Notes and news — November 1973
In this issue:
- New Projects
- Beam Engines
- London Refuse Dumps
- GLIAS & the Local Organisation Of Industrial Archaeology In London
- Kew Bridge
- Industrial Archaeology in Barnet Project
- Government Support for Rescue Archaeology
- Archaeology in Hammersmith
- News in Brief
- City Road Basin Canal Festival
- Brunel Exhibition Project
- Fire at St Katharine Docks
One or more members are invited to write to Michael Bussell for details of the following projects, on which field and documentary work would be involved:
Monsted's Loading Shed Adjoining Southall (W.R.) station, the purpose-built railway despatch shed of Monsted's pioneering margarine factory lies derelict — for how long? Interesting structural details and significance in the history of foodstuffs offer scope for some useful project work.
Channel Tunnel Terminal The recently published report proposing a Channel Tunnel terminal in the White City area adds urgency to the need for recording of this industrial area now awaiting redevelopment.
Sutton High Street Proposals for the redevelopment of a five-acre site in the centre of Sutton, Surrey, were recently announced. A survey of the area might reveal some hitherto-unrecorded industrial sites.
Beckton The former Gas Board site in East London was recently sold to a property company, which has plans for rebuilding. Although the gas industry in London is relatively well-recorded (notably in recent months by Ron Fitzgerald of the London Museum), some urgent work is required to ensure that nothing of importance is lost without documentation.
Gillette Factory It has just been announced that the Gillette razor blade factory is moving from its Isleworth home to a site near Heathrow Airport. While the factory is still in operation, would someone care to record the manufacturing processes involved?
St Paul's South-West Area The City Corporation has produced an elegantly-designed consultation report on the future of a part of the City largely occupied by Victorian buildings. A limited amount of field and documentary work should establish whether any buildings are of importance sufficient to justify further detailed recording while they still stand.
GLIAS member Mr Norman Ling, 105 Lodge Road, Writtle, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 3JA, has written asking for "any information concerning the wall cranes that overhang many London streets and courtyards. I believe the cranes themselves are known as 'jiggers' and the loading doors that they serve are called 'loopholes', however I would like to find out any manufacturers' names, dates, published information, photographs, drawings, etc. that members may have access to. If any other members are interested in these relics of former industrial activity perhaps they would like to contact me at the above address or at 01-606-0074 during office hours."
Mr David Samson has written from 38 Woodland Road, Chingford, E4 asking on behalf of the Crofton Society for information on any beam engines known to be in existence in this country or abroad, for inclusion in a world-wide list being compiled. Information required is:
Incomplete information, even as basic as notification of the believed site of a beam engine, will be welcomed by David Samson.
- Name and address of maker
- Name of engine
- Date of construction
- Type of engine (e.g. Cornish, atmospheric, compound, etc.)
- No. of cylinders, arrangement, dimensions of bore and stroke
- Length and weight of beam, whether equal or asymmetrical
- Flywheel size, if present
- Number of strokes per in mute, or rpm
- Steam pressure, no. of boilers, type and dimensions
- Work engine was employed for
- Other interesting details and photographs
London Refuse Dumps
Sylvia Standing is appealing for information on the earliest known date when rubbish from London was sent by train to local brickworks. She quotes the case of a disused Sussex brickworks where bulldozing has revealed a one-acre site covered with a thick layer of London's rubbish apparently dating from 1880 onwards. Please send information c/o Rosamond Hanworth, Surrey Archaeological Society Bulletin Editor, Folly Hill, Ewhurst, Surrey.
GLIAS & the Local Organisation Of Industrial Archaeology In London
Enclosed with this Newsletter is the Executive Committee's statement setting out proposals for Borough Correspondents within GLIAS. It is believed that these proposals will improve the effectiveness of the Society as a whole in the study of London's industrial archaeology. The comments, favourable or otherwise, of members are urgently required in order that the scheme's potential can be estimated. A point of particular importance is the emphasis placed on co-operation with local societies already active in the industrial field and copies of the statement are being sent to many local societies to inform them of the proposals.
The first members of the newly established Recording Group are Michael Bussell, Paul Carter and Denis Smith. The Recording Group looks forward hopefully to a steady flow of information from members on those sites in need of recording, also notes on recording recently undertaken and offers of assistance to carry out recording work. Information on important sites or buildings threatened with destruction should continue to be sent to the Monitoring Group Secretary, Caroline Kenward: the Recording and Monitoring Groups will work in close liaison.
The Executive Committee were addressed by Mr Reynolds who proposes to open the Kew Bridge Pumping Station as a museum of steam power (GLIAS Newsletter September 1973). Negotiations are still taking place with the M.W.B. for the lease, but when finalised it seems probable that there will be an opportunity for members to assist in the work necessary to bring the steam plant back to a steaming condition.
Industrial Archaeology in Barnet Project
Hendon & District Archaeological Society have initiated a project within the London Borough of Barnet: its main aims are the compilation of an adequate record of the Borough's industrial remains; the interpretation of these remains; and the housing of the record in a place suitable for future research. A booklet will be published in due course. It is stressed that the project needs help from anyone willing to assist in any way. The Directors are Paul Carter, 20 Chestnut Grove, Wembley, Middlesex HA0 2LX and Alec Jeakins, 5 Greenfield Gardens, Cricklewood, NW2. Write to them if you are able to help, or attend the first group meeting on 23rd November. Paul Carter is a member of the new GLIAS Recording Group, so good liaison and co-ordination with the overall GLIAS London Industrial Monuments Survey seems assured.
Government Support for Rescue Archaeology
The Department of Education recently announced increased funds for rescue excavations in 1974 and appointed a senior civil servant to the new post of Under-Secretary, Archaeology. He is Mr Dennis Haselgrove and his activities will include reviewing the Department's responsibilities in the field of I.A. All credit to the Government for this action and good wishes to Mr Haselgrove in an exacting task.
Archaeology in Hammersmith
A meeting was held in late October, organised by the Borough Council, at which representatives of the Ancient Monuments Inspectorate, London Museum, London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, GLIAS and local archaeological groups were present. This was called to discuss archaeological work in the Borough and although emphasis was placed on the excavation side it was a welcome opportunity to state the archaeological case before sympathetic Council officers. Further discussion is expected and similar meetings organised by other London Boroughs could lead to a vastly improved understanding between local authorities and archaeologists.
Hammersmith Council have published 'A Plan for Fulham Reach', which describes proposals for the future of the riverside industrial sites between Putney and Hammersmith bridges. These have mostly been visited and photographed by the London Museum and GLIAS, at the invitation of the Council. Copies of the report are available at 25p post free from: Room 1, Hammersmith Town Hall, W6.
News in Brief
Bridges: The City Corporation is inviting tenders for catering facilities at Tower Bridge, as part, of a scheme to make this unique structure as popular with visitors as the Tower. Automobile organisations have reacted against the GLC proposals to close Albert Bridge to road traffic — an idea put forward by several amenity organisations before a prop was inserted at mid-span to strengthen the bridge — to carry future road traffic. Hammersmith Bridge is to be strengthened to allow existing weight limits to be raised.
Buildings: The older half of Battersea power station will close next year according to newspaper reports, although no official announcement has yet been made by the C.E.G.B. Shirley Windmill in Croydon and the Hop Exchange in Southwark Street are being restored. Revised plans have been announced for the Whitbread's brewery in Chiswell Street: it appears that the Porter Tun Room with its fine timber roof is not threatened. The booking office of Blackfriars station is presently being demolished: the original plans for rebuilding included retention of the evocative Continental destinations carved in the facade stonework.
Art & I.A.: An exhibition of paintings by Edna Lumb was held in late September and early October at the Alwin Gallery, Grafton Street, Mayfair. Entitled 'Components of Power', the exhibition displayed works in appropriately sombre colours, ranging from West Ham pumping station and Tower Bridge interiors, to the gloomy but imposing London sewers.
City Road Basin Canal Festival, 22nd-23rd September
A number of bodies including GLIAS were represented with stands at this Festival, which sought to make people aware of the potential for leisure use of London's canals. A useful brochure set out fears and possibilities for the future of the City Road Basin. Thanks are due to those few GLIAS members who volunteered to assist on our stand.
Brunel Exhibition Project
An attractive A4 booklet has been produced describing proposals for an exhibition centre in Rotherhithe, to illustrate the lives and works of the Brunels. Appropriately sited adjoining the southern end of their Thames Tunnel, the scheme would provide social facilities in addition to engineering exhibits. Copies of the plan are obtainable from Nicholas Falk, Project Co-ordinator, at 46 Ainger Road, NW3.
Fire at St Katharine Docks
A fire on the night of Sunday, 4th November seriously damaged 'B' Warehouse, St Katharine Docks — the last intact example of Telford and Hardwick's six great warehouses. No information is yet available on the condition of the brickwork, but television film of the fire suggested no grounds for undue optimism.
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© GLIAS, 1973