Friends of Oxleas Woodlands

Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower
Oxleas Meadow, showing the cafe and the water tower

Bat walks, local history walks, rose garden restoration, woodland conservation and litter picking: the Friends of Oxleas Woodlands have been very active since their formation at the end of last year. Sue, the Friends’ secretary, wrote with an update:

As you know we have had a couple of Bat walks and Houses in the woods walk; which we are planning to offer again, weather permitting. We also have our regular activities, the litter collection once a month; the Saturday and new weekday conservation sessions with the Shooters Hill Woodland working group and a new gardening project to re-establish the rose gardens at Jackwood and Castle woods. I have attached a poster about this project including the dates of forthcoming gardening sessions.
Our activities have been developed in response to our members’ requests and we are really fortunate to have knowledgeable members who have been able to lead walks and deliver interesting talks on a range of subjects.
Up until now we have been able to open up all our activities to non members as well as members but with our large and growing membership (currently we have 92 members), we are needing to prioritise some activities such as the Walks to members (their friends/families) only. So far, we have not had to turn people away; we have just had to repeat the walks! Needless to say, we are always grateful for volunteers to work with us on the regular gardening, litter collection and conservation activities.

Friends of Oxleas Woodlands Rose Garden poster

The poster reads:

A massive thank you to all the volunteers who were able to help at short notice with clearing the rose beds at Jackwood Terrace (above). It took a total of 30 man & woman hours to weed the beds.
We have confirmation from the Council that they will add mulch when time allows, but volunteers may be needed to help with spreading.
Parks & Open Spaces did remove the roses from the Severndroog beds (below) with the intention of replacing them with wildflowers. They have now given permission for FOW to replace the roses in the autumn if funding can be secured. We have requested further information on sponsorship permission.
Whilst funding is secured for replacement roses (best planted in the autumn) we are looking for volunteers to help weed and prepare the Severndroog beds during August and September.
We will use this as an experiment to see what days and dates suit different people so please do let suereeve@virginmedia.com know when you can join us (see purple box above).
PS. We will offer to find a good use for the wildflower seeds too.

Bluebells in Oxleas Wood
Bluebells in Oxleas Wood

The next event that the Friends have planned is this Sunday, 14th October, when the Friends’ Chair Tom Wareham will lead  a repeat of the Houses in the Woods walk. This twilight wander through the woods visits the sites of some of the great houses that used to stand in the woodlands: Castle House; Castlewood; Jackwood; Wood Lodge; Warren Wood and Falconwood. Each participant on the walk is loaned an A4 folder with pictures of the houses before they were demolished. As the appropriate points on the walk it is possible to hold the pictures up against the current scenery and see where the houses stood. What a great way of presenting local history! The stories about the houses and gossip about their occupants are fascinating.

It’s very likely that Sunday’s walk is already fully booked, but contact Sue on suereeve@virginmedia.com if you’re interested.

The next dates for other planned Friends’ activities are:

Litter collection                            Saturday 27th October 10am – 12pm
Shooters Hill Working Party Saturday 13th October 10am, Friday 19th October 10am – 3pm
Rose beds & bulbs                      Sunday 4th November 10am-12pm,  Friday 9th November 2pm-4pm

Again, contact Sue for more information. The next members’ meeting is planned for 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th December in Shrewsbury House.

Path in Oxleas Woods
Path in Oxleas Woods
Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace
Detail of water feature on Jackwood Terrace

Severndroog Castle film night at the Shooters Hill Local History Group

Severndroog Castle
Severndroog Castle

Severndroog Castle is the topic of the Shooters Hill Local History Group‘s next meeting, to be held on Thursday, 16th March at Shrewsbury House starting at 8.00pm. Steve wrote to me with the details:

There is a Severndroog Castle film night on Thursday 16th March at Shrewsbury House at 8pm arranged by the Shooters Hill Local History Group.
Films of the campaign to save Severndroog will be shown by the Shooters Hill Camcorder Club and will include the TV Restoration programme; the visit by the mayors of Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark: the opening of the building and an open day event.
A visitor fee applies, everyone welcome.

The story of Severndroog Castle is one of successful community activism, which started when the castle was under threat of being sold off to a private company for use as offices in 2002. The Severndroog Castle Alliance (later the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust) was formed by residents living in the area with the aim of saving the building for community use. The castle was included in the BBC Restoration series in which viewers voted on which listed building should be given a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for remedial work in 2004. Although the castle only managed second place in the south-east section of the programme, ultimately it was Heritage Lottery funding that allowed its restoration, as well as funds from charities such as the Country Houses Foundation; The Pilgrim Trust and The Architectural Heritage Fund. Now the castle is run by volunteers who organise regular events and open the castle to the public on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays from 12:30-4:30pm. It’s worth a visit for the views alone.

Should be an interesting evening.

 

Severndroog Castle under wraps for its restoration
Severndroog Castle under wraps for its restoration
Severndroog Castle and rainbow from Westmount Road
Severndroog Castle and rainbow from Westmount Road

The future of Enderby House at the Shooters Hill Local History Group

Enderby Wharf development
Enderby Wharf development

Dr. Mary Mills of the Greenwich Industrial History Society will be talking about the future of Enderby House at the next meeting of the Shooters Hill Local History Group which will be this Thursday, 16th February. As usual it will start  at 8pm and it will be held in Shrewsbury House. Steve e-mailed the details:

The next meeting of the Shooters Hill Local History Group will be on Thursday 16 February at 8pm at Shrewsbury House.
The presentation by Mary Mills of the Greenwich Industrial History Society will be about the future of Enderby House on the Greenwich Peninsula.
Everyone welcome, a visitor fee applies.

Enderby House is a grade II listed building which has been neglected and fallen into disrepair over the years. It was built in about 1835 by the Enderby family who established a ropewalk and a factory for making sales on the Enderby Wharf site around the house.  In the 1850s a company called Glass, Elliot & Co took over the site and it was where they jointly made the first transatlantic telegraph cable as well as many other early telegraph cables. Later they were absorbed into the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company (Telcon) which manufactured a second transatlantic telegraph cable at Enderby’s Wharf. This was successfully laid by the SS Great Eastern. Submarine cables were made by a succession of companies at Enderby’s Wharf up until 1975.

The area has since been redeveloped and the river front is now crowded with blocks of flats, with more being built. It is also the proposed site of a controversial cruise liner terminal: there is concern about the air pollution created by docked liners which will have to generate their own electricity using their diesel-powered engines because no shore-based generating capacity is planned. Enderby House is still standing, sandwiched between blocks of flats and the cruise liner terminal, but its future is  not entirely clear. The developers say they “are proud to be refurbishing the building into a Gastro pub and cultural hub for Greenwich”, but a group of local people have formed the Enderby Group to “secure the future of Enderby House and the cable loading equipment on the Alcatel-Lucent jetty as a permanent centre for telling the story of the sub-sea cable industry on this site, its key role in world-wide communications”. They have their own ideas about what should happen to the house and its surroundings to ensure that the area’s historical importance to modern telecommunications is not lost.

Thursday’s speaker is the secretary of the Enderby Group, so it should be a fascinating talk covering the history of Enderby House, and much more.

 

Appendix 3 of the Enderby Group Pender Plaza Proposal: Barratt Model of Enderby House
Appendix 3 of the Enderby Group Pender Plaza Proposal: Barratt Model of Enderby House

 

Film Night at the Shooters Hill Local History Group

Memorial in Woolwich Cemetery to those killed in the Princess Alice disaster
Memorial in Woolwich Cemetery to those killed in the Princess Alice disaster

Shooters Hill Local History Group will be meeting on Thursday, 1st December at Shrewsbury House starting at 8.00pm. Steve wrote to me with the details:

The Shooters Hill Camcorder Club are putting together a local history film night for the Shooters Hill Local History Group on Thursday 1 December at 8pm at Shrewsbury House.
Short films will include ‘After the Storm’ about the 1987 storms; ‘Down to Earth’ featuring the tunnels under Greenwich Park and ‘The Princess Alice Disaster’ telling the story of the sinking of the passenger paddle steamer.
Everyone welcome.
A visitor fee applies.

Sounds like a really interesting meeting!
There’s an imposing memorial to those who died in the sinking of the paddle steamer Princess Alice near Woolwich in 1878. The inscription on the memorial tells the story of what happened:

The Saloon Steamer
“Princess Alice,”
Returning from a pleasure excursion
Was wrecked off Tripcock Point
By collision with
The steam collier “Bywell Castle,”
On the night of
September 3rd 1878.
It was computed that
Seven Hundred
Men women and children
Were on board,
Of these about 550 were drowned
One hundred and twenty were buried near this place.
To the memory
Of those who perished
This cross
Was erected
By a
National sixpenny subscription
To which
More than 23000 person contributed.

Inscription on memorial to those who died in The Princess Alice Disaster
Inscription on memorial to those who died in The Princess Alice DisasterInscription on memorial to those who died in The Princess Alice Disaster

The WElling WILL REMEMBER THEM project at Shooters Hill Local History Group

The Welling War Memorial in its current position at St John the Evangelist Church
The Welling War Memorial in its current position at St John the Evangelist Church

Shooters Hill Local History Group‘s next meeting is on Thursday, 20th October at Shrewsbury House starting at 8.00pm. Steve wrote to me with the details:

A presentation is being given by a member of the East Wickham and Welling War Memorial Trust to the SHLHG on Thursday 20 October at Shrewsbury House at 8pm. A visitor fee applies.
The presentation is about the WElling WILL REMEMBER THEM community project which received Heritage Lottery funding.
The project researched those men from the district who served and died in the First World War. See also www.ewt.org.uk

The East Wickham and Welling War Memorial Trust was established following the First World War to raise funds to construct a Memorial Hall  dedicated to the men from the local district who fell in the war. The hall is no longer in existence and the Trust re-registered as a grant giving charity in 1995. Since October 1995 the Trust has awarded grants of over £600,000 to the community, and is probably now the largest source of community funding in East Wickham and Welling.

The WElling WILL REMEMBER THEM project was set up in 2013 to research and tell the stories of the local men from East Wickham and Welling who fought in the First World War.  Local people were recruited as Research Volunteers to uncover the stories of the 105 men who are listed on their war memorial and to find out about other men from the local area who fought in the Great War.  They were assisted by Year 5 and Year 6 children at Foster’s School who researched some of the men who attended their school.

Sounds like another interesting meeting at the Shooters Hill Local History Group.

The Welling War Memorial in its current position at St John the Evangelist Church
The Welling War Memorial in its current position at St John the Evangelist Church

Film Night at Shooters Hill Local History Group

Entrance to Beresford Square Market
Entrance to Beresford Square Market

Shooters Hill Local History Group‘s next meeting at Shrewsbury House this Thursday, 21st January at 8.00pm is a film show featuring three locally-made local history films. Steve wrote asking me to post a reminder:

It would be appreciated if you could provide a brief update about Thursday’s film show featuring:
‘The Catherine Wheel Dig’ – the archaeological search by members of the Shooters Hill Local History Group and friends for the “Catherine Wheel” ale house at the crest of Shooters Hill, which predated the “Bull” as a stop for stage coaches on the road to Dover.
‘This Girl went to Market’ – a young lady researches the history of Beresford Square market and finds her future (real life) husband.
‘The Plumstead Make Merry’ – the preparation for this popular local festival and the many aspects of how people enjoyed themselves at the two day event on Plumstead Common.

All are welcome. There’s a small visitor fee to cover the cost of the room.

Request to de-list Elmhurst Cottage turned down

Elmhurst Cottage
Elmhurst Cottage

I was very pleased to hear that the council has decided to reject the request to remove Elmhurst Cottage in Shrewsbury Lane from their Locally Listed Buildings list, retaining for it the protections given to buildings on the list.

The e-mail with the news came from Principal Conservation Officer Rebecca Duncan, and said:

Please find below details of the decision taken on 15/12/15 by Councillor Thorpe, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, which comes into force today 22/12/15.
Decision:
·         Approved: the retention of Elmhurst Cottage on the Royal Borough’s List of Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Interest (known as the ‘Local List’).
·         Agreed: the amendment of the List entry for Elmhurst Cottage to accurately describe the building’s architectural interest, historic interest and environmental significance.

Full details of the decision, including an interesting report, can be found on the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s web site. The new listing for Elmhurst Cottage gives much more detail about the cottage’s importance:

A small, single storey weather-boarded cottage, with slate roof and sash windows.  Decorative trellis work to sides of windows and projecting porch.  Set back from the road at an angle, with extensive front and rear gardens.  The building and its site is of historic interest since it has historic associations with the Lidgbirds and the Dallins, significant and well-known landowning families who shaped Shooters Hill.  The estate containing the cottage can be traced from the Lidgbirds in 1851 to the trustees of Mary Dallin in 1901.  The building is of architectural interest since it is a rare example of a small, weather-boarded Kentish dwelling, the last-surviving one of its type in the area.  Built between 1866 and 1894, it is one of the oldest buildings on Shrewsbury Lane and survives the two large houses in the locality, Haddon Lodge and the original Shrewsbury House.  The building is of environmental significance since, with its unusual and attractive open setting, it is a time-honoured and locally valued feature which contributes to the character of Shrewsbury Lane and also provides a valuable wildlife haven for lizards, butterflies, bats and birds.

Twentyseven of us responded to the consultation about Elmhurst, of whom 25 were against de-listing the cottage and 2 in favour.

I suspect we haven’t heard the last of attempts to redevelop the land that the cottage occupies.

 

Shooters Hill Local History Group meeting on Thursday

The Ypres Milestone at Christ Church
The Ypres Milestone at Christ Church

Shooters Hill Local History Group‘s final meeting of 2015 will be a “Social and Curio” evening at Shrewsbury House this Thursday at 8.00pm. Steve sent me details:

The next meeting is on 17 December and will be a Social & Curio Evening.
Everyone is encouraged to bring along an item with a history and talk about it.
It does not necessarily need to have a link with Shooters Hill, it could be a book; map; photograph; medal; football or concert programme to name but a few.
All welcome, bring nibbles, drink and a glass!
Visitor fee applies.

The group has also been planning their programme for 2016. Currently they have:

21st January: Films of Shooters Hill and area – “The Catherine Wheel dig” and “This girl went to market” etc.
18th February: TBA (perhaps St George’s RA Chapel
17th March: Talk on the local tram system

Should be interesting.

Detail of moulding at Shrewsbury House
Detail of moulding at Shrewsbury House

Talk on the History of the Greenwich Peninsula on Thursday

The cover of Mary Mills' Greenwich Peninsula history book
The cover of Mary Mills’ Greenwich Peninsula history book

Shooters Hill Local History Group  will be hearing about the history of the Greenwich Peninsula from local historian and former councillor Mary Mills tomorrow, Thursday, 19th November at Shrewsbury House. Steve wrote with the details:

Mary Mills, Secretary of The Greenwich Industrial History Society will be giving a presentation to the SHLHG about the history of the Greenwich Peninsula next Thursday.
The presentation is based on her new book ‘Innovation, Enterprise and Change on the Greenwich Peninsula’.
The book is ‘a snapshop of the Greenwich Peninsula showing how it was home to industries which brought change both in Greenwich and worldwide’
See also, http://greenwichpeninsulahistory.wordpress.com/book/
Meeting starts at 8pm, a visitor fee applies.

I’m enjoying reading Mary’s book about the highlights of peninsula history from 1194 to the present, and it should be a very interesting presentation. All are welcome: there is a small charge for non-members to cover the cost of the room

Baby Killers Over Woolwich – local history talk on Thursday

British propaganda postcard from 1916. Text reads: "The End of the 'Baby-Killer'". Public domain, source Wikipedia
British propaganda postcard from 1916. Text reads: “The End of the ‘Baby-Killer'”. Public domain, source Wikipedia

Steve wrote to tell me that Shooters Hill Local History Group will be hosting a talk by local archaeologist Andy Brockman on Thursday about Zeppelins in the First World War. Andy posted further details in the History Mill Facebook Group:

“Baby Killers Over Woolwich – how Zeppelins brought the First Blitz to south east London”
A talk for the Shooters Hill History Group by Andy Brockman
8pm Thursday 15 October 2015
Venue: Shrewsbury House, Shooters Hill
A century on form the first blitz on London, the talk will tell the story of the attempts of the German Imperial Navy and Air Force Zeppelin crews to attack London and their impact on Woolwich and Plumstead.
All welcome
Cost: Free to SHLHG Members, Guests: £2 to help cover room hire.

The area around Shooters Hill was subject to a number of bombing raids by Zeppelins during WW1, including one which severely damaged a number of homes in Dickson Road on the Progress Estate. There was also an anti-aircraft gun in Eaglesfield Park, the base of which was uncovered by the Digging Dad’s Army project.

Andy is a very engaging speaker on our local history: it should be a fascinating presentation.

Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold's air raid shelter
Andy Brockman at Colonel Bagnold’s air raid shelter
WW I poster from Wikipedia - "It is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb. Join the army at once & help to stop an air raid. God save the King" Public domain.
WW I poster from Wikipedia – “It is far better to face the bullets than to be killed at home by a bomb. Join the army at once & help to stop an air raid. God save the King” Public domain.