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Notes and news — February 1976

In this issue:

Tattershall Castle

A new arrival on the Thames-side scene is the coal-fired paddle steamer, Tattershall Castle, which is now moored off the Victoria Embankment near Charing Cross. She is a former car ferry from the Humber, where, indeed the last coal-fired paddle steamer on regular service in this country is still operating. She can be seen but not boarded as yet.

Demolition of Bartle's Ironworks, W11

This North Kensington ironworks, also known as Western Ironworks, is being demolished. GLIAS looked at the site a year or so ago and our colleagues, the Halcrow IA Group are recording it as it comes down.

GLC give £500 to granary restoration

An octagonal building, listed since 1920, it stands in the grounds of Grovelands Hospital, Southgate. Grovelands is a John Nash house and the granary would have supplied the house's stables. It has a timber frame, with brick panels with stucco cladding. It stands on nine 'straddle' stones. The hospital matron, Miss Joyce Pilson, has been campaigning and raising funds for the restoration for three years.

Q and A


Optical Tape Measure David Thomas has sent details of this device, which is much the same size and shape as a 110 'Pocket' camera. It works on the rangefinder principle and measures any length (or height) from 6 to 100 feet. If it's effective, it could have great potential in I.A. for solo recording work and for tackling difficult sites. Have any members used one of these? Is it easy to operate and can it cope with gloomy warehouse interiors and the like? Is it a good buy at £17.95? Comments to Adrian Tayler, please.

Concrete Cottages — Urgent! On a walk round Mortlake with Charles Hailstone, members saw two concrete cottages, built c.1890. There is a demolition threat to these and Elizabeth Wood is preparing a case to save them. She knows that they are not the first ever cottages in concrete — there are some in Wales dating from 1835. She also knows about that other early concrete structure in London, the church at Crystal Palace and has contacted the standard bodies like the Cement & Concrete Association. But Elizabeth is anxious to gather further information about their significance — are there, for example, any more such buildings in the London area? If you can help, please contact Elizabeth Wood as swiftly as possible at 20 Walpole Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, Middlesex TW2 5SN.

Working Ladies Guild Ltd Does anyone know anything about this body known to be at 251 Brompton Road circa 1910?

Cast Iron Garden Path Peter Saaler has been asked to look at about 50 of the objects illustrated below, which are being used as part of the garden path of a property in Surrey which dates back at least to the 17th century. The items are cast iron, in the form of a channel with one end open, one closed. In the base are two parallel slots and three circular holes of approx. 1" dia. On the reverse side, leading from the corner of one slot to the edge of the box, is a groove less than ⅛" wide and ⅛" deep, similar to a venting hole from a moulding box used in casting. If you can throw light on their possible purpose and date, please contact Peter Saaler, 69 Beechwood Road, Caterham, Surrey CR3 6NF.

Metal Analysis I had a problem recently to do with identifying the use of a number of small crucibles, dug up in Edinburgh and thought to date from the mid-19th century. Believe it or not, I could find no-one who could give them a professional once-over; not even the Science Museum could help. If you have any ideas, please tell Adrian Tayler.

Gates wanted for Brunel project

The Industrial Buildings Preservation Trust, who are renovating the Brunel engine house and the adjacent warehouses at Rotherhithe, are looking for a robust pair of second-hand gates for the yard entrance at Hope Sufferance Wharf. The gap to be filled is 20ft wide, but gates or doors of about 12ft or wider would be OK. They need to be 7-10ft high and unclimbable; they can be wood or iron, provided they are in-keeping with the functional early 19th century surroundings. If any member knows of suitable gates from demolitions or alterations, please ring the project director Richard Waddington on 01-237 8944 (day) or contact Malcolm Tucker (see next item).

GLIAS representative on Regent's Canal Group

Is there anyone willing to be one of our two representatives on the Regent's Canal Group? Future uses for the Limehouse Basin and the least damaging route for CEGB cable ducts at Camden Lock are among matters currently being considered. There is an evening meeting once every three months, usually in a member's house in Camden or Islington. The main requirement is an interest in the Archaeology of canals and experience in dealing with public bodies would be a bonus. Detailed knowledge of the Regent's Canal itself is not essential, as it can be learnt "on the job". If you are interested, please contact Malcolm Tucker, 91 Hornsey Lane N6, 01-636 1531 (work) or 01-340 6304 (evenings).

Kingston Workshop

The Workshop was held at Kingston Polytechnic. There were four speakers: Tim Campbell of the Civic Trust; John Chesshyre, Secretary of the Liverpool Street Station Campaign (LISSCA); Lyn Wilson of Durham University; and Miss Wakeford of the Kingston on Thames Archaeological Society. Among the displays were those mounted by the Transport Trust, by GLIAS of work in Brentford and by the Kingston Polytechnic Industrial Archaeology Society.

Tim Cantell considered the success or failure of European Architectural Heritage Year (GLIAS Newsletter October 1975). There had been three main achievements. First, a boost to awareness of the urban environment, with the growth of urban studies, town trails and Heritage Centres at Chester and York in redundant churches and at Faversham in an ex-pub, with more to follow. Second, a fund has been set up administered by the Civic Trust to make loans to voluntary building preservation trusts. Local authorities will be expected to contribute to schemes in their area. Third, £1 million has been provided by the Government for outstanding practical improvement schemes, while a fund created by the Civic Trust will provide £170,000 for smaller schemes. Industrial buildings have benefited from these grants as at Ashwell, Herts, where a maltings has been converted to housing and a Camden warehouse has been made into architects' offices. On balance EAHY has been a success but more needs to be done: £15 million is spent on military bands yearly, only £4 million on EAHY and the rate of demolition of listed buildings is still increasing, though more are being listed.

John Chesshyre gave a brief history of Broad Street and Liverpool Street stations and of the Liverpool Street Campaign. The reasons for wishing to save Liverpool Street and the Great Eastern Hotel were well illustrated by slides. The Campaign began in August 1974 when British Rail gained an Office Development Permit to rebuild the stations and create 1.2m square feet of office space and set out to get membership by wide publicity, public support especially from such eminent figures as Sir John Betjeman and Patrick Nutgens and to prepare alternative viable plans. There has been some success already in that the west side of Liverpool Street has been listed and there will be a public enquiry at which LISSCA will show that British Rail can achieve its aims without destroying the station. The moral is to get wide support and credibility to make a strong base for action.

Lyn Wilson revealed that in building a copy of 'Locomotion' the exercise was tackled in almost the opposite way. There was no widespread appeal for funds or attempt to involve celebrities. 'Locomotion' was built by apprentices at firms in the North East as part of their industrial training scheme and at times it seemed that only faith kept things going. Various firms supplied different parts, old skills were rediscovered and the whole was assembled at the North Tees ICI factory. Labour and materials were given freely; the only money paid out was £15 for oak for the tender. 'Locomotion' was built in the NE, by the NE for the NE and is now owned by the Locomotion Trust who will use it to raise money for NE. It will be at the National Railway Museum in the winter.

Miss Wakeford described research on the old buildings of Kingston. Examination of buildings bas been backed up by archival research and evidence of industries including leather working has been found. The most interesting building discovered was on a brewery site and obviously purpose built for a particular use. It had large ground floor windows and a first floor later used as offices. There was no connection between the floors. It was in fact the brewery's counting house; money was stored and counted on the ground floor and the clerks' dormitories were above with no access to the money during the night. When the building's significance was realised it was demolished, being on the site of the Guildhall extension. Robert Vickers


Members will be familiar with the cast iron bollards, to be seen particularly at street corners and in alleyways in inner London, which prevent vehicles from mounting the kerb or entering footpaths. There are as necessary in this age dominated by the motor vehicle as they were 150 years ago when streets were ill paved and kerb lines undefined.

New cast iron bollards based on traditional styles are again being installed in some boroughs, for they have been found to-be much stronger than their concrete counterparts. I gather, however, that at least one outer London borough will not use them because of the damage they might cause to a car travelling at speed. The new bollards can be distinguished by their slimmer lines and the lack of encrustations of paint.

The older bollards, often with the name or initials of the parish vestry which installed them, are of recognised historical value and the Borough of Camden is notably keen to conserve such street furniture. This may necessitate removal, storage and later re-erection on some quite different site, so archaeologists beware! In Highgate Road, Kentish Town (National Grid Reference TQ 288855) is one which started life in 1817 in "Sommers Town" (sic), nearly two miles to the south near the Euston Road. Not far away in Gordon House Road (TQ 284 857) are some massive bollards emblazoned "G IV R" which must have been taken from the Crown Commissioners' land near Regents Park. Camden Passage, despite its name, is in the heart of Islington (TQ 316 835). There, beside a bollard from St John's Parish, Clerkenwell, is one with the initials " ST P P M" (St Pancras Parish, Middlesex), which the neighbouring borough of Camden should claim back as one of theirs. Do members know of any other such examples? There are some early bollards, for instance in Finsbury, which look like small cannon, complete with flared muzzles topped with a hemispherical ball. When the Napoleonic Wars ended, ironworks had surplus productive capacity to divert from armaments to peaceful purposes and this probably accounts for the resemblance. Around the Tower of London there are some real cannon used as bollards, which were captured from the enemy during the Peninsular War (information from Christine Vialls). They can be easily recognised by their larger size and the sealing of the hole with wood, cement or iron.

Some bollards appear to serve as boundary markers. I have found a pair beside the kerb in Wenlock Road, Hoxton (TQ 323 831) which seem to define the limits of a canal-side wharf. They are embossed "IMPERI(A)L /SAW/MILLS" and are unusually ornate.

Do any members know of other street bollards erected by private firms? Malcolm Tucker

On the same topic, a black mark to the Borough Engineer of Islington (or is it the City?) for erecting some hideous new bollards in the area north of Smithfield, where a few charming pockets of 18th & 19th century Clerkenwell remain, as in Britton Street, EC1. The new bollards are steel posts of square section and look like over-size matchsticks painted vivid yellow and black.

Hunt the steam engine

GLIAS member and Kew Bridge Engines man John Yates has been asked by the Publications Committee of GLIAS to compile a book on London Steam Engines. This will cover all types of engine, including horizontals, triple expansion, etc., not just the beam engines covered by the brief handlist published by the society last year. John has already started work and has discovered some engines which even he as a steam buff did not know. He is very anxious that members who know of any engines in their area — large or small, existing or recently removed — should let him know, so that he can visit the site. Don't assume that because everyone in your area knows about a particular engine, it will be indexed and recorded in some central index to which John can refer. Please get in touch and tell him what you know; the address is 701 Seddon House, Barbican, EC2, tel 628 8504.

Hop-pickers' huts

Philip Daniell has sent in details of some hop pickers' huts which survive at Hockendon in St Paul's Cray. Here the East Enders lived during the hop harvest. Philip sent a map, but alas there's no room to print it. They're a little way down a footpath running SE from Hockenden Lane, which is between Swanley and Orpington, to the West of the A20.

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© GLIAS, 1976