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Beresford Gate

Originally built in 1829, this entrance to the Woolwich Arsenal is now separated from it by a busy road. The motto on this badge of the Board of Ordnance – adopted by the Royal Army Ordnance Corps (RAOC) in 1918 – roughly translates as ‘To The Warrior His Arms’.

Beresford Street SE18
Ordnance history website

Cannon Weathervane

This weathervane sits atop the Royal Brass Foundry, which was built in 1716. Now used as office space by the National Maritime Museum, the foundry cast cannon in moulds and its prominent tower housed a boring machine to finish drilling out the barrels.

Royal Arsenal SE18
www.firepower.org.uk

Woolwich Dockyard was established by King Henry VIII in 1512 to build the Great Harry, the flagship of his new navy. The naval and military presence grew from the 17th century, peaking in WWI, then declining rapidly after World War II but the area is now undergoing a rebirth.

DLR: Woolwich Arsenal

Woolwich

RACS Central Premises

Set up in 1868 by workers  at the Arsenal, Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society sold basics – sugar, bread, butter etc – cheaply and grew rapidly. It bought hotels and set up libraries and adult education classes. This store opened in 1903; the statue is of founder Alexander McLeod (1832-1902)

125-161 Powis Street SE18

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The Dial Arch

This arch of 1720 overlooks Dial Square, named for the sundial in the centre, site of the Royal Gun Factories where gun barrels were bored out. In 1886, the workers here formed a football club, Dial Square FC. Poor attendances led to a move to ‘London’ in 1912 under their later, better known name of Arsenal.

Dial Square SE18
www.dialarch.com

(Former) Shakespeare Pub

Look up to see the head of Shakespeare and the monkey above. This pub was rebuilt in about 1900. Thirsty dockers – and sailors – would once have found a pub every few yards around Woolwich but most closed down as the dockyards shut and shipping moved to more efficient container terminals away from the Thames.

12 Powis Street SE18

RACS

This Art Deco extension was opened in 1938, designed by the company architect SW Ackeroyd. The metal Crittall windows are a notable Art Deco feature – the firm did windows on the Titanic. Sadly, by the mid-1980s, RACS had over-extended itself and had to sell out to the Co-operative Movement.

136-152 Powis Street SE18

The ‘Black’ Horse

This horse might seem like the symbol for another pub – The Black Horse being a common name – but it is actually from the Coat of Arms of Kent, and should be white. ‘Invicta’  – ‘Undefeated’ –  is the motto of Kent and this is Kent House, once part of Garrets, a department store. Woolwich was in the county of Kent until 1889.

78 Powis Street SE18

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Woolwich Town Hall

Opened in 1906, this Listed building in Edwardian Baroque style has stained glass windows by Geoffrey Webb in the Victoria Hall and ornate carvings. Look for the history of artillery by the entrance doors. Architect Alfred Brumwell Thomas was knighted after designing the wonderful Belfast City Hall.

Wellington Street SE18
Tel: +44 (0)20 8854 8888

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