Friday, 25 October 2013

The Woolwich Infant

In London recently, I was sitting in the top of a bus going through Woolwich when I noticed an old pub sign on the wall up above a row of shops near Woolwich Market. The pub had been called The Woolwich Infant, and had sold Courage beers.
It's such an unusual name that I looked it up.
The original Woolwich Infant was a 12 inch bore cannon, made at the nearby Woolwich Dockyards. It was designed to fire a 2 foot 6 inch long cartridge with 130lb of gunpowder, for a 700lb shot - but it cracked at the experimental stage. It was called the Woolwich Infant as a joke about it's great size - it weighed 35 tons.
The design of the gun was quickly improved upon, and when the Emperor of Russia was given a conducted tour of the dockyard in 1874, he was shown an entire "Infant School" of 35 ton and 25 ton guns.
The pub itself closed down in 2006, but before that it was said to be popular with the market traders.

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