Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society Department Store, Woolwich
Out for a mornings Splore with Skeleton Key and Ninja Kitten and had a quick meet with UrbanX and Priority 7
The Woolwich Co-op is one of those places where you think to yourself "Should I bother setting my camera up?", it's absolutely trashed but there were still a few nice art deco features to be seen.
The impressive department store occupies a prominent place on Powis Street, Woolwich. Built in 1938 By the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society in the art deco style.
The Royal Arsenal Co-op was founded by workers at the local royal arsenal in 1868, their principal aim was to provide reasonably priced food for local workers. The co-op developed and came to offer a range of services locally which included bookshops, chemists, undertakers, laundries, insurance and savings stamps clubs and a department store. The co-op was founded on on the democratic principals of one member one vote and paid a dividend to members.
An old painted type postcard
The store was to become a popular high street store for the next 50 years, selling clothing and housing a bank. The RACS experienced a period of decline in the 1980's and was eventually merged with the Co-operative Wholesale society, Who in turn became known in the Uk Simply as the Co-op.
The exact date of closure is unclear, but it seems to have been empty from the early 2000's. The building is popular locally but is currently under threat from the local council who have plans to demolish and re-develop the site.
Ornate Art Deco stairs led from level to level
Up and up until we finally hit the roof
On the 2nd floor we stumbled across the sad side of UE. From the front of the photo to the back was his worldly possessions. Bed, Dinner Table and Washing Line, the table showed an in date pork pie and a couple of other fresh bits. Time to go
I came here with Elliot5200, Gabe and Indecisive Moment. The buildings have beautiful exteriors and although the contents have mostly been removed there are still many features to admire. The staircase in particular was stunning and the military records library contained beautiful mahogany cabinets for storing records, unfortunately the records have been removed now. The main building with the four turrets had most of the best stuff but the buildings behind were also accessible with a few rooms worth checking out such as the old bar. This was a nice chilled out wander for a couple of hours in good company.
Here's some history....
The Royal Military Academy at Woolwich was founded in 1741 at the Royal Arsenal. The need for more space led to a move to large new buildings on Woolwich Common in 1806, where cadets were taught mathematics, fortifications, French, chemistry, drawing and dancing. Among the hundreds of officers who graduated from the academy, probably the best known are Lord Kitchener and General Gordon of Khartoum. In 1945, the academy transferred to Sandhurst to merge with the academy there.
Durkan Group bought the Woolwich site by public tender in 2006. Many of the Woolwich buildings have since been converted and extended into 334 houses and apartments, including 150 for a housing association. Renovation work is currently ongoing.
Onto the pics....
Thanks for looking