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Notes and news — September 1972

In this issue:

Open Day at Crossness Sewage Treatment Works

This event took place on Saturday 2 September at very short notice. Unfortunately the G.L.C. did not advise GLIAS of the open day until after the last Newsletter had gone out, so the Society made some hurried re-arrangements including the cancellation of the Canal Teach-in planned for the following day.

About 2,000 people visited the Works during the day and of these about three-quarters visited the Beam Engine House where GLIAS provided a party of guides. Grateful thanks to the seven stalwarts who took part and undoubtedly made the tour of the building much more interesting for the visitors. Many people said they had come because they had seen Crossness featured in the 'Chronicle' programme (GLIAS Newsletter April 1971) — an indication of the power of television. About 250 people left their names so that they could be informed about the future of the Beam Engine House. This gives some idea of the interest shown in this Cathedral of the Sewage World. What a pity we came to hear of this event too late, but the response must lead to the works being opened again. Paul Carter

Lea Valley Pumping Stations. 5.8.1972.

Some 17 or 18 members and friends spent a most enjoyable day poking around disused pumping engine houses in the Lea Valley.

First Alan Spackman gave an interesting account of the current restoration of the Markfield Road beam engine. Its robust construction greatly impressed us. Then having explored the old sewage beds, we went on to the M.W.B. Copper Mill depot. We were fascinated by the wooden wharf crane and by the three-cylinder hydraulic engine which once drove the workshop machinery by belts and shafts under the floor.

At Lee Bridge Waterworks we visited nearly every house on the site. The huge and empty beam engine houses, 'Victoria' and 'Duke and Duchess', contrasted with the little 1948 erection of concrete blocks housing six D.C. electric pumps, also redundant. A giant six-cylinder Ruston diesel, for emergency power generation, attracted attention. Its oil was stored in three converted Lancashire boilers. For many, the highlight was the 'Musgrave' triple expansion steam engine of 1923, standing three storeys high not including the pumps. It worked until last November, but is now sadly rusty. The Science Museum has no room for it and the M.W.B, though keen to give it away, will sell it for scrap if there are no takers.

With the opening of the new Coppermills treatment works, much of the Lee Bridge site is now idle, but it may be remodelled for treating water from the Lower Lea. The engine houses are likely to be flattened. Malcolm Tucker

Steam Fair at Liphook, Hants

Britain's only coal-fired fairground is situated at Liphook, Hants. and is owned by Mr. John Baldock. He has been collecting steam machines for a number of years and has a fire-engine, a fairground organ and several traction engines. The fair includes a full-sized roundabout — one of the six remaining sets of Gallopers or Three-Abreasts, built 50 years ago for a showman in Chipping Sodbury, two railways, a 40-seat chairoplane, a steam yacht and a razzle-dazzle. Valerie Hunn

Museums No. 4: Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon

The Royal Air Force Museum was established in 1963 to collect, preserve and display all forms of material recording the history of the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Naval Air Service, the Royal Air Force and aviation generally. It is the only national museum concerned solely with aviation and covers the military, civil, artistic, scientific, industrial and political aspects of aviation.

The museum is housed in a purpose-designed building on the historic former airfield at Hendon. One of the museum's buildings was part of the original Grahame-White Aviation Company's factory and is to be preserved. The museum is also concerned about the future of sites, buildings and plant relating to the aviation industry, which, in the early years, was largely centered in and around London.

RAF Museum, Hendon © Robert Mason 18.4.2016

The general collections of the museum consist of over 100 original aircraft, together with technical equipment, armaments, uniforms, etc. The Aviation Records Dept. comprises an extensive reference library and the archive collection, which preserves the papers of prominent members of the Service, designers, industrialists, politicians and companies connected with aviation. There is also a large collection of films, photographs, documents, maps, plans and sound recordings.

The Archivist, Mr D.C. Brech, would be glad to hear of any information regarding aviation industrial archaeology and would be pleased to pass on any news which comes his way.

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© GLIAS, 1972