Monday, January 19, 2009

The History of Floyd Road (Part 1 - 1867)

Quite a while ago I posted an entry about my visit to Greenwich Heritage Centre and I said that I bought some maps, well I thought it would be nice to use them to try and tell some of the history of my street.

So here's a map of the local area from 1867.
As you can see Floyd Road didn't exist, where the top half of it will be appears to be a garden of some kind, possibly for the properties that are where the Chinese Takeaway is now. I'm saying that they're gardens because the layout seems to be pretty structured and organised. That's not just the normal map markings for woodland, there are other areas on the map that are woodland and they're drawn very differently with many randomly placed trees rather than the clear "avenues" that we have where Floyd Road is. You can also see what appear to be paths laid out, it must all have looked very nice.

Charlton Station is already there and there are some houses along Church Lane between it and Woolwich Road (or Greenwich and Woolwich Lower Road as it was known then). The Antigallican, as I believe it was known back then, is on the corner.

It's interesting to see that there's what appears to be a railway running from the Ballast Pits down to the river that passes under the railway. Does that explain those funny little arches that the footpath running from the eastern end of Floyd Road out to Woolwich road opposite PC World? It looks like once upon a time little trucks, and they must have been quite little given the width of the two arches, ran up and down there carrying quarried material down to the river. Could it have been a narrow gauge system with it's own little trains? I wish that I knew...

Looking a bit further afield a Church Lane runs up to the village but doesn't have any houses along it at all until you get to a couple of them opposite St. Luke's Church.

There is something marked as "Charlton Grove" about half way up Church Lane on the eastern side. There appears to be a decent size building in Woodland. A patch has been cleared in front of it and there appears to be paths or tracks sweeping around the cleared area and leading to the building. Could this be a well to do house? Opposite the entrance to Wellington Road (which is there) is a small building by the entrance to the path leading to the "house." A gatehouse?

I can imagine visitors coming up Church Lane in a horse drawn carriage. Then turn off by a gatehouse and then have woodland on both sides. After a minute or two the woods on their left open up into a landscaped garden and the large lavish house comes into view. The path takes them around the edge of the lawn before curving back into the house where a dinner party awaits.

Too imaginative? Well I do love maps and the stories that they can tell.

The area around Church Lane is mostly open and seems to have little tracks running along it like the one that seems to run away from the station, then west before heading back to the railway at the Signal Box. I think that is the most surprising impression from this map, the area's really not very built up at all, all of this will soon change.

I will say a bit more about the map itself, it's published by Alan Godfrey Maps and is a copy of the original Ordnance Survey map. As the small scanned snippet should show it goes into a huge amount of detail about the area and it's very well printed on decent quality paper. If you've got even the slightest interest in your area then do try and check these maps out. You can get them from the Heritage Centre itself or you can order online from the Alan Godfrey Maps web site. They're only £2.25 each and I consider them a real bargain, I've got hours of pleasure from my set.

With the 1867 Charlton Map not only do you get the map but a brief potted history of the area and a list of residents of the area complete with addresses. Not all of the roads are covered (Maryon Road and Victoria Road seem to be the most common ones listed) so don't go getting this thinking that you're certain to discover who lived in your house. However you just might, and wouldn't that be great.

1 comment:

anonymousagainsorry said...

yeah the railway - Glenton's Sand and Gravel Railway. There was an article about it in some football supporters magazine or other a few years ago - but the great expert on Glenton's is Chris Foord at the Heritage Centre. there was however still a bit of track on the riverside - oh I don't know - in the 1980s.