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Notes and news — February 1991

In this issue:

Recording Group notes

GREENWICH RAILWAY WALK — As is inevitable, the date chosen was one on which Millwall supporters decided to go street fighting against West Ham. Under the circumstances the walk was impossible and apologies to anyone who turned up and got lost among the police horses — better luck next time!

CAMDEN GOODS YARD — One of our members has been keeping up with development, proposals and hopefully will report elsewhere, GLIAS has recorded some of this site in the past and further work may not be possible. Meanwhile, we are keeping in touch with local bodies and conservation societies with the hope of being able to pick up on anything interesting which may turn up.

REGENT'S DOCK ACCUMULATOR TOWER — The Ragged School Museum hope to be able to turn this into a feature of the area following redevelopment of the Dock. Plans are now well advanced.

TELFORD BRIDGE AT ST. KATHERINE DOCK — It is understood that a further set of proposals for restoration and/or replacement may be coming forward.

PLATT'S EYOT — We have been told about the remains of Thorneycroft's boat yard on this site. Mary Mills

Crossness Engines Trust

The latest issue of The Record from The Crossness Engines Trust carries the welcome news that Mr. Hoffman (GLIAS Newsletter October 1990), Chairman of Thames Water Utilities (TWU), invited members of the Board of the Trust to meet him in mid-November. To quote The Record, 'it quickly became apparent that TWU were ready to enter into meaningful discussion with the Trust to find a way forward together'.

'Mr Hoffman said that TWU recognise their obligations to listed buildings and that he has authorised a £220,000 repair programme on the buildings at Crossness which should be completed by the end of January 1991. By then we hope to have news of how the Trust can once more become involved in the restoration work at Crossness.' To become a member of the Trust apply to Michael Dunmow, Secretary of the Crossness Engines Trust, 8 Yorkland Avenue, Welling, Kent, DA16 2LF. Bill Firth

Hudson's furniture vans

The Toppesfield Museum of the Working Horse, near Halstead, Essex, is restoring two horse-drawn furniture vans made by Hudson's of Brighton and used by Hudson's of Brighton, Eastbourne, London and Paris. Hudson's may also have had some connection with the Bromley area, possibly Bickley station, as contractors, hauliers, merchants etc. They also had premises in Willow Walk (Bricklayers' Arms) for a time.

Does anyone have any information, photographs, etc. about Hudson's, particularly anything which might elucidate the Bromley connection? Since I am coordinating a number of lines of enquiry, please reply to me rather than direct to the museum. Bill Firth

London Cooperative Society

Also from the Museum of the Working Horse — can anyone furnish firm information such as documentary evidence or contemporary photographs that the LCS used two-wheeled horse-drawn covered vans and if so, when, where and for what? Bill Firth

Notes from Bob Carr

The mysterious kiln by the West Coast Main Line railway just north of the Regent's Canal on the west side of the line, mentioned by David Perrett (GLIAS Newsletter April 1990), has been demolished.

Griffin Brewery © Marcus Man

Following last winter's visit to the Romford Brewery (GLIAS Newsletter October 1987) a visit to another London Brewery has been organised for Monday 25 March 1991. There has been a brewery on the Chiswick site since the time of Queen Elizabeth I. In 1816 the name Griffin Brewery was adopted by Douglas Thompson, the proprietor then. This name had been that of Andrew Reid's brewery in Liquorpond Street (now part of Clerkenwell Road), then one of the largest in London when it ceased to use the name Griffin. John Fuller joined the Chiswick business in 1829 and Henry Smith of Romford in 1845 with his head brewer John Turner. The partnership acquired the Beehive at Brentford in 1910 and Siches' Brewery in 1923 and a limited company was formed in 1929.

About 1970 Fuller's had a considerable trade supplying theatres and clubs. The Chiswick brewery produced London Pride bitter, E.S.B. (extra special bitter) and Hock Mild. Apart from these draught beers London Pride was available in bottles and there was Golden Pride, a bottled barley wine. Fuller's had about one hundred tied houses, most relatively close to the Brewery, but there was also the Rossetti, Queen's Grove, NW8, the Star Tavern Belgravia and The Packet Boat, Cowley. During our visit to the Griffin Brewery in March we should learn something of the present situation.

Paddington redevelopment

As many Newsletter readers will be aware a large redevelopment programme for the area around Paddington railway station is currently being discussed. Just before Christmas an exhibition was held in the former Royal Waiting Rooms, platform 1, at the station. Backed by the City of Westminster there are five major development schemes in what is known as 'Paddington SPA' (Special Policy Area). Following objections to proposals made in late 1989 a number of concessions have been made. The 29-storey tower for the Metropole Hotel is to be limited to 15 storeys and the 25-storey tower block for St Mary's Hospital is to be omitted. Proposals for the redevelopment of the area around Paddington canal basin made in November 1989 involved the total clearance of all existing buildings, including 35 North Wharf Road which is listed. Some buildings may now be retained.

Paddington Goods Yard to the north west of the station has been completely cleared and is to be redeveloped by Gainhurst Properties. Following objections to the first Application in December 1989 which envisaged a 'deck' between Bishops Bridge Road and Westbourne Terrace a number of concessions have been made; car parking places are to be restricted to 431 (originally 2,500), the proposed linking-ramp with Westway will be omitted, a taxi-depot is planned at second basement level, community facilities are to be incorporated and the maximum height of the development restricted to 13 storeys instead of 25.

Transport innovations which will affect the Paddington area include the Heathrow Express Railway Link from Paddington to Heathrow Airport and East-West Crossrail which latter has recently received the blessing of the Secretary of State for Transport. East-West Crossrail would consist of a British Rail loading gauge tunnel starting to the west of Paddington Station and running under central London to Liverpool Street station, surfacing in the vicinity of Mile End to enable through running of British Rail trains from the Western Region to Stratford, Romford and so on. At Paddington the Crossrail station would be constructed beneath the present main line station. Hopefully the Paddington redevelopment is being handled in a considerate way from a conservation point of view. Some buildings possibly of interest to GLIAS members could of course be lost and these include the Cannon Cinema in the Harrow Road, the Mint and Paterson Wings of St. Mary's hospital and 10-30 Eastbourne Terrace. Take photographs while you can. An article by Louise Rogers in AJ (4 April 1990, pages 26-31) gave an overview of the redevelopment and architectural possibilities.

The canal basin at Paddington, opened in 1801, was the terminus of the Grand Junction Canal, the M1 of the canal age engineered by William Jessop and opened throughout in 1805, which provided via the Oxford Canal north of Braunston a direct link from London to Birmingham and the West Midlands. In the early 1830s the basin at Paddington had a water area 1,200 feet by 90 feet, surrounded by considerable ranges of warehouses and sheds for storing goods. Passenger-carrying packet-boats ran regularly to Uxbridge. At present the canal basin is obscure and for the public almost inaccessible. Opening out the canal basin area with more public access and recreational use should be a considerable boon. Bob Carr

Stanley Sidings (off Chalk Farm Road side of the site)

This is the stables/horse hospital side.

If you have time one weekend, a Saturday or Sunday, a visit to the lock (near Camden Town tube) would be very rewarding. The arches under the north London line are used as antique (junk) caverns, so one can actually walk round. The stables are unfortunately not open, but one can walk about quite freely in the stalls area all round Stanley Sidings.

The horse hospital is still fairly sound and is used for individual antique stalls, in the appropriately named horse stalls, which remain intact even down to the chain and hook on each doorway. It stands a good chance of remaining sound for a while to come because each of the stallholders wouldn't want their pitch spoilt by any water damage (the stuff is locked in there from weekend to weekend).

I was pleased to see that digging of a trench earlier this year had ceased and the setts were replaced reasonably. I had thought they might disappear. June Gibson

King's Cross — the story continues

(GLIAS Newsletter December 1989) The good news is that King's Cross CAAC have produced a set of guidelines for potential developers and these have been presented to LB Camden's Planning Committee. The objective has been to look at the site without regard to the immediate impact of the current development proposals. Each building is individually assessed. The now unique importance of the Goods Yard as a whole in London's transport history is identified.

LRC have published notices in the Evening Standard (7 December) calling for the partial or total demolition of most of the buildings in the goods yard site. Indeed of the non-listed buildings only the Fish and Coal Offices are scheduled to remain. In particular the demolition of the Goods Shed and Regeneration House is called for and, curiously, the Western Coal Drops, although published plans show it well within the central part of the new development. Outside the Goods Yard site the demolition or partial demolition of the gas-holders is requested. The access ramps north of King's Cross station and the St. Pancras water point will also be lost. Charles Norrie

Gateway to the City

The Brunel exhibition centre at Rotherhithe organised a walk to Bank from the Royal Mint Street site along the Docklands Light Railway using the eastbound and currently unpowered line. The trip was hosted by the builders, Nuttall's, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hollandische Benton Groep nv. Descending the 1 in 16 incline we mounted onto the emergency walkway (or ledge). At this point the tunnel seems complete with tracks power and computer control loops in place. The route is dug using computer-assisted laser guidance (a laser tracks across a target which is compared with a previously prepared computer log) producing within a 25mm tolerance a tunnel for the train to go through, not a tunnel in a given place. It closely follows street lines to minimise settlement problems and sterilising development sites. Two types of lining — bolted segments and wedge block — determined by the type of ground, are used. The tunnel descends through gravel to clay over the Reading and Woolwich beds less than 5m below at Bank.

The running tunnels with the exception of the overrun at Bank are shield-dug — all others by hand — a moving head excavator working within the shield and removing all but a rim, detached by the shield itself. An innovation was varying the size of the shield at Bank station by driving the tunnel shield into a pre-sited station shield.

The work at Bank is not complete — connections to Central Line particularly so. Users of the Northern Line will know that the platform access tunnel has unusual prefabricated iron sides. This is inside a wider and expanded tunnel which will be opened out at completion.

There is an access tunnel under the Mansion House, meeting end on to the Waterloo and City tunnel no. 4. The remnant of Greathead's 1898 shield is embedded at the end and it will be an exposed feature incorporated into the lining of the access tunnel.

Many thanks to Doug Willis and colleagues at Nuttall's and the Brunel Exhibition Centre. Nuttall's are giving practical help in restoring the Rennie engine at the Brunel Exhibition Centre. Charles Norrie

Sheffield support

London's historic Mansion House has got the support of Sheffield industry.

George Clark (Sheffield) Ltd. has completed a £50,000 contract to supply stainless steel reinforcing bars and other materials to strengthen the official home of the Lord Mayor.

Tunnelling beneath the listed building (GLIAS Newsletter October 1990) for extensions to the Docklands Light Railway resulted in serious foundation damage. Contractors repairing the damage called on Clark's products to help them in restoring the building. Derek Bayliss

Letter to the editor

From Andrew Fenner, who writes:
Re. your note in the latest Newsletter on avoiding the 'dire eel and pie shop' near North Woolwich station museum (GLIAS Newsletter December 1990) — you might like to note that opposite the museum is the 'Royal Pavilion' pub, which does some of the best food we've found in London. (The beer is pretty good too!) It's one of the places where the old Victorian pleasure steamers used to stop (the adjacent Woolwich Pier is long-derelict) and is sized accordingly — it's enormous.

The food is cheap and amazing; in summer there's also a terrace where you can sit and watch the river. Ideally, to enjoy it to the full, it would be best not to eat for about a week beforehand. The 'yuppies' don't appear to have discovered it yet, so it's well worth going. Andrew Fenner

Acton Lane power station

Acton Lane was one of the last CEGB stations to retain steam railway locomotives to handle incoming coal trains. The last two locomotives were both outside-cylinder 0-4-0 saddle tanks; 'Little Barford' was built in 1939 by Andrew Barclay, Sons & Co. Ltd, Caledonia Works, Kilmarnock, works number 2069. 'ED3 Birkenhead' was built by Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd. in 1948 at their Newcastle-upon-Tyne Works, number 7386. The name of the Barclay locomotive, 'Little Barford', originates from the power station of that name in Bedfordshire, alongside the River Great Ouse near St Neots. The locomotive is now preserved at the Foxfield Light Railway, near Stoke-on-Trent. 'ED3 Birkenhead' is at Southall motive power depot just to the south east of the station.

The first generating station at Acton Lane, Willesden Power Station, was built for the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company in 1899 on a nine-acre site. Three vertical compound marine type steam engines drove directly two-phase 1.5 MW alternators producing electricity at 500 volts, 60Hz.

Ownership was transferred to the London Power Company in 1927 and following installation of new plant the final capacity of the station was 155 MW by the time of closure in 1964.

Part of the original site is incorporated in the present 16.5-acre power station site. In the current power station seven chain grate coal-fired boilers supplied steam at 41.4 bar, 454°C, to five 31 MW Richardson Westgarth turbines. The generating sets were commissioned from 1954 to 1958. The turbine-hall has a precast ferro-concrete frame rather than steel which was expensive at the time of construction due to shortages. Like Croydon B, Acton Lane had cooling towers, unnecessary at Thameside sites.

Power stations such as the later Acton Lane example supplied 33kV for local use and during peak load periods 132 kV to the National Grid. The mixture of sizes and manufacturers for plant in London power stations of this period is reminiscent of British Railways dieselisation programme. Bob Carr

List of London power stations

And finally, a snippet from The Veteran, December 1990


Our Father, which art in Hendon,
Harrow Road be Thy name.
Thy Kingston come, Thy Wimbledon,
In Erith as it is in Hendon.
Give us this day our Berkhamstead,
And forgive us our Westminsters,
As we forgive them that Westminster against us.
For thine is the Kingston, the Purley and the Crawley,
For Iver and Iver. CROUCH END.

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© GLIAS, 1991