In Plumstead Common West I have included the area from Warwick Terrace westwards, or if you prefer, from The Plumstead Pantry and the Old Mill! And it is a very different part of the common to Winn’s Common in the east.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill was still in action in the early 1800s, grinding wheat for local housewives. Eventually around the mid-1800s it had deteriorated from a lack of use and turned to selling beer.
It was once tied to the Cannon Brewery, then to Beasley’s brewery in Plumstead. L David founded the brewery in 1846 as the Park Brewery. Charles Beasley owned the brewery in 1878 when it was known as the North Kent Brewery. The brewery stood at the bottom of Brewery Road, and west of Lakedale Road. In 1963 Courage took over the brewery and brewing stopped two years later. Today the body of the mill, without its sails, is joined to The Old Mill pub.
And round the corner from the pub is a small row of shops, including the wonderful Plumstead Pantry. Do not miss this bistro/bar/coffee shop if you are in the area! The gluten-free chocolate brownie is delish!!
The triangle of land between Old Mill Road and Waverley Crescent is flat grass, but beyond Waverley Crescent is dog-walking enclosure, a bowls club and all-weather tennis courts. Then the land drops sharply downwards which is rather curious as 19th century maps do not indicate a quarry.
Plumstead Common Nature Reserve
Just beyond the hollow mentioned above is the Plumstead Common Nature Reserve. The nature reserve is in one of the deep ravines on the side of Plumstead Common and covers an area of c.1.25 hectares. The Friends of Plumstead Common1] look after the site.
Sessile oaks are the dominant species with a thick undergrowth of holly and ivy, and apparently there are bluebells in the spring. This is interesting because they are an indicator of Ancient Woodlands. It is a fascinating and completely hidden patch of magic.
The War Memorial
The final section of Common is between Blenheim Terrace and St Margaret’s Terrace. Here the land is at a lower level and undulating. Maps from the 19th century seem to indicate a quarry of some sort in the area which is now the Plumstead Adventure Play Centre and the land around.
The War Memorial dates from 1923. It is dedicated to those who died in WWI and who served in the 8th London (Howitzer) Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. The Brigade was one of the new units in the Territorial Force, a volunteer parttime force created in 1908 to increase the British army without resorting to conscription. The 8th London Brigade was headquartered in Woolwich and served on the Western Front, in Serbia and in Palestine.
Views in Plumstead Common West
Plumstead Common West is varied in its topography and filled with interesting corners.