Katherine Oxley, Retrieval Technicain, has been exploring the many roles of Severndroog castle, as seen through our archives.
Our website has a page about Severndroog Castle in Woolwich, an 18th-century gothic tower that fell into disrepair. In 2004 it featured in the BBC’s Restoration programme, to compete alongside other historically significant but neglected buildings for public votes and funding. Although it did not win, all was not lost; in 2010 the Heritage Lottery Fund agreed to help fund its restoration, and in July 2014 it opened to the public.
Severndroog Castle was built in the memory of Sir William James by his widow. James rose from humble beginnings to the rank of Commodore of the marine forces of the East India Company, eventually becoming the company’s Chairman of the Directors. ‘Severndroog’ is the anglicised version of ‘Suvarnadurg’, the Indian fortress that surrendered to James’s forces in 1755. A portrait of Sir James is displayed in the gallery Traders: the East India Company and Asia
Severndroog Castle has had a varied history, including being used as a lookout during World War II, and as a reference point in the trigonometrical survey led by William Mudge in the early 1800s. An account in three volumes of Mudge’s survey can be viewed in the Caird Library