Tuesday 19 October 2010

Building Layout Change from Union St to Albury Street



These two plan drawings show the different building/street layout from Union St. in the late 1890's to Albury St thereafter. In plan A the location of the Albany Institute can be seen at the East end next door the the Kings Head Public House situated on the corner of Church St. At the West end you can also see the Public House which was the King of Prussia pub once owned and run by John Gast. (See below) In plan B center bottom, you can see a building with a cross on it. Anyone who knows what this building was I would like to hear from you. I can remember the gap in this area as shown in plan A. Opposite the Albany Institute was a Hall. Can any one shed any light on this building?

John Gast (1772-1837) was a shipwright by trade who worked in the Deptford shipyards in south-east London (though he was also associated with neighbouring Rotherhithe, where he lived for a time at 14 Lucas Street), and an early trade unionist.Having unsuccessfully tried to found a labour organisation during the 1790s, he helped organise the 'Hearts of Oak Benefit Society' during a shipwrights' strike in 1802 and was advocating workers' rights in radical pamphlets such as Calumny Defeated, or A Complete Vindication of the Conduct of the Working Shipwrights, during the late Disputes with their Employers (1802). Having been involved with regional efforts to build trade unions (notably the Metropolitan Trades Committee), in 1822 Gast formed a 'Committee of the Useful Classes', sometimes described as an early national trades council, and in 1824 he was the first secretary of the 'Thames Shipwrights Provident Union'. Gast also promoted an inter-union organisation: 'The Philanthropic Hercules'. In 1825, the Combination Acts were repealed. Employers were furious and lobbied for the Acts’ restoration, prompting the emergence of workers' movements to resist such steps; Gast founded the first Trades Newspaper as part of this resistance. In 1836, Gast was a member of the London Working Men's Association, some of whose members drafted the core six points of the People's Charter (the principles at the heart of the Chartist movement).
He was also a dissenting preacher and ran the King of Prussia public house at 6 Union Street (now Albury Street), Deptford.

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