It’s rather incongruous that there’s a busy main road behind the Royal Arsenal Gatehouse that you have to cross to enter theÂ Royal Arsenal site.in Woolwich. The former armaments manufacture and explosives testing site is now a mix of historic buildings, many of which have been converted to residential use, and new-build blocks of flats.
Royal Arsenal Gatehouse
The first thing that I noticed upon entering in Woolwich was the sculpture of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
The Nike sculpture
A former workshop has been transformed into the Dial Arch Gastro Pub.
Dial Arch Gastro Pub
Opposite the Dial Arch Pub there’s a sculpture of a football commemorating the founding of Arsenal Football Club
Arsenal FC plaque and sculpture
The Royal Military Academy dominates Artillery Square, where you’ll also find the Greenwich Heritage Centre.
Information board in Artillery Square, the Academy to the left, Heritage Centre to right
Opposite Artillery Square is the Firepower – the Royal Artillery Museum. Unfortunately, as I visited the area on a Monday, both the Greewich Heritage Centre and the Firepower Museum were closed. It seemed strange to me that they are both also closed on Sundays, you’d think that’d be one of their busy days. It’s free to get into the Heritage Centre, but there’s an admission fee for the Firepower Museum; Â£5.30 for adults, Â£4.60 concessions and Â£2.50 for kids.
Firepower – the Royal Artillery Museum
As you’d expect, there were plenty of cannons dotted around Royal Arsenal.
Cannon on wheels
A monster cannon in Royal Arsenal
By the entrance to Woolwich Arsenal Pier, a stop of the Thames Clipper water bus service, there’s the Assembly Sculpture by Peter Burke. The sixteen hollow cast iron figures seem quite appropriate for an ex-industrial setting.
The Assembly by Peter Burke
The Shell Foundry Gates were made in 1856 but were moved to another Royal Ordnance factory near Manchester in the 1960s. However, they were brought back home to Woolwich in the early 1990s.
Shell Foundy Gates at Royal Arsenal Woolwich
Close up of Shell Foundy Gates
The Grand Store Warehouse is so different to the steel shed style of most modern warehouses.
The Grand Store Warehouse in Royal Arsenal
It was quite strange wandering around Royal Arsenal. Although many of buildings have been converted to homes, it was like a ghost town during the day, although there were lots of parked cars everywhere. I noticed several security and cleaning staff employed by the Royal Arsenal Riverside (the name of the residential development). It felt like a pristine gated community without the gates.
Wellington sculpture in Royal Arsenal
I didn’t quite know what to expect when visiting Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, but I found it to be very interesting.