infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
official_name= Woolwich
london_borough= Greenwich
constituency_westminster= Greenwich and Woolwich
post_town= LONDON
postcode_area= SE
postcode_district= SE18
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ435795
latitude= 51.4961
longitude= 0.0681

Woolwich (pronEng|ˈwʊlɪtʃ or IPA|/ˈwʊlɪdʒ/) is a suburb in south-east London, England in the London Borough of Greenwich, on the south side of the River Thames, though the tiny exclave of North Woolwich (which is now part of the London Borough of Newham) is on the north side of the river. Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created.

It is notable as a river crossing point, having the Woolwich Ferry (and the lesser-known Woolwich foot tunnel) to North Woolwich, and as the one-time home of the Woolwich Building Society (now relocated in Bexleyheath and owned by Barclays plc).


Woolwich is Predominantly known for 'Woolwich Alliance' Football team. Formed in 1884, it comprised a number of nationalities from different factories in the area. The history of Woolwich is strongly associated with Britain's military past. It was home to the Woolwich Dockyard (founded in 1512), the Royal Arsenal (dating back to 1471), the Royal Military Academy (1741) and the Royal Horse Artillery (1793); the town still retains an army base at the Royal Artillery Barracks, and the Royal Artillery Museum. The nearby Greenwich Heritage Centre also houses exhibits relating to the Royal Arsenal.

Arsenal Football Club were founded in Woolwich in 1886 by workers at the Arsenal - the club were initially known as "Dial Square", then "Royal Arsenal" and then became "Woolwich Arsenal" in 1891. They moved to Arsenal Stadium, Highbury in north London in 1913, and dropped the Woolwich prefix the following year. This is a rare example of a British football team moving from its local area, albeit relocating within the same conurbation. Royal Ordnance Factories F.C. was founded in response to Woolwich Arsenal joining the League but only lasted several years.

Woolwich Polytechnic, founded in 1892, merged with other local colleges and became Thames Polytechnic in 1970. In 1992 it was granted university status as the University of Greenwich. In 2000, the University began a relocation to the Old Royal Naval College, several miles to the west in Greenwich town centre, leaving only an administrative presence in Woolwich.

Woolwich was the start of the route of the last London tram, on 5 July 1952. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/6/newsid_2963000/2963092.stm BBC on this day: 6 July] accessed 23 Apr 2007] A special tram was driven through enormous crowds to New Cross, finally arriving at New Cross depot around 1am on the 6 July. [ [http://www.greenwich-guide.org.uk/july.htm Greenwich Guide, day by day] accessed 23 Apr 2007]

Woolwich was home to the experimental Auto stacker car park. Officially opened in May 1961 by Princess Margaret, it was never actually used by the public and was demolished in 1962, after the council could not get it to work.

Woolwich is the location of the United Kingdom's first branch of McDonald's (the 3,000th in the world), which opened in 1974. Woolwich was chosen because it was considered to be a representative English town at the time. [ [http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/press/preston_dec91.html Interview with McDonalds UK CEO Evening Standard 16th December 1991] accessed 23 Apr 2007]

Woolwich once had four cinemas. Today, one is a bingo hall, another a nightclub, and another (which once hosted Buddy Holly) is now a pentecostal church.

Woolwich was used as a location for the 2006 film "Children of Men".

Recent development

The town centre began to decline in the 1950s. Department stores closed, being replaced by charity and pound shops. However, once redevelopment of the former Royal Arsenal site began, Woolwich started to enjoy a small renaissance. Several High Street chains previously absent from Woolwich have opened branches, and longer-established shops have been refurbished. An extension of the Docklands Light Railway is under construction (expected completion Spring 2009) and other developments are planned.

In early 2007, large-scale redevelopment of the area around Love Lane, near the eastern end of Powis Street, was in the final stages of consultation. [ [http://www.lovelanewoolwich.co.uk Love Lane Woolwich ] ] The proposed project will include demolition of several buildings including the Post Office, Peggy Middleton House and Thomas Spencer Halls of Residence, and the construction of new council offices and housing, local shops and a large branch of Tesco. A tall residential tower block is planned for General Gordon Square.

Some local residents have been concerned about the design of the development. [ [http://www.connaughtmews.co.uk/incident_lovelane_index.shtml Local resident concerns] ] Plans exhibited to the public originally preserved the "Director General" public house, [ [http://fancyapint.com/pubs/pub2670.html Director General public house] ] but in the later plans by Greenwich Council the pub is to be demolished. [ [http://icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk/southlondonpress/bexley/tm_method=full%26objectid=18556966%26siteid=50100-name_page.html Change of plans] ] .

At time of writing, September 2008, the Director General has been demolished, as has one of the council buildings, the Borough Treasurer's Office. The demolition of the former University of Greenwich halls of residence Thomas Spencer House and the former Inland Revenue offices has begun.

Planning for further development around the "Woolwich Triangle" area at the other end of town is in the early stages. This development includes plans to demolish the old art deco "Co-op"/Scottley's building at the west end of Powis Street. [ [http://icsouthlondon.icnetwork.co.uk/southlondonpress/greenwich/tm_headline=we-are-with-the-people--say-town-developers&method=full&objectid=18139849&siteid=50100-name_page.html Coop site redevelopment] ] These plans have now been made public and exhibitions of the plans held. Since these plans became public, scaffolding has been put on the Scottley's building on the Powis Street Side, and on the Hare Street side, several windows have been left open. Some locals are not happy about the plans for Woolwich. [ [http://dolly-rotten.blogspot.com/2008/06/where-i-live.html Dolly Rotten :: An Annoyed Theist ] ]

Some redevelopment has begun at the Riverside end of Woolwich already, with the June 2008 demolition of the derelict Crown and Cushion pub (the last remnant of the "old" riverside) next to the Waterfront leisure centre, and the rapidly-progressing development of a residential block on the site of the old Union Tavern, next to Riverside House.

The 2012 Summer Olympics will include Woolwich as a venue for shooting events, and building work has begun in the barracks for the location.

Famous residents

* William Barefoot, born to Plymouth Brethren family, became the first socialist mayor of Woolwich in 1925.
* Mathematician Peter Barlow taught at the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich and his son Peter W. Barlow, civil engineer, was born here in 1809.
* Hubert Bland, early socialist and co-founder of the Fabian Society, was born in Wood Street, now Woodhill in 1855.
* Tom Cribb, English bare-knuckle boxing champion in the early 19th century, retired to, died, and was buried (1848) in Woolwich.
* Andy Fordham, 2004 World darts champion, was publican of the "Queen's Arms" public house in Woolwich, although he now has the Rose and Crown in Dartford.
* Julius Francis, heavyweight boxer (who fought Mike Tyson in January 2000)
* Boy George, Pop music icon, grew up in Woolwich.
* General Charles George Gordon of Khartoum was born at 29 Woolwich Common and educated at the Royal Military Academy.
* John Henry Hayes, politician, was born in Woolwich.
* Richard Lovelace, poet.
* Scott Maslen, actor who plays DC Phil Hunter in ITV's "The Bill", was born and raised in Woolwich.
* Henry Maudslay, engineer and tool-maker, was born in Salutation Alley (now demolished) and buried in the parish churchyard of St Mary Magdalen's.
* Thomas Paine, author of the "Rights of Man" and "The Age of Reason", spent a short time living in Woolwich.
* Diarist Samuel Pepys lodged in Woolwich during 1665 to escape the Great Plague of London.
* Ollie Raison breakfast radio presenter in Australia, was born in Woolwich
* Oswald Hope Robertson, the medical pioneer who invented blood banks, was born in Woolwich in 1886.
* David Sheppard, former England cricket captain, was bishop of Woolwich from 1969 to 1975.
* John Wilson, the 'Spurgeon of Woolwich', was a notable Baptist preacher in the 1930s and served a congregation of 3,000 members
* Ian Wright, the Arsenal footballer and later a television personality, was born and raised in Woolwich.
* Merveille Lukeba, British actor, born in D.R. Congo, He was raised in Woolwich.


:"For education in Woolwich see the main London Borough of Greenwich article

Transport and locale

Nearest places

* Charlton
* Eltham
* Plumstead
* Thamesmead
* Kidbrooke

Nearest tube station

* North Greenwich tube station

Nearest railway stations

* Woolwich Arsenal railway station
* Woolwich Dockyard railway station
* Plumstead railway station

Docklands light railway

*King George V station is close to the north side of the Woolwich foot tunnel.
*A new Docklands Light Railway station is under construction next to the existing Woolwich Arsenal railway station.


The free Woolwich Ferry service operates across the River Thames to North Woolwich in the London Borough of Newham carrying trucks, cars, cyclists and pedestrians during the day until 8pm on Weekdays. A two boat service runs on Mondays to Saturdays and Sundays only has a one boat service. Woolwich foot tunnel is also available for use by pedestrians (and cyclists pushing their cycles) at any time. It is served by lifts during traditional shopping hours.
London River Services, operated by Thames Clipper, provide a peak hour, seven days a week service to central London (Savoy Pier) from Woolwich Arsenal Pier (adjacent to the Royal Arsenal residential development).

The Thames flood barrier is located a mile upstream from the tunnel and ferry.

ee also

* Royal Ordnance Factory
* - a passenger steamer sunk off North Woolwich pier on 3 September 1878 (a memorial to those lost can be found in Woolwich Old Cemetery, Kings Highway, Plumstead)
* The Auto stacker


External links

* [http://www.hidden-london.com/woolwich.html Hidden London page about Woolwich] .
* [http://www.arthurlloyd.co.uk/RoyalArtilleryTheatreWoolwich.htm History of the Royal Artillery Theatre, Woolwich]

Future Development


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Woolwich — (spr. wúllitsch), Verwaltungsbezirk (metropolitan borough) im O. von London, rechts an der Themse, 14 km unterhalb der Londonbrücke, hat ein großartiges Arsenal mit Kanonengießerei, Werkstätten zum Bau von Fuhrwerken, Laboratorium, eine… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Woolwich —   [ wʊlɪdʒ], Stadtteil von London, England, am Südufer der Themse, gehört zum Stadtbezirk (London Borough) Greenwich; überwiegend industriell geprägt. Bei Woolwich befindet sich das Sturmflutwehr Thames Barrier in der Themse.   …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Woolwich — (spr. Wullitsch), 1) Stadt an der Themse in der englischen Grafschaft Kent, 2 Meilen von London, mit diesem durch die London Gravesend Rochesterbahn verbunden; Flottenstation u. Mittelpunkt der gesammten englischen Artillerie; alle Waffenfabriken …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Woolwich — (spr. wullĭtsch), südöstl. Vorstadt Londons in der Grafsch. Kent, an der Themse, (1901) 117.178 E., Zentrum der gesamten engl. Artillerie mit großartigen Werkstätten (1902: 25.000 Arbeiter) und Militärakademie …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Woolwich — (Uulitsch), Stadt unterhalb Greenwich an der Themse, mit 25000 E., königl. Kriegsschiffwerste, ungeheurem Marinearsenal, Stückgießerei, Militärakademie …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Woolwich — 51.49610.068099999999987 Koordinaten: 51° 30′ N, 0° 4′ O …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Woolwich — /wool ij, ich/, n. a former borough of Greater London, England, now part of Greenwich and Newham: royal military academy and arsenal. * * * ▪ London, United Kingdom       historic town in the borough of Greenwich, London. It lies on the south… …   Universalium

  • Woolwich — 51°29′20″N 0°4′5″E / 51.48889, 0.06806 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Woolwich — 1 Original name in latin Woolwich Name in other language Vulidzh, o ulica, wu li qi, Вулидж State code GB Continent/City Europe/London longitude 51.491 latitude 0.0648 altitude 20 Population 0 Date 2010 10 17 2 Original name in latin Woolwich… …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

  • Woolwich — geographical name former metropolitan borough E London, England, now part of Greenwich …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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