Monday, 27 November 2017

A Race with Time and Space

A new interactive Children's book for ages 7-11 years.

Illustrated by Lynn Bennett- Usher lives on the estate and painted the pictures of "Write home soon" for the Centenary.
The author Irena Hill lives in Greenwich.

This is a book about two sisters travelling on a quest, racing through historical and fun places. During this quest, the children will discover facts about the area they live in, in a fun and imaginative way.

The book launch will take place at Eltham Library on 9th December, where the authors will be reading excerpts from the books and explaining more about the concepts.

The books are priced at £10 each or £9 each for more than one. 

The book launch will take place at the Eltham Library in
Archery Road, SE9 1HA on 9th December at 1:30 p.m. where Lynn and Irena will be reading excerpts and explaining more about its concept. It is priced at £10 for a single copy or £9 for two or more. 

It will also be available during the Progress Residents Association’s Christmas Social which will be held in the Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road, SE9 1SL on 9th December 2017 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Friday, 17 November 2017

November 2017 Newsletter

Click to enlarge
Join us for a glass of Mulled Wine at the Progress Estate's Christmas Social and AGM at 2pm on Saturday 9th December at the Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road.

Seasonal music will be provided by the Choir of St. Thomas Moore Catholic Primary School.

There will also be Christmas Goods stalls and a raffle with a variety of seasonal prizes to be won.

AGM Agenda
1) Minutes of the 2016 AGM
2) Annual reports (a summary is included in this newsletter)
3) Resolutions submitted to the Secretary 
(please see page 4 for further information)
4) Continuance of affiliations
5) Election of Officers and committee members

Letter from the Chair of the committee

Phew, the Progress Residents Association has managed to survive another year.  This has been a mixed year – three Committee Members, Lynn, Martin and Rui, left due to other personal commitments and I would like to thank all three of them for their valuable contributions.  Thankfully we were able to replace them with Kirsty, Philippa and Jimmie - some much needed new blood.
We have managed, with a struggle, to persuade Hyde Housing to continue with their small annual grant to us which enables us to hire the Progress Hall for any events we may hold.  We monitor the Estate’s planning applications to the Council, keep an eye on conservation matters and we send representatives to other local bodies such as the South Greenwich Forum and the local Police Panels so that we remain in touch with local matters.  We had our first attempt at an “antiques/collectables” event early in the year and we have recently held a very successful Race Night.  The summer also saw the publication of a book to celebrate the Estate’s centenary in 2015 “The Origins and Evolution of the Progress Estate” a labour of love by one of our committee members, Keith Billinghurst, and the sales so far have been very encouraging.
We will be holding our Xmas Social on Saturday 9th December at 2 p.m, by necessity preceded by a very brief Annual General Meeting. It should be fun and I urge you to attend - even if you can only spare the time for a brief visit it would be lovely to see you. Do remember, it is your Association and we represent you.  Come to our events; let us know what you think – good or bad; volunteer to help your committee if it is at all possible.
Finally, I would like to thank all our Committee Members for giving up their time and energy in an attempt to retain a sense of community on this Estate and to thank all of you who support us by attending events and to thank in anticipation all those residents who will be making a new year’s resolution to support the Progress Residents Association.
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and successful 2018.
Margaret Oliver
Chair, Progress Residents Association

The Aims of the Association
The Progress Estate Residents Association committee meets regularly to ensure that the aims of the association are met for the benefit of the Residents of the estate. The aims of the Association are:
a) To represent the views and interests of all Residents in appropriate forums be these recognised organisations, groupings or otherwise.
b) To promote and encourage a sense of community amongst Residents.
c) To monitor proposed alterations to, developments on and maintenance of the Estate with a view to ensuring they are in keeping with its designation as a Conservation Area covered by an Article 4 Direction.
d) To exercise influence to ensure, insofar as is possible, that Residents receive the best possible housing, environmental and community-related services.

The Associations activities for the year are included in this newsletter. If you would like further information regarding the annual reports please contact the Secretary, Avril Martin, ideally by email to by 2nd December 2017.  Those without access to email can obtain a copy of the reports by telephoning 07962877389 and providing your name and address.

What have the Association been doing to support the Aims?

Finance Report

The funds received by the Association in the last year have been from multiple sources; grants, income from the sale of the book “The Origins and Evolution of the Progress Estate” and income from fundraising activities undertaken by committee members. The Association received a grant in the year from Hyde South East Housing for £500.

Total income for the 12 months was £2,468 (£3,001 in the period ending September 2016).

The main expenditure has been; the hiring of venues, research and publishing costs plus other miscellaneous items and administrative expenses.

Total expenditure for the year was £2,406 (£2,508 in the period ending September 2016). Income exceeded expenditure by £62 (£493 in the period ending September 2016).

At year-end, the Association’s assets were £1,815. These were cash or cash equivalents. A huge thank you is due to all the volunteers and to the community who continue to show their support through attendance at our events.

Lisa Tallent

Planning report

Forty-seven planning applications were decided in the 12 months to the end of September 2017, a decrease of 19 on the previous 12 months. The Association has four options in deciding how to respond to any particular application:
• Support it
• Object to it
• Comment on it
• Do nothing

Our sole concern is whether or not, when judged by reference to the relevant planning and conservation guidelines, the proposed works will have a neutral or positive effect on our Estate.   We support those that do and object to those that do not. Where we do have objection we provide a comment detailing them.

We do nothing if an application is for works that will not be visible from the Public Highway.   These are commonly for the removal of trees in back gardens that are not visible from any public highway or for the construction of rear, single storey extensions behind mid-terrace houses.

We supported 24 of the applications received, objected to 8, remained neutral to 2 and made no comment on 6.   For reasons beyond our control, we missed the deadline for responding to the remaining 7.
Jimmie Greene

Book Sales

The Residents Association published its book The Origins and Evolution of the Progress Estate, Eltham’s Garden Suburb at the end of July, 2017.   By the end of September, 123 copies had been purchased by people living on our Estate at £10 each and 52 by others living elsewhere in SE9 for whom the price was £12 a copy. In addition, 17 had been mailed to addresses elsewhere in the UK at an all-in cost of £13.95. 

Copies remain available and may be ordered by email from or by calling or sending a text to 07962 877389.   Please provide your house number, road name, postcode and phone number.

Keith Billinghurst

Houses Changing Ownership

During the 12 months to the end of August 2017 (Land Registry data is published approximately 5 weeks after the end of each month) 39 houses changed ownership, 7 less than in the preceding 12 months. New families moved into 24 Hyde homes. We have delivered Welcome letters to all concerned.

Keith Billinghurst
tel: 07962 877389

Social Events

Our Antique Fair, held early in the year, was a great success with stalls selling everything from china, jewellery and all kinds of memorabilia.  We seemed to have a steady stream of people popping in to have a browse or making a purchase and then maybe having a cuppa and a chat, all-in-all a great afternoon. 

Recently, on 21st October, we had a very successful Race Night but it would have been great to see a few more people. Those who did come along enjoyed it very much, all down to Paul who brought all his equipment, and his sense of fun that kept us on our toes.  I think a few of us went home with a few more coppers than we came with. Thank you to all who attended.
We’d like to have some feedback on our social events so that we can learn from you what you like and especially, don’t like.  Send your comments to our email address.
Margaret Johnson

Social Media

We continue to maintain our online presence through:
Facebook, search “Progress Estate Residents’ Association’ and don’t forget to ‘like us’
Our website,

At this current time we have:
305 email subscribers
347 Facebook likes 
572 twitter followers

Our website, continues to be popular with 70,518 views, of which 918 were in the month of September.
If you would like to receive future newsletters via email, please send an email to with the subject ‘Email list’
James Garner
Matters Residents wish to be considered at the AGM are called Resolutions. These include nominations for people to serve as Committee members, which must be seconded by a Resident who is present at the meeting. Resolutions will be passed if a majority of Residents voting, vote in favour.
Resolutions must be in writing and be received no later than 7 days before the AGM. They should be sent to the Secretary, Avril Martin, ideally by email to by 2nd December, 2017.   Those without access to email should call 07962877389 to be told the address to which they should write their resolution to. Letters must be received by the 2nd December 2017, so please allow time for postage. You must include your name and address in your email or letter.
The Progress Estate Residents Association Committee look forward to seeing you at the Christmas Social and AGM on Saturday 9th December at 2pm and wish all the Estate’s Residents a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Making Progress is published by the Progress Residents Association.
It is printed on their behalf by:

David Evans Property Services,

The Progress Estate Experts
0208 8859 5331

Monday, 21 August 2017

August 2017 Newsletter

August 2017

Dear Fellow Residents

We’ve had an almost idyllic summer with high temperatures being recorded throughout the country.
We would like to thank everyone who expressed an interest in the positions advertised in our last newsletter and we welcome Jimmie Green who will be monitoring planning applications, Kirsty McGrath who will be producing our newsletter and Philippa Stone who has a wealth of experience working with committees.

Consultation regarding the closure of Eltham Police Station
As you may be aware the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has recently announced plans to close a number of police stations in London, which would include Eltham Police Station.
If the closure goes ahead as planned our closest manned police station would be in Plumstead.
You can respond to the consultation directly at
You can respond until the 6th October.

Book Launch

We are pleased to say that our book “The Origins and Evolution of the Progress Estate” is now available. The cover price of £13.95 includes free delivery by second-class mail to addresses in the UK. 

However, each household on the Estate may buy one copy for £10 and people living elsewhere in SE9 may do so for £12.  
To order your copy, please provide us with your name, address and phone number either by email to or by calling or sending a text to 07962 877389.

The book chronicles how the Progress Estate is a pre-eminent example of the development of garden suburbs in south-east London, explaining the Estate’s non-symmetrical outline. 
The book also describes the considerable damage wrought to the Estate in aerial attacks during the Second World War and the process by which houses were repaired or rebuilt in their original style.

Contact the Elderly

Charity urgently appeals for volunteers to help ‘Drive away’ loneliness among older people in Greenwich Borough
Contact the Elderly are an organisation who offer a lifeline of friendship to thousands of people aged 75 or over by organising free monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups within local communities.

Contact the Elderly are urgently appealing for volunteers living in the Greenwich Borough to spare just a few hours each month to drive one or two older people to a local tea party and enjoy a cuppa and a cake themselves!
If you would like to find out more information about volunteering your services or if you know of someone who would benefit from coming along to a tea party please contact Rachel Mentally, Support Officer for Greenwich on 0207 881 2369 or by email

Irish Community Services
Advice and Advocacy 
Drop in Surgeries

Are you a Hyde Housing Tenant? Are you 60 years or older? Pop into our drop in Advice Surgeries for help, advice or support with any of the following - welfare benefits, disability benefits, pension checks, housing advice and help with completing forms.

Every 2nd and 4th Thursdays 12:30-2:30pm in the Progress Hall, Admiral Seymour Road, SE9 1SL
For queries please call the Office at 0208 854 4466.

Up-Coming Events

Family Funday
Well Hall Pleasaunce are having a family funday on Sunday 3rd September 10am to 5pm. It’s free entry with live entertainment, stalls and exotic animals!

Open House London and Autumn festival
Severndroog Castle will be opening its doors free during the Open House London Day and Autumn Festival on Sunday 17th September between 11am and 4pm. There will also be food stalls, activities and music. 

Making Progress is published by the Progress Residents Association.
It is printed on their behalf by:

David Evans Property Services,
The Progress Estate Experts
0208 8859 5331

Monday, 31 July 2017

Book Launch - "The origins and evolution of the Progress Estate - Eltham's Garden Suburb"

Progress Residents’ Association member Keith Billinghurst has published a book about the Estate and its place in the history of housing. 

The book looks at the social changes leading up to the building of the Progress Estate, explains the Estate’s non-symmetrical outline and includes sketches of the people remembered in its road names. It chronicles the arrival of the motor car and the gradual change from gas to electric lighting. The transition from baths in the scullery and outside WCs to the internal facilities taken for granted today is described, as is the shift from tenanted to leasehold and then freehold housing. 

The book also chronicles the considerable damage wrought to the Estate in aerial attacks during the Second World War and the process by which houses were repaired or rebuilt in their original style

The cover price of £13.95 includes free delivery by second-class mail to addresses in the UK.   
However, each household on the Estate may buy one copy for £10 and people living elsewhere in SE9 may do so for £12.

To order, either write to stating your name, address and phone number or call or text 07962 877389 to provide the same information. 

Andrew Simpson, local historian writes about his excitement of the book launch -

Eltham Matters -

Amazon link:

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

So what is the story behind the tram on Well Hall Road, one sunny spring day?

Original posted:

So what is the story behind the tram on Well Hall Road, one sunny spring day?

Now there is a fine line between nostalgia and remembering the past.

The first pretty much takes you nowhere and often distorts the past by making it seem somehow better than it was.

On the other hand remembering the past can trigger not only a series of memories but leads to wanting to find out more.

It often starts with that simplest of questions was this really how it was? And then takes you off into serious history which involves talking to others, cross checking their memories against research and beginning to record it for others to read.

And that often leads to community projects where memories and memorabilia come out of the cupboards, are dusted down and shared which not only adds to what we know but brings an area together, allowing the not so young to recreate the past for those too young to know what it had been like.

So here we are with one of those classic old pictures of Well Hall from a book on trams.*

There is no date on the picture, and the caption just says “early days on Well Hall Road [showing] that the local children had plenty of space to play.  All they had to do was get out of the way of the trams which plied the route every ten minutes. The ride from Woolwich to Eltham would have cost two pence.”

All of which draws you in and makes the picture worth investigating.

Judging by the trees and the children’s clothes I think we must be somewhere in the 1920s or 30s and taking into account the shadows it will be early afternoon.

Now it could be a Sunday which would explain the lack of traffic or we really are at a point in time when Well Hall Road was far less busy.

What I also find interesting is that the children by and large are ignoring the photographer.

Earlier in the century and certainly in the last decade of the 19th century the appearance of a man with a camera would have attracted the curious, the vain and those with nothing better to do.

You see them on the old pictures staring back at the camera, intrigued, mystified and just nosey.  But not here, which means we are either dealing with some very sophisticated young people or the world has moved on and street photographers were taken for granted.

And that just leaves me that little personal observation that however fascinating this picture is it just leaves off our house for the photographer has positioned himself just a tad further north, missing out 294 by a couple of blocks.

That said if I have got this right I have to satisfy myself with knowing that the corner house with its ever so fashionable lace curtains was the home of Mr and Mrs Burton in 1925.

The Burton’s were there by 1919 which means that Mr Christopher Dove Burton may have been an Arsenal worker, and just as an aside, I know that they were married in 1920 in Lambeth, and that Beatrice’s maiden name was Briant and it was as Miss Beatrice Briant that she shows up on the electoral roll in 1919 sharing the house with Mr Burton.

Now there is a story to follow up.

Pictures; Well Hall Road, date unknown, from the collection of G.L. Gundy, reproduced from Eltham and Woolwich Tramways

*Eltham and Woolwich Tramways, Robert J Harley, Middleton Press, 1996,

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Do South Eastern Rail proposals offend the equality act?

PRESS RELEASE no: 2017/01    
16th May 2017


Absent a wholesale improvement in platform access at Lewisham station, the Progress Residents Association has questioned whether South Eastern Rail would breach its responsibilities under s20 and Schedule 2 of the 2010 Act were the consultation’s proposals to proceed.   Our response to it may be read in full at here, our comments on question 9 dealing with this specific issue.

Note for Editors:

Originally named the Well Hall Estate, The Progress Estate was built in 1915 to provide housing for the many additional workers the Woolwich Arsenal needed to manufacture the armaments required by the services during the First World War.   Conservation Area status was granted in 1975, in recognition of its unique architectural character.

For additional information, please contact:
Keith Billinghurst

Progress Residents Association committee member

56 Arsenal Road


London  SE9 1JY

tel: 020 8856 5593 or 07962 877389


Twitter:             @ProgressEstate


Monday, 15 May 2017

Response to the South Eastern Rail Franchise Public Consultation

Many of you will be aware of this consultation, whose closing date is Tuesday, 23rd May.   Although the forthcoming general election has nullified the on-line petition, this date still stands so we must presume the Department of Transport will pick the subject up once the election is over.

We have sent our response on-line because we believe government departments are more likely to take note comments submitted in this way.   Anyone who would like to respond as an individual is more than welcome to make use of out text if they so choose.    To do so on-line, go to and click on the link 'Respond online'.   
South Eastern Rail Franchise
Consultation Co-ordinator
Zone 4/13
Department of Transport
Great Minister House
33 Horseferry Road
London  SW1P 4DR

15 May 2017

Dear Sir,


Our Association represents the 1,298 homes that comprise the Progress Estate Conservation Area.   We estimate these are occupied by some 2,500 – 3,000 adults, many of whom will regularly use the South Eastern rail service from Eltham to London for either work or leisure purposes.

Having studied the consultation document we believe the issues it raises have to be viewed from the perspective of two groups of people:

1. The disabled and those of senior years (referred to hereafter as ‘the Less Able’ which phrase includes, where the context so admits, their Carers).

2. The Able-Bodied.
The reasons for this distinction will, we trust, become clear as you read our answers to the questions the Consultation poses.

1. Do our priorities correctly reflect your views?
We would expect the major concern of the Able-Bodied to centre on the total journey time from their point of departure to their destination together with the frequency of the service.   Changes en route ought to be a lesser consideration.   However, for the Less Able the need to change trains presents challenges, especially at stations not served by modern infrastructure.

2. Do you agree that more space is needed for passengers at the busiest times of the day?

We are very concerned about the proposal to introduce of Metro trains.   These simply do not work for those amongst the Less Able who cannot stand comfortably for the duration of their journeys.   We would ask you to consider adding conventional carriages for the requisite proportion of a train’s length (which survey data may lead you to conclude varies from one line to another) and, during peak times, restrict their use to those with disabled badges and Freedom Passes.

3. What comments, if any, do you have on options for providing more space through (a) Longer trains; and (b) Metro style carriages with large entrances and more standing room and handholds?

We have expressed our views on Metro style carriages in (2).   We welcome your suggestion that space be added for wheelchairs and pushchairs ‘on shorter journeys’.   This does not, however, address the problems of those members of the Less Able who, whilst not being reliant on wheelchairs, nevertheless find it very uncomfortable to stand for the duration of their journeys.

4. Would you support removing First Class seating on the busiest routes to provide more space?


5. What comments, if any, do you have on our plans to improve customer service and the overall passenger experience?


6. Do you have any other ideas or priorities for improving customer service?

Beyond the important issues relating to the Less Able we are addressing in answer to your questions, our only comment would be that providing wi-fi in these days when iPhones are the dominant form of mobile communication is not necessary.   On a busy Metro train, when a higher proportion of the passengers are standing, how many will be attempting to use laptops?

7. What changes to the fares structure would be of benefit to you?

8. What else could be done to improve the way tickets are sold and provided?

No comments.

9. What further comments, if any, do you have on our plans to improve access and facilities at stations?

This question raises what for us is probably the most important issue in this consultation.   There is a suggestion in paragraph 4.6 (and we appreciate that this may be all that it is) that the complexity caused at key points such as Lewisham requiring trains to cross other tracks to continue to their destination can lead to queuing and delays.   The remainder of our comments for this question are limited to services running through Lewisham because we do not have knowledge of other cross-over points on the service.

At present, people may board trains east of Lewisham that offer direct services to the termini of Victoria, Charing Cross and Cannon Street.   Subject to final timetabling when London Bridge is fully re-opened, the trains for the latter two also provide direct journeys to the important intermediate stations of New Cross (an access point for the Overground), London Bridge itself and London Waterloo (East).  Trains to Victoria provide direct access to Denmark Hill, home to the Kings College and the Maudsley Hospitals.   Kings College is a nationally and internationally recognised teaching hospital for liver disease, transplantation, neurosciences, hæmato-oncology and fœtal medicine, these services being provided to people throughout the south-east.   The South London and Maudslay NHS Foundation Trust provides the widest range of public-sector mental health services in the UK.

There will be significant difficulties if direct services only run to one of these three termini, caused by people having to change for trains to the other two at Lewisham:

a) For the Less Able, there will be two problems:
i. Access from one platform to another is only by staircase; there are no lifts or escalators.
ii. The curvature of platform 2, serving the downline, is such that there is a 12-18 inch gap between carriages’ running boards and the platform as well as a drop between the two.
b) Lewisham is a busy station at peak times.   Significantly-increased numbers of passengers changing trains might lead to worrying levels of congestion.
We are of the opinion that unless and until Lewisham is fully modernised, greatly increased numbers of passengers changing trains there will cause frustration for all and effectively force the Less Able to find ways of journeying to destinations other than the remaining destination by means other than rail.   We trust you will agree it would be quite wrong to force this choice upon them.

Finally, we would point out the relevant statutory duties the Equality Act, 2010 places upon, amongst others, train operators:

s.20 – Duty to make adjustments [for disabled persons]

(4) where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in relation to a relevant matter in comparison with persons who are not disabled, to take such steps as it is reasonable to have to take (a) to avoid the disadvantage, or (b) to adopt a reasonable alternative method of providing the service or exercising the function. [Schedule 2, 2(3)]

(9) In relation to [this requirement], a reference in this section or an applicable Schedule to avoiding a substantial disadvantage includes a reference to—

(a) removing the physical feature in question,

(b) altering it, or

(c) providing a reasonable means of avoiding it.

(10) A reference in this section … to a physical feature is a reference to -

(a) a feature arising from the design or construction of a building,

(b) a feature of an approach to, exit from or access to a building,

(d) any other physical element or quality.

Schedule 2 - Services and public functions: reasonable adjustments

(5) Being placed at a substantial disadvantage in relation to the exercise of a function means—

(a) if a benefit is or may be conferred in the exercise of the function, being placed at a substantial disadvantage in relation to the conferment of the benefit, or

(b) if a person is or may be subjected to a detriment in the exercise of the function, suffering an unreasonably adverse experience when being subjected to the detriment.

10.    What more could be done to improve access and provide facilities for those with disabilities and additional needs?

No suggestions; as you will have gathered from our response to question (9), our current concern is that, for them, the service becomes significantly worse.

11 – 16

No comments.

17.       How far do you support, or oppose, options to reduce the choice of central London destinations served from individual stations with the aim of providing a more regular, evenly spaced timetable, and a more reliable service?

Absent a considerable modernisation of Lewisham station we do not support these options.   In our opinion, the suggestion in the wording of this question – that its implementation would carry benefits that are otherwise unachievable - is disingenuous.

18 - 20

No comments.

Yours faithfully,

On behalf of the Committee