One of Woolwich Town Centre’s most characterful hidden areas to be flattened? Consultation coming soon

A consultation is to be held on 4th June into plans for a new development including a 23-storey tower on the Furlongs garage site and Mortgramit Square. You will be able to view plans at the Tramshed on General Gordon Square from 2-9pm.

Furlongs garage

I took a walk through the development site, which faces both Woolwich High Street and Powis Street, to capture some shots. The site has huge character and the potential is vast. Hopefully much is retained. It’s a forgotten corner of town and feels like stepping back 50 years.

Cobbled winding alleys remain. The early 20th century brick factory and warehouse appearance is incredibly evocative.

Furlong’s have a history in Woolwich dating back at least to 1852, when they were featured in the “Greenwich & Woolwich directory” .

The recently refurbished art deco co-op can be seen directly in front in the image below.


Shops on Powis Street are already closed and boarded up:

Designs for the new tower will be revealed. These images were floating around previously but I’d be very surprised if it’s anything like this.

We’ll find out for sure in a just over a week at the tramshed on 4th June.

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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

    13 thoughts on “One of Woolwich Town Centre’s most characterful hidden areas to be flattened? Consultation coming soon

    • More vandalism on the part of the developers, aided and abetted by Greenwich council. The barbarians are storming the gates.

    • What an awful design!

      Greenwich council hang your head in shame!

      They are consistingly approving designs that are are horrendous (Tesco in woolwich for eg)!!!

      It only makes woolwich look unappealing

    • They really don’t have a clue do they?
      Sure it’s all shiny and modern but so was Croydon 40 years ago, now look at it.
      Proper regeneration involves preserving and highlighting old buildings that can still be put to other uses such as flats or retail space, while removing and developing on land which is currently repressive for genuinely better buildings to create an environment people would actually want to spend time in.

      • Bingo!

        Croydon also came to my mind!
        Greenwich Council seem to think bigger and shiney is better, where infact in a decade’s time, it will not have aged well at all!

        The sheer number of high rise blocks is a real worry on the local environment/skyline, and impacting on open space which is extremely important on peoples’ wellbeing.

    • I was looking at the old fashioned signage for Furlongs garage only last night. I want Greenwich council to stop with the outrageous ‘modern’ buildings, think about blending old and new and mostly, listen to the opinion of residents before barging ahead.

    • Whilst I understand that solutions have to be found to accommodate a rapidly increasing population in London (and the “Thames Corridor” was targetted in this respect) I share concerns about historically important and characterful structures being swept away in the borough. I partly blame the piecemeal approach to planning, lack of proper public consultation and a possible meak deference to mighty developers, whilst being cogniscent of the pressures.

      I’m not sure why RBG is being blamed for “considering” approval, though, by people commenting on the blog. All designs have to be presented to the Council for approval/refusal, whether it’s a skyscraper or a loft extension. Furthermore, none of us know what design is to be submitted. There will be no inkling until 4th June.

      The original image is reminiscent of “Turning Torso” in Malmo – glimpses of which are seen in Scandi-drama “The Bridge”. The Swedish building is a more graceful design – whilst the one in the picture puts me in mind of a silver “Camberwell Carrot”. It looks out of place in the cgi and I imagine it will have evolved into a yet another boring cuboid. We’ll have to wait until 4th June, to find out.

      Can I be pedantic, Murky, and ask you to be more specific about what the area to be developed is “evocative” of? An era, several eras, uses? I think I know what you mean, but I’d like you to spell it out.

      Going back some time, this area contained ornamental gardens with ponds and fountains. These were destroyed to make way for the barrack-like, one- or two-roomed (slum) dwellings built by Mortis, Graham, Mitchell (Mortgramit) and Seeley – also in response to a rapidly-increasing local population and pressure on housing (caused then by the Napoleonic Wars). A brewery, established by John Hare was also here and later owned by the Powis Brothers (also brewers). Redeveloped again for carrier and cartage businesses (Pickford’s and Plume), then an electrical sub power station (still there) and the ever-expanding Furlong’s.

      Talking of Furlong’s, John Furlong set up as a cabinet maker in Powis Street in 1812. Descendents (beginning with his sons) diversified into auctioneers, estate agents, valuers, undertakers, removal contractors, upholsterers, steam carpet-beaters and, eventually, motor-related matters – including a multi-storey garage as part of a condition relating to parking pressures when the Odeon and Granada opened.

      • RBG aren’t being criticised for the consideration of the plans as they should give a fair hearing to all propsals, they are being criticised for actually approving terrible proposals that the average resisdent do not want or need.

    • RBG need to seriously STOP vandalising the buildings in the borough and replacing them with eyesores!! ……… regenerate what is already there for crying out loud! …….. if that means a little less space then it prevents over population in the area!! …….. high rise buildings and over population are NOT a valuable solution ……. retaining and conserving the beauty of the historical buildings is! …… who wants to visit a place with awful eyesores? ….. no one!

      • Why can’t they build on the derelict warehouses next to the barrier? Furlongs always reminded me of something out of an Edward Hooper painting, I could imagine it as a drive up burger place where waitresses would skate up to your car with your order. it’s ok a bland cheaply made skyscraper and a fat backhander will make all the difference.

    • If this development goes through than i think it should be a more traditional brick built building with out cladding.

    • This area is all that remains of the original medieval Woolwich town centre – stretching from the church on its mound down to the old market place, at Bell Water Gate. It wasn’t Hitler’s bombs that destroyed this historic and picaresque ‘village’ but Woolwich Borough Council, using the excuse of ‘slum clearance’.

      Of course, areas that escaped ‘slum clearance’ such as Tunbridge Wells and the Lanes in Brighton went on to have a rather bright and prosperous future, the ancient buildings renovated, much loved and highly photogenic. Woolwich got the Leisure Centre. Road widening destroyed anything on the North side that escaped slum clearance.

      Two of the buildings that remain on the south side have distinctive 16th/17th century rooflines and remains of crosswall/passage layout inside. The lanes in your pictures are on the lines of the very lanes trodden here in mediaeval times. The two pub buildings here are recognisable from their zenith in WWI packed with cash-rich munitions workers. This was the area that sheltered the refugees that came to Woolwich – first the Huguenots, then the Irish fleeing famine in their own land. Both of which communities have deep roots in the town, as John Fahy will tell you.

      It would be criminal folly to erase this last trace of the earliest Woolwich. So much damage has already been done. To see what’s already been lost, look at this (open source) photo of Hog Lane, now crushed under the hideous Leisure Centre –,_Hog_Lane,_ca_1888.jpg


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