This district of south-east London is situated on the banks of the River Thames, just further east than Charlton. The area has been settled since Roman times, but for many years it remained just a sparsely populated rural district several miles from The City.
Then in Tudor times Woolwich first came into its own as an important industrial district. This is because Henry VIII established a Royal Dockyard here, beginning a military association that lasted several hundred years.
Although the area's shipbuilding industry was virtually non-existent by the end of the 19th century, the area's military association continues. For example, there are several military buildings still surviving including the Royal Artillery Barracks and the Royal Arsenal, parts of which are still in effect today.
The legacy of this era can also still be seen today in the district's football club, which is called Arsenal and nicknamed the Gunners.
From the early 20th century onwards many of the Dockyard closed down and the area soon went into decline. Some parts have been re-developed in recent years, but others remain quite run down and derelict.
Today the area still has an industrial feel to it and the district is less of a residential area than many other parts of outer London. Woolwich is currently part of the borough of Greenwich.
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