Monday, 28 April 2014

Woolwich: Archaeologists Uncover Remains Of A 16th Century Merchant Property

by Benson Agoha

Berkely Home's recent archaeological digs at their Nouvel I project site, Royal Arsenal Riverside, Woolwich has uncovered remains of a Merchant's House.

Dan Sykes, team leader from Oxford Archaeology, said the property would have belonged to a rich Merchant, who probably broght in wares from his voyages and had to store them in the cellars.

* Archaeologists record the celars dating back around the 16th-18th Century.

He said some of the walls date back to the 16th Century while others were later additions as can be seen from the different stones and bricks used at different times.

The site, located on what later became part of the large Coal Yard for the Woolwich Power Station, became a slum, with low end residents, after the Merchants left, say Vonathan Partington of the Greenwich Heritage Centre, Royal Arsenal.

It remained a slum area, but as energy demands from the Power Station increased, it was cleared around 1940 to make room for the expanding coal stock.

Built between 1930 and 1931 the Woolwich Power station, was very efficient and performed optimally, meeting energy needs of residents, encouraging the addition of it's outputs to the national grid.

And the Coal Yard continued to expand, up to the Arsenal, before the Power Station became outmoded and was demolished between 1979 and 1980.

At the time the property existed at the site, the perimeter walls and rail lines were not there. The wall went up only in the early 1960's, record show.

The following images were exclusively obtained by Woolwich Online from Berkeley Homes, which has been developing the Royal Arsenal since 2001.
* This image, with view looking along the west facing wall to the south, a narrow path led into a stairwell to gave access to the to the basement area of the property.

* This image shows the remains of a brick cellar, with view to the South. The brickworks date back to around the 18th Century.

* With view to the south, this is an 18th Century brick built cellar made of brick and stone floor. Additions must have been made to the earlier cellar to the west of photo.

* View to the south, this photo shows archaeologists working in and around a C16th - C18th Century cellar likely to have been part of a Merchants house which fronted the Thames.

* View to the South - A C16th - 18th Cellar.

* West facing wall, the photo shows a 16th - 18th Century cellar. Later North facing brick wall, probably an 18th brick skin addition over an earlier stone. Floor made partly of interlocking pavement stones and a cemented area which was later added.

A Woolwich resident said, it might have been a slum at some point, but the site is set to have one of the magnificent highrises that Woolwich can be proud of.

* Twitter: @bensonagoha.

* Twitter: @woolwichonline.


* Images Credit: received with thanks from Berkeley Homes.


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