The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 49 Greenwich and Woolwich

Woolwich Common

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To the south-west of the Arsenal Station are the Army Service Corps Barracks, the garrison church of St. George, and the Royal Artillery Institution (natural history collection, armour and weapons, library, etc.). To the west of these, on the north side of the Common, are the large Royal Artillery Barracks, in front of which are a tank, a captured German gun, a huge brass gun captured at Bhurtpore in 1828, and a Crimea monument. Between this and the Dockyard station are the Red Barracks and the Ordnance College, where officers are trained for staff appointments. Woolwich Common, extending for about 1 mile to the south, is used for exercising troops. On its north-west side is the Royal Military Repository, where artillerymen are trained in serving heavy guns and instruction is given in pontooning. On the highest point is the Rotunda (open free daily, 10-12.45 and 2-4 or 5; Sunday 2-4 or 5), originally built as the outer casing of the tent in which the Prince Regent entertained the Allied sovereigns in 1814 in St. James's Park. It now contains an important Museum of Artillery (catalogue 1/6): designs and specimens of artillery in iron and brass, firearms from the earliest period, swords, defensive armour, Oriental arms, weapons of the bronze and stone ages, weapons of savage tribes, rockets, projectiles, models of fortifications, naval models, German and Allied shells, a French 75mm. gun, etc. On the south-east side of the Common, beyond the tramway lines, is the Royal Military Academy, known as 'the Shop,' built in 1805, for the training of cadets studying for the Royal Artillery and Engineers. In front of it is a statue of the Prince Imperial, son of Napoleon III., a Woolwich cadet killed in the Zulu war of 1879. At the south end of the Common, beyond the road, is the Royal Herbert Military Hospital, built in 1865 and named after Lord Herbert of Lea. To the south of Shooters' Hill lies Castlewood and Jackwood Park (1925), which includes Severndroog Castle, a tower (482 feet above sea-level; admission 1d.) erected to commemorate the capture of Severndroog on the Malabar Coast by Sir William James in 1755. An old milestone (8 miles to London Bridge) nearly opposite the park-entrance, bears on its reverse the distance from Ypres (130 miles) and a record of the British losses in the Salient (1914-18).