A Curious Iron Door
See this, folks? The little red arrow points to a curious little iron door in the back wall of the house on Crooms Hill that has the erroneous Benjamin Waugh plaque, snapped by Stephen. Here it is close up:
The inscription is for an ironmongers in Nelson Street (as it was back in the day – we’re not quite sure when it became a ‘road’), one T.R Thame. I’ve been able to find out precious little about Mr Thame, save for the records of what looks like a lease from 1829 from a bundle of documents from the Admiralty, Greenwich Hospital and the Chatham Chest, held at the public records office in Kew. Greenwich Hospital, of course, still holds the freehold.
Stephen’s brother found a record for a Thomas William Thame, smith and general furnishing ironmonger at 23, Nelson street; I’m assuming it’s the same one as in the Greenwich Directory of 1849, and if so the guv’nor at the Kings Arms just round the corner at the time was also a Thame. I don’t know anything else about the ironmongers, so it’s possible that it had been already around for yonks – perhaps long enough to have supplied the little door when the buildings were first erected between 1791 and 1809.
But what was it for? My first thought is some kind of soot/ash hole for fireplaces – a handy place for a chimney sweep to pop his rods up the flue (ooh- er- missus) without having to bother the household. But there aren’t any chimneys in that bit of the building - though of course the circus was badly damaged in the war. Is it possible that the walls were rebuilt without the chimneys, but the little hatch was kept because it wasn’t damaged?
Or am I getting this totally wrong? Has anyone any idea what this little door was originally for?
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