Poised to gain its own stop on the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) when it opens in December 2018, historic Woolwich, part of the Royal Borough of Greenwich in South East London, is busy rewriting its profile from a difficult-to-get-to patch of riverside to a vibrant, culturally significant and well-connected area to rival neighbouring Greenwich.
Royal Arsenal - an enclosed Woolwich site that saw the manufacture of guns and explosives and a military academy for over 200 years - is at the heart of a new masterplan which includes the new Elizabeth line station, thousands of freshly launched riverside homes and new cultural and heritage quarters.
Excellent connectivity will further open up this maturing area, increasing regeneration and investment while drastically reducing journey times. Canary Wharf will be reached in just 8 minutes, The City in 14 minutes and the West End in 22 minutes, affording Woolwich residents the luxury of morning lie-ins before work.
The positive effects of the opening of the golden goose Elizabeth Line will be seen and felt in years to come, bolstered by the new Cultural Quarter that will bring a 450-seat theatre to area - a big draw for tourists and a new generation of culture-seeking young professionals putting down roots.
In 1805 a group of military establishments in Woolwich Warren became known collectively as the Royal Arsenal. Many of Britain’s military leaders proved their mettle here, including Lord Kitchener, Charles George Gordon, and Lord Charles Wingate.
In 1513 Henry VIII founded a dockyard here to build the royal ship Henri Grace à Dieu, popularly known as the ‘Great Harry’.
Football team Arsenal were founded as Dial Square and later Royal Arsenal in 1886 by a group of workers employed at the Royal Arsenal. On moving to Highbury in 1913 the club shortened its name to Arsenal and adopted the nickname 'The Gunners'.
Military use of the Royal Arsenal site ceased altogether in 1994 and the area suffered decline. Investment and regeneration and intense home building in Royal Arsenal provided a springboard for the area's upward trajectory.
A major part of Woolwich's 30-year regeneration plan is embodied by the vast number of new homes - some available through Help-to-Buy - and glossy new riverside developments attracting buyers to the area. Trendy shops, bars, gyms, restaurants and a local microbrewery service residents, creating a new Thames-side community.