Saturday, 15 April 2017

On the trail of Mr Charles Hubert Grinling and his contribution to Eltham and Woolwich

So here is a mystery.

What has the Tudor Barn got to do with a Charles Herbert Grinling?

It is one of those stories which is just at its beginning and I guess will run for some time.

I first came across Mr Grinling after a conversation with the Director of the Tudor Barn who wondered “if anyone has any knowledge of CH Grinling?

In the Greenwich Heritage museum there is a long case clock presented to Mr Grinling for services towards the preservation of Well Hall Tudor Barn.

It used to be in the Barn, presumably taken away when it ceased to be an art gallery upstairs.”

Now I have to confess I knew nothing of Mr Grinling but there were some tantalizing references to him including one from a short history of the Woolwich Labour Party which referred to his “religious work” in Woolwich in the 1890s.

All of which fits because he is listed as a "Clerk in Holy Orders" in 1891 census and a "clergyman" a decade later.

He also wrote Fifty Year of Pioneer work in Woolwich, a pamphlet published by the Royal Arsenal Co-op in January 1922.

And like so many interesting stories this one goes off in different directions, so while he is listed on the Woolwich electoral roll from 1898 through to 1939 at Rectory Place he also was registered at what appears to be the family home near Guildford from the 1920s.

On the 1911 census while resident at Rectory Place he described himself as an “Educational and Social Worker,” and amongst the others in the house was his wife’s sister who also described herself as a “social worker.”

All of which suggests we are dealing with a progressive clergyman who did missionary work in the Woolwich are.

He also jointly edited A survey and record of Woolwich and West Kent : containing descriptions and records, brought up-to-date, of geology, botany, zoology, archaeology and published THE HISTORY OF THE GREAT NORTHERN RAILWAY  in 1903.

And finally his gravestone records that he was made “A FREEMAN OF THE METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF WOOLWICH”  all of which I think promises more to come.

And in the way of these things there will be someone out there who knows a lot more about Mr Grinling.

Well I hope so.

Picture; the Tudor Barn, courtesy of Chrissie Rose, 2013 & Woolwich circa 1900, Woolwich courtesy of Kristina Bedford from, Woolwich Through Time, Kristina Bedford,

Woolwich Through Time, Kristina Bedford, 2014, Amberley Publishing,

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