Greenwich as it used to be....

Vistas of cornfields

In the 1860's, my grandfather John Henry was a boy living with his family at the top of Pelton Road, still called Tyler Street North. He used to tell me that opposite their house were corn fields, and they used to take the ripened corn home to their mother, who ground it down for flour. Beyond the corn fields was Greenwich Marsh going down to the river.

In 1867, Marsh Lane (Blackwall Lane) was just a narrow lane, with the odd cottage and farm house. The Pub known as the "Ship and Billet" was not built until 1869, by which time they were beginning to develop the area. A row of terrace houses had been built on either side of Marsh Lane. the ones on the left backing on to the corn fields. But behind those on the east or Charlton side more house and roads were being built, as far as Armitage Road, beyond which it was still agriculture. On the opposite side of Woolwich Road, going up the hill, there were more corn fields. Further along where Westcombe Park Police Station is in Combedale Road, was Coombe Farm--which was demolished in 1900, when all the houses and roads on that side of the main road were built.

© Albert W. Gearing

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