Peabody historian Christine Wagg has documented residents’ contribution to the First World War, focusing on Thamesmead before the ‘new town’ was built.

She wrote in a feature on the group’s website: “During the First World War Thamesmead was part of Woolwich Arsenal, and the manufacture of munitions which took place there was vital to the war effort.

“A considerable number of the workers were women who were known as “munitionettes”. For many, the chance to work brought new status and independence — but it was not without its dangers.

“The work included filling shells with explosives; the first cases of TNT poisoning were recorded in August 1915. Their skin turned yellow and they were nicknamed “canaries”.”

She said that the site had its own railway, with 133 miles of track, partly to take people to their work.

See the full feature on the Peabody website: