Beresford Square dates from early 19th century and was named after the Anglo-Irish general William Beresford.
William Beresford was Master-General of the Ordnance and Governor of the Royal Military Academy.
Beresford Square was the result of a series of clearances meaning that some of the buildings are older than the square.
The west side of Beresford Square, was known as the High Pavement. Land to its east was part of the Burrage Estate, named for its 14th-century owner, Bartholomew de Burghersh.
The Salutation Inn stood almost at the northern end of the High Pavement. It had a tea garden and may have had Woolwich
’s first theatre, dating from before 1721. That garden later became Salutation Alley with about 20 timber cottages. It was adjudged a slum and cleared in the 1970s. In 1833 the Salutation pub moved to new premises next door.
An 1831 clearance formed a better entrance to the Royal Arsenal
and its news gate became known as Beresford Gate, later the Royal Arsenal
Gatehouse. In 1837 the square too was named after Beresford.
Most of the commercial buildings around the square were rebuilt in the final two decades of the 19th century.
Throughout the 20th century, Beresford Square remained the centre of Woolwich
In 1913, the Woolwich
Arsenal Cinematograph Company started a cinema in a building between the Salutation pub and Holy Trinity Church. The cinema, later the Century Cinema was demolished after 1964, along with Holy Trinity, the Salutation Inn and other neighbouring buildings.
Market had officially opened in September 1888. The market was open every day bar Sundays. As the market was often overcrowded, plans were presented for the widening of both Beresford Street
and Plumstead Road
, and by the 1970s, the pedestrianisation of the square.