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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4 Comments to “Frigate Street Feathers Place”

  1. Ebspig says:

    Beryl Platts has a theory that Eastney Street was one of the very oldest roads in Greenwich, being the remnants of an ancient way from the high ground of Blackheath down to a good landing place on the river (Highbridge).

  2. Wow – yes – that would make sense, though of course the park would have been out of bounds at some points in history so it wouldn’t have been a staright route. But the Plume is very very old, so yes, I could see that.

  3. Ebspig says:

    Yes, an ancient way pre-dating the enclosure of the park. The enclosure (1433) and the making of Maze Hill would have taken away the logic of Eastney (East) Street.

  4. OldChina says:

    The oldest newspaper I’ve found during this renovation is from February 1952, reporting the death of George VI (he of the stutter) and wishing the new Queen a long and happy reign!

    I still have a stack of papers to get through as I managed to save most of them from the bin (before Mrs OldChina had her way)!