Near the clock tower in Lewisham is a rather fun building - look above street level and you'll notice ships with smoking funnels, trains and lorries decorating the facade. At the top are the bold dates 1868 and 1933 - the latter being the year it was built. The site had previously housed G Stroud, a large drapers' store.
Originally known as Tower House, this building was the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society's flagship department store (see it in a photo from 1934). That makes sense of much of the decoration including the lorry bearing the letters RACS and the prominent 1868 - the year of the Society's foundation. The reason for the transport theme is less obvious.
RACS may have begun as a food shop in Plumstead, but it grew to offer a huge range of products and services: books, jewellery, shoes, pharmacy, catering, hairdressers, laundry, travel agency, hotels, life insurance and even an undertaker's. It constructed housing on the Bostall Estate, had an education section and was politically active. Around 1975, the society counted half a million members - but a decade later it had declined drastically and merged with the national co-operative society.