Powis Street, SE18

Place Name

Named after the Powis brothers, William (died 1806), Thomas and Richard, 18thCentury brewers from Greenwich. Arriving in Woolwich in August 1782, the siblings took out a lease for 43 acres of field in Woolwich, then part of the Bowater Estate, and started developing it. This street was the first to be formally laid out as a broad track – and was indeed called Broad Street on some maps. It provided a neat bypass of the narrow and circuitous Warren Lane route through the town, and an alternative to the High Street, to link Green’s End near the Warren Gate to the High Street east of the dockyard. As the lease the brothers took was only for 22 years the land was not profitable for development, and apart from Powis Street, very little happened until 1799, when a 99-year development lease was signed. Plans were made to fill the remaining acres of these fields with streets and houses. In less than 30 years the project was complete, giving Woolwich a municipal precinct (the area now called Bathway Quarter), and a new shopping precinct – the Powis and Hare Street areas. In 1821 the Powis Estate leasehold, by now in the hands of the brothers’ heirs, had around 400 houses and other buildings, most held through sub-leases of 61 years. A new centre for Woolwich had taken shape. Powis Street was fully built up with 158 mostly small properties.






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