Rushgrove House Woolwich

Rushgrove House Woolwich

What’s the difference between being hidden and forgotten? I first read about Mulgrave pond in English Heritage’s Survey of London Vol 48 Woolwich. A keen walker I pride myself on getting to know places in some detail but Mulgrave pond had not crossed my path. I knew there was a school in the area named Mulgrave but it hadn’t crossed my mind to think what it was named after. Was it a forgotten or hidden place? I went to find out.

According to the map it is somewhere in the vicinity of Artillery Place and Frances Street and close to another hidden or forgotten treasure Rushgrove House. I attempted to approach it from Frances Street but found that most of the roads were dead ends. Back to Artillery Place and I discovered Rushgrove Place. Surely Rushgrove House must be there. It was almost as well fortified as the military buildings on the other side of Artillery Place. It is a Grade 11 listed building and I noticed that there was a planning application pinned to a nearby lamp post. Soon to be turned into a couple of desirable apartments. It was difficult to get a good view as it was so well fenced off.

Summerhouse Rushgrove House

Summerhouse Rushgrove House

It was built in 1816 for John Cook who was the meat contractor who supplied the Royal Barracks. When it was first built it would have unrestricted views of the Thames. There is a private housing development at the back of Rushgrove House and I walked through this to get views of the summer house. I also stumbled across Mulgrave pond. You can see the pond from the car park but there is no access.

Mulgrove Pond

Mulgrove Pond

Mulgrave Pond was formed in the early 1750s as a reservoir to supply the naval dockyard in case of fire. The naval dockyard is about 500 metres down the hill on the banks of the Thames. In 1815 it was adapted to feed the Royal Arsenal’s steam engines and a pipe was laid under Wellington Street to do this. A brick wall was built in 1840s around the perimeter. It was named after Constantine John Phipps, Baron Mulgrave a leading figure in the Admiralty. Sometime in the 1980s the land was sold to a private owner.

Red Barrack Gates

Red Barrack Gates

This area is interesting as there are remnants of the military presence, such as the gates and gate house of the Red Barracks, in the midst of post war housing development. Rushgrove House and Mulgrave Pond may have not been forgotten in this mix but they are certainly well hidden.

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