Tuesday, 31 May 2016

On walking along Academy Road out of Woolwich in 1906

Just occasionally I slide into nostalgia and this 1906 postcard of the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich does it for me.

Now given that I was born in 1949 and first saw the Academy in the summer of 1965 it is not in a strict sense a trip down memory lane.

But more of that later.

This was one of a series of six cards marketed by Raphael Tuck and Sons in 1906 under the title of Woolwich.

I suppose what strikes you first is the close similarity between this image and what you can see now.  True, I doubt any one today would be able to stroll so easily across Academy Road and the military have long since gone.

But otherwise early on a Sunday morning in late September it might just be possible to get close to what we see here.

And I rather think that is what I remember on warm summers evening on the way back from Woolwich to Well Hall.

Best still was when you walked it at a slow and even pace fully appreciating the buildings to your left and the open spaces stretching east down to Hornfair Park.

Now I don’t think I passed that many people in the entire length of the walk from Woolwich up to Shooters Hill and then down along Well Hall Road.

All of which allowed you to wander in your own thoughts and more than once to ponder on an unmade piece of pathway which naively I thought might be Roman.

Take the same journey on one of those evenings heavy with the promise of a thunderstorm and you might well be rewarded by the magnificent sight of lightening streaking across the sky over Shooters Hill followed by the roll of thunder.

But this is so much indulgent tosh, so I will leave you with a second Tuck postcard dated a year earlier from the set entitled Woolwich Town and City.

The company issued two of the same scene one like this which had been tinted in colour and a monochrome copy.  I rather prefer the grey and black card but this coloured one has the advantage of a message on the back and unusually the sender added her address in Plumstead.

But it is the message itself which draws you in.  HP of 34 Charlotte Street sent the card on July 27 1905 with the news "that Mr Coventry died last Tuesday afternoon, was buried on Saturday.”  And with that classic understatement added “Mrs Clarke and her mother came to tea on Monday all quite well.”

Such are the rewards and insights of reading old postcards

Pictures; The Royal Military Academy, from the series Woolwich, 1906 and the Royal Military Academy from the series Woolwich Town and City 1905 issued by Tuck & Sons, courtesy of TuckDB http://tuckdb.org/history

No comments:

Post a Comment