Frigate Street Feathers Place
Sounds like a road name that’s been around as long as the pub, doesn’t it. It certainly never occurred to me to question it. But when Old China was doing some renovation work, a whole bunch of newspapers the previous owner had used to line the carpets fetched up, along with a rather splendid f Humphreys Skitt ad offering a six-room house for £4,000, this curious Mercury clipping, from 1967.
Several things surprise me about this – not least that the Eastney Street, like Park Row, once continued across Trafalgar Road, implying it’s older than Trafalgar Road (the old Woolwich Road runs along by the power station) despite the newness of pretty much everything along it. I’m assuming that the bomb that destroyed the old Park Row Police Station did for the middle of Eastney Street, making way for what Pevsner describes as
a rare example of work by Stirling & Gowan for the L.C.C. (1965-8) a quadrangle of four-storey maisonettes with a carefully balanced, not quite symmetrical front to the road, with the ingenious motif of upper balconies passing through projecting wings. The monumental expanses of plain brickwork, the rather self-concious corner windows, and the play of cubic volumes recall, no doubt intentionally, the workers’ housing of the early Modern Movement on the continent.
I really must get a picture of the Trafalgar Estate to go with that (and indeed Feathers Place, which, at the Plume end still has some very nice old places).
The other thing that surprises me is that people from Greenwich, who, surely in 1967 would still have had very strong links to all things maritime, would have been ignorant enough not to know what a frigate is – to the point where they thought it sounded a bit like a (not very) rude word. Seems an eminently sensible name – after all we have Ballast Quay and Orlop Street – Frigate Street sounds rather good to me.
In the event, I agree that Feathers Place is rather grander. Perhaps it was more that the people wanted to be associated with Greenwich’s toffs than her sailors…
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