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Notes and news — June 2012

In this issue:

Norwood Junction Station pedestrian subway centenary

This summer marks the centenary of the opening of the pedestrian subway under Norwood Junction Station.

This subway was innovative in that it was an early, if not the first, use of reinforced concrete as a tunnel lining. The deep-bored London tube tunnels from the 1890s onwards had all been lined with more expensive cast-iron segments.

Norwood Junction Station plaque The centenary will be commemorated on 31 July with the unveiling of a plaque at each end of the subway. A local residents group, People for Portland Road, are funding the expense.

The circular-section 84m/97½ yards long tunnel was driven, apparently through London Clay, below the station buildings and all seven platforms and six currently operating through lines without interrupting train services, under powers conferred by a London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Act of 1911 1.

With its west end in Station Road, and its east end communicating with public footpaths to Carmichael Road and Clifford Road, the subway completely bypasses the station's own internal subway linking its several platforms and front and rear entrances.

Norwood Junction Station opened on its present site in 1859. Reports in local newspaper Norwood News 2 at the beginning of the 20th century indicate the presence of a subway from c1862. As the population of South Norwood grew, there were increasingly frequent times when the subway became congested causing inconvenience. Letters in Norwood News 2 in the late 1890s complained that it often required five minutes to accommodate the departure of a train load of passengers. In addition to this the deleterious condition of the tunnel gave grave cause for concern; it being narrow, candle-lit and permanently damp on the west side due to a leaking adjacent sewer pipe.

In 1901 prominent members of the community led by the local vicar, Rev Bickersteth Ottley, petitioned the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company seeking improvements to the subway. The company directors acceded to the request, but intimated that their renovated subway would be private, ie for railway ticket holders only. It was known that this would reduce their costs in paying ticket collectors to stand on platforms 3 and 4, 5 and 6 as well as at both station exits.

On 1 July 1903 the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company closed their subway to the public. They undertook widening and renovation of the subway, and improved access between station platforms. However, to the incredulity of the community prohibited its use to the general public. South Norwood had been effectively bisected.

A Croydon Alderman pointed out that the roads on the east side of the line had been laid out on the assumption that the subway was a public means of access to and from the High Street. Indeed the site of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company subway was precisely located where a small bridge had traversed the earlier London to Croydon canal, certainly from 1811. There then followed a decade of considerable local agitation and deft political manoeuvring. In 1910 the Streets Improvement Committee recommended to Croydon County Borough Council an outlay of £6,000 (incidentally the cost of the renovated London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company station subway) for a new tunnel to be constructed.

The construction was able to begin once powers conferred by a London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Act of 1911 had been granted. This was necessary because the subway involved excavating on the highway on the west side of Norwood Junction Station, in Station Road. The cost of the Act was circumvented by the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company 'bolting' it onto another that they put before Parliament.

George Fearnley Carter (c1879-1962), the Borough Engineer, and Councillor W Robarts began to seek suitable contractors. They learned that the construction firm Messrs. McAlpine & Sons were building a water conduit in a 'peculiar method' using reinforced concrete. Carter conceived it might be possible to construct a subway using this new technology and so designed the subway using this approach.

In 1911 McAlpine & Sons were already a well established company, with 20 major contracts in hand. Among these were the Cuffley to Hertford Railway for the Great Northern Railway (costing £300,000 — £400,000), Methil Dock (about £700,000), Corby widening (which was to be six miles long), the Hemsworth widening (five miles long) for the Great Northern Railway. They were opening out the Darnoll Tunnel for the Great Central Railway Company, which involved the removal of over 300,000 cubic yards of rock. The sewers in tunnel at Southend-on-Sea (ten miles long) were also in progress.

McAlpine & Sons had already carried out many important tunnel contracts, where, as was the usual custom, the tunnels were lined with cast iron or brick. However, where brick was used, tunnelling was expensive because the excavation had to be temporarily held up with timber and this required extra excavation. In many cases the excavations formed a square hole even though the tunnel itself would be round. A means of overcoming this construction difficulty early in the 20th century employed the use of cast iron. The lining of a tunnel being put in, in short lengths and the excavations cut to the exact shape of the tunnel. However, the considerable cost of cast iron meant that this method was expensive and likely to be over the budget allocated by Croydon Council. McAlpine & Sons had at the time been experimenting with a method of combining the convenience of cast iron with the cheapness of concrete, and the strength of reinforced concrete.

The principle used in the Norwood Junction Subway is that it is a tube composed of concrete segments 7in/178 mm thick, 1ft/305mm wide and about 2ft 6in/762 mm long, reinforced with steel bands 1ft/305mm apart. These segments were fixed as the boring proceeded. The ground was excavated and, as each ring of sections 1ft forward was completed, a steel bar 1⅛in/28.6mm in diameter was embedded at the joint clasping the segments. A strengthening saddle was placed over the tube, under the running roads. As the segments were completed cement under pressure was forced into the outside of the sections so as to fill any gaps or inequalities.

By these means there was no interference with the metals or the running of the railway. Consequently there was no inconvenience to the ordinary running of the railway even though the top of the tube is just 2ft 6in/762mm under the rails. Usually the building of a subway would seriously impede the use of the railway thereby increasing the costs of labour, and the guarding against risks. The cost of the concrete segments and steel reinforcing rings was considerably less than had cast iron or steel tubing been used. Given these commendable points, McAlpine & Sons then expected to hold the market in this method of production; correctly as it turned out.

Norwood Junction Station subway The interior of the subway was lined with glazed tiles. These were green for two feet up from the floor, then white over the rest being rendered with Keene's cement to prevent tiles becoming loose as a result of vibration from overhead trains.

The tube or subway is 300ft/91.4m in length; and 9ft 3in/2.8m at elbow height wide, this width being considered suitable for four people to walk along side by side. It was lit with electricity from the beginning. The interior resembles the London Underground tubes.

Initially the builders had to first show the railway authorities that a tube so close to the surface would not put the rails out of alignment given the amount of earth around it. McAlpine and Sons satisfactorily demonstrated that there was no such risk and construction was able to proceed.

Another valuable feature is that although only 2ft 6in/762mm below the rails there is no appreciable noise in the subway from trains passing overhead. This is because of the insulating properties of concrete. This is markedly different from noise experienced in the railway subway between platforms.

The subway is approached by a gradient (decline) on either side. On the Station Road side the slope is about 1 in 8. Here the opening has a stone coping and is surrounded by an iron fence 5ft/1.5m high. On the Clifford Road side, McAlpine built a boundary wall with large concrete blocks with rock facing. The effect was said to 'combine the strength and appearance of an old Roman or city wall'. It is interesting to note that access to platforms 3 to 6 of Norwood Junction Station using the adjacent railway company subway is still by stairs.

At the time the subway was said to be an example to lead the engineering world in similar undertakings in the future.

Work began from both sides of the railway in February 1912 and was carried out under the supervision of the Borough Engineer. Completed that summer, it was formally opened on 31 July with considerable ceremony. Given disturbances to sewer, water, gas and electricity mains the Norwood Junction Subway cost c. £4,700, a saving of £1,300.

In 2011 local initiative, with Croydon Council backing, saw the commissioning of colourful murals depicting local scenes on both sides and from end to end of the subway – The Long Way Home by Liane Lang ( This added to an earlier mosaic mural alongside the pavement under the nearby Portland Road railway overbridge.

South Norwood has an industrial and transport heritage of which it can justly be proud.

The inventor, industrialist and philanthropist William Ford Robinson Stanley's former factory (GLIAS Newsletters 160 and 247, p8) is, in part, still standing near the station; and his Stanley Halls and adjoining Stanley Technical Trade Schools (the latter now renamed Harris Academy South Norwood) remain in use.

Hendersons had film laboratories (GLIAS Newsletter 239, p9), and CT Brock made fireworks nearby for some years, and there were several flourishing brickfields (GLIAS Newsletter 213, p11).

South Norwood Lake, Croydon's largest expanse of open water, is the most substantial remaining evidence for the former Croydon Canal (GLIAS Newsletter 213, p10, and 195, p6), which passed through South Norwood until taken over by the London & Croydon Railway which opened in 1839 (GLIAS Newsletter 236, pp7-8). And that railway company operated, for a few years, one of only four 'atmospheric' railways built anywhere in the world (the trains were pushed along by air pressure).
John Hickman and Paul Sowan

Former steam-powered silk mill at 64 Tredegar Road, Bow, LB Tower Hamlets

On 8 March 2012, the LBTH Development Committee granted planning permission to Telford Homes for the 'demolition of existing warehouse buildings', and the erection of three blocks of flats at 64 Tredegar Road Bow E3 2EP.

Paragraph 8.63 of the officer's report (PA/10/2340) states:

'Although the existing building on site is of merit, officers consider it to be in poor condition and have limited visual import given that it is set deep within the site. The building is neither statutory nor locally listed and its demolition would not have an adverse impact on the local historic environment.'

The building of merit must be the west-east, three-storey building under a pitched roof.


A brief inspection (together with documentary evidence at the Tower Hamlets Local History Library & Archives) indicates that this particular warehouse building was erected in 1873 as a steam-powered silk mill for Stephen Walters & Sons, silk manufacturers of 24 & 26 Wilson Street, Finsbury EC. The 1873 commercial directory records that they were manufacturers of 'umbrella, tie, velvet and garment silks'.

A building and drainage application for a 'Factory South side of Tredegar Road Bow', made by John Woodward, builder of 13 Wilson Street Finsbury EC, was approved on 2 September 1873 by the Poplar District Board of Works. The register of notices indicates that the factory was completed in December 1873.

The conjunct rate books for the south district of the Parish of St Mary, Stratford, Bow, indicate that the Walter's factory was assigned a rateable value of £200 and that the first payment was made on or about 30 September 1874.

The plan accompanying John Woodward's 1873 application shows the main building (57ft 7in x 36ft 3in) with an attached engine house and lavatory block at its south-east corner. And to the south of the engine house, a detached boiler house with a chimney shaft and separate rooms for coke, coal and ashes against the site's southern boundary. Also a detached foreman's house to the north. The same configuration of buildings is shown on the 1875 and 1890 plans for S Walters & Son factory premises (Plans of Factory Premises in the Parish of St Mary, Stratford, Bow 1875 and 1890). And is also shown on the 1894 OS London Sheet 52, where it is labelled 'Silk Mills'.

By 1899 Walters & Sons had given up their Wilson Street premises and moved their City premises from 12 London Wall EC to 26 Cheapside EC (1899 trades directory). In 1900, they are recorded in the commercial directory as 'Silk Manufacturers, umbrella and other silks' at 26 Cheapside EC and Sudbury Suffolk.

During the Second World War, the former silk mill was 'seriously damaged' (LCC bomb damage map No. 52). And in 1949 it had doorways inserted in its west end wall to link its three floors with a two-storey and part three-storey addition for Tilley, Carr & Company Ltd. (March 1949 drawings; Metropolitan Borough of Poplar minutes October 1949). One of the 1949 drawings includes a cross-section of the former silk mill and shows the present steel roof trusses. External evidence indicates that the second-floor walls (above the projecting brick cornice on the north side and east end walls) were rebuilt to take the steel roof trusses and the roof slopes with long skylights. The concrete lintels over the first- and second-floor window openings in the south side wall were probably inserted at the same time. The 1949 drawings also indicate that the attached 1873 engine house and lavatory block were demolished in 1949, together with the coal and ash storerooms.


The 1873 three-storey, London-stock-brick building with its gabled east end and north-side elevation is clearly seen from Tredegar Road (see Fig 4 page 29 officer's report). The north-side elevation of the five-bay building retains all its original ground- and first-floor segmental headed window openings, with the first-floor openings recessed under keyed segmental arches. Running under the sills of the second-floor window openings, an original projecting brick cornice. Two of the larger ground-floor window openings have been made into loading doorways and (with one exception) the original iron window frames have been replaced by good pressed-steel window frames with central opening lights.

In the east end wall near the south-east corner, and at about 8ft above ground level, there is a 12x12 inch bricked-up opening. This probably accommodated a metal wall box with a bearing for the main line shafting from the steam engine in the engine house, demolished in 1949. The main line shafting would have turned pulleys with belts driving the silk looms on the south side of the ground floor. Other pulleys with longer belts probably transmitted rotary power to a line shafting on the north side of the ground floor, and (via an opening in the timber floor) to line shafting for driving silk looms on the first floor. The second floor was probably used for the winding and warping of the thrown and dyed silk. Also, the inspection, storage and packing of the woven silk fabric for despatch.

All the brick walls and the first-floor keystones in the north side wall are covered with a dirty yellow Sandtex-type coating. It is probably this coating, and the abandoned upper floors, which give the impression that the building is in 'poor condition'.

Internal inspection of the ground floor reveals a central longitudinal line of four 11ft-high circular cast-iron columns, supporting the inner ends of paired timber floor beams spanning from the brick side walls. The ceilings in each bay retain their original close boarding. The 1949 cross-section of the 1873 building indicates that there are identical timber floors at first- and second-floor level. And that the four ground-floor columns are superimposed by four first-floor columns with timber floorbeams. Whilst the ground-floor cast-iron columns are not shown on the plan accompanying John Woodward's 1873 application, they appear to date from the third quarter of the 19th century.

The 1873 and 1949 plans show a building with more or less the same overall dimensions and the same 7½ft-long window openings in the four main bays on the ground- and first-floors. These bays are about 11ft wide and were well lighted by the unusually large window openings. Clearly, they were designed for the maximum daylighting of the silk looms.


Of all the different types of silk fabric and other silk products made in the East End during the 19th century, only umbrella silks and a proportion of serges (for lining garments) were made in steam-powered silk mills or factories. The looms 'being attended to entirely by girls, a few men being employed as twisters, examiners, rubbers etc.' (Argyle, Jesse, 1893). Silk Manufacture VOL IV The Trades of East London in Life and Labour of the People in London. Ed. Booth, Charles).

Argyle, writing in 1888, also explains that, apart from damasks (made by hand on large looms in manufacturers' workshops) and factory-made serges, all types of silk fabric were woven by hand in the silk weavers' own homes. Trimmings such as braid and cord were also made by hand but in trimming warehouses or factories.

It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that from 1873 to 1899 Walters & Sons manufactured umbrella silks (and probably serges) in the steam-powered silk mill at 64 Tredegar Road. And that their 'other silks' were made under the domestic system, with the thrown and dyed silk collected by the handloom weavers from Walters' other premises, to which the woven silks were returned.

One example of this type of silk manufacturers' warehouse or factory survives at 1 & 1A Old Nichol Street and 3 & 5 Turville Street in the Redchurch Street Conservation Area – built about 1896 for silk manufacturers Vavasseur, Carter & Coleman. They employed a large number of homeworkers and produced a wide range of fine silks. The long building at the eastern end of Old Nichol Street has an impressive pedimented main entrance and is the Borough's sole-surviving representative of the 19th-century silk manufacturer's warehouse or factory.

A large group of several mostly 19th-century buildings at Lion Mills 394 & 396 Hackney Road constitute the extensive former premises of Henry Warden: trimmings manufacturer to the local furniture and clothing trades, using silk, cotton and wool. Further research is needed, but it is likely that gas engines were installed in the latter part of the 19th century to drive some or all of the various looms. The group is included in the Hackney Road Conservation Area, and the buildings are the Borough's sole surviving representatives of the 19th-century trimming warehouse or factory.

The Borough's sole-surviving representative of the third manufacturing process in the final stage in the history of the East End silk manufacturing industry is the 1873 steam-powered umbrella silk mill or factory at 64 Tredegar Road.

Clearly, the rebuilding of the upper walls and roof, together with the loss of the small ancillary buildings and chimney shaft, would prevent the building from being added to the National List. However, they do not detract from the building's significance as a major local heritage asset in LB Tower Hamlets.

Especially as its significance is enhanced by the fact that it retains its original internal two-storey frame of cast-iron columns and paired timber beams. A such, it is a nationally rare example of the first stage in the transition from timber-framed to steel-framed buildings. Furthermore, the unusually large ground- and first-floor window openings in an industrial building of this date indicate that it was designed for close work. And the fact that this work was the steam-powered weaving of umbrella silk gives it regional significance as London was the country's main centre for the manufacture of umbrellas.


The 1873 steam-powered umbrella silk mill or factory at 64 Tredegar Road is not in 'poor condition' nor does it have 'limited visual impact'. Under PPS5, it should have been correctly identified, properly assessed and added to the Local List. And/or included in an extension to the Medway Conservation Area.

Careful removal of the Sandtex-type coating, followed by careful cleaning would probably reveal the yellow London stock brickwork in all its glory, and probably complemented by red-brick segmental arches. With a new roof and suitably refurbished and adapted for residential use, the former silk mill would make an attractive centrepiece to Telford Homes' residential development at 64 Tredegar Road, Bow.Tom Ridge

Bow Creek photographs

On 13 April I visited the Gasworks Dock (Cody Dock) where the Gasworks Dock Partnership (, a social enterprise and registered charity, has ambitious plans to reopen the dock as a community resource with a visitor centre & café, an exhibition space, barge moorings (including a visitor mooring), an industrial heritage archive and museum, affordable studio and workshop space and dry dock facilities. If they get the funding they are trying to raise on Spacehive they intend to open to the public this summer. Pictures and text are at

The dock was built around 1870 to bring coal to the Imperial Gas Company, and was then roughly 1,000ft long and 30ft wide, with a narrower entrance with a single dock gate and a swing bridge across it. Much was filled in when the area was redeveloped as 'Prologis Park' after the gasworks closed in the 1960s and it is now only around 100m long. It was kept as a part of a drainage scheme for the area, with a solid barrier across the entrance. The plan is to remove the barrier, leaving only a sill which will retain water at low tide but allow navigation across it at when Bow Creek is navigable around high tide, and to install a wooden bascule bridge across the entrance. So far the site has been almost completely cleared. There is no trace of the 'vertical lift gates' mentioned on the GLIAS database, and only a single gate is shown on the early large-scale OS maps. There is a substantial high cable bridge across near the mouth of the entrance.

Opening up the dock will also allow the extension of the 'Fatwalk' which currently ends here, giving access to the next short section completed some time ago but currently inaccessible to the public. This could then be extended along the unused edge of the recycling site to the East India Dock Road. One day the riverside walk completed in the 1990s but never opened to the public continuing across the DLR and past Canning Town station may also be opened, but there is already a path on the west side of Bow Creek leading to Orchard Place and Trinity Buoy Wharf.

In October 2011 I was invited to photograph the barge working taking contaminated soil from the Poplar Gas Works opposite Cody Dock to be disposed of at Mucking. The barges could only operate in a short window either side of high tide, and the loading possible was dependent on the height of the tide. Pictures and text from this visit are at

I had hoped to return and take pictures on another occasion of the barge further down Bow Creek, but unfortunately the barging was suspended for some time shortly after my visit and it proved impossible.

There are also some pictures of Bow Creek, the Olympic area and the Lea Valley more generally, some of IA interest, in my Blurb book 'Before the Olympics: The Lea Valley 1981-2010' — — although being 'print on demand' the price is rather high. It was an 'Editor's Pick' when it came out and you can view the whole volume on line. Peter Marshall

Old Shoreditch Station may rise!

The Evening Standard (30 March, p34) reported that What Architecture who bought Shoreditch Station at an auction, have submitted plans to Tower Hamlets to take the station's 30,000 bricks apart and rebuild the 'station' on the same site at Code Street, off Brick Lane but seven storeys up, above 15 flats and shops.

Shoreditch Station was opened in 1876 and closed in 2006 when the East London Line service was moved to Shoreditch High Street. Peter J Butt

Post Office Underground Railway

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) has received grants towards the conservation of its PO Underground rail cars. In mid 2011 BPMA retrieved two train units from the network and took them to the museum store at Lenthall Road, Debden Industrial Estate, IG10 3UF.

Throughout the history of the railway there were essentially three types of train unit, the original 1927 four-wheeled car, a 1930s replacement and its successor which followed in 1980. The BPMA now holds an example of each and is going to begin with the conservation of the 1930s train.

The units are available for visitors to see. Peter Butt

News in brief

The old Willesden Central Library TQ 229 845 is threatened with demolition and there is a campaign to save it. A fine Victorian building dating from 1894 it was paid for by local working people to promote literacy — Willesden Times, Thursday 9 February 2012, p12.

Kensal Rise Library, at the junction of College Road and Bathurst Gardens TQ 231 831, is also threatened. Another fine Victorian building, Mark Twain opened the Public Reading Room in September 1900.

At King's Cross railway station (GLIAS Newsletter December 2011) the new concourse to the southwest of the main train shed (GLIAS Newsletter October 2011) opened for public use on 19 March.

Span 4, the 20th-century addition to I K Brunel's Paddington station has now been splendidly restored. The roof on the South-Eastern side of Victoria station, listed grade II, is also a fine sight following recent refurbishment. At London Bridge station the roof which covers platforms 9-16 (GLIAS Newsletter December 2011), listed grade II, may go to Peterborough or perhaps York. The cost of relocating this roof will be prodigious, see the Peterborough Evening Telegraph, Thursday 8 December 2011.

At the very north end of the Blackstock Road on the east side, on the corner with Seven Sisters' Road at TQ 315 868, is a rather curious four-storey Vicwardian building. Probably for better class shops with flats above it was expensively built roughly over a hundred years go in an Imperial style, with a cupola or chhatri on top reminiscent of India. The fissured brown stonework was unusual and interesting. Eccentric, the effect might be described as rustic or primitive. Has anyone seen anything like this elsewhere and what is the stone called? Following recent re-pointing and plastering at the northwest corner only a portion to the south in the Blackstock Road retains its original style; from the Seven Sisters' Road the building now appears run-of-the-mill Victorian – matching the mediocrity of nearby buildings.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the tailors Lockwood and Bradley Ltd had a shop in the building on the north side. A sign over their shop proclaimed 'London's Leading Tailors – Direct from the Mills to the Millions'. Associated with Leeds they were in the same line of business as Montague Burton (Moshe Osinsky) but much less successful. Incorporated in 1915 their last shop closed in December 1939. Lockwood and Bradley habitually took over defunct chain stores so there may have been such a store here previously.

About a century ago an Imperial style was quite popular for commercial buildings, Mr Burton's distinctive shops often had elephants' heads at the top of the columns, just below a pediment, and Empire Stone (pre-cast concrete for cladding) was generally used.

Large old licensed premises in East London and Southwest Essex are getting increasingly scarce. The Bull in Barking was situated at 2 North Street TQ 441 839 and closed in 2010. It is said to date back to the 14th century when it was a guest house attached to the Abbey. The town is now particularly well provided with hotels. As well as a recently-built Travelodge near the 1958 Town Hall there is a Premier Inn, Formule 1, Etap and Ibis by the River Roding, just north of the Town Quay with the ruins of Barking Abbey on the opposite side of the River.

Rather than being named after the well-known animal, it is claimed that the Bull Inn in North Street derived its name from Papal Bull, a particular type of letters patent or charter issued by the Pope. In 1580 an inn on or near the present site was known as the Black Bull. However the fine present building dates from rebuildings in 1885 and 1925. Currently boarded up it is being offered for alternative use, probably as shops. To the northeast by the railway station at TQ 444 843 the Spotted Dog public house is still in business and its interior retains a good deal of the old character — a visit inside can be recommended. From memory, some gas lights were still in use about 30 years ago.

We are familiar with greyhound racing at dog tracks. One of the few left in the London area is the one at Romford, TQ 502 881. Apparently in 1937 cheetahs were raced here as well as dogs. Does anyone have more information? Bob Carr

Coade Stone

Eleanor Coade was the owner of the Coade Stone manufactory in Lambeth, on the site of the South Bank complex (GLIAS Newsletter June 2009).

The Landmark Trust is appealing for contributions to restore her house in Lyme Regis. Once restored, the house will be available to rent as a holiday home, and there will be a permanent exhibition on site. David Gordon
Details on the Landmark trust website:

Award for Brixton Windmill

Brixton Windmill has won a prestigious Museum and Heritage Award for conservation and restoration.

The Grade II* listed windmill, which was built in 1816 for producing stoneground wholemeal flour, reopened to the public last year (GLIAS Newsletter June 2011).

The restoration cost £581,222, with £397,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £55,130 from Lambeth Council, £2,000 from Friends of Windmill Gardens and non-cash contributions valued at £126,392.

Request for information

I have recently come across the site of the 'Oxygen Works' of Walter Kerr, who a single Google reference tells me was 'The King of Limelight' in the Victorian West End, his firm supplying all the equipment and consumables to run limelights in the theatres. Limelights raised a block of calcium oxide to a brilliant incandescence at 2,500°C in an oxyhydrogen flame. Can anyone tell me any more about Kerr? How was the oxygen, hydrogen and calcium oxide made? Are there any surviving 'limelights' to look at?
Roger J Morgan. Email:

I am currently trying to put together a publication on UK Boilermakers. One London company that I would particularly like to include is Fraser & Fraser of Bromley-by-Bow, London E. (I have one of their catalogues c1930).

Does any member of GLIAS have material, such as a history, literature or images? And am I correct in saying that Fraser Brothers, also of Bromley, are the same company?

Other London companies on my list are — W & S Deards, James Keith, A & M Perkins, Shand, Mason & Co Ltd and Town Gas Boilers (Bonecourt) Ltd — any help would also be useful.
Paul G Yunnie, PO Box 660, Castle Hill, NSW 1765, Australia. Mobile: +61 (0)400 026726. Home: +61 (0)2 8883 0409. Email:

I am currently researching the Normandy Patent Marine Aerated Fresh Water Company which operated in the Victoria Docks neighbourhood from the early 1850s until 1912. It manufactured sea water distillers for both ship-board and land-based operation and produced perhaps as many as 2,000 such units. I am now searching in more depth for information on Dr Alphonse (de) Normandy (founder) and on the Company itself.
Please contact Dr Jim Birkett. Email:

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© GLIAS, 2012