October 19, 1907
Woolwich Arsenal, according to an old tradition, owes it origins to an explosion. It happened at Moor Fields, where the Ordnance Department were recasting a number of cannons captured by the Duke of Marlborough. Among those present was a young Swiss mechanic named Schlack, who pointed out to the Surveyor-General that the moulds to receive the molten metal were still wet. But the Surveyor-General, with a haughty contempt for “foreigners,” would not listen to advice, and the metal was run. The result was a terrible explosion and loss of many lives, and a further result was the calling of Schlack to the Ordnance Office, where, having further proved his ability, he was commanded to find a site for a new arsenal, and he dropped on Woolwich. The story, it may be added, does not state that the intelligent Swiss subsequently became Lord Mayor of London.
(Source: Portsmouth Evening News: October 26, 1907)