If you are a NWKFHS member, please login, if not, please join today.

Royal Arsenal Woolwich

The information accessed via the first three of four buttons below was provided by Mr Phillip Clarke who was the Membership Secretary to the Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historical Society and Mr Ray Fordham one of their members that recovered tons of records that were being destroyed. The Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historic Society was unfortunately disbanded in the autumn of 2016.

Mr Phillip Clarke and Mr Ray Fordham have kindly provided the data to the North West Kent Family History Society which is published here. However, the copyright remains with Mr Phillip Clarke and Mr Ray Fordham. For additional information about copying, reproduction, acknowledgements and notes, please see the 'Copyright Notes...' below.

Copyright Notes

Copyright, Description, Notes & Acknowledgements

Woolwich Arsenal Material


The copyright of the data contained in this publication is owned by Mr Phillip Clarke who has passed the information to North West Kent Family History Society (NWKFHS), a Registered Charity No. 282627.

Mr Clarke was the Membership Secretary to The Royal Arsenal Woolwich Historical Society which was, unfortunately, disbanded in the autumn of 2016.

Any User wishing to reproduce, print-off, download or publish data from this database may require the permission of the owner of the Copyright.

Publication of this database does not imply a right on the part of the user to reproduce, print-off, download or publish the data or absolve the user from the need to obtain permission to reproduce items subject to Copyright.

Strictly no commercial or organisational reproduction, printing-off, downloading or publication of the data in this database may be undertaken without the prior consent. No separate or independent databases derived from this database may be created for organisational or profitable purposes without the express permission.

Where downloading of the data is permissible it may only be done for reasons of private study. Private study is defined by the Patent Office and the definition is incorporated into the relevant legislation.


The data on the original CD is in Adobe PDF format. In order to view the data on the web site with a search facility it is presented in a spread sheet table.

To locate a particular word enter it in the search box and the table will revise itself to show the appropriate entries. Some files already have an alphabetical list by Surname.


Chief Inspector of Armaments (CIA), Royal Arsenal Woolwich: The database contains surnames, forenames and dates of birth for 794 former industrial employees of the inspection staff at Royal Arsenal Woolwich. There are no further details relating to the periods of service for these personnel.


All this data has been transcribed by Mr Phillip Clarke. The run of records is possibly incomplete in some areas; this is due either to the copy not being legible or to no copy being available to transcribe. The Society has not been able to check the transcriptions since no access was possible to copies of the original documents. The NWKFHS cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the data.

The Society Executive Committee wishes to thank Phillip Clarke for his donation of the data which represents a considerable amount of effort.

Barbara Phillips

NWKFHS Projects Co-ordinator

November 2017

Royal Arsenal Woolwich Main Gate – Historic note (our opening picture)

This extract summary is from W. T. Vincent’s ‘The Records of Woolwich District’ published c1890 in two volumes, p 296-380.

The dockyard was first established in 1512. It is after this time the Arsenal’ was established but a precise date is unknown but its foundation is before 1716 the commonly held date. G. E. Grover R E in a paper to the Royal artillery Institution in 1874 suggests its existence dates back to 1667. This date was an order from the King to Prince Rupert to raise works and batteries at Woolwich in the Warren. The Warren was an unclosed site inhabited chiefly by rabbits.

The rope yard at Woolwich was erected in 1573-6 on the edge of the Warren. One of its appurtenances was a storehouse by the water solidly built in brick. The early ordnance departments in 1572 were part of the ropery and consisted of the armoury, storehouse and workshops and were extended over the following 50 years.

At first there was only a wooden fence about the Arsenal. The earliest reference to a brick wall is by General Belford the governor in an order of 1758, but it was not complete. In 1777 convict labour was constructing the wall on the land side with a brick wall. 

The wall was not more than eight foot high before 1804 then it was raised along the Plumstead Road to twenty foot high. Other parts were fifteen foot high and some to a twelve foot height.

The old gate at Plumstead; opposite Maxey Road; was ten foot wide with a high archway to allow loaded wagons to enter.

The Middle Gate on Plumstead Road was built in 1830 and was previously known as the ‘Lower gate’.

The Main gate facing Beresford Square was constructed in 1829. Previously the main gate had been at Rope Yard Rails west of the police offices.

Until 1844 the Arsenal was entirely in charge of the military then the police and sentries had joint custody. In 1861 all but a small guard of the military were withdrawn, but not until 1880 were the police in absolute charge.

Medical Inspections 1815

Our search facility is a "Members Only" service. To use this service, please login or ensure that you have a valid membership

Woolwich Arsenal - Inspectors

Our search facility is a "Members Only" service. To use this service, please login or ensure that you have a valid membership

Royal Arsenal Medical Operations 1906-1919

Our search facility is a "Members Only" service. To use this service, please login or ensure that you have a valid membership

Disabled Workers 1935-1945

Woolwich Arsenal Disabled Persons 8/1/1946. 14% of Total men employed.


Disabled 1914-1918

Disabled 1939-1945

Registered disabled persons under new act

Compensation for factory injuries

Other disability






Disabled Workers 1935-1945 Data Set

Our search facility is a "Members Only" service. To use this service, please login or ensure that you have a valid membership

The Society Library & Resource Centre is located at;

80 Summerhouse Drive, Joydens Wood Estate, Bexley, DA5 2EE.