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Notes and news — April 1984

In this issue:

A.G.M. Report

I apologise for the omission of a full report on the last AGM in April 1983, which should have appeared in the June 1983 newsletter. Minutes of the 13th AGM in 1982 were approved, also reports from the Treasurer and other officers for, the year 1982-3 accepted, Hugh MacGillivray was appointed auditor for 1983/4 and the following officers and committee were elected:

Chairman: Denis Smith
Treasurer: Danny Hayton
Membership Secretary: Sue Hayton
Secretary & Newsletter Editor: Brenda Innes
Journal Editor: Robert Vickers
Events Co-ordinator: Dave Perrett
Publicity: Bill Firth
Book Sales: Tom Smith
Recording Group Secretary: Youla Yates
Diana Willment, Bob Carr, Julia Elton, Peter Skilton, Brian Sturt

Two changes this time:
1. All you have to do with our computerised renewal form is return it (corrected if necessary) with your cheque to the Membership Secretary, Sue Hayton, 31 The High Street, Farnborough, Orpington, Kent.
2. Unfortunately the other change is an increase in the subscription which is necessary in particular to help re-start the popular lecture series this autumn in a hired lecture theatre. The new rates are:
Individual 5.00
Family 6.50
Student/Retired 3.00
Affiliated 8.00

News from Kew

Kew engineers and volunteers have now completed the job of dismantling the 1888 Easton & Anderson A-frame rotative bean engine at Addington Pumping Station. It has been put safely into store, together with one of its boilers, for the Museum of London. The Kew team have also been advising on the cable-laying ship John W Mackay, moored on the south bank of the Thames at the ST.C. site at Greenwich. In spite of these and several other contract jobs, restoration work on the Kew 1838 Maudslay Cornish beam engine continues and the official inauguration date is Saturday 8th September 1984. We were pleased to receive official notification recently that the 1910 No. 1 horizontal engine from Waddon Pumping Station will be coming to Kew. Another big moving job for the Kew team! Don't forget that we are open at Green Dragon Lane, Brentford from 11.00-17.00 every Saturday and Sunday. Diana Willment

Gazetteer of London industrial archaeology: Lambeth — south-east

Previous lists on Lambeth appeared in GLIAS Newsletter August 1980, GLIAS Newsletter February 1982 and GLIAS Newsletter April 1982. This section is less detailed than others, largely because the area is not covered in earlier editions of Kelly's London Directory and the research is thus more tiresome. Sites are arranged so they can be visited in sequence.

483. Odeon Cinema, fork of Coldharbour Lane/Denmark Hill, SE5
Classic 1930s design, closed 1975? Several temporary reuses

484. 27 Coldharbour Lane. SE5. Former single-storey billiard hall, long used by Rice Engineering.

485. 26 Wanless Rd. S24 Lambeth's disinfecting station, hidden rear large former house. Larger than it looks. Equipment unknown. c.1910.

486. 245 Coldharbour Lane/84-106 Shakespeare Rd, SE24. Factory, 3 fl, 1887 plus row of houses same style & date. Jubilee Works/Terr. Certainly a granary by 1900, but not known if this was original use. Now refurbished to house over a dozen small workshops.

487. Herne Hill Station, Railton Rd, SE24, 1862, Main entrance refurbished 1977/9. Pleasant yellow brick with red & black trim.

488. Brockwell Park, SE24. Turn-of-the century cast iron clock N, of big house.

489. Croxted Rd, Rosendale Rd, SE24. Several attractive railway bridges, allegedly ornate to placate local landowners. (Although impossible to see without trespass except from trains, the LBSCR tunnel between Rosendale and Thurlow Park Roads, SE24, 1865, has nice portals and coats of arms).

490. Rosendale Rd, SE24, 1899 depot & shop, Express Dairy.

491. Off Rosendale Rd. Very pleasant Peabody estate. Four traditional five-floor flats 5 1901, two streets of 2 fl. houses, 1901-8, plus small community hall, 1913. Footpath leads to further estate on hill, built late 1970s.

492. Above railway tunnel, cinder heaps and disturbed ground. Perhaps site of temporary brickworks for rly?

493. 214 Norwood Rd, SE21. Billiard Hall above shops.

494. South Metropolitan Cemetery, SE27. 1837, 39 acres, now owned by Borough. Monuments include Tate, Bessemer, Doulton, Maxim, Thos. Cubitt, Cow and Grissel.

South Metropolitan Cemetery, West Norwood, 2004.   Robert Mason

495. 69a Park Hall Rd. SE21. Apparently ex-mews, for many years engineering/manufacturing. Nice stench pipes nearby (those doing this list of sites on foot need not feel too deprived if it's omitted!)

496. 72/4 Gipsy Hill/Cawnpore St, SE19. Built c.1900 as dairy of T. French, later taken over by Express, later dyers/cleaners, now offices and car repair shops. Nice ventilators.

497. 10 Gipsy Hill, SE19. Sturdy three-floor brick-built police station, 1850s, now private flats.

498. 63 Westow Hill, SE19. Three yards into Croydon Boro', two half oil jars.

494A. 2 Norwood High St, SE27. 1881 fire station, red brick, look-out tower.

West Norwood fire station.   Robert Mason

New Street wool warehouse, London EC2

During the 19th century enormous quantities of wool were imported through London, mainly from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Merino sheep, a breed recognised for its wool production, had been introduced into Australia at the end of the 18th century and that country's wool trade was established on the backs of these sheep. A life-size statue of a Merino ram looks down on passers-by from the top of an archway in New Street in the City (round the back of Cutler Street warehouses). The six-storey warehouse behind has recently been renovated and converted into offices.

It was built in 1864 for John Cooper, 'warehouse keeper for wool'. Cooper was already using two other warehouses, one in Chequer Yard off Dowgate Hill, the other in Ducksfoot Lane, Upper Thames Street. His fine new warehouse in New Street is testimony to his success.


Sketch Plan (not to scale) ----------------

In 1864 the building had vaults plus five floors. The sixth floor was added early in 1869. There were internal brick walls to divide the warehouse into four risks linked by 'gang-ways' with wrought-iron doors, 5 ft. apart. The cranes were worked by steam the boiler being in an arched vault outside the building. The brick vault was roofed over with 'York' flags. The outer walls of the warehouse are of yellow stock brick, now cleaned. The section between the warehouse and stable block has at sometime been built over and the space to the south of the stable has been infilled.

Originally the warehouse was lit by means of naked candles placed in iron nozzles which had hooks that could be stuck into the bales of wool. This dangerous practice was defended by Mr Cooper being 'a practice of long standing'. Charles Freeman, the Wharves and Warehouses Committee Surveyor, wrote to Cooper insisting that locked lanthorns be substituted for the naked candles, Cooper promised to 'see into it although (I) consider it very absurd'. Freemen's reply was 'absurd or not, the rates on the premises will be raised if it is not done'. Three months after his first survey, in June 1867, Freeman was able to report that locked lanthorns were in use and that gas had been laid on. There was 'not a wick left on the premises'!

By 1887 Cooper was warehousing tanned hides at New Street, besides wool, but this seems to have been a temporary arrangement. But in 1904 he was looking for other alternative goods to store, particularly after the 'Colonial Wool season' ended in August. The top floor was kept as a showroom for wool but the rest of the warehouse was used for storing hops. Several large wool warehouses had been erected by Cooper's competitors, particularly Gooch and Cousens, in the 1890s, in Back Church Lane and Pennington Street — much more convenient for the docks or the railway link to Tilbury if not for the Wool Exchange in Coleman Street where sales were held about six times a year.

In February 1906 gypsum was being stored and a small hand-worked mill was installed. Although Cooper applied for the building to be reinstated on the list of wool warehouses later that year, in 1907 it was empty and up for sale. (Notes based on MS 14943 at the Guildhall Library — thanks to Bet Parker for the spadework). Tim Smith

By archaeologists for industrial archaeologists...

A great day was had by the 300 or so industrial archaeologists who turned up at Chatham Town Hall for the IA conference organized by the Council for Kentish Archaeology. Unusually, the visits were in the morning and a great stream of people trooped off to Chatham Dockyard where we were most efficiently sorted into four groups and shown the treasures of Georgian IA left to us by the Navy. Smaller groups returned, equally contented, from visits to the Brook Industrial Museum and from scrambling over Fort Amherst to be regaled with lucid accounts of the Dockyard, restoring the Manston Spitfire and the Sittingbourne Light Railway, plus tea and a cake celebrating 20 years of co-operation between the CKA and Kent County Council. The Mayor of the Medway Towns made it quite clear that he welcomed industrial archaeologists too, so if you missed this excellent day you can still visit the Brook Industrial Museum (contact Mike Peevers, 269 London Road, Rainham Mark, Gillingham, Medway 362847), Fort Amherst (address Dock Road, Chatham) is also being worked on and sometimes open to visitors, while the Dockyard is in the process of being conserved and is opened from time to time (Tourist Information Centre, Rochester tel 0634 43666 may be able to let you know when). A splendid effort by the dirt archaeologists, I only hope we can equal it at Brighton next month!

P.S. The spring issue of the Kent Archaeological Review is also devoted to IA and contains articles on Chatham Gun Wharf, Dartford Gunpowder Mills, working in the Dockyard and contributions from GLIAS's Bob Barnes on the cement works at Cliffe and the Rennie steam engine at Rotherhithe that came from Chatham. Copies are available from C.K.A. Roman Painted House, New Street, Dover and cost 35p plus postage.

Mines at Greenwich?

The Geological Society of London's printed library catalogue of 1846 lists a folio Report on the Roads and Mines on the Estates of Greenwich Hospital by one Edward H. Locker, dated 1823. This appears to have been a printed document, as manuscripts are indicated as such where listed in the Catalogue. The Geological Society is not now able to locate its copy of the Report and enquiries at the Institute of Geological Sciences have so far failed to trace one. Possibly a GLIAS member may be able to comment on whether the roads and mines (presumably chalk mines) were actually at Greenwich, or whether the Hospital had estates in far-flung parts of the country? And is anything also known of Locker? Paul W Sowan


Peter Skilton's query about coke as locomotive fuel in the 1840s (GLIAS Newsletter February 1984) brought forth a number of replies (some of them before the newsletter had even circulated!), the main point of which was that coke was compulsory even at the Rainhill Trials and that by mid-century improvements in engine design was making it possible to burn coal without infringing the legal requirement that they 'must effectively consume their own smoke'. John Parker and Michael O'Connor sent even more interesting answers giving locations of railway coke ovens in London. John mentioning coke ovens at Camden and on the Old Kent Road, the latter were probably those of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway 'at New Cross on the Cold Blow' which received their coal via the Grand Surrey Canal, mentioned by Michael. He also lists the London & South Western Railway ovens at Nine Elms, about mile from the original terminus on the N side of the line, which were described by Wishaw in 1840s '16 ovens in a T-shaped layout, each 10ft dia. and holding 4 tons of coal. 8 ovens were drawn daily and almost immediately refilled. The coke was cooled with water for 2 hours, leaving about 2/3 the weight of coal.'

Any more coke oven sites?'

Douglas Braid, in his letter on the above subject, also writes that C.T. Davis's book of 1898 'Industries of Wandsworth' has been reprinted by Wandsworth Library with an introduction by Derek Bayliss. It is illustrated and costs 1.50 + postage from Wandsworth Library (Local History), Lavender Hill.

Did the builder of the Settle-Carlisle railway meet his match in South Croydon?

Joseph Firbank, one of the leading railway civil engineers of the 19th century, was at work in the 1860s on the Settle & Carlisle railway. He also contracted for the Oxted line from Croydon southwards in the late '60s, although it was not until March 10 1884 that the line was completed and opened.

What must have been one of Firbank's least-known and least-successful railway works and one of his lasts was the Woodside & South Croydon Railway, from which all services were withdrawn between Woodside and Selsdon in May last year. Although only some 3.8km long, the line had to pass under Park Hill, an escarpment of Lower London Tertiary beds; between what were to be the sites of Bingham Road and Coombe Road stations. The Woolwich & Reading Clay in Park Hill was excessively troublesome to the tunnellers and in fact the central part of the hill appears to have fallen in, necessitating the making of a very deep central cutting from the summit of the hill, communicating with short tunnels at the N and S ends. Ground instability was such, indeed, that at the time of construction, or later, most of this central cutting had to be converted to a 'cut and cover' tunnel. An aperture for ventilation was left at either end of this third, central, tunnel. Whereas more successful railway tunnels have been well documented in the civil engineering literature, those at Park Hill are rarely mentioned, although fortunately the valuable geological sections opened up during the construction of the line (it took from late 1881 to August 10 1885 to make!) have resulted in published geological papers which contain glimpses of the difficulties.

Thus on April 22 1882 the Holmesdale Natural History Club visited the tunnel works, amongst other locations and the published excursion report tells us that:
'It was then being excavated through several shafts, the borings not having yet begun from either end. Several of the party descended one of these shafts and were much interested in seeing the work of digging, propping and building up the brickwork going on. Timbers of great size and strength were required to support the roof and new ones had to be continually advanced and carefully wedged in their positions as the length of the boring was increased Still, with all precautions, these stiff plastic clays are very difficult to work in and several accidents have occurred. (Since the time of our visit the tunnel has fallen in, by which the progress of the railway has been much retarded.) Proc. Holmesdale Natural History Club 1881-3, 71-74 (1894).

A member of the Croydon Microscopical & Natural History Club (as it then was), Hendericus Magnus Klaassen, by arrangement with Firbank and his engineer George Throssel, made a close geological study of the beds exposed in the cuttings and tunnels over several years. From his published accounts we learn, inter alia, that: 'The Woolwich Blue Clay in the north cutting was the first of the beds which gave proof of instability. On the night of the 6th October, 1882, a length of 200 feet, 32 feet wide, slid forwards, carrying along the superincumbent beds and surface ground, with hedge, wooden posts and a cask of water undisturbed, but pushing the rails and sleepers aside the side weight of the banks pressed on and against the soft clay below and frequently lifted the railway 2 to 3 feet in the course of a few hours It is beyond the scope of this paper to mention what means were used to check the instability of the beds In the central cutting the movements are inconveniently frequent. Thus, on the 27th of August 1881, a slip from the above (beds) covered up part of the line and buried eight railway trucks. The Woolwich & Reading Beds have the reputation of being unstable and they have fully maintained this character in the cuttings. Proc. Geologists' Association 8(4) s 24 pp (1884).

This was the line selected for study, by Brian Colquhoun & Partners for the Dept. of Transport, for possible conversion to road use. The choice was almost certainly simply on account of the short stretch of line possessing almost every railway structure likely to be found on an abandoned suburban railway line except a viaduct; there is no serious interest in actually making a road. The report's conclusion was that, within the restrictions imposed by the existing bridges and tunnels, the northernmost 2.5km, from Blackhorse Lane to Coombe Road, could be converted to an ordinary two-way road (but without footways it seems) for 2,200,000 (the 1.4km southwards from Coombe Road to Selsdon is to be retained by BR for access for their twice-weekly oil trains serving the Selsdon depot.) It was suggested, undoubtedly correctly, that the capital expense of attempting to enlarge the tunnels, cuttings and embankments for anything bigger than a two-lane road could not be justified. (Brian Colquhoun & Partners, Report on the Possible Use of the Woodside to Selsdon Railway Line (1983.) Paul W Sowan

S.S. Jervis Bay

The 26,876 tons gross container ship Jervis Bay, visited by GLIAS on 5th February 1980, was reported wrecked on 24th January 1984 off Bilbao. Formerly belonging to Overseas Container Lines and operating to Northfleet Hope Tilbury she had been laid up in Antwerp and was being towed in ballast to Taiwan for breaking. For more information see Lloyd's List, 26th January 1984 and of course the report of the GLIAS visit (GLIAS Newsletter April 1980). Many thanks to Bob Barnes for bringing this to my notice. Bob Carr

(Apologies to Bob for messing up his review of the biography of C.B. Vignoles in the last newsletter. I'm afraid I introduced a suspension bridge into railway engineering and retarded the railway mania by ten years while 'tucking' this review to fit into the newsletter.) Ed

Bedfont Gunpowder Mills

GLIAS members in association with the Bedfont Research Group and Gunnersbury Park Museum have recently been involved in two day-long research sessions in the muniments room at Syon House (GLIAS Newsletter October 1983). So far, rent returns, leases and maps have been consulted. Information about the history of the site and its buildings have come to light. This will be particularly useful for a trial excavation on 29 April 1984. It is intended that research at Syon House will continue and members who would like to assist are asked to contact Phil Philo on 992 1612 (work). David Thomas

Colin Scull

Colin was a nice bloke. My main contact was on behalf of GLIAS. He has over the years given a lot of behind-the-scenes help and time in arranging and carrying out printing of Newsletter supplements and pages with photos or drawings. In spite of often completely unreasonable deadlines he was always prepared to assist and many a Friday evening after work was so occupied. Every now and then his interest in the arts, music and other societies came through. We were very sorry to hear of his death in March, following some time in hospital. Our sympathies are extended to his family. David Thomas

Visit to the Lea Valley

This Newcomen Society visit took place on Tuesday 1 November 1983. The party met at the King George's pumping station Chingford and inspected the five Humphrey gas pumps. These were installed in 1913 and pumped water into the King George reservoir from the river Lea, the lift being about 30 feet. The four larger pumps were rated at 40 mgd and a fifth at 20 mgd. Gas for operating the pumps was obtained from a battery of four Dowson pressure type gas producers using anthracite as fuel, but this plant has been demolished. An excellent account of the Humphrey pump is given by Dr Denis Smith in the Transactions of the Newcomen Society, 43, 67-92, PI XV-XVI. We are most grateful to Dr. Smith for joining the party in the morning and his fascinating talk on the Humphrey pump (literally!) and its inventor given in the pump house. Here with dramatic effect he played a tape recording of the small pump at work shortly before closure.

Our next call was at Turnford pumping station situated beside the New River (TL 360 044). This pumps water from a borehole (Turnford Well). A preserved side lever paddle type marine engine, reputedly dating from 1845 and by Boulton & Watt, is the chief attraction. Apart from models very few examples of the marine side lever engine exist. As built the Turnford engine has a single cylinder 28 inches in diameter by 3ft 5in stroke, but in 1882 it was compounded by R. Moreland & Son who added an inverted vertical single cylinder engine, now removed. Electric pumps were introduced at Turnford in 1953. The early history of the superseded steam engine is obscure, but it is believed that it was operated by the Hampstead Water Company from 1847 and moved to Turnford about 1856 when that Company was taken over by the New River Company.

After lunch in Ware we were met at Ware Lock (TL 352 142) by Mr. Ardern the TWA Area Manager who described the recent flood prevention construction carried out by the Authority at the Lock. A new weir basin with granite sides and bottom and three siphons to preserve navigation levels has been built. Ware is the only TWA lock. Archaeological excavation work was carried out revealing what might be a Roman corn mill. A short way to the ME are the impressive buildings belonging to Glaxo, This firm has a water turbine housed in a separate building by the river. Led by Mr. Ardern in his private motor car which was closely followed by a white van load of TWA men we proceeded from Ware Lock in a grand motor cavalcade along the S bank of the River Lea to the 'New Gauge' (TL 340 138), gates being opened and closed for the party by TWA employees. Perhaps the spirit of the old New River Company still lingers. The New Gauge of 1856 was built at the mouth of a cut made soon after 1738 to take water from the River Lea for the New River. The reputedly unique gauge by William Chadwell Mylne consists of two iron boats about 15 feet long, floating at Lea level, joined by a semi-elliptical iron beam about 28 feet long. This beam is connected vertically with a sluice gate which controls the flow of water from the river Lea to the cut. In picturesque language the arrangement could be described as a 'floating hole'. The average daily inflow from the Lea is about 22.5 mgd and the gauge is housed in a substantial yellow brick, slate roofed building which straddles the mouth of the cut. The first floor was a flat for the accommodation of a man whose job was to clean the screens. The previous gauge of 1770 by Robert Mylne was erected at the other end of the cut and the marble sarcophagus-like chest which contained it may still be seen there. During WW2 these remains were damaged by bombing, but some inscriptions were salvaged and may be inspected in the New Gauge House. We should like to thank the TWA for arranging the visits Mr. Wellman (King George pumping station), Mr. Shirra (Turnford) and Mr. Ardern for leading the party at the New Gauge. The area of the visit, especially around Ware, is rich in engineering and industrial remains, but time allowed us only to visit the above sites. Stretches of the New River are particularly beautiful and there are several superb pumping station buildings. The IA of the region is covered by 'The IA of Hertfordshire' by W Branch Johnson, David & Charles 1970. Bob Carr

Activities captured in architecture

This was to be a brief, short series, but it has generated much correspondence and, we hope, interest. Many thanks to all the members who have been in touch. This section gives all sites notified since their respective lists were published, plus a few corrections. If any more come to light they will be listed later so, please, let David Thomas know at 36 Pearman Street, SE1 7RB.


Part 2, Food, item 9: 23 Britton St EC1. Confirmed scenes were re-located from Booth's distillery, Turnmill St (1901) in 1976. They show the collection of grain and juniper berries and the beasts are bullocks.

23 Britton Street EC1, re-located from Booth's gin distillery.   Robert Mason 2016

Part 4, Services, item 20: 26 St Johns Lane (not Road) EC1. Formerly premises of United Horse Shoe & Nail Co. Ltd of late 1880s.

Part 6, Odds & Ends, item 2: the chap on Whiteley's clutched a COG, not a dog!


8. 89-91 Pall Mall, SW1. RAC HQ, 1908-11. A cherub recklessly drives an open-topped buggy across the pediment, steering with one hand and looking back in distraction over his shoulder at a larger-than-life topless female. No doubt in anticipation of nemesis, a bit further on the decor includes a number of car horns.

9. 189 Victoria St, SW1. The District Railway's booking office is directly under a short shopping arcade. Above the entrance to this is a winged wheel. (Incidentally, the imaginatively refurbished entrance arcade to High St Kensington tube has nice District and Met Railway initials).

10. Victoria Station — LB&SCR side. Entrance passageway from forecourt has system maps that exclude any inconveniently placed lines of competitors.

Map of system   Robert Mason 2016 Map of suburban lines   Robert Mason 2016

11. Thinking of stations, three at least have stones carved with names of places served: Waterloo, Blackfriars (re-sited and a few more added) and Euston (lodges on Euston Road) including Tenby, served genuinely, but circuitously via Stafford, Shrewsbury and Carmarthen!

Euston station   Robert Mason

12. Buckingham Palace Road, SW1. British Airways' building is fronted by a winged 'flight' figure and continent carved globe. A basement platform enabled rail transit to Gatwick.

Imperial Airways Empire Terminal, Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria. The sculpture, entitled 'Speed-wings over the World', by E. R. Broadbent

13. Great West Rd/Clayponds La, Hounslow. Beecham House 1936-8 for Simmonds Accessories, aircraft instrument makers. A (winged!) fully clad pilot looks down disdainfully on surface transport.

14. Great West Rd, Hounslow. Vogue Interiors cash & carry utilises a former car showrooms hence the incongruous 1929 Packard radiator out front.

15. Uxbridge Station. 193 stone leaf springs and wheels turned turtle make an interesting vista; nice stained glass in the booking hall.

16. Alongside Concert Hall Approach, South Bank SE1. A motorbike or, rather, half of one with rider, as an outdoor objet d'art.

17. Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Rd SE14. Coat of arms includes a small shipbuilding scene. (Fair enough here, but why the ship on the library in Tooting Broadway?)


1. Grove St SE8. Probably the oldest 'captured activity' in London; 1780s gate piers for the former Deptford Victualling Yard have ox skulls and anchors, symbolising Naval salt beef produced here.

2. Brady St/Winthrop St E1. Moulded wheatsheaf above corner entrance of former baker's shop that dates back to about 1880s.

3. 89 Brent St NW4. Coloured grain-growing panels in corner of baker's window.

4. 253 Kilburn La W10. A mini baker loafs about above the shop door.

5. Great West Rd, nr junction Ealing Rd, Hounslow. The Lucozade factory closed in autumn 1983. Has the large, permanent, neon sign of the healthy liquid bubbling from bottle to glass been removed? (>>>)

7. 216 Strand WC2. Two squat Chinese gentlemen of 1787 adorn the doorway of Twining & Co, teamen.


8. 70 Fleet St EC4. The 1888 pedimental date is bisected by a turtle anxiously crawling to safety on premises formerly occupied by Sweetings, seafood specialists.

9. Leadenhall Market EC3. High on the main arcade walls is a repeated fruit bowl design of 1881.

Leadenhall Market   Robert Mason 2018

10. Borough Market, Southwark St SE1. Stylised fruit baskets above entrance.

Borough Market   Robert Mason 2005


1. 64 Petty France SW1. Tilbury House, former offices of the Tilbury Contracting & Dredging Co Ltd. A nice stone scallop above the door. Look closer: in the centre is a carved riveted iron grab bucket!

2. 11 Tothill St SW1. Built late 1950s for various bodies associated with the steel industry, including the British Iron & Steel Federation. Now the only bodies left are those of the repeated muscular bar-bender chap on wall panels. Present occupiers are Department of Employment!

3. 36-40 Gt. Tichfield St/Mortimer St W1. Offices/workshops of gown makers, hence the exterior lion chewing a gold cloth.

4. 30 Old Bond St W1. Winged cherub reads from scrolls perhaps an oblique link with the premises occupation by the Corona Typewriter Co in the 1920s?

5. 133 Strand WC2 (main entrance around corner) 1897 dates. A lavish terracotta trimmed office that must have been built for a philanthropic trading company: note the two pairs of telephoning cherubs, telegraph pole, ship and, either side of the door, hives and bees with the legend 'nothing without labour'. No doubt regarded ruefully by visitors in the first four years of its life, when this was, as an annex to Somerset House, the Repayments Branch of the Inland Revenue!

6. 39 Charing Cross Rd WC2. Good eyesight is needed to espy a stylised book and legend 'Fiat Lux' at parapet level of offices built c.1890 for publishers.

7. Evelyn St, Deptford SE8. The main office block of Molins has six tall, circular, full-height columns with 'tops' that could (and perhaps still can) be illuminated with a red glow, to simulate a lighted cigarette: Molins produced cigarette-making machinery.

8. 80 New Fetter Lane EC4. More Mercurial heads represent communications on newspaper offices.

9. 11 Kingsway WC2. Two further Mercury features, but this time on premises which I believe have always been occupied by WH Smith.


10. 61-3 Grange Rd SE1. Alaska Factory, 1869. A doleful seal has reason to look worried above the entrance to a skin dressers.



1. Royal Exchange, Cornhill EC2. Bustling commercial scene in pediment. 1841-4

2. Corner Tufton St/Gt Peter St SW1. Mary Sumner House 1925. An 'angelic' mum (or very mature baby) looks down from the Mothers' Union HQ.

3. 51-5 Strand WC2. London offices of the 'Halifax' have bronze doors with houses and flats thereon.

4. Perhaps we should include the Royalty industry? Gateposts around Buckingham Palace include stone crowns.

5. Hammersmith end of Shepherds Bush Rd W6. Nice library of 1905-6: various figures glance at, lean on, or even stand on, stone tomes. Two more, in plaster, inside.

6. 30-31 Gt Queen St WC2. Royal Masonic Institution for Girls (1920s?) Two adolescent girls at low level with books and globe, while above are four fully-fledged professional ladies, obviously benefitting from schooling. Of course this, and other Masonic buildings nearby, is adorned with compasses, set squares, etc.

David Thomas

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© GLIAS, 1984