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  • hilly 6:40 pm on February 28, 2012
    Tags: , , , photos   

    Gold Ball, Cloth of Gold and Golden Window 

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital Presentation of a golden ball by William Fisher Lord of the Manor Plumstead to Queen Elizabeth

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital: Presentation of a golden ball by William Fisher Lord of the Manor Plumstead to Queen Elizabeth

    One of the delights of the Memorial Hospital is the stained glass that decorates some of its corridors and stairways, and the St Nicholas Chapel. I was lucky recently to have the opportunity to take some photographs of the windows, which I have put on the flickr site. Most of the topics depicted in the windows need no explanation; a view of Eltham Palace, Henry VIII’s Great Harry ship which was built at Woolwich and the religious subjects in the chapel. However I found one window, shown above,  puzzling. Who was William Fisher, I pondered, and what was his connection with the area?

    Google wasn’t my friend on this occasion, and couldn’t answer my questions. So I headed down to the local history section of the Woolwich library and the trusty W.T. Vincent’s “The Records of the Woolwich District”. Vincent talks about the visit of Queen Bess to Plumstead in July 1573, but names her host as Thomas Fisher rather than William. He describes Thomas Fisher as having been a clerk or bailiff who was employed by Sir Edward Boughton in the management of the king’s estates,  Sir Edward having been granted “the manor and parsonage, tythes &c., within the parishes of and villages of Plumstead, Bostall, Wickham, Welling, Woolwich, Bexley, Lessness, Erith and Yard, alias Crayford” by Henry VIII after the dissolution of the monasteries. Vincent goes on to say of Thomas Fisher:

    The old historian, Dugdale, represents Fisher as being:

    “As greedy of church lands as other courtiers were,”: observing that “he swallowed divers large morsels, whereof Bishop’s Itchington was one; he made an absolute depopulation of that part called Nether Itchington, where the church stood (which he also pulled down for the building of a manor house in its room); and to perpetuate his memory changed the name of it to Fisher’s Itchington”

    He also had a manor house in Plumstead , and much of the land in the parish which had been seized by the late King Henry had apparently come to his share. He was pretty well to do, and on the occasion of the royal visit he presented her Majesty with a ball of gold, with a cover, having a lion standing on the top, crowned and holding the Queen’s arms.

    Vincent thought that Fisher’s home was the Old Manor House in Wickham Lane, also known as the Pilgrim’s House or Wolsey’s House.

    A Google search for “Fisher’s Itchington” threw up Thomas Fisher MP, who according to wikipedia was MP for Warwickshire and was the person who depopulated Nether Itchington, but no connection with Plumstead or Woolwich is mentioned. So a partial solution to the mystery ….

    Gold connections continue in some of the other stained glass windows at the hospital.

    The Henry Grace à Dieu, also known as the Great Harry, was the  first ship built at Woolwich Dockyard, and the reason the dockyard  was founded by Henry VIII in 1512.  It was the largest ship of its time, with many innovations such as having two fully armed gun decks, gun ports and 21 of the new heavy bronze cannon. As the window says:  she conveyed Henry to the summit with King Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and ended her life at the start of Mary’s reign in 1553, when she caught fire and sank at her mooring at Woolwich… “by neckclygens and for lake of over-syth,” according to Henry Machyn.

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital: The Great Harry

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital: The Great Harry

    The  peaceful St Nicholas chapel at the Memorial Hospital opened in 1986 after the closure of the St Nicholas Hospital that was situated in Tewson Road, Plumstead.  One of the windows in the chapel is known as the Golden Window, and illustrates the text “Suffer little children to come unto me”. According to the Lost Hospitals of London web site:

    The ‘Golden Window’ was originally installed in 1956 in the Hospital chapel at Goldie Leigh Hospital. It was moved to the Memorial Hospital chapel and rededicated in December 1986.

    That was all I could find out about this window, but I’ll add it to my list for the next time I’m in the library at the Heritage Centre.

    What a  range of interesting local history was encapsulated in just three windows!

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital Chapel: The Golden Window

    Stained glass window in Memorial Hospital Chapel: The Golden Window

     
    • Darryl 8:47 pm on February 28, 2012

      Great find! There’s some wonderful stained-glass windows in the committee rooms at Woolwich Town Hall, too. I even found out who Phineas Pett was.

    • Raven 10:47 pm on February 28, 2012

      Fantastic post. What rich and fascinating history on our doorstep.

    • hilly 5:10 pm on February 29, 2012

      Thanks Darryl & Raven. I think it’s great how much history there is to be found just in local buildings, and the Memorial Hospital is especially rich.
      I’ll have to google Phineas Pett now!

  • hilly 6:45 pm on February 5, 2012
    Tags: , , photos,   

    Snowy Shooters Hill 

    Sledging down Oxleas Meadows

    Sledging down Oxleas Meadows

    Oxleas Meadow is the place to go when it snows. It’s the perfect place for sledging – long, broad slopes with a choice of steepnesses to suit all ages and abilities. And all ages and abilities were out there today showing off their skills.

    Oxleas meadow and cafe in the snow

    Oxleas meadow and cafe in the snow

    There was an incredible variety of sledges; old fashioned sit-up wooden-slatted toboggans, snow boards, surf boards, a bin liner, bright pink and green plastic sledges,  snowmobile style sledges, round ones looking like dustbin lids and one that I’m sure was a dustbin lid. Chaos reigned, bodies falling and rolling everywhere as sleds overturned, ran into each other and skittled other sledders. The whole scene overseen by the usual large crowd of dogs out for a walk, though on this occasion many were dressed for the weather, and a motley assortment of snow men. One enterprising group of sledders had even created a ski jump out of a park bench and a large pile of snow and were using it to launch themselves into ignominious heaps of snow and sledders.

    Not far away in Shrewsbury Park a younger set of sledders enjoyed the gentler, less crowded but equally sled-able nursery slopes.

    Elsewhere on the hill the snow had waved its transformative magic wand, turning the world bright and beautiful, hiding flaws and smothering imperfections. The woodlands were serene and pristine. Colours were accentuated  in the otherwise monochrome landscape; vivid red holly berries and pillar box, the previously unnoticed blue beams in a house on Shrewsbury Lane, and colourful clothing glimpsed through the woods.

    Oxleas Woods snow scene

    Oxleas Woods snow scene

    Shooters Hill water tower in the snow

    Shooters Hill water tower in the snow

    Snowman in Eaglesfield Park

    Snowman in Eaglesfield Park

    What an eventful weekend!

     

    PS All the photographs are on flickr here.

     
  • hilly 2:14 pm on February 5, 2012
    Tags: photos,   

    Now We Are Royal 

    Equitable House lit up for Royal Greenwich

    Equitable House lit up for Royal Greenwich

    Fingers and feet were frozen on Friday night in General Gordon Square while waiting for the start of the Royal Borough of  Greenwich festivities. The chill was slightly eased by the mulled wine and hot chocolate that were on offer. The young and young-at-heart warmed themselves by frantically jumping up and down waving their arms about to play the interactive games on the big screen – bashing balls and bugs, encouraging rain to fall on flowers to make them grow or, best-of-all, wiping custard off the screen. Nearby, mementos of the occasion were distributed – Royal Greenwich pen, Royal Greenwich pencil, Royal Greenwich card holder and Royal Greenwich key-ring torch. Wandering minstrels desperately pleaded with adults to request a song following the children’s suggestions of Old Macdonald, Run Rabbit Run and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

    Wandering Minstrels in General Gordon Square

    Wandering Minstrels in General Gordon Square

    Historical characters wandered around, including Henry VIII, Queen Victoria with Prince Albert and a knight on a wheeled horse. The big screen changed to explain the elements of the new Royal Borough coat of arms and to show  an inspirational film about Greenwich which few people watched.

    Things warmed up a bit with some excellent  gospel music from the New Wine Church choir – it was a pity their set wasn’t longer. The church will be hosting the Musicians of the Royal Artillery Band in a free concert next Friday, 10th February to further commemorate the conferment of our royal status.

    There was a big cheer for Henry VIII when he welcomed us to Royal Greenwich, and a more muted one for Council Leader Chris Roberts when he did the same. Mercifully his speech was very brief before the highlight of the evening – the fireworks. And they were well worth a few freezing fingers and toes.

    So now we are royal. I haven’t seen any new royal road signs in Shooters Hill yet, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for them.

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    Royal Borough of Greenwich Fireworks Celebration, Woolwich

    More fireworks tonight to celebrate the Royal Borough at 6.00pm in Greenwich.

     
  • hilly 10:58 pm on October 17, 2011
    Tags: photos, shard, ,   

    Changing Views 

    I’ve been a fan of e-shootershill for several years, so it’s a little bit daunting to be taking on the job of chronicling happenings on the hill and the surrounding areas. Producing a repository of “Hilliana” as my predecessor so succinctly expressed it.

    Learning the technology involved in blogging is also a little daunting, and my initial posts may not be as technically sophisticated as some previous ones!

    Why did I offer to take on e-shootershill? Well, I agree wholeheartedly with the aim of maintaining a journal of record of Shooters Hill – and there’s plenty to record. One of the many things I love about living here is the tremendous sense of community and local involvement. For example there are so many volunteer-led events and activities. Volunteers run the friends of Eaglesfield and Shrewsbury parks organisations. The latter organise the fabulous dog-show at the Shrewsbury Park Summer Festival which has become an essential item in the calendar. And then there are all the people who help at Woodlands Farm – from managing the charity through to mucking out the pigs, not to mention organising large-scale events such as Apple Day (coming up next Sunday, 23rd October). And many more that I haven’t come across, yet, though I’ve seen hints of their activities.

    View from top of Brent Road towards Olympic Stadium and O2 Dome

    View from top of Brent Road towards Olympic Shooting and Archery Stadium on Woolwich Common and O2 Dome

    I was also seduced by the unexpected and sometimes uncelebrated architectural gems that ornament the hill and its surroundings, and the intriguing glimpses into history that comes with them. There aren’t many places in London where you come across a Bronze Age burial mound as you walk down the street. Blogging about the area will be a strong motivation to find out more about local history.

    Of course the stunning views from the hill, over Kent, Essex and the panoramic London horizon from Wembley’s arch to the London Eye justify the inclusion of topics slightly further away from home, and give me an opportunity to experiment with including some pictures in this first blog. For the view isn’t static, for example the 2012 Olympics have imposed themselves, with the shooting and archery stadium rapidly rising on Woolwich Common.

    View towards the (incomplete) Shard in August 2011

    The Shard at sunset from Shooters Hill

    And the Shard has also been rapidly rising, further away on the horizon. The Shard has come in for criticism from some commenters, but I feel a kind of affinity that started when I used to walk past the building site on my way to work, often pausing to watch the long, slow work of boring and excavating the foundations and then, later, astounded at how quickly it grew.

    Like previous bloggers on this site I welcome comments and suggestions.

     
    • Doctor Pangloss 11:41 pm on October 17, 2011

      It is a great thing that you have taken the e-Shooters Hill baton. Blogging can be fairly hard work, but immensely rewarding for you and your community.

      All best wishes from The Shire.

  • hilly 10:57 pm on August 21, 2010
    Tags: photos, ,   

    Views of and from the hill 

    Twilight on Shooters Hill

    Twilight on Shooters Hill

    There’s been some interesting hill related action on flickr lately, but unfortunately it’s of the look but don’t touch variety, so instead of being added to the site header, here are some links – i hope they stay up.

    Shooters Hill (with tower bridge in the foreground)

    Shooters Hill (with tower bridge in the foreground)

     
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