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Notes and news — October 1979

In this issue:

AIA Conference Display

Following the request for information on Coalbrookdale products in London (GLIAS Newsletter August 1979) two new items were reported. Bet Parker noted that the Victoria Gates into Kew Gardens, near Kew Gardens tube station were by the Coalbrookdale Company and Enid Williams sent a cutting from the Fulham Chronicle showing the six Jackfield tile panels from the old Charing Cross hospital being unveiled in the new hospital; the other eleven panels having been given to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum and the V&A.

GLIAS was able to mount a superb display 'The Dale in London' at the AIA Conference at Ironbridge in September thanks to the work of Elizabeth Wood. Even the professionals from the Museum were very impressed by its quality and surprised by its coverage.

The Ironbridge Gorge Museum have supplied the following information from the records of Maws and Craven Dunnill, the tile-making firms. They would like GLIAS to supply up-to-date information on the following tile work. Please telephone or write to Dave Perrett.

The following churches have Craven Dunnill tiles, but no modern information is available?

St. Josephs Highgate Hill, St. Mary East Ham, St. Boltolph's London EC, St. Albans Finchley NE, St. Andrews Willesden, St. Johns Marlborough Street W, St. Benedict's Ealing Broadway; also the following buildings: Waldorf Hotel, Aldwych; Lloyds Bank, Lombard Street; Alliance Banks at Camden Town, Notting Hill, Sloane Square; offices at 21 Mincing Lane; Hyde Park Hotel and Hammersmith Baths. Dave Perrett

Vickers Ship Model Experiment Tank

On Tuesday evening 19th June at 7.30pm a GLIAS party visited the Ship Model Experiment Tank of the Vickers Shipbuilding Group Limited at 222 London Road, St. Albans. This establishment dates from 1910/11 and until recent nationalisation was the largest privately-owned ship-testing tank in Europe. Driving past one gets a pleasing impression. By a large mass of water in the cool of the evening after a very warm day it was delightful. The method of construction of the wax ship models, 6-10 feet long, was explained and we were allowed to ride on the electric carriage which runs on top of the tank while an experiment was in progress. We would like to thank the Vickers Shipbuilding Group and their guide Mr. White for a most instructive and enjoyable evening.

It is suggested that a visit be made to the ship model experiment tank facilities of the National Maritime Institute at Feltham and Teddington (formerly part of the National Physical Laboratory). The development of modelling techniques is an important component of the history of technology of this century. The No. 1 tank at Teddington dotes back to 1910 and is still pretty well as first built. The visit would take place during normal working hours and be of a fairly technical nature. Members who are interested in taking part in such a visit or a second visit to Vickers (would a weekend visit here be more popular?) should contact Bob Carr.

Waterloo Railway Station

The visit to Waterloo station on the afternoon of Friday July 27th commenced with a surface visit to the 30-ton hoist which is used to raise railway vehicles from the Waterloo and City line. This is situated to the North of the station and was reached, after we had donned regulation yellow waistcoats, by walking off the end of the northernmost platform and turning right. The hoist is still hydraulic and presumably operates from a local power supply. Just to the West is a hydraulic capstan. This is the only rail access to and from the Waterloo and City.

The rest of our time was spent on the Waterloo and City line itself. This was only the second tube railway in London, being built in 1894-8 to enable the London & South Western Railway Company to reach the City. On our way to its underground platforms we paused to admire the surface station's hydraulic buffer stops. At Waterloo, the Waterloo & City line runs roughly NS. On the S end of the W platform is a signal box which essentially controls all traffic on the line. This box is fitted with a 'knee frame'.

Waterloo Station, 2004. © Robert Mason

The rolling stock on the line was built in the early 1940s. In some vehicles ornamental grills lettered 'Southern Railway' may still be seen at the ends of the cars. Drivers of the Waterloo & City trains are ordinary Waterloo-based Southern Region men and work a spell in the tunnel as part of their usual duties. The guards are permanently underground. We were allowed to ride in the last coach of a train to Bank and look out from the drivers cab at the back of the train. At the Bank end of the line the lights in the tunnel were switched on for our benefit. The signal box at Bank, which we inspected, is not used manually unless abnormal shunting movements are required.

On our return to Waterloo we stayed on the train past the platforms to get a view of the maintenance works which are situated in a well at the SE corner of the site. Some daylight gets down here. On the W side there are remains of a railway-wagon lift and turntable. We were not able to see round the power station which formerly supplied electricity to the Waterloo & City. The boilers only provide steam for heating and cooking purposes; no generation has taken place for years. The Southern Region underground trains use electricity from the grid, the same as the Region's surface trains.

Returning to the surface our guide pointed out alterations made since the construction of the line. We viewed the maintenance works again from one of the roads which run beneath Waterloo station at street level, (the platforms of the surface station are at first-floor level). These roads were formerly ordinary London streets, but have been gradually absorbed by the expansion of the station.

GLIAS would like to thank British Rail for a most instructive and enjoyable visit. Special thanks are due to our guide for the great amount of trouble he took on our behalf. Bob Carr

Battersea Power Station

A GLIAS party paid another visit to the well-known Battersea Power Station on July 20th. There are two stations at Battersea in one buildings to the west is the 'A' station built 1929-37, to the east 'B' station of 1944-55. While the turbine hall of 'A' station has been gutted, 'B' station still functions.

The interior style and decorations of 'A' station is in marked contrast to the plain post-war 'B' station. We visited 'A' station control room (reminiscent of BBC Broadcasting House interiors) which has reputedly been used as a film set for the Dr. Who television series. This is still in use to control output by the 'A' station transformers. The external design of the station by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott belongs to the 'cathedral' era of construction.

Battersea Power Station Control Room A © James Parsons Battersea Power Station Control Room A © James Parsons

Coal from Newcastle (Durham Open Cast) is imported by a fleet of three colliers and unloaded at a reinforced-concrete jetty by travelling grab cranes. It is burnt in Babcock & Wilcox vertical tube radiant boilers. A special feature of Battersea was the flue-gas washing (to remove sulphur and its compounds) which took place in teak-lined towers beneath the chimneys on the river-wards side of Station. Water for flue-gas washing and cooling was drawn from the river and was treated after use before return. This process ceased with the closure of the 'A' station, the 'B' station has modern electrostatic precipitators.

Blocks of flats north of the Thames in Pimlico and at Dolphin Square are supplied with hot water for domestic heating, etc., by pipes under the river. A glass-walled accumulator tower on the north bank is a prominent feature of this District Heating Scheme.

We would like to thank Mr. W Ewing, the station manager, for a most interesting and instructive visit and also our guide Mr. Grimmond for the trouble he took on our behalf. Bob Carr

A correction

It is stated on page 12 of Newsletter 63 (GLIAS Newsletter August 1979) that: '— the silo marked A — being of reinforced concrete with brick cladding'.

I visited the mills four times while they were being demolished and also took some photographs. I can assure you that the outer walls of the silo were not of reinforced concrete with a brick cladding, but, much more interestingly, of solid brickwork that had been reinforced, in way of the bins, with reinforcing steel laid into some of the joints, so as to withstand the outward thrust of the silo contents. The internal partitions that formed the bins were of reinforced concrete, about 4" thick and the brickwork that formed one or two sides of the bins on the periphery of the building were cement rendered to give a smooth finish, I shall be happy to discuss the photographs with anyone interested, if they will get in touch with me, as they clearly show the construction. John Parker

A pity

Croydon Council has applied for listed building consent to demolish the magnificent cast and wrought iron conservatory at Coombe Cliff, which it owns but has sadly neglected for some years and particularly since a fire in 1977. It was built in the 1890s by the Hornimans of tea fame. The Victorian Society is associated with a plan to re-erect it at the HQ of a security firm at a country house in Nottinghamshire, if it is not too far gone. Derek Bayliss

An opportunity

The 'Croydon Advertiser', having gone over to photo-composition, has restored and preserved a 1925 Linotype typesetting machine, which can be seen at its office in Katharine Street, Croydon. Derek Bayliss

Two Surrey queries

The 'Town Hall' of the rotten borough of Gatton is a Doric temple of 1765, with a roof resting on 6 cast-iron pillars. Can anyone suggest where they were cast? Are there any earlier examples of the use of cast-iron pillars?

Reigate has a road tunnel of 1824, under the castle hill. I know of earlier canal and even rail tunnels, but can anyone quote an earlier road one? Derek Bayliss

Gazetteer of London industrial archaeology

This is going well — two more sections received this month. I am only able to print part of Bet & John Parker's Newham and they assure me there is much more to come. In addition we have South Norwood from Derek Bayliss ready for the December issue.

Phillimore Press often seem to publish our sort of books (I find their 'first cheap edition of the Domesday Book in 900 years' an irresistible ad.) and they have promised a list for inclusion with the next Newsletter. In the meantime I have been looking at URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN 19th CENTURY LONDON? Lambeth, Battersea & Wandsworth 1838-1888 by Janet Roebuck, which they have just published at ₤5.95. Dr. Roebuck has written a scholarly book, with references and bibliography which are a mine of information for anyone who wants to follow up the primary sources. Although a specific area is covered this is not a chatty local history, but a description of what was happening all round Central London and therefore of value in understanding the industrial archaeology of Greater London and filling in the background to the material in our Gazetteer.

Gazetteer: Newham, E16 District

54. SILVERTOWN WAY Canning Town to North Woolwich Road, E16. (>>>)
Viaduct carrying road over railway, Victoria Dock Road and the entrance to tidal basin. Constructed by Rendel, Palmer & Tritton. 1.09 miles long, built mainly of reinforced concrete, 80' wide (2 x 12' footways, carriageway 56'). Opened by Leslie Hore-Belisha on September 13 1934.

Promoted by Kennard, Brassey, Peto and Bidder. Opened 1847. Owned by Stratford & Thames Junction Railway, the Eastern Counties Railway, Great Eastern Railway until 1923, then LNER until nationalisation.

56. TIPPLE ROWE LTD Hallsville Road, E16 c.1879
Began as W. & C. Tipple (ironmongers). In 1902 they were iron merchants, lead, glass, wallpaper merchants, coach ironmongers, electric light fitters, etc. Many of the buildings look derelict, although the firm is now a steel stockholders. Original shop/office still there: four ornamental gas lamp brackets and barley sugar twist cast iron columns on shop front.

Partly filled in. Dock opened in 1855 by Prince Albert. First dock in the port to be linked to the railway system of the country and first to be equipped with hydraulic powered machinery from the works of Sir W.G. Armstrong. Hydraulic capstans still in situ.

Paint manufacturers. On this site from 1921 to present day.

59. TATE & LYLE Plaistow Wharf, North Woolwich Road, E16
First mention of the wharf was for storage of petroleum and other hazardous goods. Works built by Abram Lyle & Sons 1881, principally for the manufacture of golden syrup.

Detergent works and laboratories. John Knight, an associate of the above company, had extensive works here from c.1880. Many of the early buildings are now being demolished. In 1886 they were makers of hard and soft soap, candles, etc. Called the Royal Primrose Soap Works (1936 Kelly's). When did they leave?

61. BRITISH SUN OIL COMPANY Manhattan Wharf, Knights Road, E16
Present owners were preceded by The London & Thames Haven Oil Wharf Ltd, from 1901 — c.1944. Some old riveted storage tanks still to be seen showing above-the wall.

62. MEMORIAL in the entrance to J. Spurling Ltd. Crescent Wharf, N. Woolwich Rd. to the workers who were killed in the Silvertown Explosion at the Brunner Mond Works in January 1917.

63. THOMAS B. WARD LTD. Thames Road, E16
Machinery showrooms, etc. Iron & steel scrap, tanks, boilers, engineers, shipbreakers, contractors plant, machinery erectors & dismantlers etc. First mention in Kelly's 1921, still there.

64. ST. MARK'S CHURCH. North Woolwich Road c 1861
Architect S.S. Teulon. Built on a site given by the Dock Company. Now redundant, but likely to be used for other purposes.

65. CROSSE & BLACKWELL Tay Wharf, Factory Road, E16
Keiller's jam and marmalade factory from 1880-1967, then above company. Sauces and pickles now produced here.

66. TATE & LYLE Thames Sugar Refinery, Factory Road, E16
Built by H. Tate & Sons in 1878 to produce cube sugar. Amalgamated with Lyle's in 1921. Mr Cube emblem was adopted by the firm in 1950 to personalize their image for a fight against threatened nationalisation.

67. LODERS & NUCOLINE Cairn Mills, Factory Road, E16
Loders have been on the site since 1887, makers of edible oils and fats. Previously Petty & Co, Cairn Oil Mills.

68. STANDARD TELEPHONES & CABLES LTD. Henley Road, North Woolwich, E16
Parts of the works are being demolished. Originally Henley's Telegraph Works Co. Ltd, W.T. Henley bought 12 acres of land at North Woolwich in 1853 where he manufactured submarine cables and electrical apparatus.

Silvertown — In 1852 SW. Silver & Company, outfitters of Cornhill moved their waterproofing works to a site on the river front between today's Tay Wharf and Thames Sugar Refinery. The company grew and was named The India Rubber, Gutta Percha & Telegraph Works Company Ltd. and because it was so vast the area around became known as Silvertown.

Street Furniture

in Tidal Basin Road, outside Tidal Basin Tavern, E16. Cast iron (London Transport) box for fuses / switches.

70. Old (gas?) LAMP POSTS date? (>>>)
converted to electricity. Made by Land & Company, Engineers, Stratford, E15. In Knights Road, E16

In Albert Road, E16. Still in use, adapted as lamp posts.

In Albert Road, E16. Both made by Handyside & Co. Ltd, Derby & London One with no Royal Cypher, the other V.R.

across railway from Albert Road to Factory Road. Cast-iron columns made by Handyside & Co, wrought iron trellis work with open wooden stairs.

Small valve cover in pavement at lift entrance to Woolwich pedestrian subway, Pier Road, E16, marked A.P. What is it for?

as pedestrian barriers outside the above subway made by Ham, Baker & Co. Ltd, Westminster.

in Pier Road, E16, adjacent to trolleybus standard, has the Woolwich coat of arms.

Bet & John Parker

GLIAS visit to Clapham Junction signalboxes — 14 July 1979

Bob Mitchell is making a survey for GLIAS of all the railway signalboxes which will disappear under the Victoria re-signalling scheme.

He recently arranged a visit to signalboxes at Clapham Junction and this is his report. A longer report with additional photographs will be deposited at Wandsworth reference library. Members who participated in this visit and who have black and white photographs which could be included in the longer report are asked to contact Bob as soon as possible.

Bob would also like some assistance in the survey.

Clapham Junction has upwards of 2,000 trains passing through daily. In fact there are two distinct and independent sides to the station. The Central Division of Southern Region has the lines from Victoria to Surrey and Sussex (platforms 12-17) and South Western Division the lines from Waterloo to the south west suburbs and Portsmouth, Weymouth, Exeter, etc., plus the 'Windsor' lines (see the accompanying plan).

The layout is controlled by three signalboxes, 'B' (Central Division) and 'A' & 'C' (S.W. Division).

'A' Box — opened in 1911 as part of the London & South Western Railway's scheme to introduce pneumatically powered semaphore signalling to its main routes, following a visit by the LSWR's chief engineer to the U.S.A. to inspect some of the installations there.

The box is mounted on a gantry spanning the South Western Division tracks at the London end of the station. The framework for a wartime protective steel plate roof still remains. Equipment for the pneumatic installation of 1911 was of the slide lever type and was supplied with air at a pressure of 30/40 lb. per square inch. This was later modified to become electro-pneumatic, the valves controlling the supply of air to signals and points being operated by electrical circuits and in this form the lever frame remained in service until the area was resignalled with colour lights (m.a.s.) in 1936 under the Southern Railway. Around that time extra tracks were laid as far as Hampton Court Junction. New miniature lever power frames (of the standard 'pivot' type) were installed in 'A' Box and in the similar box at West London Junction, replacing the electro-pneumatic equipment.

It is, of course, necessary for signalmen in adjoining boxes to be able to communicate with each other so that trains can be passed from one section to the next. The usual fashion is by bell codes which is not only quicker than the telephone but also avoids the chance of verbal misunderstanding. This, of course, has changed with the advent of power signalling and all the boxes at Clapham Junction usually make use of train describers of the 'magazine' type introduced by the Southern Railway. These give the destination of a train and not its type. 'Descriptions' of trains are sent forward by pressing a button on the describer apparatus corresponding to the required destination and since, for straightforward through running, signals can often be feet to operate automatically, the signalmen can spend a lot of their time merely passing on train descriptions to adjoining boxes.

For emergencies or special trains the describers are duplicated by block bells which are still used from time to time. To give each bell a distinctive tone all have different shapes.

The A box at Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell Part of the A box lever frame, Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell

The spur to Latchmere Junction (Western Region) is still mechanically signalled. 'A' Box therefore retains a standard Southern Railway three-wire, three position block instrument tapper and bells for signalling trains over this line. These include the morning and evening peak hour services to and from Kensington (Olympia) which start and terminate at the Windsor line platforms, plus cross-London parcels and freight trains.

Another necessary item at most signalboxes is the Train Register in which are recorded all bell signals sent or received together with details of any messages affecting the working of traffic or unusual occurrences, etc. Large boxes employ a 'booking lad' for this but, as can probably be imagined, it is not a popular job and the two signalmen on duty per shift are often required to keep the register themselves.

'C' Box — There is only one man on duty per shift in this box which is situated at the west end of platforms 3 and 4. A typical LSWR type box of the early part of this century, it was probably opened at the same time as 'A' Box. The base is brick, housing the locking to the lever frame, while the upper storey is of timber and glass.

C box lever frame, Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell C box track diagram, Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell

The frame itself is of the pull-out slide type as used for the pneumatic installations and probably dates from the opening of the box. It is shortly to be replaced by a more modern frame of the same type from another location on the Southern Region. 'Magazine' type train describers are also employed in this signalbox.

'B' Box — the most recent of the three signalboxes at Clapham Junction, being opened in 1952 in connection with the introduction of m.a.s. to the London end of the Brighton Line. It is responsible for all movements on the Central Division side with flanking signalboxes, for the time being, at Battersea Park Junction, Stewarts Lane and Balham, also the West London spur round to Latchmere Junction on the Western Region. The remainder of the Brighton Line, south of Coulsdon, had already been resignalled in the 1930s.

It is situated at the east end of the station and, typically for the period, is constructed of concrete and brick in a style similar to those erected at Factory Junction, Balham, etc, at the same time.

The equipment consists of a 103 lever Westinghouse 'L' type miniature lever frame along with the standard 'magazine' train describers, emergency block bells, plungers, etc., plus, as for 'A', instruments for communication with Latchmere Junction.

All the boxes, of course, employ an illuminated track diagram, above the lever frame, showing all train movements in the section by means of track circuits. Two men per shift are normally employed in 'B' Box.

To the south east of 'B' Box a new signal control centre is under construction in the disused Falcon Lane goods yard. This is the focal point of the Victoria resignalling scheme which will make redundant 'B' Box (October 1960) plus 34 other existing signal-boxes. It will control the area extending from Victoria/Holborn Viaduct out to Wimbledon/Sutton/Epsom Downs/West Croydon/Streatham/Otford etc. by 1983.

B box with some of the GLIAS visitors in the photo. The incline on the right leads to the West London Line at Latchmere Junction. Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell B box track diagram, Clapham Junction © Bob Mitchell

There is, at present, no published scheme for resignalling the South Western Division side of the station although this is at the drawing board stage. 'A' & 'C' boxes will then disappear, control presumably being from a new centre at Waterloo.

Much of the information quoted is from G. Fryer's 'A Pictorial Record of Southern Signalling' published by the Oxford Publishing Co. Thanks are due to B.R. who arranged our visit and to the Station Manager at Clapham Junction who showed the party around all three signalboxes.
R.F. Mitchell 4/9/1979



Almost without notice, London's electricity generating power stations are disappearing with as much speed as the gas works little more than a decade ago. The map below shows the situation in the mid-60s (to which should be added stations at Croydon, Kingston and Brimsdown). Of these, the present position is understood to be:**


Fortunately the technology and machinery of these industrial landmarks are well written up in appropriate periodicals. But is there a need to interview employees — particularly, of the smaller stations — to trace and relate the diminishing trade in sea coal and perhaps to consider whether one should be retained as a monument? (As an aside, several grand passenger train termini have been 'listed' — do we tend to save things with which we are familiar, rather than those which are most important?).

A recently-floated idea is that Battersea could be kept — with representative machinery plus a truly spacious museum of 20th century technology. The boilers could be retained as part of the scheme — and continue to supply the Pimlico district heating circuit.

The key to retention of any redundant industrial buildings (as inevitably will soon be Battersea's fate) is to find realistic ways of using the asset. Is this idea realistic and indeed should a power station be included in the candidates for preservation?

David Thomas

GLIAS members photographs — deposition in national collection

Many members take excellent photographs. GLIAS has long sought a way of providing a home in which print copies could be deposited and made available for inspection. The Recording Group, on behalf of GLIAS, has now agreed with the Department of the Environment (DoE) for these photographs to be added to their National Monuments Record Office Collection at Fortress House, Savile Row, W1. This collection includes photographs of all buildings on a national basis (naturally including castles and stately homes). There is a substantial London section. The collection can be inspected between 10.00 and 17.30 Monday — Friday.

The collection's London section is arranged by street or area within Boroughs. Hugh Marks, Robert Vickers, Tim Smith and Malcolm Tucker have prepared a scheme to facilitate research. This will enable cross-referencing by industries and include detailed site information on separate reference cards.

Thus, there will be a reference between:

1. Classification of sites by industry type-index.
2. Reference cards for specific sites filed by industry in a separate file exclusively for GLIAS items.
3. Photographs in the collection.

The sample photograph and card illustrate the system.

The DoE have agreed to accept films (10 at a time), marked-up to show which negatives to print and to make two copies, one for them, one gratis to the photographer, who has the negatives returned and retains the copyright.

The DoE print needs to have basic information added to the rear — giving photographer, date taken, industry, Borough, street/site and a brief description. Meanwhile, a reference card can show additional details. The CBA I.A. Report Card format is being used, so that copies can be made for inclusion in the national record of I.A. sites held at Bath — a copy of which is also housed by National Monuments Record Office.

As the collection is mainly concerned with buildings and structures, photographs of processes, workshop interiors, etc., might be more appropriately deposited at the Museum of London and local Reference Libraries (ring David Thomas for details of how this works).

Three Mills

Next step

It's early days yet and it will be some time before films of Recording Group members have been dealt with. After this, all members of GLIAS will be urged to participate.

At present the first 20 films have been processed, with 600 photographs to be dealt with. Hence the photographic work-in sessions at David's starting 17.30 with tea/coffee on demand and a break for chips at 20.00. Additional typewriters and typists needed in particular, but there is a lot of general work as well.

Ring David Thomas for more info.

CBA IA report card

Whilst the CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card is used, there is slight variation in that the industry is at the top corner for ease of sighting; this would be repeated in the 'industry' box if a copy is to be included in the national I.A. card collection.

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© GLIAS, 1979