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  • hilly 6:36 pm on December 23, 2015
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    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.
    ·         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.


  • hilly 11:53 am on December 15, 2015
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    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

  • hilly 9:21 pm on November 18, 2015
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    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

  • hilly 11:04 am on October 12, 2015
    Tags: , past,   

    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.

  • hilly 10:43 am on August 17, 2015
    Tags: , past,   

    Attempt to de-list Elmhurst Cottage 

    Elmhurst Cottage

    Elmhurst Cottage

    An application has been submitted to the Royal Borough of Greenwich to remove Elmhurst Cottage from the council’s Locally Listed Buildings list. If successful this would remove the protections given to buildings on the list, and ease the way for redevelopment of the 0.3 Acre site. It was submitted by a local company, Building Design & Services Ltd., but appears to be on behalf of a company named Broadberry International Limited. There is no indication as to the reason for the request, but I suspect it is not out of academic concern for the historical accuracy of the local list.

    The heart of the case to remove Elmhurst Cottage from the list, which is laid out in a Heritage Statement prepared by HeritageCollective and submitted with the application,  appears to be twofold: that the cottage was not built until 1895-1896 and that it was too humble for important historical people such as the Lidgbird and Dallin families to live in.

    The evidence presented that the cottage was not built until 1895-1896 relies on part of a hand-drawn map that was submitted with an 1889 planning application for a new stable on a property further down Shrewsbury Lane. The map, which is part of catalogue item MBW/BA/39056 in the London Metropolitan Archive, is shown below followed by the equivalent area from Alan Godfrey’s 1894 OS map, which clearly shows Elmhurst Cottage. The hand-drawn map does not include a number of buildings that are shown in the OS map from just 5 years later, and has a number of inaccuracies in the shapes, orientations  and positions of the buildings compared to the Ordnance Survey map. For instance, it does not include the huge Haddon Hall, just over the lane from Elmhurst Cottage. Haddon Hall also appears on Alan Godfrey’s 1866 and 1914 maps, so it was certainly there in 1889. The size, shape and outbuildings of the large house named Elmhurst are not captured accurately on the 1889 map, nor are those of the Homestead. In fact it is an amateur map intended to show where a new stable would go, not to show the size, shape and location of neighbouring buildings.

    It is clear that the 1889 hand-drawn map is not conclusive evidence of the presence or absence of Elmhurst Cottage, or of the date it was built. The Heritage Statement includes a snippet of the 1894 OS map mislabelled as being from 1896, plus a part of the 1866 OS map mislabelled as being from 1889. If nothing else the presence of Elmhurst on the 1894 map shows that it was there before the 1895-1896 claimed.

    Map from HeritageCollective's Heritage Statement about Elmhurst Cottage

    Map from HeritageCollective’s Heritage Statement about Elmhurst Cottage

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

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

    The Heritage Statement provides no evidence that a wealthy family such as the Lidgbirds or the Dallins would not have lived in a cottage such as Elmhurst Cottage other than some information from a directory of 1910 about who lived at the cottage. This is many years after the Dallin family lived at Elmhurst.

    The Heritage Statement quotes a passage about the history of Elmhurst Cottage from an e-shootershill post about buildings of local interest, however it fails to include any of the more detailed information about the historical associations of the cottage in a later post about Elmhurst. This cottage is one of the few reminders of the families – the Lidgbirds, Dallins and Jacksons – who shaped Shooters Hill. Colonel Bagnold also lists a number of senior military people who lived at Elmhurst: Col. Shipley; Lord Ribblesdale; Col. Foster; W Fitzhardinge; Col. Wooley-Dod; Col. Murray-Smith; Major Barstow; Col. F. Watts-Allen. A rich local history.

    Why is someone trying to de-list Elmhurst Cottage now? Who knows – the applicants haven’t given any indications of their plans, nor have they talked to neighbours of Elmhurst Cottage,  who first learned of the attempt to de-list when they got the Royal Borough’s letter. Although it seems clear that the cottage has been sold because it is no longer up for sale, the Land Registry has not yet been updated with the new owner’s details. HeritageCollective produced the Heritage Statement for Broadberry International Limited. No company of this name comes up in a search of the Companies House web site. and a Google search only gives a British Virgin Islands company for which the last information is 2007. It seems unlikely that Broadberry Data Systems, Broadberry Consulting or Broadberry Care Solutions have moved into property development, so the plans for the site remain a mystery.

    The notice about the application gives details about how to comment:

    Any person who wishes to make representations to the Royal Borough about the application should do so in writing (via email or post) by 08-Sep-2015 to building-conservation@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or to Planning Department, 5th floor, Woolwich Centre, 35 Wellington Street, Woolwich, SE18 6HQ

    It is also possible to comment on-line on the planning pages for the application. The Royal Borough of Greenwich web site includes information about how buildings get on the local list, as well as the list itself.

    • Deborah 1:50 pm on August 18, 2015

      I have commented elsewhere on the inaccuracies of the maps and I see you have come to the same conclusions, which shows what a shoddy job “Heritage Collective” have done. What amazes me is that they have made a subjective statement regarding the desirability of the cottage as a place of abode for someone from a grand family, then compound this silliness by stating that a piece of tenuous evidence from a much later date proves the statement to be conclusive. The “research” has been very sloppy, selective and full of errors. The John Lidgebird they cite (“High Sheriff of Kent”) as you know, cannot have been the one who built Elmhurst Cottage, as he died, quite possibly a lunatic, in 1771. His son, Henry inherited the estate and he continued the building work at the Arsenal. As you have written before, it seems likely that he had at least two sons: Henry Lidgebird Junior and John Lidgebird are mentioned in conjunction with the building works into the 1840s. Now, a memorial tablet in St Nick’s states that Henry died, unmarried, in 1820. As you also discovered, he died intestate and there followed nine years of litigation, after which the estate was divided between two distant relatives: Mary Dallin (again, not the one referred to by Heritage Collective, but her mother) and Ann Wilding. It is notable that neither Henry Junior nor John inherited any of the estate. It does not seem inconceivable, therefore, that the two were illegitimate. This is certainly a better explanation as to why John would live in a humble dwelling on part of his father’s former estate, than the nonsense suggested by “Heritage Collective”. Out of interest, Hilly, have you looked at the Kentish Independent for 1976?

      • hilly 3:07 pm on August 18, 2015

        That’s an interesting thought about the younger Lidgbirds, have you come across any records of them? I haven’t looked at the Kentish Independent, sounds like a walk down to the Heritage Centre is required.

    • Deborah 2:21 pm on August 18, 2015

    • Deborah 3:51 pm on August 18, 2015

      A former occupier of the cottage has been asking local people. She contends that the cottage was not rebuilt and is the original old building. I seem to recall a newspaper article about an exact replica being built, which would account for the oldy-worldy materials. I suggested she look for the article in the Kentish Independent, but I think she may live in Somerset. I can’t find any local Lidgebirds on Ancestry or FindMyPast. The St Nick’s parish records have been digitalised, so perhaps the name has been persistantly mistranscribed. Of course, the sons will have been baptised with the mother’s surname/s if they were illigitimate. I’ve started to draft my representations, but will wait to see whether you find anything at the HC.

      • hilly 10:19 am on August 21, 2015

        I scanned through all the 1976 Kentish Independents yesterday and couldn’t find any mention of Elmhurst Cottage. Wonder if it could have been a different newspaper?

    • Deborah 9:56 pm on August 18, 2015

      Ah, just spotted my error. I confused two Henry Lidgbirds.

      • Deborah 10:25 pm on August 18, 2015

        However, I have found other John Lidgbirds in Plumstead, both contemporaneous and later than Sir John. As Sir John had only one child and, as the surname is uncommon, one would assume that the other John Lidgbirds are relatives – although, perhaps, with less claim to the estate than Mary Lidgbird and Ann Wilding.

    • Deborah 3:18 pm on August 21, 2015

      I’m trying to think of another local paper at the time. I think another popular one that covered this area was the Bexleyheath Observer, which is held on microcfiche at Bexley Archive Centre. They also have the News Shopper for a greater range of dates than Greenwich.

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