Military history. Sir William Congreve (May 20, 1772 – May 16, 1828) was put in charge of developing rockets for the British forces at Woolwich Arsenal. His designs were based on the iron cased Mysorean rockets used against the British East India Company during the Anglo-Mysore Wars. Congreve, who was born in Woolwich, headed the fledgling research and development at the Royal Arsenal. By 1805, his first solid fuel rockets were in use against the French and were later used at the Battle of Copenhagen. The “rockets’ red glare” in the American national anthem describes them being fired at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. This was part of the Progress Estate which was built to house the munitions workers at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich during the First World War. Most of the street names have a connection with military history and the Arsenal.
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