This week gave me the chance to do something that’s been on the cards for a while, and take a few photos of areas shortly to be levelled to make way for Woolwich Exchange.
Fore those unaware, Woolwich Exchange is a development of 801 homes and shops which includes converting the market into a cinema.
Well that last point may be tricky, as Cineworld’s Picturehouse brand were due to operate, and the company are about to go into bankruptcy and reorganisation.
Anyway, I digress. The development covers a large area running between Spray Street and Plumstead Road, dissected by Parry Place.
Woolwich New Road lies to the west – and buildings here will remain – while to the east lies Burrage Road.
Preparatory work is underway with blue hoardings surrounding the former co op pub/bar/club on the corner of Spray Street and Burrage Road.
It never looked very appealing when open. A larger number of buses heading east from Woolwich would head this way instead of the route they now take, and sitting in traffic outside for minutes at a time meant a lot of looking out og windows at this place. It never seemed very busy.
It’s a pretty non-descript brick block and looks like it’ll be one of the first plots to be demolished.
Spray Street itself runs from Woolwich New Road opposite the market to Burrage Road.
There’s a wide range of low rise buildings running along Spray Street with businesses still trading. The development is seeing many dispersed and was highly a controversial aspect during the planning process.
Walking a few metres down reveals the rear entrance to Woolwich’s covered market, with recent past usage of the site evident:
Other business linger on including a car repair company in the shadow of nearby new development.
One of the most striking buildings along Spray Street is one that isn’t part of Woolwich Exchange.
BT’s exchange is a bit of a time warp with posters dating back possibly to the late 1970s outside.
British Telecom launched a marketing campaign using the character Buzby from 1976.
The exchange was constructed in 1936. I know this as they helpfully say so in a crest adorning the structure from King Edward VIII’s short reign :
Opposite lies the former job centre now known as LCEM House.
Further east are churches based including within former industrial units.
Many buildings across the overall site are in pretty awful condition. Some long ago crumbled away including on on Plumstead Road around 2010, while others are in poor shape:
Part way down is Parry Place which links Spray Street to Woolwich Road. This has one of the highest concentrations of businesses, though the blue hoardings are now evident here too.
Everything along this street will be demolished.
The view in the opposite direction. One building is emblazoned with Eltham Welding Supplies. They’re long gone:
The area seen below of Plumstead Road and Burrage Road will see the tallest towers:
Former pubs stood along Plumstead Road including the Woolwich Infant.
The corner of Burrage Road and Plumstead Road sees another building in poor shape:
Blocks seen below will replace both the corner unit and others along Plumstead Road.
All this has been a long time coming. Greenwich signed a deal with St Modwen and Notting Hill housing years after agreeing for mass redevelopment.
Since then there’s been contentious meetings, arguments over a lack of business support, revised plans, buildings listed (the covered market) and then Compulsory Purchase Orders.
Despite that, some business owners have even invested.
But now it does appear the end is near for this patch of town that many regular visitors to Woolwich wouldn’t have even seen.
Hoardings are appearing in more areas in advance of construction.
I’ve been documenting various parts of Woolwich recently in advance of major changes. Not just here but also throughout Powis Street and Beresford Square.
That’s in advance of £21 million public realm upgrades coming to the town.
Thanks to all who support me and the site which gives me time to go and photograph areas before they’re lost.