Granite Wharf information

The riverside area now known as Granite Wharf began as an extension of the Greenwich Wharf area developed by Coles Child. It was then let to Mowlem, and became, successively, Wimpey and Tarmac until their lease was terminated in 2000.

Pre-1838 Great Meadow & Dog Kennel Field
1838 – Coles Child signs a lease with Morden College
1844 – Coles Child leases the rest of the land
1850-1860 Edwards factory and sheds
1850-60 George Bullock – grid iron for ships
1852 Mowlem lease the wharf from Coles Child
1936 Wimpey depot on the wharf. Manufacturers of road surfacing materials.
1950s Ovenall & Nelan Ltd., barge and tug repairs
1990s TarmacWilders and Walker Moorings (cf Shrubsall)

In 2002 Groundwork reported “Granite Wharf. Safeguarded wharf, but Tarmac have ceased their aggregate deliveries and  its status is uncertain at present. The timber fencing surrounding the wharf was stained blue and green to reduce impact of graffiti, in 1999.
Sluice inlet between Granite and Badcock Wharf. An eyesore site to many eyes, this disused corner site is located directly above a drainage sluice outlet is nevertheless well colonised by plants.


Lovells Wharf – Greenwich Wharf

Information on Lovells Wharf

Coles Child

Lovells Wharf   three articles by Mary Mills published in Bygone Kent November 1999, December 1999 and March 2000)

LRA report on wharves description of the wharf in a review undertaken by the London Rivers Association 1980s

Rowton and Whiteway

Cement – see articles Lovells Wharf 


THE ICE WELL AT LOVELL’S WHARF – article by Mary Mills written for Kent Underground Research Group newsletter Ashby – general note

John Waddell and Co.

Mr. Walker


Davis Morgan & Co,

Joseph Guy. Hull Co.

Norman Houliford

Yarmouth Carriers

Shaw Lovell

Removal of Cranes copy of letter from Government office re. listing

Letters re background and listing of cranes letters re. Lovells cranes0001

London and Regional Developer

 lovells developer leaflet0001  copy of developer’s newsletter lovells original brochure0001 Revised regeneration proposals by the developer Lovells developer leaflet0001 on revision of housing development plans 2012 London and Regional Properties Return to Lovells Wharf

Curiosities of Swanage – the Great Globe

The Great Globe and Greenwich . Tilly Whim and Pentonville

THE path around Durlston Head, behind the Castle, affords fine views of the two bays, Peveril Point and Old Harry Rocks. From here the visitor formerly approached the Great Globe up a flight of wide steps, but today it is hedged in by wire fences, concrete posts and an absurd screen, and access is only gained through a turnstile. All was originally “most freely thrown open to the public by this benefactor” -George Burt.
The Great Globe was constructed in 1887 in Mowlem’s stone-yard at Greenwich, and a photograph taken there on its completion shows the imposing figure of George Burt standing alongside his strange brain-child. It is 10 feet in diameter, weighs some 40 tons and consists of 15 segments of Portland stone, with four stones in each of the lower three courses and three in the top-most course, the segments being held in position by means of granite dowels. Its surface is carved in some detail and lettered to show the continents and oceans.
It was brought to Swanage in sections in one of the firm’s sailing-vessels and was erected on a platform cut into the solid rock on the grassy slope below Durlston Castle by W. M. Hardy, a local builder and historian. Some surprising statements about the Globe have found their way into print-for instance, that it is made of granite, is 20 feet in diameter, consists of one stone, and that it stood originally on the front at Swanage or, alternatively, in the forecourt of the Globe Inn at Herston!
Surrounding the Globe, at eight points of the compass, are seats consisting of plain blocks of granite, formerly accompanied by cannon-posts set horizontally; these have since disappeared. The inscribed tablets forming the background to the Globe were added later; they give astronomical information dear to G.B.’s heart and quotations from scripture and the poets. Two plain slabs were also erected, each with the heading: “Persons anxious to write their names will please do so on this stone only.” Another tablet not far away read: “The Sea is His and He made it.” There is no truth in the statement that the name of George Burt appeared above the quotation!
The idea of a 3-dimensional model of the earth had occurred to G.B. some years earlier. In 1879 he had ordered a 3 ft. granite globe to be made under the direction of his friend Professor James Hunter of Aberdeen. Displayed in the grounds of Purbeck House it showed the land areas in polished relief and marked by a gold line, with the seas and rivers coloured blue. This fine, though much weathered, work of art has found a home overlooking the Beaulieu River in the terraced garden of a house built by G.B.’s grandson when he left Swanage some fifty years ago.
A ring of iron bollards from London encircles the Great Globe, and others line the path to Tilly Whim caves. Beside another turnstile is a granite pier dated 1887 which, according to a contemporary account, once stood at the entrance to Pentonville Prison. The dungeon-like approach to the caves was blasted through the rock by G.B. to give visitors access to the old’ quarries. An inscription on the wall at the foot of the steps reads: “These caves were formed centuries ago by men making sinks and rick stones. Smuggling was also carried on here, and both were discontinued about the end of the French Wars, 1814.”
As a boy, John Mowlem is said to have been one of the last to work stone at Tilly Whim. On the cliff face above the quarry, G.B. had a quotation from Shakespeare cut into the stone. The same lines from “The Tempest” appear on the base of the small granite globe: “The cloud- capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea all which it inherit, shall dissolve and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a rack behind.” There has been much speculation on the name “Tilly Whim”. “Tilly’s folly” is usually dismissed in favour of “Tilly’s crane”. But Tilly does not appear to have been a local surname, and the quarryman’s wooden crane was generally called a derrick or “gibbet” from its triangular form. It is, however, interesting to note that while Tilly Whim lies at the southern end of the Manor of Eightholds, there was a common field called “Tilly Mead” at the northern end in Swanage, where Commercial Road now stands. A house near the library preserves this name today.

From Curiosities of Swanage.

letters on the Cadet Place wall


Birkbeck College & University College London
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Dear Mary,
I am delighted at your confessions. It seems that you have used the notes which I sent you in just the manner I hoped might follow. So often, the best intentions seem to lose momentum. This is often the case with schools, where teachers just do not have the time to spare for ‘workshops*out of hours, or find that earth science is a kind of luxury in a crowded timetable. They have my sympathy.
If there is pressure from re-development plans for those lanes and the surviving walls, I suggest that you contact TARMAC who I think operate the stone ballast complex that was once MOWLEM, and alert them to the historic significance of their site. MOWLEM too may still have interest, and certainly ought to have the history on record. It could be that they could actually enhance what survives. I once tried to persuade our North London paving firms. Murphy, and McNicholas, to provide worn kerbstones ( they show textures beautifully ) to create a geological wall of granites in a local park. They didn’t respond ! But the idea is one to try. Kerbs and cobbles could balance up the limestones and sandstones of your lanes. Incidentally, the manager of the motor repair unit at the dead end of Banning Street was quite tickled at the stone of his gate when I explained what I was doing. He remembered his ‘A’ level Geography, so he is already converted to seeing people peering at his gates. He might even support any scheme to focus upon the stone of the Riverside Walk ( with diversions). I was intrigued by your mentioning the Durham Coalfield. recognise Pelton and Derwent for certain. Pelton is associated with the water-wheels often used in mines- the Pelton Wheel. There may others. The history fo the development would be well worth documenting
All of this is most cheering; what is sad is that we have discovered our Common Ground just at the time that we are preparing to leave London for Somerset, to live at Watchet

I will be in Wales where I shall be working on the preparations for this conference -‘ in April next year, looking at the vernacular architecture of Wales. We are fortunate in having the backing of the National Assembly in Cardiff and will have the blessing of a Minister of State at the opening ceremony. All of this is on the premise that buildings in the countryside are an integral part of the Welsh landscape. They grow out of the outcrops, and create a pattern and a colour texture which has to be conserved at all costs against new and ‘foreign’ materials and urban style houses out of place. Of course, it also fulfils the magic target areas of sustainability that word which is pressed as much upon Greenwich as Glamorgan. Ourr trump card if we press for what you hope for the Peninsula must lie in the new awareness which you can bring to those who live on Pelton Street, and the eye-opening experience for boo boys and girls in local schools. Geology or the softer option, “Earth Science” without the hazards or expense of field work in those Dorset quarries; the realsiation that the white stone of the Naval Hospital is one and the same as those blocks in the walls of the 1-anes. It also triggers the thoughts of how the stone came to Greenwich from 1670 onwards. Please keep in touch with how thing develop. If necessary, I could try to synchronise my visits to London ( I sti ll have to teach briefly at the Architectural Association , and at City & Guilds, Kennington Park Rd). It might be possible to meet you and your society, preferably for a walk in 2002. As it happens, I am working on ballast walls in Cardiff for the Conference, the fruits of the coal export trade, and also on the ballast walls of Battersea Park, where we hope to win over Wandsworth to realising the treasures which they have in their Borough. I enclose some further Wall Games to help the process along,

Lovell’s Wharf Cranes

Text of Letter re. listing
Department for Culture, Media and Sport Building Monuments and Sites To: Greenwich Industrial History Society
7 September 1999
I refer to your letter of 27 July to English Heritage asking for the above building/structures to be considered for statutory listing.
We are seeking advice from English Heritage, the Secretary of State’s statutory advisers on listing matters. Shortly after we have received their recommendation we should be able to notify you of the Secretary of State’s decision on whether the building/structures is to be listed. If you wish to provide any further information about the building/structures, please contact me at the above address.
Yours sincerely Muj Khan Listing Branch

Return to Lovells Wharf


A  number of cement works were set up on the Morden College sites on the west bank of the Peninsula. These were in addition to other works makes artificial stone and ‘composition’.

AT ENDERBY WHARF – A confused situation exists on the remaining section of the old gunpowder site – K3 on the Skinner plan. On earlier Morden College plans it is shown in the ownership of ‘Calvert Clark’.. In 1838 Enderbys acquired some land from Calvert Clark – and it was, perhaps, this area.

In 1843 the tithe map shows the area in the ownership of Enderby with a cottage and garden on some of the site, but no industrial development.

By 1855 a cement works had been built on this site by a company called Winkfield Bell and by William Buckwell who had opened his ‘patent composition stone works’as well. Buckwell’s works was to last only a year, since by 1861 he was in gaol. In 1863 a James Pomeroy is shown with a cement works – and although from the listings in the rate books this appears to be to the south on Beale’s site, it may be that he had taken over Buckwell’s works. It is unlikely that he lasted very long since there no is further mention of him.

Winkfield’s works is said to have been purchased in 1866 by Jabez Hollick. Hollick was already operating a cement works to the north of this site and it maybe that he never operated the Winkfield works since by 1869 the site is shown on the Ordnance Survey map as ‘Old Concrete Works’

Even more mysteriously a map of 1867 shows ‘Greenwich Flax Works’ on site, with no sign at all of massive adjoining rope walk or cable works.

It seems likely that the cement works site was taken over by the cable company since all subsequent maps their works is shown to cover this area. However, it might noted that in all the intervening years that the works have really been extended over this part of the site – it appears to have been used for tanks and storage only.

Return to Enderby Wharf

AT MORDEN WHARF – The earliest and perhaps the longest lasting cement works came to Greenwich in 1841.  Hollick leased a site at Greenwich from Holcombe in 1849. In 1849 Hollick gave his address as Warwick Cottages which then stood at the Marsh Lane end of Morden Wharf Road. His cement works was adjacent to Morden Wharf. The works was eventually taken over by the Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers before the First World War but it was still in operation by them in 1935 and the area is still sometimes known as Hollick’s Wharf in the 1990s.

Also at Morden Wharf was a cement works owned by the Staines based industrialist George Crowley Ashby. This was to the rear of Morden Wharf with no river access.

There was also a composition works belonging to Sir John Pett Lillie who erected a jetty at Morden Wharf in 1859 – since he had an agreement with Willis and Wright it seems likely that this was in fact part of the area described under Bay Wharf.

AT LOVELL’S WHARF – Cement manufacture also took place on Lovells Wharf by Rowton and Whiteway

Lovells Wharf – some background

Lovells Wharf – originally known as Greenwich Wharf – is the first wharf on the west bank of the Peninsula once you leave Ballast Quay and East Greenwich. It is now a development site with flats and houses, built by London and Regional (Geoff Springer).

The site was developed in the early 19th century by Coles Child for Morden College. This consisted of a large parcel of land which was divided and sub-divided into wharves, frequently named for lessees and/or operators – Granite, Pipers and so on.  The development by London and Regional has re-united these elements and is building on the same area as Coles Child.

The following is a brief timeline of the site.

12th Century tide Mill
Pre-1838 Great Meadow & Dog Kennel Field
1838 – Coles Child signs a lease with Morden College
1840 – Coal wharf built on site of ‘Lovell’s – called Greenwich Wharf
1844 – Coles Child leases the rest of the land 1840-1841 to Mr. Walker, limeburner
1841 –   Coles Child.  coal wharf, coke burning and lime kilns
1852 – The Wharf is divided and Granite Wharf becomes separate. Rowton and Whiteway manage the wharf for Coles Child – cement, lime, coal
1900s  John Waddell and Co.  – coal merchant. .
1880s – Ashby,  ice merchant – builds an ice well on site.
1919 Coles Child’s lease expires pre-1900 Joseph Guy keel and lighter owners, also at 21 High Street, Hull. taken over by Shaw Lovell from 1911.
1919 192? Yarmouth Carriers – tug operators, river haulage operators, at Hull and 31 Eastcheap.
1916 Pickett, Edward Norman trading as Norman Houlford & Co
1919 Davis Morgan & Co, sub tenants of Joseph Guy 1920 C. Shaw Lovell  & Sons – metal transhipment & general wharfingers

Lovell’s House. computer centre was built on Pelton Road and – eventually passed to the GLC

Cranes remaining from Lovell’s use as metal transhipment wharf – were seen as a local feature and removed by Morden College in 2000

2002 Groundwork reported: “Lovell’s Wharf. Designated a safeguarded wharf, it has not been used for many years and its viability for, re-use as such is questionable – its development status is in abeyance. Tragically, the landmark scotch derrick cranes were removed before they could be listed, to the great detriment of the river landscape  Improvements to the riverside walk access from Ballast Quay, and to the surfacing generally along the footpath, were carried out by Greenwich Council prior to the Millennium.

Development by London and Regional proceeds

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