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Woolwich was a major manufacturing centre with factories, a dockyard and the Royal Arsenal situated on the banks of the Thames. Alongside a strong and independent civic identity, Woolwich also maintained a significant military presence: a legacy that lives on in pub names and street names such as General Gordon Square as well as the Royal Artillery barracks and the presence of the King’s Troop, Royal Horse Artillery. Recently, Woolwich has seen a period of great change. One of Historic England’s Heritage Action Zones, Powis Street has been declared a conservation area.

The walk begins at the new Elizabeth Line station. Designed by Weston Williamson & Partners, it references the site’s armament manufacturing history and sits alongside listed buildings in Dial Arch Square, the home of the original Arsenal Football Club. The tour will visit key buildings around Woolwich’s main squares, Beresford Square and General Gordon Square. We will visit 20th century buildings showing the commercial history of Woolwich such as the former Woolwich covered market, completed in 1936, and Equitable House, headquarters of the Woolwich Equitable Building Society.

The tour will head down Woolwich’s main shopping street, Powis Street, seeing evidence of Woolwich’s shopping past and home to department stores such as Cuffs, Garretts and the Royal Arsenal Cooperative Society (RACS). Two RACS buildings dominate the end of Powis Street showing the area’s importance as a shopping centre in the 20th century.

Rightly proud of its housing and wary of ‘barrack-like’ blocks of flats, Woolwich built the relatively low-rise St Mary’s estate. Within this estate we will visit Norman & Dawbarn’s Frances Street towers, elegantly positioned on Frances Street overlooking the Thames.

The final destination will be within Woolwich’s main municipal precinct where the town hall, public baths and the old library are all located. Here, we will visit Market Street Health Centre before finishing up back in Dial Arch Square by the new Elizabeth Line station alongside Woolwich’s newest homes where residents enjoy riverside living.

Woolwich walking tour

General Info

Event Type(s) Walks and Tours
Tickets / Admission £ 14.50
Tickets/Booking/RSVP: open-city.org.uk/...

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