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Notes and news — August 1969

In this issue:

Crossness Project

During June a small party of GLIAS members visited the Beam Engine Pumping House at the Crossness Sewage Treatment Works (TQ 484811) (GLIAS Newsletter April 1969) near Erith, to collect evidence for a report. This will state why GLIAS thinks the Engine House should be restored and what the Society could do to assist in this task. The report will be available by September and is being compiled by Alan Thomas, GLIAS Chairman, with advice from Joan Read (historical), John Smith (architectural) and Denis Smith (technical). It will be passed on to the G.L.C. investigator Mr. N Harrison in time for his report which goes before the Council in October.

GLIAS visit to St Katharine Docks

On Sunday morning, 13th July last, my wife and I joined some 35 fellow industrial archaeologists for the St Katharine Docks tour and 'teach-in'. It was a gloriously sunny day and the old buildings reflected in the water looked colourful and inviting. We were welcomed by Alan Thomas and Paul Carter, who distributed a map of the docks and notes on the day's programme.

Our first session, lasting till lunch-time, was led by John Ashdown, who described the architecture and construction as we explored the old buildings. The shade of these provided a most welcome place to have our sandwich lunch. As usual on this type of excursion, we finished our lunch in a pub discussing industrial archaeology.

We resumed under the leadership of Alan Thomas, when we were initiated into the ways of recording structural details, being shown how to recognise, measure and make drawings of them. After this we were taken over by Paul Carter, from whom we learned how and in what circumstances the place was built in 1827-8 by some 2,500 workmen at a cost of £1,700,000 — almost twice the estimate!

While all this was going on, Mike Mangan was taking parties for a walk around Dockland, when the general atmosphere and feel of the area could be absorbed and the strength and prison-like security of the wall-enclosed docks could really be appreciated.

We finished up feeling that we had been amongst and made new friends, having had the opportunity of picking up far more knowledge than we could remember. Altogether the day was arranged in a most businesslike way, at a unique site for its purpose. R A Huitson

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© GLIAS, 1969