Chapter 21. The Great War

The First World War made remarkably little difference to the industries on the Peninsula. If anything it seems to have stabilised them.

British Oxygen

British Oxygen were one of the few companies to move to Greenwich during the war. It was yet another established company siting a depot in Greenwich.

The works was on a site to the North of Tunnel Avenue, redeveloped for housing in 1998. It probably covered some of the site previously used by the ammunition works.

British Oxygen was set up by the Brin brothers in 1887 in Westminster and Glasgow and went on to become a successful multi-national. There is some unexplained connection with Frederick Walton of the Inlaid Linoleum Company.  Historians who have attempted to evaluate Walton’s life have found several mysterious episodes. One of these was his claim to have worked for British Oxygen. He could not have done so in Greenwich but the fact of his large linoleum factory being so near to the British Oxygen site raises a number of questions.


During the first world war period the trend towards riverside sites being taken up by wharfingers and river service industries continued. British and Foreign Wharf Ltd. took over Greig’s Wharf – where the linseed crushing mill had been. United Ship Builders and Repairers Ltd moved onto Providence Wharf.

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