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Notes from Bob Carr — December 1995

Food, glorious food

A number of slightly less than serious items in recent newsletters have had an effect and several GLIAS members have risen to the bait with excellent notes on Saxby's, pork pies, Zebo (GLIAS Newsletter August 1995), etc. It might be thought that items in this newsletter would all be about industrial archaeology but it seems some of our members read this publication while feeling hungry and things to eat come to mind. The lecture on ice cream by R Weir scheduled for 9 November should attract a huge audience. (Zebo, I gather, is not edible).

Now things sold in bakers' shops vary surprisingly as one moves about the country. In London a cheesecake is often covered with white strips of coconut and one can also get something quite different, creamy and containing mostly cheese, in more continental establishments.

In the East Midlands the cheesecake is utterly different again from both the varieties sold under that name here. American-style Alabama Raisin Pie is surprisingly reminiscent of the Leicestershire cheesecakes served at the Tea Pot Café, Great Glen, in the 1950s. In the town of Leicester itself similar cakes can still be bought from branches of Greasley the bakers. (The Tea Pot Café was a notable landmark on the main A6 road between Kibworth and Oadby. A large teapot sign hung outside).

Thinking the above was a brief resumé of the cheesecake a recent encounter at Lawrences café, St Giles Street, Northampton with a 'Towcester cheesecake' proves the fallacy of this assumption. Compared with the Leicestershire variety Towcester cheesecakes are considerably deeper and they are oval in shape. Bob Carr

GLIAS rail tour

On Friday 20 October 1995 14 GLIAS members took part in a journey by train around Greater London starting from Waterloo. Leaving Clapham Junction station on foot by the north exit the party looked at an interesting public house with arms of Irish signposts displayed in the windows before boarding the diesel train to Willesden Junction.

Many felt that this next part of the journey was the most interesting. We crossed the river by the venerable Battersea railway bridge of the 1860s, had good views of Chelsea Dock and Lots Road power station (GLIAS Newsletter December 1983), ran past West Brompton, Earls Court, Olympia and White City with views of Trellick Tower and passed over the Eurostar depôt at North Pole Junction.

From Willesden the route was via the North London Line to Gospel Oak and then on to Barking and Upminster. After refreshment at the Windy Miller tearoom in Station Road we took the branch line train via Emerson Part to Romford where we had a very good but somewhat hurried tour of the town before returning direct to Liverpool Street.

The former LMS and LNER stations at Romford are connected by a 'boarded crossing' and on this pedestrian route there is a Westwood Baillie bridge and the broken remains of a cast-iron lamppost. The latter was fractured completely across about four feet from the ground and is a good illustration of the difficulty foundries had in casting hollow columns with walls having an equal thickness all round. In this example the core used in the casting was not concentric at the time the metal was poured and there is a marked variation in the thickness of the iron around the top of what is left.

Little now remains on the site of Romford Brewery (GLIAS Newsletter June 1990). There are still some of the older buildings on the south side of High Street around the bridge over the River Rom but apart from the mid 1950s buildings with dramatic ferro-concrete shell roofs to the south west of the site, now used for road transport operations, almost everything has been cleared.

Also noted in Romford was the star on a c1930s cinema building in South Street just north of the railway station which marks the site of the Star Inn, the starting point for Romford's brewing industry (GLIAS Newsletter August 1989). A number of notable historic buildings survive in the town which surprisingly still has a little of the character of a market town. In the Market Place some granite sets survive and of course the Golden Lion Inn is noteworthy. Bob Carr

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© GLIAS, 1995