National Recording Project


Detail from: Memorial to 158 Squadron by Peter W. Naylor, 2009

Abbey Wood Estate Commemorative Plaque


Type Panel

     The plaque is moulded from creamy/gold terracotta, set on a red brick supporting wall. The central area of the plaque bears the inscription panel, which is between moulded low relief pillars. A pediment at the top of the plaque has moulded acanthus leaves at either side of the badge of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society.
     During the late 1890s the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society (RACS) purchased land in order to build the Abbey Wood Estate. The land was a combination of Bostall Farm and Suffolk Place Estate. This provided approximately 170 acres. Not all the land was suitable for housing as some was below the building level required by the London County Council. In January 1899 the new estate had been formed by RACS and negotiations re closure of footpaths and sanction for new roads was underway. Mr Frank Bethell of RACS was in charge of the development. Building work began on 28 May 1900 with the objective of building 3,500 leasehold homes. This major undertaking by RACS was commemorated on 17 October 1900 by the unveiling of the plaque which is now fixed to the wall of the Abbey Wood Branch of RACS. The ceremony was lead by R. Mackay, Chairman of RACS, and was made a day of great rejoicing. A procession of RACS vehicles, accompanied by bands, toured the main streets of Plumstead and Woolwich. Since the start of building work in May 1900 twenty houses were ready for occupation and many more were near completion. 'In 1899, when RACS members shared in the prosperity brought to the Woolwich Arsenal by the Boer War, the Society bought the Suffolk Place Estate - adjoining the farm purchased 13 years before - for £40,000. Thus Bostall Estate in Abbey Wood (known colloquially as "Tin Check Island") was born. The objective was to build 3,500 leasehold houses - with favourable mortgage terms offered by the Society to help poorer members to purchase their own homes - but this was only partially achieved'.(1)
     Marks the building of the Abbey Wood Housing Estate by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society.


Inscription at top of plaque in capital letters in relief. Set in a belted ring round the edge: ROYAL ARSENAL CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY In centre of belted ring: EACH / FOR ALL / AND / ALL FOR / EACH On tablet below plaque, cream terracotta with incised capital letters: ROYAL ARSENAL CO-OPERATIVE SOCTY LTD / THIS STONE WAS LAID BY R. MACKAY / CHAIRMAN OF THE SOCIETY TO COMMEMORATE / THE COMMENCEMENT OF BUILDING ON BOSTALL ESTATE / OCTOBER 17TH A.D 1900 / COMMITTEE / Below in three columns: C. BYFORD G.FOSTER J.STEER A. DEANS T. HEARD T. KNOWLES A. DASHWOOD J. ILLIDGE R. WALE Below, left hand column: A. McLEOD / SECRETARY & MANAGER / T.O. ARNOLD / ASSISTANT SECRETARY Right hand column: F. BETHELL / ARCHITECT & SURVEYOR / J. HALL / ASSISTANT MANAGER

Contributor details

Contributor Role
Not known, None Not Known

Element details

Part of work Material Dimensions
Plaque Cream/gold terracotta 230cm high approx x 410cm wide x 25cm deep
Supporting wall Red brick 120cm high approx x 410cm wide x 15cm deep

PMSA recording information

Reference Region
General condition Good
Surface condition
  • Corrosion, Deterioration
  • Biological growth
  • Surface spalling, crumbling
Structural condition
Road McLeod Road/Bostall Lane
Precise location On side wall of Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society Supermarket
A-Z ref 84 B4
OS ref TQ468787
Date of design 1900
Year of unveiling 1900
Unveiling details Unveiled 17 October 1900
Commissioned by Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society
Duty of care Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society
Listing status Don't know
At risk? No known risk

‹‹ Back to search results