Repository Woods, Woolwich, London: An Archaeological Survey of the Royal Military Repository Training Grounds
Author(s): Wayne D Cocroft, Jonathan Millward, Sarah Newsome
Between January and April 2008 English Heritage’s Archaeological Survey and Investigation team undertook a detailed archaeological survey of Repository Woods and the practice fortification that forms its eastern boundary, both of which were formerly part of the Royal Military Repository, Woolwich. The work was undertaken as part of the research for the Survey of London’s forthcoming volume on Woolwich parish and complements detailed architectural and historical research undertaken by English Heritage on the Woolwich Rotunda, which was moved from Carlton House to its present location, close to the eastern boundary of the Repository, in 1818. The research has revealed the unique role that the Royal Military Repository played in training soldiers in the mounting and movement of heavy artillery at the start of the 19th century and has shown that the surviving landscape of tracks and ponds, later to provide a picturesque setting for the Rotunda, was a military creation with both practical and recreational uses. Concurrent with the re-erection of the Rotunda, a linear practice fortification was constructed along the eastern boundary of the site which, though it clearly had a primary practical function, served to enhance the setting of the building. The survey recorded the earthwork remains of training batteries and fortifications dating from the start of the 19th century onwards as well as slit trenches and evidence of other activities from the 20th century, highlighting the area’s continued use as a training facility. Repository Woods and the Napier Line compound are the property of the Ministry of Defence and there is no public access.
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- Research Department Reports