Royal Arsenal Woolwich

The information accessed via the first three of four buttons below was provided by Mr Phillip Clarke who was the Membership Secretary to the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historical Society and Mr Ray Fordham one of their members that recovered tons of records that were being destroyed. The Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historic Society was unfortunately disbanded in the autumn of 2016. Mr Phillip Clarke and Mr Ray Fordham have kindly provided the data to the North West Kent Family History Society which is published here. However, the copyright remains with Mr Phillip Clarke and Mr Ray Fordham. For additional information about copying, reproduction, acknowledgements and notes, please see the 'Copyright Notes...' button below.

The four buttons below will take you to searchable tables and the one bottom right to a page containing images taken at the childrens party in the 1950's.

Medical Inspections 1815

Report of Medical Inspection of Labourers, belonging to the Royal Laboratory at Woolwich who have been recommended for Superannuation - Woolwich 9th November 1815. The database has a search facility.

Woolwich Arsenal - Inspectors

Names & Dates of Birth for 794 former Industrial Inspectors Employed at Royal Arsenal Woolwich – No further information available. The database has a search facility.

Royal Arsenal Medical Operations 1906-1919

This is a list of Royal Ordnance Factory workers who had operations undertaken at the Royal Arsenal Woolwich. The original three lists have been combined and are in alphabetical order.

This file has been reduced to seven columns to omit some data columns that are largely empty. The full file is available from the Society Library. Please contact the Library with details of the employee to obtain the full column entries. The database has a search facility.

Disabled Workers 1935-1945

Woolwich Arsenal Disabled Persons 8/1/1946. 14% of Total men employed.

 Disabled 1914-1918  Disabled 1939-1945  Registered disabled persons under new act  Compensation for factory injuries Other disability
 297  186  174  455  193


See minutes of meeting with the combined shop steward's executive committee re disabled persons dated 08.01.1946, available at the Society Library. The database has a search facility.


Royal Arsenal Woolwich

Royal Arsenal Woolwich Main Gate – Historic note.

This extract summary is from W. T. Vincent’s ‘The Records of Woolwich District’ published c1890 in two volumes, p 296-380.

The dockyard was first established in 1512. It is after this time the Arsenal’ was established but a precise date is unknown but its foundation is before 1716 the commonly held date. G. E. Grover R E in a paper to the Royal artillery Institution in 1874 suggests its existence dates back to 1667. This date was an order from the King to Prince Rupert to raise works and batteries at Woolwich in the Warren. The Warren was an unclosed site inhabited chiefly by rabbits.

The rope yard at Woolwich was erected in 1573-6 on the edge of the Warren. One of its appurtenances was a storehouse by the water solidly built in brick. The early ordnance departments in 1572 were part of the ropery and consisted of the armoury, storehouse and workshops and were extended over the following 50 years.

At first there was only a wooden fence about the Arsenal. The earliest reference to a brick wall is by General Belford the governor in an order of 1758, but it was not complete. In 1777 convict labour was constructing the wall on the land side with a brick wall. The wall was not more than eight foot high before 1804 then it was raised along the Plumstead Road to twenty foot high. Other parts were fifteen foot high and some to a twelve foot height.

The old gate at Plumstead; opposite Maxey Road; was ten foot wide with a high archway to allow loaded wagons to enter.

The Middle Gate on Plumstead Road was built in 1830 and was previously known as the ‘Lower gate’.

The Main gate facing Beresford Square was constructed in 1829. Previously the main gate had been at Rope Yard Rails west of the police offices.

Until 1844 the Arsenal was entirely in charge of the military then the police and sentries had joint custody. In 1861 all but a small guard of the military were withdrawn, but not until 1880 were the police in absolute charge.

Childrens Party (circa 1950)

This is a gallery of images taken at children's parties for families of workers who worked in the Royal Woolwich Arsenal during the 1950s.