Friday, 22 July 2016

July 2016 Newsletter


July 2016

Dear All,


June’s Race Night, held in conjunction with the Irish Community Services to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, was a great success.   We are very thankful to the people and businesses that sponsored races and horses.   Successes such as this enable us to put on the Summer Fete and the Christmas Social.

Being relevant to the community is central to the Association’s work.   We therefore welcome the initiative shown by a lady who has recently moved here and wanted to start up a Progress Estate Parents’ Group on Facebook.   Read on for contact details and further information.

Funding for the book about our Estate’s history has now been received and writing is making good progress.   The publication date will be announced in due course.

As part of Open House London 2016, we will be repeating our popular Estate Walk on Sunday, 18th September at 2:00 p.m.   Confirmation of the final details will be published in the organiser’s programme nearer the time and we will, of course, confirm details by email to everyone on our list.  
Regards,

Robert Ledgerwood 

Progress estate family fun day summer fete featuring HERE COME THE GIRLS 
Saturday 13th August - 11am - 3pm, Lovelace Green

The Progress Residents Association is pleased to announce that, following the success of its 2015 Summer Fete, it has teamed up with Royal Greenwich Heritage Centre’s “Here Come the Girls” tour which is now underway.


During 2016, the Centre is holding a series of interactive family performances exploring the lives and contributions of three women during the First World War.   One of these is May Pinson, an Edwardian wife, mother and munitions worker who moved to the newly-built Progress Estate (originally called the Well Hall Estate) in 1915.   She will be interacting with visitors to tell her story and has kindly agreed to open the Fete at 11:00 a.m.    

Stalls will include plant sales, vintage bric-a-brac, face painting, beauty products, tea and cake, locally sourced fruit and veg, jams and chutneys and a raffle.   

Free children’s activities with prizes will be hook-a-duck, quoits, snakes and ladders and a tin can shy.   Other activities will include donkey rides, Jambs Owls and handleable creepy-crawlies.   

Between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. Adam, a children’s’ entertainer, will be balloon-modelling, performing magic tricks and showing off his bubble machine!   

Live acoustic music will be provided by the Oakland Brothers (acoustic rock, folk, blues and jazz) and the Greenwich Mean Time Quartet.   

Entry is free.

Progress Estate Parents group

We are delighted to announce that the Progress Estate Parents Page has been created on Facebook. All parents are invited to join and be part of this online community which we hope will become a social hub where parents can share information, ask for advice and, in time, build networks and friendships. 

To join the Group, click here or search for "Progress Estate Parents Group on Facebook and then click to join. 

Quiz Night with the Priory Players
Friday 30th September


Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road, Eltham, SE9 1SL
Tickets £5.00 per person, pay on the door
Tables up to eight people
Please bring your own drink and nibbles
Doors open 7pm – 7.30pm prompt start 


Timely updates

We issue information between quarterly newsletters by email, Facebook and Twitter.   It might be anything from a warning about a scam to bringing local news and events to peoples’ notice.   If you do not hear from us via one of these means at the moment, please visit our website (address in the box below) and, under ‘Connect’ part way down the right hand side of the website, click on whichever method you would like to adopt.   If you write asking to be added to the email list, please put ‘Email List’ in as the subject.

Making Progress is published by the Progress Residents Association and printed on their behalf by Hyde South East.   Please send articles and comments to theprogressestate@gmail.com.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Well Hall Estate: The Allen Family (of Well Hall Road)

Original post: ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/07/19/the-well-hall-estate-the-allen-family

In August 1916, Annie Allen reportedly wrote to her husband’s uncle in Bolton talking about the holiday the family were about to take at the seaside. The holiday was never taken, as about ten days later in the early hours of Friday August 25th, Annie, her husband Frederick and her daughter Gladys were dead, killed by a zeppelin.

The inquest on the victims in The Kentish Mercury describes in some detail that night of raids; it resulted in eight deaths on the outskirts of London of whom four were killed in the Allen house at 210 (now 290) Well Hall Road.  The bomb exploded on contact with the roof of the house and the family were killed by the explosion itself.  Their lodger, Ellen Funnell, (wrongly named as Annie Tunnell in the newspaper) was killed by the falling debris.

What do we know about the family? Ann Gabbott and Frederick Thomas Allen were married in Bolton in 1903.  At the time of their daughter’s baptism on 15th March 1905 the family were living in Bethnal Green where Frederick was a mechanic. Annie had been born in Bolton, Lancashire into a wire worker’s family as their sixth child. Frederick’s origins are a little harder to untangle, but he might have been born in Derbyshire although clearly spent time in Lancashire and at the time of the inquest was described by his uncle, a witness in the court, as a native of Lancashire.  More research needed!

Clearly, he was an Arsenal worker and aged 37 at the time of his death. Presumably the family had moved into their Class 2 house in 1915 and Gladys had been enrolled at Gordon School. Their lodger seems to have joined them earlier in the summer, having been with them three months. This is perhaps another example of an informal arrangement of subletting.  She was renting two rooms from the family according to the inquest.

Their lodger, Ellen Elizabeth Funnell, formerly Standen, had married her husband, Owen Eugene Funnell at St James, Hatcham in June 1915 at the age of 26.  He was a trooper in the Second Lifeguards and it is likely that the couple had had very little time together before her death.

The family are buried at St John the Baptist church, Eltham, the gravestone being erected as a memorial by fellow Arsenal workmen and scholars of the Gordon School.  Not far away is a small memorial stone for Annie Funnell.

I am grateful to Margaret Taylor, former Hon Archivist of St John the Baptist, for her help in identifying the location of the graves, solving the puzzle of the lodger’s name and providing much other interesting information.

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Alien Well Hall Cat (of Maudsley Road)

Original post: ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/07/15/the-alien-well-hall-cat

“The Alien Well Hall Cat’ as reported by the Pioneer in July 1918 belonged to John Carote of 26 Maudsley Road. 

Why was this cat being reported in the local paper as an alien? 
More like a chicken killer, because John’s neighbour, Joseph Speight a cadet-servant, (four houses away at No 34), claimed that this cat had killed nine of his chickens. Things must have got to a pretty state for the matter to have gone to court.

Joseph and his wife Amy had four children at this time aged between 1 and 7. Were the children upset by the death of those chickens I wonder? 
In 1927 Joseph was returning to the UK from Japan, giving his profession as ‘assistant’.

John’s actual surname seems to have been not Carote but Cawte – the newspaper, as sometimes happened, got it wrong. He was an older man, 56, at the time of the court case. His wife Helen Jane was his second wife and they had had two children – one would have been 6 at this time so perhaps the cat was her pet. 

John Cawte had been a cab driver and so its not clear whether he would have had a particular skill to offer at the Arsenal. The houses both families lived in Maudsley Road were the most expensive Class 1 houses. It was the judge who referred to the cat as ‘another alien’ on being told it was a Persian. This has to be seen in the context of the First World War and their concerns about aliens.

Rather interestingly given the strict rules about washing windows and the hanging out of washing, the Tenancy Rules say nothing about either the keeping of pets, or of animals such as chickens in the garden. Not doubt the eggs from the chickens made a welcome addition to the family’s diet and I wonder how many other residents kept them. They were kept in a fowl-hut apparently with wire fencing to offer protection, but this was not enough to prevent the wiley cat killing then and carrying off (the plaintiff’s wife reported seeing this happen although the defendant claimed that the cat was on his windowsill at this time!).  The judge however, was inclined to believe Mr Speight, because not all cats were chicken killers and he believed this cat of John Carote must have developed a taste for chicken! The defendant was ordered to pay £1 with costs. He was also told to have the cat killed by taking it to the cats Cats Home. I wonder if he ever did!

Deansfield (and Gordon School)

Original post: ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/07/15/deansfield-school

No schools were planned for the estate itself, and so all the children arriving in 1915 had to be accommodated mainly in the two nearest local schools – Deansfield and Gordon.  The Admissions Register for Gordon School has not been lodged at the London Metropolitan Archives, but that for Deansfield has, and the year 1915 just comes within the hundred year rule (more recent personal information cannot be accessed), so it is possible to look at all the children who were admitted from the estate in the autumn of that year.

The school opened late in October, having adjusted its buildings to accommodate all the additional children.  As the iron classrooms weren’t authorised until December 1915, it seems that two one-storey buildings formerly used for the secondary school had been adapted for 320 senior and 360 junior pupils.  They opened on 11th October. The vast majority of the children admitted in October, November and December 1915 were from the estate. Overall 1300 children of elementary school age were expected on the estate. At the Gordon School over 300 children were also being provided for with temporary classes in the hall for children aged over five.

In the register there is a column for the name of the parent or guardian.  Except in a few cases this is a man’s name, though we might assume that it was the mother who undertook the registration.  In the following column the father’s occupation is given.  This is how we can see that the majority of men on the estate were indeed working at the Arsenal. Sadly, the register doesn’t throw light on the work of the women generally, a point that will come up in another blog.

We have to assume that new teachers were appointed: the appointment of a new Head Teacher and five assistants is referred to in the London County Council minutes.  The new Headteacher for the Junior and Infants was a Miss K.M.Crouch, who I believe was a Katherine May Crouch, a certificated teacher working for the London County Council in the St Pancras area in 1911.  She would have been about 30 when she took up her post at Deansfield and still a single woman as required by the profession.  In 1919 she was still living in the Eltham area in Everest Road, but she might have eventually married in 1929 in the area where she was born around St Pancras.

By 1917 the women of the Well Hall Pioneer Circle were very concerned at the distance the youngest children had to walk to school; they felt that the walk of half an hour in all weathers was too much for the five-year-olds.  The women were in favour of a nursery for every neighbourhood and had been informed about a school in Paris for the young children of women munition workers (2 – 6 year olds) where meals were provided, teachers were trained nurses and health was an important consideration in the daily routine.  (Later in 1917 the women visited the “Rachael McMillan Baby Camp at Deptford with which they seemed to have been very impressed.)

Also of concern was the size of the school – they estimated that 1500-1600 children were attending the Gordon School at that time and were worried about the impact on health and education this overcrowding had.  A motion was sent to the L.C.C. Education Committee and the Minister of Education requesting the setting up of a new school.

Map showing Deansfield and Gordon School in relation to the Estate

Friday, 8 July 2016

Progress Estate Family Fun Day Summer Fete Featuring "Here Come The Girls"

PRESS RELEASE no: 2016/01 
2nd July 2016

SATURDAY 13th AUGUST 11:00 a.m. TO 3:00 p.m.
LOVELACE GREEN SE9 1LF

The Progress Residents Association is pleased to announce that, following the success of its 2015 Summer Fete, it has teamed up with Royal Greenwich Heritage Centre’s "Here Come the Girls" tour which is now underway.


During 2016, the Centre is holding a series of interactive family performances exploring the lives and contributions of three women during the First World War. One of these is May Pinson, an Edwardian wife, mother and munitions worker who moved to the newly-built Progress Estate in 1915. She will be interacting with visitors to tell her story and has kindly agreed to open the Fete at 11:00 a.m.

Stalls will include plant sales, vintage bric-a- brac, face painting, beauty products, tea and cake, locally sourced fruit and veg, jams and chutneys and a raffle. Free children’s activities with prizes will be hook-a-duck, quoits, snakes and ladders and a tin can shy. 

Other activities will include donkey rides, Jambs Owls and handleable creepy-crawlies. Between 12:00 and 2:00p.m. Adam, a children’s’ entertainer, will be balloon-modelling, performing magic tricks and showing off his bubble machine!

Live acoustic music will be provided by the Oakland Brothers (acoustic rock, folk, blues and jazz) and the Greenwich Mean Time Quartet.

ENTRY IS FREE

Note for Editors:

Originally named the Well Hall Estate, The Progress Estate was built in 1915 to provide housing for the many additional workers the Woolwich Arsenal needed to manufacture the armaments required by the services during the First World War.   Conservation Area status was granted in 1975, in recognition of its unique architectural character.





For additional information, please contact:
Rita Billinghurst
Progress Residents Association committee member
56 Arsenal Road
Eltham
London  SE9 1JY

tel: 020 8856 5593 or 07947 043479

email:               TheProgressEstate@Gmail.com

Twitter:             @ProgressEstate

Website:           www.progressestate.co.uk

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Queen’s Visit to the Well Hall Estate

Original post: https://ww1greenwichwomenatwar.org/2016/06/24/the-queens-visit-to-the-well-hall-estate/

On Friday 29th March Queen Mary made what seems to have been an unannounced visit to the Well Hall Estate. The Kentish Independent describes the air of anticipation on the estate as the day progressed giving images of mothers and babies wearing their best ‘bib and tuckers’. People seemed to know something was happening but were not quite sure what! The Queen had motored to the area, arriving at about 3.15 p.m. The cars stopped at the southern end of the estate where she and her ‘small entourage’ were greeted by a couple of Central Government officials and by the Superintendent of the estate, Mr Ernest Turner. Apparently Queen Mary expressed a desire to visit each of the four classes of houses in the area. I wonder how they were chosen?

At 2, Broughton Road (now part of Rochester Way) in a Class 1 house she met Mrs Eliza Mabb. The newspaper reported that ‘with a true mother’s instinct the Queen delighted Mrs Mabb by sympathetic questions about the boys, and admired the photographs of the absent ones and of the Royal Horse Artillery veteran which adorn the walls of the comfortable living room.’ The ‘boys’ in question were Mrs Mabb’s sons by her first marriage, two of whom were in the Royal Field Artillery and one in the Royal Horse Artillery. Hopes were exchanged that the war would be over soon and both their sons to be home. Ernest Mabb, the husband, had himself served twenty one years in the Royal Horse Artillery and but was eligible for the house on the estate because he was now employed at the Royal Carriage Factory.

The newspaper went on to paint an image of the Queen as ‘a model housewife’ who clearly appreciated the cleanliness and tidiness of Eliza Mabb’s home. On the wall was a portrait of the King which Queen Mary declared a good likeness. There was a comment about the garden: “And what a lovely garden you can have” to which Eliza replied that the weather had not been good for gardening, nor did the demands of work at the Arsenal allow time for the cultivation of flowers and vegetables. Either this work was seen as her husband’s role, or she was also working part-time. Whatever her work status, Eliza was involved in activities on the estate, helping for instance at the tenant’s dance and social in January 1917.

The Queen went on to visit a Class 2 house where she met Mrs Thomas McCoy – Violet Ethel McCoy – of 135, Well Hall Road. Violet was a young housewife who had married her husband in October 1915 at St Mark’s church, Plumstead. They were both local to Plumstead with fathers working at the Royal Arsenal. Her father was a government bookkeeper and the family had lived in Blenheim Rd, Plumstead from where Violet attended Purrett Road School. Violet had a younger brother and sister. After leaving school she became a typist but had perhaps met her husband, Thomas McCoy through their connection with the Arsenal. Thomas was an engineer there which is how he came to be eligible for a house on the estate. Their house was on the east side of Well Hall Road and Violet was just 22 years old when she had to host the Queen’s visit. Violet was a committee member of the Tenants Association which is perhaps how she came to be chosen for the visit.

Further along Well Hall Road, the Queen visited Mrs Faulkner at No 268, a Class 3 house (with its bath in the scullery). She was involved in activities on the estate for instance helping to provide tea for the sports day (her husband was Chair of the organising committee for the event). A little more research is needed to find out about her life.

And finally she saw the flat of the Hardings. Eliza Louisa Sarah would have been about 34 at this time with three sons – Henry 11, Leonard,10, and Donald aged about five. Donald had been briefly enrolled at Deansfield School but left after a couple of months to join his brothers at the Gordon School. Eliza and Alfred George her husband had married in 1904 in Battersea where George was a lamplighter and where her father was a publican. The family had then moved to Clapton Park where Eliza had assisted her husband in a shop there. At some point George had got work at the Arsenal. He described his job as ‘Arsenal worker’ so perhaps was doing some unskilled work and for this reason the five person household were living in the two bedroomed flat on Granby Road. Eliza Harding was involved in activities on the estate and for instance was listed as helping at the children’s races.

It was perhaps not just a random selection that meant these women were visited, and although the visit does not seem to have been known to the public in advance, clearly something was ‘in the air’. Perhaps it can be described as a fairly well kept secret but these four women would have been aware of the visit to come and we can imagine they would have tidied up and got out their best china. What stories they would have to tell their families in the evening, and how many of those stories have come down through the generations.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The day the water came

Residents on Saturday 11th June 2016 along Well Hall Road, were awoken by small river caused by a broken water main.  The road was closed to traffic.  At time of writing, Thames Water are reporting up-to five days to fix.


Article from Newsshopper - http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/14552872.Water_main_in_Eltham_bursts_closing_A_road_for_five_days
“A burst water main has shut an Eltham road for five days.
Well Hall Road (A205) has been closed both ways after a water main blew between Dunblane Road and Well Hall Roundabout (A208).
Kenneth Kelsall lives on neighbouring Congreave road and filmed the flooding on Saturday (June 11).
He told News Shopper: "The traffic started going past the house and I assumed there was a major crash, it was the most surreal experience I have ever seen, the water was half way above the wheels of a police car."It was like a river, one woman was really worried because it was going to flood her house.
"All the vehicles were covered in sand because the pressure had built up so much there would have been an explosion, there were bricks down the road from where it happened, all the sand was blown all over the cars."
The road is likely to remain shut until at least June 17 as emergency repairs begin today (June 13).
Mr Kelsall added: "They told me to get away from the area, that it would collapse, so they were shouting at me to move away as far as possible, all the path had been ripped up."
Bus diversions for routes 121 and 161 are in place.”