We have been sent a pre-copy of the Archaeological desktop study on Maryon Park in Charlton – and clearly this is with special reference to Gilbert’s pit. As ever with these things it’s all about archaeology not industrial archaeology – nevertheless past industry could hardly fail to get a mention here. Very early on the authors note ‘throughout history these sand and gravel deposits have been exploited. Some mineral deposits may have been quarried as early as the Roman period and after the establishment of Woolwich Dockyard in 1512 sand was used for ships ballast .. in the 18th century major digging began to obliterate the site … demand for moulding sand, glass sand ….. The lowermost layers of the Thanet sands, black-foot or strong loam, were excavated for brass casting moulds while above them beds of larger grained and less cohesive mild loam were used for iron castings. They note limekilns in Blackheath Hill and Charlton Church Lane. (Much of this quotes Paul Sowan and attributed him, wrongly, to GIHS rather than is actual base in Croydon.
The study moves on to sites of prehistoric occupation and notes signs of flint workings – maybe our earliest industry! Later evidence is found of iron and copper slag and baked clay as well as loom weights from Roman times.
The authors note a sand quarry in the area mentioned by Hasted in 1797 and sand pits and quarries shown on maps of the early 19th century. In the 1830s two lime burners are listed in 1839 at New Charlton. This document has been produced in conjunction with works planned here by the Council and we look forward to more detail on this.