New book about the Peninsula


by Mary Mills

£8 plus £2 packing and postage.  by post to M.Wright, 24 Humber Road, SE37LT  or email

also available SABO Crooms Hill, SE10. or Warwick Leadlay Nelson Road SE10 (let us know if you have a shop prepared to sell it)

sales flyer



Press release for Enderby site August 2015

Members of the Enderby Group are still hard at work trying to secure ongoing recognitions of our heritage in whatever the future holds for Enderby House.   The developer is required to put the house back into a decent condition under the terms of the Planning Consent – but what then?? One group of our members has been talking to various developers and interested parties, but, as most people will be aware a lot has been going on both with proposals for the Enderby site itself and on some of its neighbours.   Much will need to be resolved before we can move forward.

Meanwhile members have been working hard on getting over the Enderby heritage message. Richard Buchanan has been talking to any local group interested in hearing about the site and its importance in the history of international communications. He is happy to take bookings – so please get in touch.

Stewart Ash has written a series of pieces on the history of the site. The whole text for these are on the Atlantic Cable Web site – this is a vast American site run by the English enthusiast, Bill Burns – and thank you Bill for doing this. The links are:

Click to access Eponymous_Enderbys.pdf

for the story of the Greenwich based Enderby family


for the story of cable making on the site.

In addition Stewart has written three pieces complementing these which are on the Ballast Quay website:

About the Enderby Wharf Jetty: ;

About the Enderby family

about Brunel’s Great Eastern and its role in laying Greenwich made cable

Stewart would be happy to communicate with anyone interested in these histories:

Mary Mills and Ian Worley have both had articles, relevant to the site, published in ‘East of Eden’ which is mainly highlighting the work of architecture students at Greenwich University – it is a weighty tome, and anyone interested should enquire through the university bookshop.

We also hope to bring out something about other industrial achievements on the Peninsula – and Mary Mills is working on this – we need to engage the interest of local people, politicians and developers that there is something special here, which is unique to the Greenwich Peninsula and in particular Enderby Wharf..



Percival Moses Parsons – with a foundry in Banning Street

On the 1867 map Thames Foundry is marked – and directories carry advertisements for the sale of ‘white brass’ a Thames Foundry, East Greenwich, the invention of a Mr.P.M. Parsons.

Neil Rhind says of Parsons – One of the most extraordinary industrial pioneers in our area was Percival Moses Parsons, first of No 44 in 1855, then to the brand new No 136 Shooters Hill Road. He invented manganese bronze in his back garden. His obituary in the Blackheath Local Guide (November 19 1892) was full.   Young Parsons, born in London in 1819, had shown a great interest in engineering, mechanics and invention from an early age. After an education at a private boys’ school in Blackheath (name not known) he worked from the age of 15 at the Portsmouth Dockyard and later on the Eastern County Railways until 1845. While with them he  invented switches and axle boxes.  In 1851 he married Anne Jane Rexford, of Greenwich, whose mother also Jane conducted a private school for girls in Greenwich South Street, and still standing.
In 1855 he achieved what seemed to be an undoubted technical and business success by contriving a system of converting useless cast iron guns into rifled guns by boring them out and inserting steel tubes.  In 1859 he suffered another disappointment, the failure of his plan (with others) to invest in the plans for the Central London Railway, where all the new railway lines coming into London would not finish at the various London termini – King’s Cross, Euston, Waterloo, Victoria etc.
In 1871 Parsons  was appointed Engineer to the Bessemer Steel & Ordnance Company and supervised the building of the whole of the Company’s new works at East Greenwich, a task which occupied him at least two years.
During his research into the re-boring  of guns his attention was turned to study of the use of metals generally;  and his experience with machinery had demonstrated to him the importance of the arrangement of shaft-bearings and other surfaces which rubbed together and for which ordinarily “gun metal” (an alloy of copper and tin) had been used.  Parsons was convinced that he could improve on this and installed a private mechanical laboratory at his house on Shooters Hill Road.  Here he experimented with all sorts of metals and, finally produced a better compound comprised of zinc and lead which he called “white b rass”.  It was another success and came to be used widely through the rest of 19th century especially in marine engines. By his death his invention was known to every engineer in the land as white brass.
More dramatic, perhaps, was his continued quest for a material which while as strong as steel should be free from the risk of corrosion which developed with all preparations which included iron.  After many years work he produced a dramatic result a material with the strength of steel and one that would not corrode. in his back garden furnace.
Parsons hit the jackpot once more with manganese bronze, a combination of ferro-manganese with bronze and brass alloys.  There was at first some difficulty in getting it known and introduced but it was taken up by a commercial company and in due course manganese bronze was fitted to virtually every vessel driven by a propeller.  By the end of 19th century it was in considerable use for the propellers of steamers and in other cases where strength and durability were required equally.
Parsons went on to develop  screw bolts for armour plating and other fixings including a tubular armour-plated bolt that the Russian government adopted with eagerness.

It also seems very likely that he had a foundry in what is now Chester Street, on the east side and the south corner with Derwent Street

Return to Lovells Wharf

Scholey barge owners and managers

Thomas Scholey notes

Based on Pipers Wharf/Dawsons Wharf

1881 Census. Thames Street, Greenwich Thomas SCHOLEY/M/23/Lighterman (born Bermondsey,Surrey)with wife & daughter

1903 Scholey, Thomas Edward ..21 Chevening-road,Westcombe Park, and trading at Piper’s Lighterman and Barge Owner Greenwich (The Gazette)

1904 Name Pennant Florence Scholey (NMM

1912 tenders received for the removal of ashes from the Greenwich generating station… by barge fora period of 1 or 3 years from 31st July, 1912—Names and addresses of firms. … T. Scholey and Co., Limited, Dawson’s Wharf (LCC Minutes)

1922 Thomas Sholey, Dawson’s Wharf. Owners of Sailing Barge, Thomas Sholey (Oil & Colour Trades Journal) An account of living on Brian Boru in the 1950s

1930 Thomas Sholey of East Greenwich …. owners of the sailing barge Brian Boru (Lloyds List).

1950 T. SCHOLEY & COMPANY LIMITED Motor, Sailing and Dumb Barge Owners Licensed Lightermen, Wharfingers, … month or year OUR MOTTO SERVICE AND DESPATCH Dawson’s Wharf, Christchurch Way, East Greenwich London, S.E.10 (Lloyds List)

Bar on the Embankment, London. This bar and restaurant was originally built in 1926 as a Thames cargo barge by J. Piper of east Greenwich under the name WILFRED.  From 1926 to 1949, she worked in the sand and ballast trade under the ownership of Thomas Scholey & Co. Ltd., out of Dawson Wharf, Greenwich until 1953. From here she was re-named STARGATE and sold to Rochester Trading Co. to trade in general cargoes.  ……………………. In 1991 she moved to Temple Pier along Victoria Embankment where she traded as El Barco Latino, a Latin American bar and restaurant. Recently it has been renamed Bar & Co.offering a Spanish bar by day and popular night club venue by night. (

Return to Lovells Wharf

Return to Pipers Wharf


In 1997 a society from the north arranged a trip round the Greenwich Peninsula to see the works on-going to remediate the site and build the Dome.  The following notes were written up after the event by one of the participants.



Notes on the project team’s presentation.

Original proposals to retrospective planning brief in 1980s

1992 Planning consent for revised masterplan after intervention by Michael Heseltine

Jubilee Line brought back south of the river by amendment of Bill in Parliament

  1. Better ground for train marshalling
  2. £25m from British Gas [Hansard]

3rd Blackwall Tunnel affirmed

1993 Reports proposing national Millennium Exhibition at Greenwich (incidence of any lottery) Greenwich eventually selected in later Millennium competition.

English Partnerships involved summer 1996

£147 ½ m of infrastructure in the next 2 years

Acquire freehold June/February 1997 from British Gas of whole Peninsula except industries on the west side. Long term renewal irrespective of Millennium Festival. (This followed British Gas’s statutory remediation. English Partnerships now to do development remediation.

Lead consultants W.S.Atkins with sub contractors including Richard Rogers master planners.

Refinements of master plan currently ignoring continued existence of the Millennium Dome.

18 separate development remediation contracts. Starting with the Dome site – first segments handed over in June. ( third of site) Piling able to start day after government announcement confirming the project.

See English Partnerships ‘The Millennium Riverbank Experience” . Some parts set back to become salt marsh/ reed bed.  Planted stepped terraces rather than vertical piling

Constraints of highways and utilities

Power supply in new tunnel from north side of the river 40MW capacity (including 10MW for the exhibition).

Gas main relocated – just started £27m

Water supply under regeneration – may include pipe jacking

A102M Northern Gateway Junction – new roundabout and four lane widening

Replacement of Horn Lane as distributor road

Outcome of Public Enquiry expected (fast track of four weeks to decision)

Question – How is the regeneration being recorded?? For use and reassurance of future developers

  1. Site investigation records
  2. Statutory remediation – including built records and test data. ‘Health and Safety’ file handed over to English Partnerships.
  3. ‘As built’ records of capping layers, etc. And records of tests etc . in development remediation.

Each contract has outturn survey and formal handover to succeeding contractor.

Not on Global Information Systems (too early)

  1. Will be similar handover to successive developer

Question – Local reactions

Pleased but worried about future traffic

Exhibition will be car free

Question – Extent of breaking out

Foundations being broken to 1m below formation to allow for services, etc.

Hot spots of contamination being dealt with, as found.

Capping layers being suited to end users

Coach park will be solid paved, so no capping.

Removal of 200,000 t in each of two phases of statutory remediation and an equivalent quantity removed subsequently.


Rail congested and trips limited

Road used for disposal to 10 different tips in the south east at contractors discretion

(?? Illegible) material via private river wharves

Exempted from land fill tax

Each consignment fully audited

Quantity of material to each tip agreed with HM Customs and Excise

Dutch guidelines about what must be taken off site based on statistical sampling of soil which is stock piled and retested.

Quantitative and qualitative risk assessment

Retesting of cleansed material.

In situ remediation taking longer period of time than available.


Statutory remediation was aimed at protecting environmental receptors only assuming no site development or public access.

All monitored by the Environment Agency and the London Borough of Greenwich who receive results of all monitoring.


No changes after tender without a Control Order

Contract is ICE 6 with client amendments to fixed price lump sum with most risks lumped onto contractors.

  • Premium found to be quite small. Contractors now experienced in the site and price has come down. (but second and third bidders are within 5%)
  • Outturn price certainly essential for this project
  • Premium at 5 – 6% without contingencies
  • Tenderers offered as much information as is available but not many take this up.
  • 4 weeks to bid and 3 weeks to award
  • Contracts £1m to £5m
  • Demolition of jetty will be £3/4m (programmed Sept –Feb 1999)

Contaminated land work £20m including capping

Statutory decontamination was also £20m.

Disposal costs of waste are the largest

£30m/3 for low grade, free of tax

£50-60m/3 for high grade waste, free of tax

Going away to Kent, Bedfordshire, etc

None came forward with river transport

Relative economies of different sites not the concern of the client


Contingencies for inflation and 10% for extras

£55m on south 1/3 of site outside the Millennium site additional to the £147 ½ m for the Millennium site.

A Charitable Trust will be endowed with a sinking fund to repair the river walls and it will levy a service charge for maintenance of open spaces, etc.

 Notes on tour of Greenwich Gasworks remediation site

The tour of the site was by vehicle with photos taken through the window

Driver/guide was working on the statutory remediation by British Gas followed by the development remediation by English Partnerships this year.

  1. Millennium Dome site. The north end of the Peninsula had a large tar works. Huge tar tanks 30m x 8m full of tar mixed with rubble, replaced with London clay.  Soil was remediated by 300 well points, first subjected to vacuuming to remove volatiles followed by 16 weeks of bio remediation using air blowing. 90% of volatiles removed. Handed over to Dome contractors in three stages June to August 1997.
  2. Dome masts all erected. Bigger than they look. Ventilator stack of 2nd Blackwall Tunnel will peep out of the surface of membrane. Founded on driven piles (except close to the Jubilee Line).
  3. River Wall. Renewed April – September 1997. Sheet piles and grab irons to mainly stepped ‘ecological’ profile. Will incorporate salt marsh plants.
  4. Jubilee Line Station. Curvaceous roof over transport interchange, being clad. Long slot for station box was excavated across the Peninsula just north of the gas works jetty and parallel to its railway approaches. Contiguous bored piles. Space above will be public open space.

Ground was 5m of made ground. Alluvial clays, peats and Terrace gravels. London clay and WRB, surface falling to north.

  1. Gas Works site. Had mass concrete piers to gravel/bedrock. (for walls??) and mass concrete rafts 2 – 3 m thick. (for plant?) crushed for hardcore.  Top metre removed and reclaimed. (The Millpond was deepened into a cooling pond come settling pond in the 1950s. Contained 4m of silt in thin layers, difficult to dig, contaminated with tars),  Jetty awaiting demolition.
  2. Coalite site. Large mounds of earth, largely from the Jubilee Line excavation being placed as capping layer – sandy clay being compacted in layers.   Soil washing plant about to be dismantled. Handled 70,000m 3. Conveyors, rotary washers and screens. Fine filter cake for disposal was 20 – 30% of original soil – coarse particles returned to site after stock piling and testing. There was a water plant to clean the washing water.
  3. South site. C19th to late C20th domestic rubbish
  4. Site south of Bugsby’s Way, partly playing fields. Was remediated some years ago

Return to Gas Works

Return to Dome

Accident at Ferro Concrete, Imperial Wharf

May 1930
At Greenwich Police Court yesterday the Grays Ferro Concrete Co. Ltd. Imperial Wharf, Tunnel Avenue east Greenwich were summoned under the Factories Act for using a scaffolding pole from which the bark had not been stripped and for having a gangway over twelve feet from the ground which was not provided with a suitable handrail. The company through their solicitor pleaded guilty.
Mr R. U. Shaxby factory inspector said that on March 10th while the company were erecting a large building in Ferro Concrete at Imperial Wharf Greenwich Cecil Albert Scotter on of their employees fell from a gangway and broke two ribs

Return to Delta Wharf

Victoria Deep Wharf – the early site

Victoria Deep Water Wharf

The area before industrialisation

Blisset were a local Greenwich family of landowners, while Jeffrey rented a number of other local fields.  Lack of records – this area is largely uncovered by the Morden College archive – means that it is not clear what the pre-industrialisation field names were.
North of the first plot a narrow strip of land was owned by Morden College in the same occupation, Thomas Jeffrey.  The Morden College plans, continuously updated, describe  ownership as Calvert Clark in 1838. However field names are not clear for this part of the site either.
By 1865 the site ownership is listed as Clark and Terry.

The area now known as Victoria Deep Water Wharf is the next site to the north of Bay Wharf. Marked on the Skinner Plan as ‘B’  – for Blisset, in the occupation of Thomas Jeffrey

Return to Victoria Deep

House of Lords Enquiry into the building of East Greenwich Gas Works – dry dock submissions

HOUSE OF LORDS COMMITTEE ON SOUTH MET CO BILL 1881  – some notes on the proceedings .  This is the bill to allow East Greenwich Gas Works to be built and deals with objections.

An enormous amount of time was taken up with the Blackwall Point Dry Dock at the enquiry – although only a small proportion of the total submissions were about it.   To summarise very briefly:  The owners of the dock wanted compensation for likely damage to their work and they wanted the Gas Company to buy it.  Most of the time is taken up with legal arguments on precedents, etc. but there is a strong undercurrent of argument which suggests that the purchase of lands either side of the dock site means that it will be landlocked and they therefore want the gas company to buy it before its value falls – on the other hand the gas company
want to wait until the value does fall.

However the following are items from the cross examinations with relevance to the dry dock:-

Submission of evidence from Alfred Davis Lewis of 34 Leinster Gardens, shipbuilder and Samuel Hyam 109 Westbourne Terrace and the Biphosphated Guano Company – the petititioner Alfred
Davis Lewis is lessee of the said Samuel Hyam for a long term of years of extensive premises consisting of a ship building yard including a dry dock – at which he carries on external painting
operations and employs a large number of skilled artisans and workmen.
In his evidence he says that the dock is used for the purpose of repairing and painting and decorating ships and is used by Mr. Lewis who is a shipbuilder with large contracts existing with many companies and owners to submit vessels ranging over a long period

George Livesey says “I saw a large ship in there some time back – which had touched a rock somewhere and injured her stern post – they were taking it out and putting a new stern post in –
this is a rough kind of repair

Question to Livesey “have you ever seen delicate work being done, painting of colours, decorating a ship and supplying the upholstery?

Livesey – I have not seen it but I should suppose it would be  – it is said the supply of gas would be very injurious to work of that kind – I do not think that it would – it would only be injurious so far as the dust is concerned – the storage of gas would not do so.

Sir Edmund Beckett QC (acting for SMGC) Mr. Hyams is a gentleman of a certain persuasion as could be seen from his name and he was hoping to do a little business.

Lewis wants the Gas Company to accepts a clause in the bill which says ‘The Company shall
purchase the ship building works docks and all belonging to it reputed to belong to Samuel Hyam and Alfred Davis Lewis’.

Surveyors evidence –  Messrs. Lewis property is of about 3 acres with a 400′ long dock and workshops with a 400′ frontage on the river and Hyam owns another 800′ of frontage.  It can take ships of 2,000 or 3,000 tons.   Mr. Lewis takes contracts from lines of ships to repair them. The ship owners will need to take out more insurance if the work is done near a gas works.
They land coal at the jetty already. The prevailing wind will carry coal dust onto the ships.

Lewis gives evidence – they have a 410′ long dry dock and wall, They take Cape ships in it which have to be repaired within 24 hours – they employ 250-350 men.  They do gilding work on side of ships and if the engine room is open they will  get grit in it. They have 45 years left to run on their lease. They do gentlemen’s yachts and had W.H.Smith’s yacht in there once and the P & O company’s steamers.

The House of Lords decision was that South Met. Gas Co. must buy the dry dock and a clause to that effect should go in the Bill.

Return to Blackwall Point Dry Dock

Return to East Greenwich Gas Works