent.”  It has been suggested that the two eagles in the coat of arms are the origin of the name of Eaglesfield Park.

    Sir John died in 1771. An entry in the catalogue of the National Archives suggests his last years may not have been happy – it records a “commission and inquisition of lunacy, into his state of mind and his property”. He was succeeded by his son Henry who inherited John’s substantial land holdings in Shooters Hill, the City of London and Middlesex. This land included that where Shrewsbury House was built, and it was Henry who leased that land to the Earl of Shrewsbury. Henry died intestate in 1820, following which 9 years of litigation concluded with his estate being divided between two distant relatives: Mary Lidgbird, whose daughter also named Mary, married the Reverend Thomas James Dallin, and 15 year old Ann Wilding, who later married Mr. William Jackson of Highgate. The land holdings east of Shrewsbury Lane went to Mary Lidgbird and those to the west to Ann Wilding.  Shrewsbury Lane, which had been a winding country lane, was straightened to delineate the boundary between the two holdings. These were significant areas of land: there’s a list of the different parcels of land in the Plumstead Tithe award schedule from August 1842.

    Memorial to "that truly valuable man" John Lidgbird in St Nicholas Plumstead

    Memorial to “that truly valuable man” John Lidgbird in St Nicholas Plumstead

    The Rev. Robert Dallin was also associated with the church of St Nicholas: he was curate there in 1814 when the vicar was the Rev. Henry Kipling. The Rev. Dallin ran an  academy for gentlemen in Wickham House, one of the buildings that used to be part of the old Bull Hotel. As well as the academy he presided over services in the Shooters Hill Chapel, which was created from the Bull’s Assembly room. In both of these endeavours he was assisted by his son, the Rev. Thomas James Dallin, who continued both after his father’s death in 1833. Thomas’s marriage to Mary Lidgbird was reported in the Spectator on 29th June 1839:

    On the 20th inst., at Trinity Church, Marylebone, the Rev. T. J. DALLIN, A.M. of Wickham House, Shooter’s Hill, Kent, to Miss MARY LIDGBIRD, of Buckingham Place New Road.

    Both the Dallins and the Jacksons had large houses built on the land they inherited in  Shrewsbury Lane, each with substantial grounds. On the West of the Lane was Haddon Lodge which was built by William Jackson in about 1860 and on the East Elmhurst was built by the Dallins in 1859. Bagnold reports that these two were the only houses recorded on the lane in the 1862-67 ordnance survey map. The snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 OS map below shows both houses. Haddon Lodge is labelled, and Elmhurst is the property on the other side of the Lane directly to the South of Haddon Lodge. Elmhurst Cottage is shown just over the road from Haddon Lodge. It can also be seen on the accompanying snippet from Google maps. The1894 map also shows John Lidgbird’s mansion, Broom Hall.

    Later residents at Elmhurst included Lord Ribblesdale  who served in Gladstone’s government as Master of the Buckhounds and chief whip and was immortalised in John Singer Sargent’s painting.

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey's 1894 Ordnance Survey Map of Shooters Hill

    Snippet from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 Ordnance Survey Map of Shooters Hill

    Google Maps Snippet showing Elmhurst Cottage

    Google Maps Snippet showing Elmhurst Cottage
















    The Rev. Thomas James Dallin made another contribution to the area, as the Rev. Cecil Fielding records in the section about Christ Church Shooters Hill in his 1910 book The Records of Rochester:

    The Church was built through the efforts of Revs. T. J. Dallin and J. S. Masters. There is a window to the first, and the Choir Stalls are a Memorial to the other. There is also a Lectern in memory of Mr. Woolfield-Hardinge, Churchwarden 1884-1890. The Registers date from 1855.
    1855, Thomas James Dallin.
    1865, John Smallman Masters.
    1897, Thomas Benjamin Willson.

    The money to build Christ Church, some £2000,  was all raised by public subscription. Dallin himself laid the foundation stone on 22nd August 1855, and presided over services from its opening on 1st December 1856 until his death in 1865.

    Lidgbird’s Broom Hall was demolished in 1937, replaced by the houses on Shooters Hill and Hill End. Elmhurst and Haddon Lodge are also now housing, with just a remnant of the Lodge’s perimeter wall surviving at the side of Occupation Lane.  Elmhurst Cottage is a last reminder of all that local history, a reminder that will be lost if the cottage is demolished and redeveloped.

    Is that likely to happen? Well the Greenwich Core Strategy seems to give strong protection to locally listed buildings (my emboldening):

    Policy DH(j) Locally Listed Buildings
    In considering proposals affecting buildings on the Local List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest, substantial weight will be given to protecting and conserving the particular characteristics that account for their designation. Consequently, proposals for the demolition or unsympathetic alteration of Locally Listed Buildings will be strongly discouraged.

    My fear, based on what has happened at other Shooters Hill “development” sites is that a developer who cares little about the area will submit a planning application to demolish the cottage and build something completely inappropriate like a three storey block of flats which crams in as many saleable units as possible. Following local opposition this will be rejected by the Greenwich Planning Committee  – because the cottage is locally listed, because the proposal is incompatible with the character of the area and because the development constitutes garden grabbing. The site will then be boarded up and become a tip while the developers sit and wait for a change in policy or a change in government.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if the cottage was bought by someone sympathetic to the neighbourhood, who talked to the cottage’s neighbours  about their plans, and then proposed changes that preserve as much as possible and celebrate the local history. A bit like the development of the former gas decontamination centre at Furze Lodge which now has a display about the building’s history at the front. However can that be afforded when the cottage is priced at £600,000?

    Christ Church

    Christ Church Shooters Hill

    • Deborah O'Boyle 11:56 am on April 20, 2014

      A fascinating and well-researched piece. I had conducted a little research of my own some years ago, but not to the extent that you have and, although I have much of the information about Jackson, Dallin, et al, had not yet tied much of it together. I think this will be invaluable information.

      Anyway, I had long imagined retiring to Elmhurst Cottage. At £600,000, another dream has gone pop!

    • Len Newland 3:32 pm on April 20, 2014

      Very interesting article. I think the Jacksons were also the first owners of Lowood Lodge (Shooters Hill Golf Club) and there was a pathway from Shrewsbury House to Lowood which was bought by Laing’s when they built houses on the Laing estate.

      • hilly 9:07 pm on April 20, 2014

        I think you may be right about the Jacksons and Lowood. David Lloyd Bathe’s “Steeped In History” says that Lowood was built in 1874 by J.J. Jackson, but I couldn’t link him definitively to the Jacksons who inherited from Henry Lidgbird.

  • hilly 2:26 pm on March 26, 2014
    Tags: ,   

    Woodlands Farm Lambing Day & Easter Holiday Activities 

    Lambing Day poster

    The first of this spring’s lambs have already been born at Woodlands Farm, and there seem to be a lot of triplets this year. It’s a busy time for farm manager David Jones and the lambing-trained volunteers at Woodlands. There’s an opportunity to see the new lambs at the farm’s Lambing Day on Sunday 6th April. Maureen from the farm wrote with details:

    All are welcome at the Woodlands Farm Trust Lambing Day on Sunday 6 April, from 11am-4.30pm. Come and see our new-born lambs, and enjoy the chance to buy quality local produce at reasonable prices, including home-made preserves, cakes and honey.  Relax in our café, enjoy the treasure hunt or get involved in craft activities. Entry is £1 for adults and 50p for children, all proceeds from entry charges and our stalls go towards keeping Woodlands Farm here as a conservation project and valuable resource for the community. A great family day out!

    Newly born lamb under a heat lamp

    Newly born lamb under a heat lamp

    In the week following Lambing Day Hannah Forshaw, the farm’s Education Officer, will be hosting their Easter holiday activities for children. Hannah wrote with details:

    Wednesday 9th April – Make a willow snail 11am and 2pm £2 per child
    Learn how to weave your own willow snail to take home.  This will sit nicely in a plant pot in your garden, but don’t worry this is one snail which won’t eat your plants!  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.

    Thursday 10th April   – Guided Farm Tours 11am and  2pm Free
    Join us for a guided tour of our animals at Woodlands Farm.  Meet our new born lambs and there will be a chance to stroke our chickens and get up close to our guinea pigs Leah and Tandi.  Booking is essential, to book call 020 8319 8900.

    Friday 11th April – The Woodlands Farm Easter Egg Hunt 10am-2pm £1
    Can you follow our trail to find all the eggs hidden around the farm?  If you manage to find them all you will get your own chocolate egg to take home.  This is a drop in activity so pop in anytime between 10am-2pm.

    For more information, see our website or contact Hannah Forshaw on education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org
    Woodlands Farm is located on the borders of the London boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich.  At 89 acres, it is the largest city farm in the UK.  Our priorities are education and conservation, and we are part of the Natural England Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.  Our education programme attracts visitors from pre-school to third-age groups.  The Trust aims to involve local community groups, schools, volunteers and businesses in farming and conservation, helping to bridge the current town-country divide.
    We are open 9.30am-4.30pm, Tuesday-Sunday (except Christmas Day).  There is no entry charge except for special events, though donations are always welcome.
    Nearest tube: North Greenwich
    Nearest BR: Welling
    Buses: 486 and 89
    We are a farm so sensible shoes and clothing are recommended!  We do allow dogs, but please note that these must be kept on a lead and not taken into any farm buildings.

    Easter Holiday Activities poster

    Children taking part in the Easter activities will be able to use the farm’s brand new education centre which was opened on Monday by Horticulturalist and former Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins with the Mayors of Greenwich and Bexley.  The opening was well attended by members of the farm and local politicians including a number of Greenwich councillors and Eltham MP Clive Efford.

    The opening of Woodlands Farm's new education centre by Chris Collins

    The opening of Woodlands Farm’s new education centre by Chris Collins

    Ewe and her lamb at Woodlands Farm

    Ewe and her lamb at Woodlands Farm



  • hilly 11:45 am on March 25, 2014
    Tags: , ,   

    Eaglesfield Pond Tidy on Sunday 

    Eaglesfield Pond Tidy Poster

    Madeleine from the Friends of Eaglesfield Park wrote with a reminder about next Sunday’s weeding and tidying session for the wild flower meadow around the pond – the first of their planned regular series of pond tidies for 2014:

    It’s wonderful what a few days of sunshine can do ! The crocuses have made a fantastic display this year, but the poor daffodils seem to have struggled with the wet weather. We now need to turn our attention to the general maintenance of the pond and surrounding meadow. We really do need some help please.
    Could you lend a hand on Sunday 30th March between 10.30 am – 1.30 pm.
    We would like to:
    - Clear general litter/debris/fallen branches
    - Tidy the edge of the pond
    - remove the particularly large invasive “weeds” (thistles, dock plants, fat hen and control nettles)
    - dig over/weed a targeted area of the surrounding meadow ready for seeding and plug plants.
    If we could achieve this it would be a great start to the season. Of course how much we achieve will not only depend on the number of volunteers, but also on the weather!
    If you can help, could you please bring your own tools (sorry to ask) – e.g. garden spade, fork or rake and don’t forget to wear old clothes, wellies and gloves. If you have any “Builders’ Buckets” as well, they would be very useful !

    I’m glad to see that some ducks have returned to the pond after the recent attack; a mallard pair were hiding in the reeds a few days ago, and one was sunbathing on the dipping platform yesterday. Let’s hope they are not disturbed again, and also that the weather is good for gardening on Sunday.

    Mallard enjoying the sun at Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond

    Mallard enjoying the sun at Eaglesfield Park Lilly Pond

  • hilly 5:27 pm on March 20, 2014
    Tags: ,   

    Woodlands Farm Education Centre Opening 

    Woodlands Farm's new Education Centre

    Woodlands Farm’s new Education Centre

    Hannah, the Education Officer at Woodlands Farm, wrote about the opening of the New Education Centre at Woodlands Farm which will take place next Monday, 24th March. She wrote:

    The Mayors of Greenwich and Bexley will be the principal guests and will perform the opening ceremony for the new education building centre at Woodlands Farm, Shooters Hill, Greenwich, on Monday 24th March 2014.
    The Farm, which is 89 acres in extent and straddles the borders of Greenwich and Bexley, has provided education and conservation resources for the community since 1996. The education unit at the farm provided for visits from 4,000 school pupils last year, ranging in age from 4 to 18 years, in addition to providing a thriving toddler group and adult education in subjects as diverse as making hedgerow liqueurs, hedge laying and bee keeping.
    The building for the new education centre is pre-fabricated and cost £130,000 in total. The principal funders were Natural England, the Government Agency for Conservation and Wildlife Education, with contributions from the East Wickham and Welling War Memorial Fund and the Alan Mills Bequest.
    Project Manager at Woodlands Farm, David Jones, said “The new education building will be a great boost to our commitment to offer a wide range of experiences in conservation and farming for the local community.” Education Officer, Hannah Forshaw said “Our previous accommodation was somewhat cramped. The new building gives us much more space and improves our ability to offer great educational opportunities to schools and community groups ranging in age, from nursery children to senior learners.” Woodlands Farm Trust Board member Tony Baker said “It has been a struggle to raise the funds to build this new centre, but the funders, volunteers and members of the trust have been tremendous and have made a dream that we as a Trust have had for many years, become a reality.
    Horticulturalist and Blue Peter gardener, Chris Collins will also take part in the opening ceremony.

    The opening ceremony starts at 10.15am.  If you would like to attend contact Hannah Forshaw on 020 8319 8900 or education@thewoodlandsfarmtrust.org

    Spring blossom at woodlands Farm

    Spring blossom at woodlands Farm

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