Right from the outset the scene of the crime should be described as extensively as possible. The main stage was a road in Woolwich called Artillery Place; this road comprises a section of the B210 which continues west to Charlton, and forms one arm of a crossroads junction at its east end. Opposite Artillery Place across the junction is Wellington Street; these two roads form the west and east arms of the cross respectively. Running north-south is John Wilson Street – this is what might be called the most major road of all three.
In the south-west quadrant of this cross – therefore adjacent to John Wilson south and Artillery Place – is Woolwich Barracks, which is a compound that takes up some considerable amount of land to the south and the west. Some kind of side or rear entrance to the military base opens on to Artillery Place and the short drive to this is located in the vicinity of another crucial landmark – the tributary road of Rectory Place. This leads northwards from Artillery Place and is slightly westwards of the barracks’ access road. It runs (very) roughly parallel to John Wilson north, and eventually rejoins John Wilson after cutting through and providing access to a residential area.
On the corner on the western side of Rectory Place is a shop, previously a pub – we will refer to it as the Victoria Tavern. A little further up Rectory Place is a school, Mulgrave Primary, which reports on its website that its students are mainly the children of the army personnel who heavily populate the area. Between the shop and the school, on the other side of Rectory Place, is the entrance to a block of flats that overlooks Artillery Place. This is Elliston House. Please note that Greenwich Council also has premises in this complex. Elliston House is ringed by a yellow bricked wall that divides the grounds of the tower from the pavement of Artillery Road. This wall doesn’t run all the way down Artillery Place; instead it turns towards the north-west at about half-distance so that a relatively large green space opens up to sit on the north-western corner of the main crossroads. Lining this area to the north is the walled car park of Elliston House, but when one rounds the wall to the east, the green area continues so as to abut a row of houses in Charles Grinling Walk – a couple of cul-de-sacs and a row of houses accessed by an alley way, sitting within the constraints of Rectory Place and John Wilson Street.
A side road of Rectory Place runs down the back of Elliston House. There is no way through by car, but this road can be accessed from John Wilson on foot across the green area; indeed, a dirt path can be seen at the top of Fig.1 cut by regular footfall into the grass. This limb of Rectory Place is also important for being the location of lock-up garages.
In Wellington Street there are two apartment blocks on the southern side of the road; the first sits on the corner facing onto Wellington Street and very likely offers a view into Artillery Place for some of its residents; the second, further east, is mentioned because at its rear is a space of ground – possibly a car park – that can be accessed from an entrance off Wellington Street, and this detail may be very significant.
The epicentre of the incident was at the top of Artillery Place at the intersection with Rectory Place and thereabouts – and to explain the designation of “top”: Artillery Place runs up the side of a steep hill, so references to its top and its bottom are in respect of this geographical feature. The start of the climb coincides with the intersection of Artillery Place with the John Wilson junction, and the top of the hill occurs in the vicinity of Rectory Place.
On the northern side in this stretch is street furniture that will become very familiar to the reader (see Fig.4). A set of traffic lights is located at the entrance into the road, and metal railings are in the usual related position to channel pedestrians into the marked crossing. A road sign on two stanchions spans most of the pavement a few yards up. The space between these landmarks would host a major act in the incident at it played out to its conclusion. Nearer the top of the hill, another two legged road sign would be the most significant prop on the entire street – please note that this sign stands directly opposite the eastern lip of the barracks’ access opening – which can be studied in Fig.6.
About 30 feet down the hill is a lamp post that carries a light at its top, but at eye level we can recognise it because of the “Signal Timings Changed” sign that was placed on it on the day. The space between these two pieces of street furniture would host the most significant interactions in the entire incident.
Fig.5 shows the relation between the barracks access road to the south with the junction with Rectory Place to the north. Please notice that the Queen Victoria tavern has two doors for the public, apparently. The image shows a person entering through a door cut into a corner (above which is a chimney stack, which is architecturally entertaining), but there is also one on the Artillery Place facing side further up the road. Please notice that secondary access route in the barracks has 5 collapsible bollards studded across it. In the image in Fig. 6, these are all in the erect position, as one would perhaps expect. Security of their military bases is something that the British armed forces must take seriously and one would expect they are also quite particular and regimented about their security measures. For instance, one would expect that the default position for all of these bollards would be the standing one. It would be very sloppy and irregular for the Army indeed if any of them were ever abandoned in the horizontal position.