Copperas and Vitriol

The old site of the gunpowder works became known as ‘Crown Land’. In 1800 this was leased to a George Moor as a vitriol works. A Bleach House is also shown. By 1700 there were copperas works in the Greenwich and Deptford areas. A Greenwich property list of 1695 notes that a site has been ‘lately converted to a copperas works’. This was owned by a Sir Samuel Thompson at was at the end of Lamb Lane in central Greenwich. At around the same date a passage is marked on a deed from the Greenwich Vicarage Garden to The Copperas House’ near Deptford Creek.

By 1718 it seems likely that these works were associated with a Joseph Moore and eighty years later a George Moor. He may the man who held farmlands on the Greenwich Peninsula and was probably a relation of Thomas Moore of Coombe Farm at Westcombe. It may be that around 1800 George Moore attempted to open another copperas works on the Peninsula in the area where the Government gunpowder works had been – today the site of the Alcatel factory.

The manufacture of copperas is usually associated with vitriol production and in 1800 George Moor is listed as having a vitriol works on ‘Crown Land’. He also held nearby Morden College land and Norfolk College land – making together a package of land which more or less equals the sites later owned by the Enderby family.

By 1832 the vitriol works was in the ownership of a Lewis Price & Co.

Vitrol manufacture has also been associated with bleach – indeed large areas of open field could be used to peg out material which had treated with acid in order to whiten it. This then might explain the note ‘Bleaching House’ on a Morden College plan of 1846. This is shown just beyond the western end of Bendish Marsh and might be near the, otherwise mysterious, Salution House.

In 1770 Henry Vansittart is noted in connection with a ‘whiters house’ in the area.

Mary Mills. The Early East London Gas Industry And Its Waste Products

Return to Enderby Wharf


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