In Search of Gravestones Old and Curious Part 14

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Comprising Woolwich, Plumstead, Charlton, Shooters' Hill, Westcombe Park, Eltham, Abbey Wood, Belvedere, Erith, and Bexley.


The Work is Dedicated, by permission, to H.R.H. PRINCE ARTHUR, DUKE OF CONNAUGHT, and has been graciously accepted by HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN and H.R.H. THE PRINCE OF WALES. It has also been universally extolled in the Press, from which the following are a few extracts:--

"THE RECORDS OF WOOLWICH.--Mr. Freeman long ago suggested that it would be a useful division of labour if separate towns and districts were described by those in the several localities who had special knowledge on the subject, and he himself led the way in carrying out the design. Of local guide-books so called there is no end, but what is wanted in each case is an exhaustive history of the district, its natural formation, its antiquities, and the many objects of interest that are sure to abound, and that only want to be brought to light in order to form material for the future historian of the English nation.

This labour Mr. W.T. Vincent proposes to perform for Woolwich in a work which he ent.i.tles 'The Records of the Woolwich District.' Mr. Vincent has been engaged in the task for twelve years. This is the work of a writer who has studied his subject in all the places where information can be obtained.

The Preface alone will gain the reader's attention, even if the locality itself had no interest for him. It appears that Mr. Vincent had scented out the existence of a sealed packet of papers having reference to Woolwich, and, after a long hunt, ran the packet to earth in the British Museum. It was not until the authorities of the War Office had deliberated for a month on the subject that Mr. Vincent was allowed to see and open the packet, which was more than a hundred years old, and contained maps, plans, and views, several of which he produces."--_The Times_.

"We must resist the temptation to extract, and conclude this notice by expressing our approval of the numerous _facsimile_ reproductions of old prints ill.u.s.trative of the text, each on a leaf of plate paper, while vignettes, maps, and plans are liberally dispersed through the letterpress, which is executed by Messrs. Virtue and Co., the well-known printers of the _Art Journal_. As to the text, the industry, care, research, and observation expended shew that it has been a labour of love.

No prospect of profit could urge the production of such a work. It is, therefore, doubly reliable as a contribution to the antiquarian, topographical, anecdotal, pictorial, and descriptive history of an interesting locality, executed by a writer who is 'to the manner born.' We fully hope that Mr.

Thomas Vincent, whose name is not unknown in the literary world, will reap his reward of fame and respect from his townsmen, and of fair profit, which his public spirit deserves."--_The Morning Advertiser_.

"'The Records of the Woolwich District' deal with all the parishes which surround Shooters' Hill, necessarily dwelling most fully upon the northern slope. Of Shooters' Hill itself, and of all the other suburbs, some novel and attractive tidings may be expected."--_The Kentish Independent._

"There can be no doubt that such a work, adequately and conscientiously executed, is much needed, and may be of great value. It has been undertaken by Mr. Vincent, well known as a journalist in the locality, and as the author of that useful directory 'Warlike Woolwich.' ... The printing has been entrusted to Messrs. Virtue and Co., the proprietors of the _Art Journal_, a sufficient guarantee for its quality. We are notified that there are over five hundred ill.u.s.trations to be introduced, including a series of maps and drawings, included in the 'sealed packet,' and a hundred and fifty portraits of public persons, past and present. ... We hope the publication will command the success it deserves. The object of the author is evidently not mere money-making; he has undertaken the work from an earnest and enthusiastic desire to supply a worthy history of the locality with which he has been for his life connected, and we congratulate him upon the excellent promise of his First Number."--_The Kentish Mercury_.

"The elegance of the ill.u.s.trations at once attracts attention.

The pictures, not only in their abundance and their interest, but in their exquisite presentment, are really excellent.

Take the first of them, the charming view of 'Pleasant Little Woolwich,' a steel plate engraved in 1798, and now reproduced by photographic process. The scene which it presents at a time when the author tells us this brick-covered, hard-working, dingy old town was a pretty village, and actually a fashionable watering-place, to which people came from London to recruit health, as they now go to Malvern and Scarborough, is delightful and refreshing beyond measure. The whole of these ill.u.s.trations are indeed full of agreeable contemplation and fruitful in speculation.... He may honestly be congratulated on the product of his labours, which, he tells us, have been his recreation for many years. We can well believe it, and a.s.sure him, if he has any regrets at the impossibility of a pecuniary return, that the satisfaction which his book will give will be a full reward. Such books seldom pay; they are not expected to do so, and any one may tell that there is no profit in the venture. But it will supply a need, and the writer's name will be handed down to posterity as having provided a very agreeable book."--_The Woolwich Gazette_.

"The neighbourhood, rich as it is in historical material, has. .h.i.therto met with scanty recognition from historians, and we welcome Mr. Vincent's efforts to supply the need, and the generous spirit of his labours. He has spared no pains to make the records complete. Patient research and much literary skill are combined in the letterpress and woodcuts, engravings, drawings, and photographs, with maps and plans, which have been lavishly introduced by way of ill.u.s.tration.... We content ourselves now with pointing out its great value and entertaining power. The style is easy, and the writer is happily successful in his endeavour to avoid any appearance of merely dry-as-dust research."--_The Eltham, Sidcup, and District Times_.

"It is a work which should prove of vast interest in our district, and we ought to say very far beyond it, for there must be many who, though not now residing in the area comprised in the 'Records,' would be glad to possess the book on its existence becoming known."--_The Erith Times_.

"Mr. W.T. Vincent's 'Records of the Woolwich District' is undoubtedly the first volume which pretends to give a full and concise history of the whole district."--_The Bexley Heath and Erith Observer_.

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In Search of Gravestones Old and Curious Part 14 summary

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