Beresford Square, SE18

Road in/near Woolwich Arsenal, existing between 1837 and now

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Road · Woolwich Arsenal · SE18 · Contributed by The Underground Map
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2018
Beresford Square (c. 1890). Workers leaving the Royal Arsenal are walking past the elegantly designed public convenience.
Credit: Ideal Homes

Beresford Square was formed in the early 19th century and was named after the Anglo-Irish general William Beresford, Master-General of the Ordnance and Governor of the Royal Military Academy.

Beresford Square was not a laid-out square but the result of a series of clearances. Therefore, some of the buildings are older than the square. In 1812-13, some "paltry buildings" around the road junction near the main entrance to the Arsenal were demolished for "encroachment on Crown land". The northern section of the road that wound down from Woolwich Common to Plumstead Road was called Green’s End.

The northernmost tip, now the west side of Beresford Square, was known as the High Pavement. Land to the east of this road was part of the Burrage Estate, named after its 14th-century owner, Bartholomew de Burghersh. The Salutation Inn stood almost at the northern end of the High Pavement. It had a tea garden and may have been Woolwich’s first theatre, mentioned in 1721. The garden later became Salutation Alley with about 20 timber cottages. In one of these Henry Maudslay was born in 1771. Living conditions here were appalling, as described in the Booth Survey of 1900. It was condemned a slum in 1955 and cleared in the 1960s and 70s and is now a market traders’ pound. In 1833 the Salutation pub moved to new premises next door.

In 1831 four more cottages were cleared on the southeast side of the square, creating more space between the two pubs on this end, the Ordnance Arms and the Elephant & Castle. Along with several pubs on Plumstead Road and the New Road, these all thrived with thousands of Arsenal workers passing through the area every day.

The clearance formed a spacious entrance to the Royal Arsenal and in 1828-29 a new entrance gate was built by the Master-General of the Ordnance, William Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford (1768–1854). It became known as Beresford Gate, later the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse. In 1837 the square too was named after Beresford, when the Board of Ordnance handed it over to the parish of Woolwich. A new road was laid out to its northwest, where the ropeyard had been from around 1570 till 1832, and was named Beresford Street. At the eastern end of this street, facing Beresford Square, Holy Trinity Church was built in 1833-34 (demolished in 1962). This large Anglican church had an imposing facade in Portland stone with a stump tower above a Greek Revival portico.

Woolwich Market received its charter in 1618 but may have existed before. In 1808 it moved from Market Hill (near Woolwich High Street) to Market Street (in the Bathway Quarter). This peripheral location proved to be unpopular with traders, who drifted back to Market Hill and, after 1813, to the new square in front of the Arsenal (where no market tolls had to be paid). The police regularly cleared the square and it was not until 1879 that the existing situation was accepted and regulated. In 1887 the Local Board of Health bought out the Maryon Wilson family’s interest in the market charter. A new market was laid out by the Board with room for 136 stalls, against much opposition from costermongers. It officially opened in September 1888. In the middle of the square stood an iron toll house, a drinking fountain and a brightly ornamental urinal. Most of the pubs and shops around the square were rebuilt in the last two decades of the 19th century.

Throughout the 20th century, Beresford Square remained the centre of Woolwich life. In 1907 some 8000 Arsenal workers sett off from here to demonstrate in Westminster against job cuts. Trade unionist and Labour politician Will Crooks spoke several times to large crowds in front of the Arsenal gate. Crook’s memorial service was held on the square in June 1921.

The market was thriving six days a week and drew in shoppers from neighbouring areas. As the market was often overcrowded, plans for extension were made in 1901 but only realized in 1936 with the opening of the covered market on Plumstead Road. Traffic congestion continued to be a major problem with trams and other traffic running through the square. In 1958, 1969 and 1972 plans were presented for the widening of both Beresford Street and Plumstead Road, and the pedestrianisation of the square. Initially, Beresford Gate was to be demolished in the plans approved by the Greater London Council. In 1984-86 the A206 road was rerouted through the Arsenal, north of the gate. In the early 1990s and yet again in 2010-11, Greenwich Council relandscaped the square. A portal reflecting the market’s history was erected at its Woolwich New Road entrance. By that time the market’s popularity had declined considerably, parallel to the town’s general decline after the closure of the Arsenal.

In 1913, the Woolwich Arsenal Cinematograph Co. started a cinema in a building between the Salutation pub and Holy Trinity Church. Twelve years later it was extended to the rear, replacing much of the north side of Salutation Alley, creating a theatre with 669 seats. It was later renamed Premier Cinema, Royal Arsenal Cinema and Century Cinema. It closed in 1964 and was demolished shortly afterwards, along with Holy Trinity, the Salutations Inn and other neighbouring buildings.

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VIEW THE WOOLWICH ARSENAL AREA IN THE 1750s
The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

VIEW THE WOOLWICH ARSENAL AREA IN THE 1800s
The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

VIEW THE WOOLWICH ARSENAL AREA IN THE 1830s
The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

VIEW THE WOOLWICH ARSENAL AREA IN THE 1860s
The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

VIEW THE WOOLWICH ARSENAL AREA IN THE 1900s
The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.

 

Woolwich Arsenal






LOCATIONS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Brookhill Children’s Centre:   This is a children’s centre.
Eglinton Primary School:   Community school (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 2 and 11.
Foxfield Primary School:   Academy converter (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 3 and 11.
New Directions:   Pupil referral unit which accepts students between the ages of 14 and 16.
Nightingale Primary School:   Academy converter (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 3 and 11.
North Woolwich:   North Woolwich is a place in the London Borough of Newham. It is located north of Woolwich proper which is on the south bank of the River Thames. The two places are linked by the Woolwich Ferry and the Woolwich foot tunnel.
Notre Dame Catholic Primary School:   Voluntary aided school (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 5 and 11.
Oasis Academy Silvertown:   Free schools (Secondary) which accepts students between the ages of 11 and 16. Admissions policy: Non-selective.
Plumstead Common:   
Pulse and Water College:   Other independent school which accepts students between the ages of 11 and 16. Admissions policy: Non-selective.
Right Choice Independent Special School:   Other independent school which accepts students between the ages of 12 and 18. Admissions policy: Non-selective.
Royal Victoria Gardens:   
St Margaret’s Church of England Primary School:   Voluntary aided school (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 3 and 11.
St Peter’s Catholic Primary School:   Voluntary aided school (Primary) which accepts students between the ages of 5 and 11.


NEARBY STREETS AND BUILDINGS ON THE UNDERGROUND MAP
Albert Gardens, E16 · Albert Walk, E16 · Anglesea Avenue, SE18 · Anglesea Mews, SE18 · Anglesea Road, SE18 · Argyll Road, SE18 · Arsenal Way, SE18 · Arthur Grove, SE18 · Artillery Square, SE18 · Ashlar Place, SE18 · Barge House Road, E16 · Bargehouse Road, E16 · Barnfield Gardens, SE18 · Barnfield Road, SE18 · Bell Water Gate, E16 · Bell Water Gate, SE18 · Beresford Square, SE18 · Beresford Street, SE18 · Bloomfield Road, SE18 · Boyard Road, SE18 · Brook Hill Close, SE18 · Brook Mews, SE18 · Brookhill Road, SE18 · Bunton Street, SE18 · Burrage Grove, SE18 · Burrage Place, SE18 · Burrage Road, SE18 · Buttmarsh Close, SE18 · Cadogan Road, SE18 · Calderwood Street, SE18 · Cantwell Road, SE18 · Cartridge Place, SE18 · Castile Road, SE18 · Centre, SE18 · Chatham Close, SE18 · Church Street, E16 · Clara Place, SE18 · Claremont Close, E16 · Claydown Mews, SE18 · Conduit Business Centre, SE18 · Conduit Road, SE18 · Congleton Grove, SE18 · Connaught Mews, SE18 · Connaught Road, SE18 · Cornwallis Road, SE18 · Crescent Road, SE18 · Dallin Road, SE18 · Dawson Close, SE18 · De Havilland Drive, SE18 · Duke Of Wellington Avenue, SE18 · Edge Hill, SE18 · Eglinton Road, SE18 · Elmdene Road, SE18 · Engineer Close, SE18 · Felixstowe Court, E16 · Felixtowe Court, E16 · Fennell Street, SE18 · Fishguard Way, E16 · Frederick Place, SE18 · Gate 14, E16 · Genesta Road, SE18 · Gildersome Street, SE18 · Glass Yard, SE18 · Grand Depot Road, SE18 · Greens End, SE18 · Grimsby Grove, E16 · Gunner Lane, SE18 · Gunner Lnae, SE18 · Gunnery Terrace, SE18 · Hardens Manorway, SE18 · Hare Street, SE18 · Hartlepool Court, E16 · Helen Street, SE18 · Herbert Road, SE18 · Hull Place, E16 · Isla Road, SE18 · James Clavell Square, E16 · James Clavell Square, SE18 · Jessup Close, SE18 · John Wilson Street, SE18 · Kirk Lane, SE18 · Long Walk, SE18 · Love Lane, SE18 · Macbean Street, SE18 · Major Draper Street, SE18 · Market Street, SE18 · Marlborough Road, E16 · Marlborough Road, SE18 · Masons Hill, SE18 · Mayplace Lane, SE18 · Mayplace Lane; Love Lane, SE18 · Michel Walk, SE18 · Mill Lane, SE18 · Mortgramit Square, SE18 · Nightingale House, SE18 · Nightingale Place, SE18 · Nightingale Primary School, SE18 · Nightingale Vale, SE18 · Nithdale Road, SE18 · No 1 Street, SE18 · North Circular Road (Old Route, Disused), E16 · Paget Rise, SE18 · Paget Terrace, SE18 · Parry Place, SE18 · Peace Street, SE18 · Plum Lane, SE18 · Polytechnic Street, SE18 · Powis Street, SE18 · Raglan Road, SE18 · Reeves Road, SE18 · Ripon Road, SE18 · Roebourne way, E16 · Royal Arsenal Woolwich Pier, SE18 · Rudd Street Close, SE18 · Saint Margarets Grove, SE18 · Sandbach Place, SE18 · Sandy Hill Avenue, SE18 · Sandy Hill entrance to Schoolhouse Yard, SE18 · Sandy Hill Road, SE1 · Sandy Hill Road, SE18 · Simmons Road, SE18 · Sky Studios, E16 · Spearman Street, SE18 · Spray Street, SE18 · Squires House, SE18 · St James Close, SE18 · St Margarets Grove, SE18 · St. Margaret’s Grove, SE18 · Storey Street, E16 · Taylors Buildings, SE18 · The Oaks, SE18 · Thomas Street, SE18 · Uplands Close, SE18 · Vambery Road, SE18 · Vernham Road, SE18 · Vincent Road, SE18 · Vincent Road, W3 · Waldair Court, E16 · Walker Close, SE18 · Walpole Place, SE18 · Warren Lane Gate, SE18 · Warren Lane, SE18 · Wellington Street, SE18 · Westdale Road, SE18 · Willenhall Road, SE18 · Wilmount Street, SE18 · Woodman Parade, E16 · Woodman Street, E16 · Woolwich Foot Tunnel, E16 · Woolwich Foot Tunnel, SE18 · Woolwich High Street, SE18 · Woolwich Manor Way, E16 · Woolwich New Rd, SE18 · Woolwich New Road, SE18 · Wrottesley Road, SE18 ·
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Ideal Homes
A history of South East London's suburbs
Hidden London
Histor­ically inclined look at the capital’s obscure attractions
Edith’s Streets
A wander through London, street by street
Londonist
All-encompassing website
British History Online
Digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources.
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Maps


South Essex and North Kent (1805)
Ordnance Survey First Series. The first completed map was of the county of Kent in 1801. The first use of the term Ordnance Survey in manuscript was in 1801, but it did not appear on an engraved map until 1810. William Mudge was the effective head from the start and actual head of the Survey from 1804 to 1820.
Reproduced from the 1805 Ordnance Survey map.

Environs of London (1832) FREE DOWNLOAD
Engraved map. Hand coloured. Relief shown by hachures. A circle shows "Extent of the twopenny post delivery."
Chapman and Hall, London

London Underground Map (1921).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1921.
London Transport

The Environs of London (1865).  FREE DOWNLOAD
Prime meridian replaced with "Miles from the General Post Office." Relief shown by hachures. Map printed in black and white.
Published By J. H. Colton. No. 172 William St. New York

London Underground Map (1908).  FREE DOWNLOAD
London Underground map from 1908.
London Transport

Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)
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