WOOLWICH (/ˈwʊlɪtʃ/ or /ˈwʊlɪdʒ/ _WOUL-ich_ ) is a district
London , England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich
. Originally a town in
Kent , it has been part of the London
metropolitan area since the 19th century. In 1965, most of the former
Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich became part of
Greenwich Borough, of
which it remains the administrative centre.
The town is a river crossing point, with the
Woolwich Ferry and the
Woolwich foot tunnel crossing to
North Woolwich in the London
Docklands . Throughout the 17th, 18th, 19th and most of the 20th
Woolwich was an important naval, military and industrial
town. After several decades of economic hardship and social
deprivation , large-scale urban renewal projects have turned its
fortunes around. It is expected that the town, identified in the
London Plan as "opportunity area", will evolve from "major centre " to
"metropolitan centre " within
Greater London in the next few decades.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Early history
* 1.2 Military expansion
* 1.3 Urban development
* 1.3.1 Population
* 1.3.2 Employment
* 1.3.3 Retail
* 1.3.4 Leisure
* 1.3.5 Infrastructure
* 1.3.6 Education
* 1.3.7 Local government
* 1.4 Post-war history
* 1.4.1 Decline
* 1.4.2 Regeneration
* 2 Heritage
Woolwich Dockyard and Riverside
* 2.3 Other military buildings
* 3 Geography
* 4 Demography
* 5 Transport
Docklands Light Railway
* 5.4 Buses
London River Services
* 6 Nature
* 7 Sports and leisure
* 8 Education and culture
* 9 Notable people
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 Further reading
* 13 External links
Woolwich has been inhabited since at least the
Iron Age . Remains of
a probably Celtic oppidum , established sometime between the 3rd and
1st century BCE, in the late Roman period re-used as a fort, were
found at the current Waterfront development site between Beresford
Street and the Thames. According to the Survey of
London (Volume 48:
Woolwich), "_this defensive earthwork encircled the landward sides of
a riverside settlement, the only one of its kind so far located in the
London area, that may have been a significant port, anterior to
London_". A path connected the riverside settlement with Watling
Street (Shooter\'s Hill ), perhaps also of
Iron Age origin. Sandy Hill
Road may be a remnant of this early path. Rectors of Woolwich
It is generally believed that the name
Woolwich derives from an
Anglo-Saxon word meaning "trading place for wool". It is not clear
Woolwich was a proper _
-wich town _, since there are no traces
of extensive artisanal activity from the Early Middle Ages. However,
Oxford Archaeology discovered a Saxon burial site near the
riverside with 76 skeletons from the late 7th or early 8th century.
The absence of grave deposits indicates that this was an early
Christian settlement. The first church, which stood to the north of
the present parish church, was almost certainly pre-Norman and
dedicated to Saint Lawrence. It was probably rebuilt in stone around
From the 10th till the mid-12th century
Woolwich was controlled by
the abbots of St. Peter\'s Abbey in
Ghent . This may have been a
result of a gift of 918 from Ælfthryth , daughter of
King Alfred and
Countess of Flanders, in that case the first recorded grant of English
lands to a foreign ecclesiastic institution. As a result of this
Woolwich is not mentioned in the
Domesday Book ; it is thought
that the 63 acres listed as _Hulviz_ refer to
North Woolwich , which
was then uninhabited. Some of the
Ghent lands passed to the royal
Eltham as early as 1100; the larger part of the
parish, referred to as the manor of
Woolwich but in effect not a full
manor, became an
Eltham dependency in the 14th century. Not included
were a riverside quay held by
Holy Trinity Priory, Aldgate , a wharf
held by St Mary\'s Priory,
Southwark , and land around
Bartholomew de Burghersh, 2nd Baron Burghersh , later referred to
as the Burrage Estate.
Woolwich was susceptible to flooding. In 1236 many were
killed by a flood.
Woolwich Ferry was first mentioned in 1308 but may
be older. Around Bell Water Gate some private shipbuilding or repair
may have existed in the 15th century. A windmill was mentioned around
1450. Several pottery kilns have been discovered north of Woolwich
High Street and Beresford Street, testifying of a perhaps unbroken
tradition of pottery production from at least the 14th century until
the 17th century.
Woolwich Dockyard in 1790
Woolwich remained a relatively small Kentish settlement until the
beginning of the 16th century, when it began to develop into a
maritime, military and industrial centre. In 1512 it became home to
Woolwich Dockyard , originally known as "The King's Yard", founded by
Henry VIII to built his flagship _
Henry Grace à Dieu _ ("The Great
Harry"). Many great ships were built here, such as the _Prince Royal
_, the _Sovereign of the Seas _, the _Royal Charles _, the _Dolphin _
and the _Beagle _. The dockyard went through many ups and downs but
survived for three and a half centuries, closing down in 1869.
Following the establishment of the dockyard,
Martin Bowes who had
gathered a fortune at the
Royal Mint , bought riverside holdings in
Plumstead in the 1530s, some of it former church land
that had become available after the
Dissolution of the Monasteries .
His mansion was Tower Place, which was gradually closed in by a
ropeyard (1570s) and warehouses with open-air storage known initially
as Gun Wharf or Gun Yard, then The Warren (1651/71), later the Royal
Arsenal (1805). The arsenal developed from a place of storage into a
collection of military factories (Royal Ordnance Factories ), playing
a central role in Britain's imperial phase and its military and
industrial expansion. At wartime, tens of thousands of workers found
employment here. Between wars, unemployment loomed. Other military
establishments that were rooted in the arsenal were the Royal
Artillery (1716) and the Royal Military Academy (1741). They both
Woolwich Common in the late 18th century. In the 19th and
20th century several large barracks were built, as well as military
schools and hospitals. To this day, the town retains an army base at
Royal Artillery Barracks and Napier Lines Barracks.
Tower Place and the old Royal Military Academy, 1775
Royal Artillery Band marching through Woolwich, early 19th c.
Open-air storage at the
Royal Arsenal in the mid 19th c.
Old Woolwich in 1929. On the hill: the parish church and the Red
Poverty map of Woolwich, 1889. The areas in black designate the
"lowest class, vicious, semi-criminals". Bright red is "middle class,
Around 1500, at the beginning of the military and naval expansion,
Woolwich had only a few hundred inhabitants. In 1665, when Samuel
Pepys stayed here to escape the Great Plague , the population was
estimated at 1,200 or more, of which about 300 worked in the dockyard.
Around 1720, the town's population had risen to 6,500, reaching almost
10,000 in 1801. During the booming wartime decade that followed,
population reached a peak of 17,000. After a period of stagnation,
building activity picked up in the 1830s. Woolwich' built-up area
expanded southward with workers' houses mostly close to the river and
officers' houses around
Woolwich Common and further up the hill. In
Woolwich had a population of 27,785; in 1861 this had risen to
41,695. At this point there were 4,596 houses in the parish, with
little space left for building; further development took place in
Plumstead , Charlton and
North Woolwich , later also in
Eltham . After
a dip in the late 19th century, in 1901 the population of the parish
Woolwich stood at the same level as 40 years earlier: 41,625.
Woolwich was a rich social mix with skilled engineers along
with unskilled labourers (including women and children) working at the
Arsenal and other factories, large numbers of soldiers (making up
10-15% of the population) and a small bourgeoisie consisting of
military officers and the commercial and professional elite. Some
areas of the town were notoriously overcrowded; the so-called Dusthole
near the river was considered one of London's worst slums .
Workers at the
Royal Arsenal , 1862
Throughout the 18th century the navy yard remained the town's main
employer with between 500 and 1,400 men working in the docks. Due to
the malarial marshlands, it was not a popular place to work and for
Woolwich dockyard workers were paid as much as a third
more than in other naval towns. These were mostly skilled artisans who
were generally literate, Nonconformist and well-organized. The number
of artillery men grew from around 200 in 1716 to around 1,500 in 1801.
Soldiers were generally held in contempt, earning about a quarter of
dockyard labourers' wages. At the height of the
Napoleonic Wars ,
there were more soldiers (3,000) than dockyard and ropeyard workers
(2,000), while the arsenal employed as many as 5,000. After the end of
the wars, thousands were discharged, causing great distress. In the
1840s, a steam factory gave a new lease of life to the dockyard and
the 1850s saw a huge expansion of the arsenal during and after the
Crimean War .
The presence of the dockyard, the arsenal and other military
institutions stimulated economic growth in other areas, notably in
commercial activities and entertainment. The ropeyard was established
around 1570 and survived until 1832. Throughout the 17th century two
glass factories were active near Glass Yard, owned by Sir Robert
Greenwich , who also managed the dockyard and the
ropeyard. Some of the masters here were Huguenots from
Kilns producing Bellarmine stoneware may also have been controlled by
continental potters. Other kilns produced earthenware and clay pipes.
Kilns were also active on the hillside south of the town, where clay
was readily available. Near
Plumstead and Charlton were sandpits ; the
sand was shipped from a wharf near Tower Place. In 1863, the German
Siemens "> Hare Street in 1911
Woolwich market received its charter in 1618 but is certainly older.
The market, which had long been established in the High Street in Old
Woolwich (at a location called Market Hill), had gradually drifted
towards the Royal Arsenal\'s main gatehouse , more or less at its
present location. This was not approved by the authorities and a new
market was set up in the
Bathway Quarter around 1810. This proved to
be a failure and is remembered only in the name of Market Street.
Until 1879, the market at
Beresford Square remained illegal and was
regularly cleared by the police. After it was legalized, it had room
for 136 stalls.
Italo Svevo described it as "very lively" in 1903. In
1936, a covered market opened in
Plumstead Road but never formed a
threat to the main market.
Beresford Square had the largest public
houses (of which
Woolwich had many).
Powis Street and Hare Street,
laid out in the early 19th century, became the main shopping streets.
A number of Victorian shop facades, many designed by local architect
Henry Hudson Church, have survived.
In 1868 the
Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society was established, which
developed into one of the biggest consumer cooperatives in the country
with two department stores in Powis Street, shops around South East
London, manufacturing and food production plants, a building society,
a funeral service and many other areas of entrepreneurship.
Officers of the
Royal Artillery playing polo on bicycles, ca
In the 18th century,
Woolwich Cricket Club , later Royal Artillery
Cricket Club, were well-known cricket clubs.
Cricket and other sports
were mainly played by military officers and students at the Royal
Military Academy .
Arsenal F.C. was founded in 1886 by workers at the
Royal Arsenal . Initially known as _Dial Square_, then _Royal Arsenal_
and then _
Woolwich Arsenal_, they soon drew large crowds to their
Plumstead . In 1913 they moved to
Arsenal Stadium in
Highbury , North London.
Royal Ordnance Factories F.C. was founded in
Woolwich Arsenal joining the League but only lasted a few
Woolwich had several theaters and cinemas . The Theatre Royal in
Beresford Street, later renamed Empire Theatre or
Woolwich Empire, was
the biggest. Dating from the 1830s, it was enlarged in the 1880s and
90s, seating about 2,000. It both served as a variety theater and
cinema, ending up as a strip-joint. It was demolished in 1960. Shortly
after 1900, three new theaters opened with a combined capacity of
4,430. The Century cinema, which faced Beresford Square, was
previously known as Premier Cinema and
Royal Arsenal Cinema. It was
built in 1913 with 669 seats, closed in 1961 and demolished for
redevelopment in the late 1960s. The Grand Theatre in Wellington
Street opened in 1900 as a variety theater with a capacity of 1,680.
It became the
Woolwich Hippodrome in 1908 and a full-time cinema in
1923. Rebuilt in 1955 as the Regal Cinema, it closed in 1982, was then
used as a nightclub and demolished in 2015. The Granada cinema and the
Odeon, later Coronet , both seating around 2,500, are imposing
buildings from the 1930s that have both been converted into
Until the arrival of the railways, the
Thames was the principal
Woolwich to London. In 1834 the
Packet Company greatly improved river traffic and in 1889 the Woolwich
Free Ferry made it easier to live in
North Woolwich and work in the
Arsenal, or to live in
Woolwich and work in the Docklands . The North
Kent Line from
Woolwich to Gillingham opened
in 1849. The station building was rebuilt in 1906 and again in
Woolwich was also on the route of two
London trams of the
first generation (1881-1952).
The post-war period brought massive changes to the town's fabric and
infrastructure. Roads were widened and entire neighbourhoods pulled
down to make room for modern housing, some of it in tower blocks. The
Woolwich High Street and Beresford Street left little of
the old town .
Woolwich was home to the experimental
Auto Stacker car
park. Built on the site of the Empire Theatre, it was officially
opened in May 1961 by
Princess Margaret . It never actually worked and
was demolished in 1962. A multi-storey car park was built along Monk
Street in 1971.
Woolwich Polytechnic, 1891
Woolwich Polytechnic was founded in 1891. As well as providing a
higher education facility, it also provided secondary school
facilities, including the still-extant (but now relocated) Woolwich
Polytechnic School . In the 20th century the Polytechnic grew
steadily, taking up almost an entire block in the
Bathway Quarter and
later spreading to other areas. In 1970 it merged with other local
colleges and became
Thames Polytechnic. In 1992 it was granted
university status and a year later was renamed the University of
Greenwich . In 2001, the university relocated to the Old Royal Naval
Greenwich , leaving only a small administrative presence in
Woolwich was the location of the first free kindergarten in the UK.
The Woolwich Mission
Kindergarten opened in 1900, and began in a room
provided by a Christian socialist vicar of Holy Trinity church in New
Charlton, the Rev. Walter Wragge. It was founded by his sister,
Adelaide Wragge, the Fröbel -influenced principal of Blackheath
Kindergarten Training College.
St Mary Magdalene around 1840
The civil parish of Woolwich, roughly the area of the present-day
Woolwich Riverside and
Woolwich Common, was formerly known as
Woolwich Saint Mary . Up till 1842, when the Old
Town Hall was built,
the vestry met in a room in the parish church of St Mary Magdalene .
Woolwich became part of the
London metropolitan area in the mid-19th
century, although officially still in
Kent . In 1889, with the
London County Council ,
Woolwich became officially part
of London. In 1900 the parishes of Woolwich,
Eltham and Plumstead
Metropolitan Borough of Woolwich . In 1906 the new Woolwich
Town Hall was inaugurated. In April 1965, following implementation of
London Government Act 1963 ,
Woolwich was merged into the London
Greenwich , since 2012 the
Royal Borough of Greenwich . The
administrative buildings of the borough are in Woolwich.
Woolwich declined as a town in the late 20th century, starting with
the closure of the
Royal Ordnance Factory in 1967 and the Siemens
factory in 1968 and continuing as the
Royal Arsenal scaled back
operations and finally closed in 1994. Other employers like the
Woolwich Building Society ("The Woolwich") and Morgan Grampian
Publishers were taken over by other companies and moved away from the
town. Without major employers, the local economy was affected and
unemployment soared. At the same time the town's demographics
changed, with initially mainly Sikhs settling down in the area, later
followed by black Africans, many from
Nigeria . Despite immigration,
the population of the parish reached a low of 17,000 in 1971. In
Woolwich had lost its previous vigour. In the town's shopping
district, department stores and chain stores closed. By the early
1990s, the town centre had the typical appearance of a town in decline
with discount retailers and charity shops using the empty stores and
Greenwich Council occupying the empty office buildings. In 1974, the
United Kingdom 's first branch of McDonald\'s opened in Powis Street.
Amidst the decline,
Woolwich was still considered to be a
representative English town at the time.
In 1974 the
Provisional IRA bombed the Kings Arms pub in the town,
killing two. During the 2011
England riots ,
Woolwich was one of the
areas affected. Several buildings were attacked, with a few being
destroyed. _The Great Harry_ Wetherspoons'
Pub was set on fire,
leaving it a burned-out shell. On 22 May 2013 the Murder of Lee Rigby
Woolwich caused great international upheaval. Drummer Lee Rigby, a
British soldier based at the
Royal Artillery Barracks, was murdered
close to the barracks by two
Islamic extremists .
The 16th Regiment
Royal Artillery left
Woolwich in 2007, but the
Woolwich barracks still house the
Royal Artillery Band and more
recently the Second Battalion Princess of Wales\' Royal Regiment and
the King\'s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery , although the relocation of
these has been announced for 2028.
Construction sites in
Woolwich (Shooter\'s Hill view, 2016)
Woolwich started to enjoy the beginning of a renaissance with the
residential redevelopment of the former
Royal Arsenal . Most historic
buildings on the site have been renovated and converted into
apartments. Several thousands of homes have been built or are under
construction and thousands more are planned, mainly luxury apartments
in tower blocks near the river. Additionally, a riverside walk,
several parks, a museum, a range of shops, cafés, pubs and
restaurants, and a farmers\' market have made the Arsenal a desirable
place to live. In 2017 it was announced that the borough has acquired
five historic buildings around No 1 Street to create a £31 million
cultural district. It will feature a 1200-seat auditorium for concerts
and events, a performance courtyard that seats up to 600, a 450-seat
black box theatre and a riverside restaurant. The
Centre will move to new premises. The site will further include
offices, studios and rehearsal spaces for resident companies such as
Academy Performing Arts, Dash Arts,
Chickenshed Theatre , Protein
Greenwich Dance and Greenwich+Docklands International Festival
Woolwich Arsenal DLR station , the terminus of the Docklands Light
London City Airport branch, opened on 10 January 2009. The
2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics included
Woolwich as a venue for
shooting events , held in temporary facilities constructed on the
grounds of the
Royal Artillery Barracks and on
Woolwich Common . The
Crossrail in 2018 is expected to further stimulate
regeneration, especially in the area close to
station . Love Lane development
A large-scale redevelopment of the area west of General Gordon Square
started in 2011. The square was re-landscaped, including a new water
feature. The so-called Love Lane project involved demolition of
several buildings including the Post Office, the Crown Building, the
_Director General_ public house , Peggy Middleton House and Thomas
Spencer Halls of Residence. New buildings included the
along Wellington Street (public library and council offices) and a
large housing development above a
Tesco hypermarket . The development
was largely completed in 2012, except for the southwestern section
(along the South Circular Road ). On the other side of General Gordon
Square the 1930s
Woolwich Equitable building was refurbished. Next to
Town Hall on Wellington Street, the 1950s
Theatre (formerly the ABC Regal Cinema, then Flamingo's Nightclub)
briefly reopened as an arts centre with a cafe but in 2015 the
building was demolished to make room for apartments. Demolition
Connaught Estate, 2015
Redevelopment around the "
Woolwich Triangle" at the west end of Powis
Street is partly underway. It originally envisaged demolition of the
art deco RACS department store , one of two imposing
in this part of town. In September 2012
Greenwich Council approved a
plan to convert the building into apartments and retail. Across the
road, the late Victorian former RACS Central Stores building was
renovated and re-opened as a hotel. Further regeneration is centred on
Hare Street and the Riverside. By relocating the Waterfront Leisure
Centre, it is hoped that this part of
Woolwich will attract new
development. Other areas for redevelopment include Trinity Walk
(former Connaught Estate, part of the One
Woolwich masterplan for
three housing estates), several sites along Wellington Street
(including the Ogilby site and the so-called Island site), the Spray
Street Quarter (between the existing station and the new Crossrail
station), and the Callis Yard site (former council stables).
See also: Grade I and II* listed buildings in
For centuries the area between the
Thames and the present-day A206
road has been dominated by docks, warehouses and factories, starting
Royal Dockyard early in the 16th century, later eclipsed by
Royal Arsenal in scale and grandeur. In the 18th century the Royal
Regiment of Artillery and the
Corps of Royal Engineers
Corps of Royal Engineers were
established in Woolwich, followed by the Royal Military Academy .
Other military institutions completed the picture of the garrison town
Woolwich had become in the early 19th century. The town also has
a distinctive housing history and in the
Bathway Quarter it has a
distinctive civic centre. Although repeatedly rebuilt, its
architectural heritage reflects its unusual and important history.
The older parts of the
Royal Arsenal constitute a conservation area .
Most buildings of historic interest have been restored and given new
uses. The Royal Brass Foundry (1717) is a grade I listed building ,
while the Dial Arch (1717–20), the Old Royal Military Academy (1720)
and the Grand Store (1806-13) are Grade II* listed. Other listed
buildings include the
Royal Arsenal Gatehouse , Middle Gatehouse, the
Main Guard House, two small guardhouses near the Thames, the Shell
Foundry Gatehouse, Verbruggen House and two buildings in Laboratory
Square, the oldest structures on the site (1696).
Royal Arsenal Gatehouse
Royal Brass Foundry
Cannon near the Old Royal Military Academy
Converted warehouses at the
WOOLWICH DOCKYARD AND RIVERSIDE
Woolwich Dockyard and
Woolwich Dockyard relatively little of historic interest remains.
The main monumental building complex comprises a small cluster of
18th-century buildings: the entrance gate, the guardhouse and the
so-called Clock House (Dockyard offices). A pair of 19th-century docks
remain on the site of their 16th-century predecessors. The later
development of the Dockyard in the
Victorian period is represented by
the Steam Factory and the Dockyard chimney, a prominent landmark, and
further west by a group of buildings at the site of the Siemens
Between the Arsenal and the Dockyard lies an area that was once Old
Woolwich, a part of the town where little of historical interest
remains and that, once again, is facing redevelopment. The round
entrance building of the
Woolwich foot tunnel dates from 1912. Further
Thames Barrier is an interesting example of modern
architecture and technical achievement. The
Thames Path is a National
Trail that connects these sites.
Woolwich Dockyard entrance gate
The Dockyard chimney
Woolwich foot tunnel
OTHER MILITARY BUILDINGS
Royal Artillery Barracks ; Royal Military Academy, Woolwich
Royal Artillery Barracks § Related institutions in
Royal Artillery Barracks Royal Military Academy
Elsewhere, monumental buildings testify of Woolwich's rich military
Woolwich Common with its surrounding buildings has been
designated a conservation area. The Neoclassical façade of the Royal
Artillery Barracks (
James Wyatt , 1776-1802) is the longest façade in
London, stretching along the north end of the common. Across the road,
Government House (1781), was the quarters of the Garrison Commandant
from 1855-1995. Of the nearby Garrison Church of St George only the
shell remains after it was bombed during the
Second World War
Second World War . Its
Neo-Romanesque architecture and remnants of mosaics are still
impressive. John Nash 's Rotunda , a round brick building with a
leaded tent roof, until 2001 housed the
Royal Artillery Museum and now
serves as a boxing ring for the King\'s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery
in nearby Napier Lines Barracks.
The Royal Military Academy at the south end of
Woolwich Common was
also designed by
James Wyatt and has an almost equally long façade in
Mock Tudor style. Other military buildings that survive include
Connaught Barracks (built as the
Royal Artillery Hospital in 1780),
Green Hill Military School and
Royal Herbert Hospital on Shooters Hill
. The Royal Engineers' HQ was moved to Chatham in 1856, but a small
detachment remained in Woolwich, quartered in what is now Engineer
House on Mill Hill, just off the Common. Several listed buildings were
demolished in the 1970s, including the Grand Depot Barracks of the
Royal Military Artificers (1803), Cambridge Barracks (1842, of which
the gatehouse still stands) and Red Barracks (1858, only the boundary
wall and entrance gate remain). The latter two, on Frances Street,
were originally built as the
Royal Marine Barracks, Woolwich for the
Woolwich Division of the
Royal Marines , and each was considered an
innovative and influential design. The Marines departed with the
closure of the Dockyard, whereupon the buildings were converted into
barracks accommodation for various military corps. Rushgrove House
(1806) housed the Colonel Commandant of the Marine Barracks (later
Cambridge Barracks) from 1855.
Ruined Garrison Church (1863)
John Nash's Rotunda (1814/20)
Former Connaught Barracks (1780)
Engineer House (1858)
Government House (1781)
Former Red Barracks gate (1860)
Gatehouse Cambridge Barracks (1848)
Rushgrove House (1806)
Virtually nothing is left of the old town of
Woolwich which was near
the ferry and the parish church along the Thames. In the early 19th
century the commercial and administrative centre moved south to its
present location around
Powis Street ,
Beresford Square and the
Bathway Quarter . Although 20th-century economic decline and
infrastructural works have had their effects, there are still some
interesting buildings in
Woolwich town centre. The best preserved area
is perhaps the
Bathway Quarter with the former Public Baths, the Old
Town Hall , the former Magistrates Court and Police Station,
the Old Public Library and several historic buildings of Woolwich
Polytechnic. St Peter\'s rectory, church and school
Powis Street and Hare Street some late Victorian shop
façades have been preserved, notably by local architect Henry Hudson
Church. The western end of
Powis Street is dominated by two former
Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS) department stores, one late
Victorian, the other one in
Art Deco style. Nearer to the river are
two large cinemas, both built in 1937 and both in use as Pentecostal
church halls. The former Odeon Cinema (now occupied by the New Wine
Church ) is a fine example of an
Art Deco theatre; the former Granada
Cinema has lavish interior decorations.
Of the grand houses that once stretched along
Woolwich Common and
dotted the northern slopes of Shooter's Hill, little remains.
Rushgrove House, Shrewsbury House and Woodhill Court survive but have
lost their spaceous gardens.
Woolwich parish church, St Mary Magdalen
is a plain brick 1730s building with a spireless tower. Other
religious buildings of interest include the Roman Catholic St Peter\'s
Church (by Pugin ), and two
Sikh gurdwaras , one a former Methodist
church , the other a former Masonic hall.
Woolwich Polytechnic College
Victorian RACS building
Art deco former RACS department store
Former Odeon Cinema
Former Granada Cinema
Woolwich is situated 13.7 km from
Charing Cross . It has a 2.5 km
long frontage to the south bank of the
Thames river. From the
riverside it rises up quickly along the northern slopes of Shooter\'s
Hill towards the common (60 m) and the ancient London-Dover Road (132
m). The ancient parish of Woolwich, more or less the present-day wards
Woolwich Riverside and
Woolwich Common , comprises 297 ha (735 acres).
North Woolwich , which is now part of the
of Newham . The ancient parishes of
Eltham became part
of the civil parish of
Woolwich in 1930. Parts of the wards Glyndon
Shooter's Hill are often referred to as Woolwich, although not
accepted by all. The nearest areas are
Abbey Wood , Blackheath ,
Lewisham , North Woolwich,
Plumstead, Shooter's Hill,
Well Hall .
Below is a table comparing
Woolwich and the wider borough of
WOOLWICH COMPARED 2011
Woolwich Population 71,526
London Borough of Greenwich
Woolwich Arsenal railway station
Woolwich Arsenal DLR
The nearest stations are
Woolwich Arsenal and
Woolwich Dockyard for
Southeastern services towards Barnehurst ,
Dartford , Gravesend ,
London Cannon Street and
Charing Cross .
DOCKLANDS LIGHT RAILWAY
The nearest station is
Woolwich Arsenal for Docklands Light Railway
London City Airport , Bank and Stratford
Crossrail Station is scheduled to open in December
Elizabeth line services towards
Abbey Wood ,
Canary Wharf ,
Heathrow Airport . This will provide the area with
faster, more frequent and more direct rail services.
Woolwich is served by
London Buses routes 51 , 53 , 54 , 96 , 99 ,
122 , 161 , 177 , 178 , 180 , 244 , 291 , 380 , 386 , 422 , 469 , 472
and N1 .
Woolwich Ferry service operates across the River
North Woolwich in the
London Borough of Newham carrying trucks, cars,
cyclists and pedestrians during the day until 8pm on Weekdays. A two
boat service runs on Mondays to Saturdays and Sundays only has a one
Woolwich foot tunnel is also available for use by
pedestrians (and cyclists pushing their cycles) at any time. It is
served by lifts during traditional shopping hours.
LONDON RIVER SERVICES
London River Services , operated by
Thames Clipper , provide a peak
hour, seven days a week service to central
Savoy Pier ) from
Woolwich Arsenal Pier (adjacent to the
Royal Arsenal residential
Thames flood barrier is located 1 mile (1.6 km)
upstream from the tunnel and ferry.
Parks in central
Woolwich are generally small. St Mary's Gardens has
been laid out as a park in Romantic style on the grounds of the former
churchyard of the parish church of St Mary Magdalen . Some historic
grave markers have been placed against the peripheral wall. Tom Cribb
's memorial, a lioness resting her paw on an urn, stands near the
northeast entrance. The park features a belvedere which offers views
of the river Thames. At the Royal Arsenal, several new parks and
gardens have been landscaped but some can only be accessed by
Plumstead Common ,
Woolwich Common and Oxleas Wood
are situated higher up the hill and are all part of the South East
London Green Chain . Repository Woods is a forested part of Woolwich
Common. The area around the lake is a military training ground that is
not open to the public. The same applies to Mulgrave Pond and Shooters
St Mary's Gardens
Dial Arch Square
New Riverside Park
SPORTS AND LEISURE
Arsenal F.C. is originally from Woolwich; Charlton Athletic 's
stadium, The Valley , is approximately 2 km west of Woolwich. The area
also has two
Non-League football clubs:
Bridon Ropes F.C. and Meridian
F.C. , who both play at Meridian Sports "> Public art works in
The University of
Greenwich 's dramatic arts department is based in
Bathway Quarter in the centre of Woolwich. The old Grand
Theatre, which briefly reopened in the 2010s, closed in 2015. The
Tramshed, until 1953 an electricity sub-station for the borough's
tramways , is a music and entertainment venue run by the Royal Borough
Woolwich currently has no movie theatres. Cinemas are
included in the plans for Spray Street quarter and the Island site.
The town was used as a location for the 2006 film _
Children of Men _.
Woolwich has one museum, the
Greenwich Heritage Centre at the Royal
Arsenal (Firepower – The
Royal Artillery Museum closed in 2016 after
having been based in
Woolwich for almost two centuries). Second Floor
Studios in the
Woolwich Dockyard area is one of London's largest
concentrations of artists' studios . The town has a number of public
sculptures: one of Roman origin, several statues and reliefs from the
19th and early 20th century, and a number of modern sculptures. One of
Woolwich Arsenal DLR station entrances features a large mural in
Michael Craig Martin . See also: List of public art in
Garry Bushell (born 1955), journalist and political activist, born
Tom Cribb , 19th century bare-knuckle boxer, born in Bristol but
resided and died aged 66 in
Woolwich in 1848, he was buried in St.
Mary's cemetery. A road in
Woolwich is named after him.
Charles George Gordon (1833–1885), general, born in Woolwich.
Joseph Grimaldi (1778–1837), pantomime clown, lived in Woolwich
during the early 1830s before moving to
Charles Hutton (1737–1823), mathematician, lived and died in
George Thomas Landmann (1779–1854), military and civil engineer,
born and raised in Woolwich.
Richard Lovelace (1618-1657), poet, born in Woolwich.
Jonathan Guy Lewis (born 1963), actor, born in Woolwich.
William Livingstone Robe (1791–1815), army officer, born in
Forbes Macbean FRS (1725-1800), army officer, lived and died in
Scott Maslen (born 1971), actor and model, born in Woolwich.
Noizy (born 1986), Albanian musician and actor, lived in Woolwich.
William Ranwell (1797-1861), artist, lived and died in Woolwich.
* Ray Richardson (born 1964), painter, born and lives in Woolwich.
Frederick Robe (1801–1871), Governor of South Australia, born in
William Robe (1765–1820), army officer and architect, born and
died in Woolwich.
John Tapner (c. 1823 – 10 February 1854), last person executed
in the island of
Guernsey , came from Woolwich.
Glenn Tilbrook (born 1957), guitarist, born in Woolwich.
Lesley Vickerage (born 1961), actress, born in Woolwich.
* George Whale (1849–1925), solicitor and bibliophile, Mayor of
Woolwich, founded the
Samuel Pepys Club In 1903.
Ian Wright (born 1963), former professional footballer, born in
* List of people from
* List of schools in
Royal Ordnance Factory
* Princess Alice_ – a passenger steamer sunk off North Woolwich
pier on 3 September 1878 (a memorial to those lost can be found in
Woolwich Old Cemetery , Kings Highway,
* ^ "When metropolitan bounderies were defined in 1888 they were
contorted to embrace an unmistakably urban Woolwich". Saint, A.,
Guillery, P. (ed.), _
Woolwich - Survey of London, Volume 48_, p. 1.
Yale Books, London, 2012. ISBN 978-0-300-18722-9 .
* ^ Mayor of
London (March 2015). "
London Plan (Consolidated with
Alterations since 2011), page 374" (PDF).
Greater London Authority .
Town Centre Masterplan SPD (April 2012), pp. 12-14,
* ^ Archived 28 March 2010 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), p. 2.
* ^ M. Little: \'76 skeletons have been discovered from Saxon
Woolwich\', originally published by _southlondonpress.co.uk_, 16
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 2-3.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 2-5.
* ^ Saint ">John Cotter, "Medieval London-type Ware Kilns
Discovered at Woolwich". In: _Medieval Pottery Research Group_,
newsletter 6, 1 August 2008, pp. 3-5 (PDF).
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), p. 129.
* ^ _A_ _B_ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 9-17.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 15, 41.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 49, 226-227.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 197-200.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 15, 80, 228, 275-276.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 18-22.
* ^ BBC on this day: 6 July accessed 23 April 2007
* ^ "
Woolwich Polytechnic Day Schools". _AIM25_. Retrieved 24 April
* ^ Saint 84% lived in council housing. Saint & Guillery (2012), p.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 17-18.
* ^ Neate, Rupert (18 November 2014). "UK fast-food workers get US
lesson in protesting against poverty wages". _The Guardian_. Retrieved
11 May 2015.
* ^ Interview with McDonalds UK CEO Evening Standard 16 December
1991 accessed 23 April 2007
* ^ "Pictures of the destruction on
Woolwich streets following a
night of violence and looting". Newsshopper.co.uk. 2011-08-09.
* ^ "Man dead in suspected
Woolwich terror attack". _English
BBC News Online . Retrieved 22 May 2013.
* ^ Ministry of Defense (Nov/Dec 2016). "A better defense estate"
(PDF). The Crown. Check date values in: date= (help )
* ^ "New creative district for
London in the heart of Woolwich".
Royalgreenwich.gov.uk. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
* ^ Hill, Liz (2017-03-30). "Go-ahead for
district". Artsprofessional.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-04.
* ^ DLR service change from 10 January 2009, accessed 13 January
* ^ Gilligan, Andrew (2008-08-28). "Olympics minister orders
rethink over 2012 plans for
Greenwich park - Olympics - Evening
Standard". Thisislondon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
* ^ Fancyapint Ltd (2010-04-06). "Director General public house".
Fancyapint.com. Retrieved 2012-09-29.
* ^ "Coop site redevelopment". Icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk.
Town Centre Masterplan SPD (April 2012), pp. 24-49.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), p. 26.
* ^ Saint & Guillery (2012), pp. 1-2.
Woolwich is made up of the Glyndon, Plumstead, Common and
* ^ History of the Tramshed,
Lewisham Young People's
* ^ Spray Street Masterplan,
Greenwich Council, January 2015.
* ^ Second cinema coming to
Woolwich as part of new 310-home scheme
on _fromthemurkydepths.wordpress.com_, October 8, 2016
* ^ Website Second Floor Studios
Daniel Lysons (1792), "Woolwich", _Environs of London_, 4:
Counties of Herts, Essex & Kent, London: T. Cadell
* W.E. Trotter (1849), "Woolwich", _Select Illustrated Topography of
Thirty Miles Around London_, London,
* James Thorne (1876), "Woolwich", _Handbook to the Environs of
London_, London: John Murray
Edward Walford (1883), "Woolwich", _Greater London_, London:
Cassell & Co.,
* "Woolwich". _Chambers\'s Encyclopaedia _. London. 1901.