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Notes and news — December 2003

In this issue:

Obituary: John Bagley

It was with sadness that we learnt of the death of John Bagley, a long time GLIAS member and former curator of aircraft at the Science Museum.

John was to be seen at lectures and supported other GLIAS events. As he had been present at the first crossing of the Channel by Hovercraft he also came on the 'Last Hovercraft' trips. His presence was invaluable as his understanding of the French speaking guide and construction techniques came to my rescue as I attempted to translate the story of the building of the canal lift at Arcques.

John had been involved with the Southampton University IA Group and GLIAS for many years and was a familiar sight in the Science Museum Library before his declining health led him to mover nearer his family in Nottingham. He kept in touch through the newsletter as one of our "country members" until his eyesight failed. Danny Hayton

Obituary: Tony Innes

News has also reached us of the death of Tony Innes, who, since retirement to Dorset, was no longer a member of GLIAS. However he was still in touch with us through the AIA and other meetings.

Tony, with his wife Brenda, then secretary of GLIAS, was a member of the 'infamous' Goldsmiths evening class in the 1970s. As a practising quantity surveyor, his skills were useful in fieldwork and particularly in developing early proposals for the conservation of the Kirkaldy Testing Works.

In the days before computers Brenda and Tony compiled and controlled the lists for the last AIA Conference in London using large sheets of paper and coloured pencils! His calm, competent understanding of a very complex event contributed to its undoubted success.

After leaving Bromley, both Tony and Brenda continued their involvement with IA and were instrumental in setting up the Dorset IA Group as well as recording and surveying local buildings.

Our thoughts are with Brenda at this time. Danny Hayton

The East London Line Extension

Following a decision in the High Court in July 2003 building work is now in progress on the extension of the East London railway line (GLIAS Newsletter June 2002).

Much of the former Bishopsgate Goods station area has gone and the Norfolk public house has been demolished. A new bridge is to be built over Shoreditch High Street but the listed building at number 196 will be retained. Strengthening work has been undertaken to ensure it does not suffer unduly from adjacent demolition. In March 2002 the Braithwaite railway viaduct was listed grade II and thankfully should survive. The existing Shoreditch station will be replaced by a new one on the north side of the former Bishopsgate Goods Yard site.

On completion the infrastructure of the East London railway line will be transferred to Network Rail and metro-style National Rail trains will be operated. The new line will bring trains through Hackney via Haggerston and Dalston Junction to Highbury and Islington. South of the river the former East London line services will be extended to West Croydon and Clapham Junction. There is also a scheme to run trains eastwards from Dalston Junction to Stratford using the North London Railway route. This would be a valuable asset if the proposed Olympic Games are held at Hackney Wick in 2012.

Another extension may allow trains to run westwards as far as Willesden Junction. A service to Finsbury Park using the Canonbury Curve is now considered unlikely because of 'operational complexity'. The curve is presently used only by freight trains and for empty stock workings. In the days of British Railways about 30 years ago when Broad Street station was busy at peak periods a through service of diesel locomotive hauled commuter trains was operated from Broad Street for City workers using the Canonbury Curve and continuing northwards to stations on the former Great Northern lines. Bob Carr

Greater London Archaeological Quarterly Reviews

The confusingly initialled GLAAS (English Heritage, London Region, Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service) produce a quarterly review. The last two reviews, for the first two quarters of 2003, included reports on the following industrial sites:

January-March 2003

April-June 2003

Although not included in either review, I learned at a meeting of the London Archaeological Forum of a planning application relating to Ides Glassworks. The site has been used for the manufacture of glass from the 17th century or earlier and is still in use for that purpose. It is the subject of a planning application, which makes provision for continued operation of the glassworks. Given the potential importance of the site, English Heritage are appraising the application.

Finally, it was encouraging to read the following in Changing London, recently published by English Heritage: 'Industrial buildings are often among those most at risk of disappearing from the landscape but they often provide valuable archaeological evidence about industries that were once an integral part of the local community. Some, like Battersea Power Station, are of such national significance that their future is given proper consideration. Many others across London are not so fortunate.'

Brian Strong


The National Portrait Gallery in St Martin's Place, WC2 has recently opened its rehung Regency Rooms, which contains a wall of interesting people, including J L McAdam, the Fourdriniers, George Stephenson, Sir Marc Brunel (a trompe l'oeil portrait giving the impression that he is sitting in his armchair in the Thames Tunnel), Sir Frederick Trench and Sir Edward Banks.

I think it may be unusual for a contractor (albeit a titled one) to be depicted in a public gallery, although of course there is a statue of William Dargan outside the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. The NPG's collection can be viewed via a touchscreen, which reveals three more contractors (all baronets: Peto, Aird and McAlpine.)

There is plenty else to see at the NPG, not least a splendid recently acquired Millais portrait of Louise Jopling, a daughter of T S Goode, a Manchester railway contractor about whom I have so far found little, and they provide interesting lectures as well. Richard Graham

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station has been given the go-ahead to be turned into a multi-million pound leisure and housing complex after a High Court judge threw out attempts by those opposed to the development of the Grade II listed building to have aspects of planning permission reconsidered.

Development company Parkview will now press ahead with a £500m redevelopment scheme which was approved by Wandsworth Council in August 2000. The plan includes hotels, a theatre, cinema, flats and a dedicated rail link from Victoria station, as well as rooftop restaurants.

New Mills Archive Website

The Mills Archive, a centralised archive and resource library that allows users to store and retrieve information and records about traditional mills and milling, is now up and running.

The site was set up to preserve and where possible integrate the various threatened sources of information on the windmills and watermills of the UK and the rest of the world.

There are more than 7,000 records already uploaded with more to come. There is a Mill Index and a People Index to help you find what we have that may interest you. You can also browse the collections, the people and the regions as well as using keyword searches and free text searches.

There are also searchable databases including the Millers and Millwrights database donated by Mary and Tony Yoward which contains some 30,000 mentions of millers, millwrights and allied trades.

Hydraulic Energy And Power

Tim Smith's excellent article Hydraulic (Horse) Power (GLIAS Newsletter October 2003) raises interesting questions.

Henry Robinson's formula (*) —

— (the first expression given by Tim) for calculating the horse power of an accumulator is easier to understand if the top line is rearranged as pressure x area of ram x stroke (force x distance = work). If by stroke is meant the distance the ram travels in a minute, this expression does give horse power. That is if we measure the distance in feet which the ram travels in a minute when executing the work in question.

The problem is how to introduce time. Robinson's formula suggests we do this by timing how long the ram takes to travel a given distance. That is we know how long the ram takes to fall. It should be noted that in Robinson's formula the 33,000 has the dimensions of time expressed in minutes. The area of the ram can be in square inches or square feet etc so long as the units are used consistently. (In a calculation of this kind it is always a good idea to write in brackets after each quantity the units being used.)

However, when one comes to the example quoted by Tim things are somewhat unclear. The diameter of the ram is presumably 12 inches? If so this would make the area of the ram 113.097 square inches. The stroke of 22 feet has been multiplied by 12 to give 264 inches in error. The stroke should be in feet. This would make the horsepower just over 56 as Tim suggests. It must be stressed that all this is assuming the ram is falling at a rate of 22 feet per minute. It sounds feasible that to calculate the horsepower of a ram we have someone standing by with a stopwatch who times how long the ram takes to fall a marked distance (say by using chalk marks).

But when we come to R G Blaine he simply sidesteps the issue of time by introducing horse power hour. The time simply cancels out.

Blaine's calculation of stored energy is correct if we leave out the 62.4 and the 2.3. Where these figures come from is uncertain. Perhaps from careless editing (the kind of thing we are now familiar with when MS Word is being used too quickly)? The introduction of 62.4 suggests a discussion of pumping or perhaps an accumulator weighted with water (a water tank would not be a convenient load for an accumulator because of its large size). The 2.3 might be the volume of a tank in cubic feet. These numbers might be a residue from a calculation the author decided to omit.

Blaine's calculation concerning the largest accumulator used by LHP is all right but the question of introducing time is left in the air. Would a hydraulic accumulator with a ram of say 20 inches diameter be able to fall at a rate of 23 feet per minute (just for a few seconds). If so it would be giving out 160 horse power for this time.

Following experiments with brewery dray horses in London James Watt defined the horsepower as 33,000 ft lbs per minute. He was in a situation not unlike that of W G Armstrong at New Holland when hydraulic accumulators were first being installed.

At New Holland, which Tim discusses, not much happened until a ferry arrived and then there was intense activity for a short time. Here the 'multiplying effect' of using hydraulic power can be significant. By this is meant the possibility of having a fairly small steam engine (or engines) pumping up a large number of accumulators. That is a small steam engine horse power can be used to store a large amount of energy in hydraulic accumulators so that over a relatively short period the horse power available is several times that of the total available steam-engine power.

It was a situation like this which was envisaged when the note for GLIAS Newsletter August 2003 was written. The figure 30 horsepower was chosen so that almost all readers could immediately carry out the multiplications required in the head, without recourse to pocket calculators (or slide rules). The aim was to discuss principles rather than the situation pertaining to a particular site. It is appreciated that at this stage in the present article many readers may have been put off by the opening numerical discussion regarding the calculations of Robinson and Blaine and will by now be reading something else.

At Regent's Canal Dock the Goad insurance plan of 1891 shows two 75 horsepower steam engines housed in arch 267 under the London & Blackwall Railway just to the south east of the present accumulator tower. Further to the west on the west side of the Commercial Road Locks the disused hydraulic pumping station of 1852 is shown. This station has an accumulator 30 feet high and an engine of unmarked horsepower is labelled 'disused engine'. From the notes compiled by Malcolm Tucker for GLIAS in 1996 these were the only steam engines being used to power the dock's accumulators until a third hydraulic pumping station was added in 1898. There may have been other accumulators elsewhere on the site?

Thus in 1891 the total steam-engine power at the dock available for conversion to hydraulic power was stated to be 150 hp. However, it may well be that the 75 horsepower given for each of the two engines was 75 indicated horse power (ihp). This is the power developed in the cylinder(s), determined by counting squares on an indicator diagram. The power available for driving pumps as measured directly from a flywheel (brake horse power) would be less than this (due to mechanical losses) and we also have to consider the efficiency of the pumps themselves (§). We would probably be lucky to get 60 horsepower per engine in terms of water pumped to the pressure of the dock's hydraulic mains.

However, since both engines may have been in use at peak times and we have the 'multiplying effect' to consider (say five times), the maximum output for brief periods could have been as high as 600 hp. It all depends on how the system was worked. For somewhere like Tower Bridge which stays still most of the time a relatively small steam-engine power could pump up a large accumulator capacity for the big moment (now infrequent) when the bascules are actually raised. At a dock one might have a situation like that at New Holland where long periods of inactivity were followed by frenzied activity for a short time when a ship arrived. Alternatively a dock full of ships being unloaded and loaded continuously by numerous cranes might require a more constant power supply throughout the working day.

Finally the notion of brake horsepower (bhp) for a petrol engine was introduced in GLIAS Newsletter 207 to remind readers that often power figures quoted are for maximum possible power output. In the case of a motor car this is when the engine is running at maximum possible speed (revolutions per minute) eg in overtaking when motor racing. For a motor car engine the power output is directly proportional to engine speed. Thus under normal motoring conditions the maximum bhp is rarely ever even approached. This is analogous to the situation at Regent's Canal Dock where the maximum possible power output for short periods might have been quite high compared with the total steam-engine power available. As mentioned previously, this illustrates a great advantage of hydraulic power, 'the multiplying effect', which for short periods allows large power outputs which far exceed the total steam-engine horse power available. Bob Carr

(*) This 'formula' is scarcely 'mysterious'. It is just using first principles — the definition of power — (force x distance)/time.

(§) Hydraulic pumping engines were usually of the twin cylinder horizontal type with pumps in tandem with the steam cylinders, each pump being directly driven by an extension of the piston rod working through the end of the adjacent cylinder. This arrangement transmits power from steam cylinder to pump in an efficient manner. At least one example can be seen in the Tower Bridge museum.

EMIAC 66 Ilkeston

The last East Midlands Industrial Archaeology Conference (EMIAC) (GLIAS Newsletter December 2001) was held in the Royal Regency Banqueting Suite (excellent food) in the Ilkeston Co-operative Department Store on Saturday 18 October 2003. This Derbyshire venue was chosen as that day the historic Ilkeston Charter Fair was in full swing outside with the town centre closed to motor traffic. Ilkeston Fair was founded by Royal Charter in 1252 and is the largest street fair in the country. Showmen now travel long distances to take part in this popular annual event which with local support has grown in stature in recent years.

As well as lectures on topics relating to fairs in general and Ilkeston in particular, Ann Featherstone gave an interesting talk 'Wagon & Tilt' on portable theatres 1840-1940. Outside in the town were visits to the fair, the (rather strong) interior of the listed Ritz cinema (Germanic art deco c1938 by a local architect — now used for Bingo) (*) and the exterior of the Ilkeston Scala (local pronunciation 'Scaler') which is in Pimlico Street. This attractive little cinema claims to be the second oldest in the country still in its original use. Later there was a visit to the Erewash Museum.

An EMIAC is rather like a mini AIA Conference and being held twice a year since 1970 they have covered a very considerable ground. Number 67 will be held in Grantham, Lincolnshire on Saturday 8 May 2004 with the subject Industrial Grantham. Topics include the Hornsby-Ackroyd engine, Aveling Barford Ltd and BMARC so we will hear about oil engines, civil engineering plant and armaments. Unlike Ilkeston (now without a railway station — it once had three — GN and two Midland) Grantham is very easy to visit for the day by train (from London King's Cross the journey time is about one hour five minutes). Bob Carr
GLIAS members interested in attending EMIAC 67 should send a SAE to Mr N R Wright, EMIAC67, 32 Yarborough Road, Lincoln LN1 1HS for a booking form. The cost including food is £15

(*) The Ritz interior includes a 'vomitorium': entirely correct architecturally but for an Ilkeston audience was the architect being just a little too superior in his use of language?

Fish Facts Revisited

Dare I put my head over the parapet and write one more on the subject of goldfish in the underground toilets in High Holborn (GLIAS Newsletter June 2003). My original comments (GLIAS Newsletter April 2003) were very heavily edited for the newsletter and left out most of the background, which was aimed particularly at people who insisted they were still seeing goldfish there in 1960s to 1980s.

For the record, when I started work for Holborn Borough Council in 1963 I had read Geoffrey Fletcher's book The London Nobody Knows published in 1962 and was disappointed that I could not see goldfish in the underground toilets. One day in Holborn Town Hall I made a point of speaking to the supervisor of Holborn public conveniences who had worked for the Borough for very many years and the attendant who was with him who had actually worked in the Holborn convenience also for a number of years.

They both denied that there had ever been fish in the glass water tanks and made it quite clear what they would have done with them if any fish had ever been spotted there. They were both very annoyed that a story about fish had appeared in Geoffrey Fletcher's book as they had spent so much time denying it to enquirers. Later I used to acquire drawings for Camden Council's Local Studies collection from Geoffrey Fletcher and on one of the occasions I met him I took the opportunity to ask about the fish story. He then admitted that it was one story that he received more letters about any other to ask him to confirm the story. However, he admitted that he actually regretted making it up as a bit of fun as it was such a wonderful feature of the building and he 'felt that there should have been fish there'.

Bob Rust is quite right in saying that taxi drivers used to refer to the fish and the ones I have spoken to about it in the past had also been enthusiastic readers of Geoffrey Fletcher books for the interesting snippets of information on London. Indeed I did begin to wonder at one time if it had been introduced as part of The Knowledge information they had to learn.

I have never denied the possibility since the 1960s, or before, that people placed fish into the tank as a joke as I have spoken to people who insist they saw them regularly in the period 1960s to 1980s but I know the attendants I have spoken to would not have let them survive long. On at least 30 occasions between 1963 and their closure I visited the loos, usually with other people, to settle arguments by proving there were no fish there.

Certainly old timers from Holborn Borough and Camden Council staff, in addition to the ones I have personally spoken to myself, deny it ever happened. I am very sorry I am unable to explain how the people who ran the conveniences say they were never there and other people saw the fish. It is just one of life's delicious mysteries. Malcolm Holmes

Holborn urinals at Museum of London

Convoy's Slaughterhouse

In my piece about Convoy's (GLIAS Newsletter December 2002) I mentioned that we were always told that the old slaughterhouse was a listed building.

Quite by chance from another source I have found that it is listed not for itself but for the fact that it stands over Henry VIII's dry dock. I am surprised that no knowledgeable member pointed this out. Bob Rust

Hunter & English

In looking for the premises of John Dore & Co (coppersmiths who made stills) between the Bromley High Street and Orwell Road (later Arrow Road), I found that Hunter & English had premises south of the Bromley High Street.

When I mentioned Hunter & English, the archivist at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library told me they had recently acquired an early account book of theirs which I had a quick at: accession no: B/MIS/6 'Cost Book of Hunter & English Ltd, Engineers of Bow 1808-1810 [Hunter & English was formed in 1797 by two young Scots, Walter Hunter and William English, at Bow.' It includes accounts of work done for a number of customers, including the East India Dock Co, and the East and West Middlesex Water Companies and a number of private firms. I did not find any reference to the Three Mills Distillery. Brian Strong

MAZE a success

On 11 October GLIAS took a stand at the second London Maze Fair at the Guildhall. There were more than 40 displays by local history societies, archive resource sites and museums, among others.

There were free talks on London's past, tours of Guildhall's Roman amphitheatre, and even the chance to have your leg 'amputated' by demonstrators from the Old Operating Theatre Museum.

The GLIAS stand seemed to be permanently busy with enquiries and sales — to the tune of more than £300! — and lots of familiar faces passing through during the day. I have to admit that my favourite familiar face was that of Michael Wood, the TV historian, who started my day off very well when he opened the Maze from a balcony just above our stand.

We gave out a large pile of membership forms to prospective members, and I hope we spread the word widely about GLIAS and its ideas.

My thanks are due to Dan Hayton and my husband Paul for their help in setting up and manning the stand during the day, and I'm sure that GLIAS will be represented at the next London Maze, whenever it is planned. Ruth Verrall

Parcels Industry

Doing some more reading on the parcels industry (GLIAS Newsletter October 2003), I came across a comment that in 1907 Bean's Express had a depot at Thornton Heath.

The company had been in opposition to Carter, Paterson run by a disgruntled ex-CP manager. Soon after 1904 (the death of Walter Carter) CP, LPD and Bean's merged, although they still traded in their own names. It made me wonder if this merger put them all into Frant Road so the joint firm was in occupation in 1918.

The CP depot in Purley Way (just south of Mitcham Road) was not built until 1929 to take account of the move to motors. That would be worth a look if it has not been demolished or absorbed into one of the industrial estates in that area. Perhaps Paul Sowan could shed some light. Bob Rust

SS Robin

Before the Lansbury Voices Trust visits to Robin at West India Quay E14 started (GLIAS Newsletter October 2003), a joint party of GLIAS and Newcomen Society members paid a special visit on Wednesday afternoon 28 May 2003. Our guide was Laurie Jones, Robin's project administrator.

Over the winter a good deal of work had taken place in the cargo hold, part of which had been used as a workshop. Benches, lathes and miscellaneous clutter had been removed to reveal a good usable exhibition space. The interior of the hold has been given a silver finish and new lighting was being installed. It is now clearly recognisable as a viable gallery with an industrial aesthetic. Rather than using a lining of boards to hide the hull plates, rivets, brackets and signs of repairs over the years, these are clearly displayed — and are a pleasing feature. One hopes that this enterprising venture will shortly take off.

Robin's triple-expansion main engine, still in situ, was made by Gourlay Brothers & Company, Dundee. Cylinder diameters are 12in, 18in and 30in with a stroke of 21in. Taking the age of Robin into account it is unlikely she will ever go to sea again under her own power so for the time being the restoration of the engine to working order is a secondary consideration. What should be stressed is that Robin is amazingly complete. Stream winches are in their places and the galley still has its Victorian cast-iron cooking range. It is claimed that Robin is the oldest complete steamship in the world.

Following the Robin visit we were made welcome aboard the steam tug Portwey (GLIAS Newsletter December 2000). This small coal-fired vessel is in full working order and usually ventures out onto the tideway from time to time. However, the construction of a new access bridge nearby means imprisonment in the West India Docks for about 18 months.

Nonetheless ST Portwey was in steam over the weekend of 27-28 September 2003 and was able to get a little exercise in the confined area at the west end of the West India Import Dock. Hopefully she will be able to enjoy the freedom of open waters in due course. The bridge looks nearly finished.

Thanks are due to David & Nishani Kampfner and Laurie Jones for the visit to Robin and to the Steam Tug Portwey Trust for our exploration of the cramped interstices of the tug. An article on the SS Robin was published in Industrial Archaeology News 126, pages 7 & 8.

Please note that although the Duke of Edinburgh is now an honorary member of the SS Robin Trust and some funding has been obtained things are by no means plain sailing. The attempt to save Robin can still fail and the vessel may yet be scrapped. Robin still needs all the help she can get and you might able to assist. Bob Carr
See the Robin website Contact David Kampfner, Project Manager, SS Robin Registered Charity No 1095884, Hertsmere Road, London E14 4AE. Tel: 020 7538 0652. Email:

GLIAS members interested in learning more about the ST Portwey should contact Barrie Sanderson, secretary of the Steam Tug Portwey Trust, Tethers End, Old London Road, Rawreth, Wickford, Essex SS11 8UE. Tel: 01268 769583. Web: Visits on board by small parties can sometimes be arranged, generally on a Wednesday afternoon when maintenance work takes place.

Street walking with GLIAS

I'm not sure what else to call it, although we did venture onto Clapham Common this year!

Thanks to all of those who led walks and those who attended making another enjoyable year of exploring London on foot.

In conjunction with the Friends of Ironbridge Gorge we returned to some old haunts (or at least staring points) but visited new areas and eras. Dave Perrett took us along the Northern Outfall from Abbey Mills to Beckton on a sunny afternoon which set the weather tone for much of the summer. Many of those on the walk echoed my thoughts of: 'I've always meant to come here…'.

Sue continued the Street Furniture theme with a look at the embankment and the streets leading up from Temple to Chancery Lane. Most members (except me) can now identify the various types of phone box, street lamps, electric and gas, and a whole lot of bollards.

John Goodier took us West to Park Royal where the threat of development made a walk around the industrial estate more appropriate sooner rather than later. John led a visit to an interesting area with First World War munitions and later developments plus a bit of canal. It was good chance to see the detail in an area in which I had worked (and rushed through) over many years.

Chris Grabham started his contribution to the series at Surrey Dock which, unfortunately, I was unable to attend in person but my spies tell me it was a good evening ending, guess where, a Wetherspoons pub.

August saw us led by Peter and Anna Jefferson Smith around Clapham to see a village grow into a suburb over the centuries. A blazing August day led us to the cool shelter of the church where the memorials gave clues to the professions and trades of the local residents. A final stroll across the common led to one of the Second World War deep shelters and a most welcome pint in a pub almost as cool as the church.

I couldn't get away with just organising and took a group around the eastern City from Fenchurch Street Station looking at buildings of many ages from City churches to the Swiss Ré Tower (the Gherkin to most of us). We did pass through the Roman wall to find the 'invaders' (two paying walks) catching us in America Square. However, we evaded them and finished at the 30s style Ibex House which is just near a pub!

September produced two Saturday events with Chris Grabham involved in both firstly a look at Limehouse going east to the West India Docks viewing the basin and the buildings along Narrow Street with view across to Surrey Dock and of those exhausted souls in a rowing competition on the Thames. Surprisingly enough this walk also end at a pub, The Counting House at West India Dock, after a look at some of the remaining Telford buildings around Canary Wharf.

Chris's final contribution to the year was organising and supervising, with Fiona, the Treasure Hunt which has been a feature of the Friends of Ironbridge Gorge programme. This year visitors to Spitalfields and round about found themselves mixing with groups of industrial archaeologists clutching sheets of clues and questions and writing down their answers (even when nothing happened).

Thanks again to all those who helped out and turned out. Now, who's volunteering for next year (Email: Danny Hayton

Maritime Heritage Map

The new Russell Crowe blockbuster movie Master and Commander — The Far Side of the World is to be used to promote Britain's maritime heritage to tourists.

Film company Twentieth Century Fox and tourism body VisitBritain have joined forces to produce a 'movie map' based on the film, providing visitors with a guide to key destinations and attractions connected to ships and shipping through the ages.

Destinations include:


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© GLIAS, 2003