Notes and news — February 2013
In this issue:
Obituary: Paul Calvocoressi
- Obituary: Paul Calvocoressi
- Obituary: Diana Willment
- London Fieldwork and Publication Round-Up
- The Battersea gasholders
- Watford Gasholder
- United Glass
- Motor car listings
- The Great Western Railway Goods Depot at Smithfield
- Railways at Stroud Green, London N4
- Stone sleeper blocks
- Excalibur 'prefab' estate, L.B. Lewisham
- Southbank Steel Season
- Lottery support for windmills
- News in brief
- E-FAITH thanks
- Tube anniversary website
- Master of Studies in Historic Environment
Paul Calvocoressi, well known in East and South East London as an English Heritage Officer, was a GLIAS member with a great knowledge of buildings and their construction. Sadly Paul died recently — he was not that old.
This is indeed a tragic loss. He was an industrial archaeology enthusiast and could often be seen at conferences, though being relatively quiet and modest he tended to keep in the background. He wrote a chapter for the book Dockland, NELP/GLC 1986, entitled Lost Buildings in Dockland, and contributed much information on Woolwich Arsenal to the book's gazetteer section — information acquired through his professional activities. He also supplied some good photographs for the book. In 1990 The Docklands Forum published his study 'Conservation in Docklands: old buildings in a changing environment'.
At meetings of the GLIAS board the name Paul Calvocoressi was often mentioned and his advice was frequently sought. Paul deserves to be better known, he had a pleasant personality and made an important contribution. He felt strongly about the destruction of fine buildings and did all he possibly could to prevent this happening.
There are some websites by Paul.
Obituary: Diana Willment
It is with sadness we report the death in November of Diana Willment, a former GLIAS committee member. Originally she worked in industry and this included research in casting glass, it is believed for the General Electric Company. She later became a lecturer in mathematics at a West London college. Diana completed a master's degree in the history of mathematics, by research, but could not be persuaded to continue to a PhD. At Kew Bridge Steam Museum she was a very keen volunteer and working with chief engineer Ron Plaster became skilful in casting white metal. She contributed Camberwell stables, Carter Paterson's depot, to GLIAS Journal number 7 published in 2000.
Later on she started to write about Brentford and its local history. Her book on Brentford Dock (GLIAS Newsletter August 2009) was written for the non-specialist reader but with enough extra information to satisfy those better informed, and in this it was quite successful. It sold well and was something of a local bestseller. This was an important work on the dock, where she lived, and was reviewed in IA Review, see volume 32 part 2, pp148-9.
As well as industrial archaeology she had a keen interest in wild plants and served on the committee of the London Natural History Society. One of her favourite brownfield sites for botany was the former Feltham railway marshalling yard.
In later life she travelled widely abroad including an adventurous visit to the Galapagos Islands. Spending the nights afloat offshore each night the swell of the Pacific rollers made sleep fitful and this proved a demanding expedition.
Diana did many other things. She made a flight in Concorde to observe the curvature of the earth and she was a keen campanologist. A personal memory was her enthusiasm and hard work as secretary for the University of London extra-mural course in industrial archaeology held at Kew Bridge Steam Museum.
She told us about her father who used to work at King's Cross station, probably at first for the LNER and then British Railways Eastern Region. He was an administrator involved with organising the transport of animals by rail. He arranged for them to be fed and watered at suitable intervals and on long journeys to be let out for exercise. The animals included all sorts of beasts ranging upwards to circus elephants. When Diana was a child the family had lived in Hampstead. Bob Carr
London Fieldwork and Publication Round-Up
The London Fieldwork and Publication Round-up 2011 contains the following items of Industrial Archaeology interest (in alphabetical order of London Boroughs):
If any member would like the excavation/brief references for any of these items, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian James-Strong
- RS Foods, Smith Bailey Anderson and Wigzell site, Abbey Road Barking — recording of icehouse built between 1858 and 1863 by the Hewett family to store ice for preserving fish catches, before demolition of the walls. The walls survived a boiler explosion in 1899 which destroyed several buildings.
- Barrow Hill Reservoir, Camden, designed by William Tierney Clark and built 1825-8 by West Middlesex Waterworks. Roofed c1860. A nearby pumping station was demolished 1950.
- UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, 2 Brill Place NW1 — trenches on site of former Midland Railway Co Goods Yard. Base of Somers Town Goods Depot was exposed to NW of site. Also Milk and Fish Shed.
- Building Yard 8 Fitzroy Road NW1 — used as materials store by William Scrivener & Co. In 1947 became premises of Butcher Plasterworks.
- UKPN Station, Fisher St EC1 — substation built 1903-4 — steel framed with red brick street front. Originally contained 10 motor-generator sets producing DC — converted to AC, possibly in 1930s but possible as late as 1958-60.
- King's Cross Central: Eastern Goods Station — watching brief found remains of crane base and turntable foundation.
- King's Cross Central: Midland Shed, Goods Way monitoring revealed N-S oriented timber platforms, with associated railtracks probably built 1858 when building was converted by GNR to goods shed for Midland Railway use.
- King's Cross Plot T.1, York Way found possible use of London clay as brickfields prior to railway development 1849. Remains of exterior wall of roundhouse, its turntable, seven engine pits, six pillar bases and interior ring drain were recorded.
- King's Cross Central: Pancras Road, Milk Dock — evidence of C19 structures including Culross buildings, retort house, crushing house, gas holders and boiler houses.
- King's Cross Western Goods Yard surveyed large two-level shed, an early example of a steel-framed building built 1897-9, which made structural use of adjacent Western Coal Drops building. Pillar cranes, turntables and other hydraulic machinery were used to aid the movement of goods.
- King's Cross Wharf Road trenches revealed remains of Potato Market building.
- Corner of Wakefield Street, WC1 historically associated with Harrison family of brickmakers.
- Heron Plaza, Bishopsgate — building survey of Devonshire House, built by Metropolitan Railway Co 1878-9 over new underground station, with warehouses.
- Centurion House, Monument St, EC3 — watching brief found timber posts and masonry wall foundations, port and warehouse frontage all relating to 1st-century Roman riverfront found in 1981-2.
- Hanwell Locks W7 — trenches found earlier course of river Brent and remains of C19 metal works and later C20 warehouse.
- Crossrail Station, Royal Arsenal found official residences; pattern room; base of water tower and remains of police barracks. Also three decommissioned naval cannons dating from 1834 to late 1850s.
- Royal Military Repository watching brief revealed evidence for Napier Lines. Also cannon from Napoleonic period.
- Stockwell Street SE10 excavation found structural remains of C19 malthouse, including base of one of the early kilns.
- Stockwell Street, Water Main replacement found arched concrete roof of tunnel representing underground section of mainline railway between Greenwich and Maze Hill.
- Air Raid Shelter, Waverley Road, Plumstead one of 13 constructed for the Metropolitan Water Board 1939 — exhibited rare combination of surviving original features, including bench seating, electric lighting, toilet cubicles and air vents in walls and ceiling.
- Woolwich Station — oldest building was a smithy documented 1867 with later addition of forges.
- 30 Curtain Road, EC2 thought to be site of Curtain Playhouse 1577.
- Principal Place, Worship St, EC2 recorded building related to railway siding, walls which formed part of C19 viaduct and early C19 Worship St gas works.
- Olympia W14 found layer of agricultural soil possibly associated with C18 Royal Vineyard and Nursery.
- Old Oak Common Depot — Recording of building completed and historic items salvaged.
- Fulham Reach Watching brief revealed C19-20 tanks and wells cut into natural gravels possibly associated with distillery; also wells, chambers and brick footings of sugar-refining factory located there since 1870s.
- 26 North Road, Highgate, N6 found remains of C16 brick clamp thought to have produced bricks for the first Highgate School buildings.
- Tottenham Borough Town Hall recorded underground structure intended for use in event of nuclear strike.
- Blackstock Road, N4 and N5 Water mains replacement works recorded part of Sluice House depicted on 1869 OS map.
- City Road, EC1 Water mains replacement works found significant quantity of clay pipes, probable from clay pipe making factory.
- Pear Street, EC1 found masonry structures associated with C19 retort houses of Chartered Gas Works
- Southwood Activity Centre, KT5 A borehole, test-pitting and metal-detecting survey as part of community archaeology project investigating the history of the Hogsmill River.
- Convoys Wharf, Deptford Excavations found fragmentary foundations of 1513 storehouse, forming core of warehouse complex; C16-17 wall foundations identified as part of Sayes Court, home of John Evelyn; and evidence of slipways and Dockyard Basin.
- East London Line, SE14 and SE15 Monitored destruction of Victorian railway structures.
- Morden Hall Park Excavation revealed C17-18 N-S aligned timber-lined water channel.
- Abbey Mills Pumping Station located channel assumed to be former branch of Channelsea river depicted on 1746 Rocque map.
- Crossrail Connaught Tunnel built by St Katherine Docks Co 1878 to carry Great Eastern Railway line between Stratford and North Woolwich, running beneath the newly built Connaught Passage which linked the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Docks. The tunnel was constructed by cut and cover and was one of the first C19 structures to use mass poured concrete. Also found pump house containing original hydraulic powered pumping mechanism. The tunnel is to be modified for reuse by Crossrail trains. The pump house at surface level will be removed and rebuilt elsewhere.
- Blackfriars Bridge, South Abutment recorded prior to demolition. Designed by Joseph Cubitt and F T Turner, the railway opened in 1864 and closed in 1985. The abutment was clad in Portland stone taken from the first Westminster Bridge.
- Southbank Improvement Works, Clink Street observed possible C17 cesspit and a Victorian sewer.
- Water Mains replacement, Rotherhithe found evidence of C17 Delftware pottery factory.
- New London Bridge House, SE1 found two walls and floor surface of a building depicted on Rocque's map of 1741 and thought to be a tannery.
- Sea Containers House, SE1 found C18 E-W brick drain, likely to have been associated with development when Blackfriars Bridge was constructed. Above were walls, part of wharfs and warehouses of Bull Stairs Wharf.
- Truman's Brewery — steel frame encased in concrete designed by Gordon Smith and Partners, with floor slabs of reinforced concrete. Evidence of large-scale brewing of lager.
- 33-5 Commercial Road, E1 Housing walls re-used by St George's Brewery 1847, then whisky distillery 1913. The brewery survives Grade II listed.
- Crossrail Whitechapel Station, E1 found foundations of Albion Brewery.
- William Morris Gallery recording revealed escape tunnel from basement room used as Second World War air raid shelter.
- Wandsworth Police Station purpose built late C19; retains barrel-vaulted police cells and stabling.
- Tideway industrial estate, SW8 recorded C19 and C20 dock walls.
- Crossrail Paddington Station watching brief revealed circular Victorian sewer and Brunel-type steel rails.
- Crossrail Paddington Integrated Project watching brief found milk ramp constructed between 1908 and 1912.
- London School of Economics WC2 Site survey of former workhouse, used as observation hospital for refugees in the First World War and later women's STD hospital.
- Victoria Station recorded basement which appears to have formed part of remodelling by A W Bloomfield and W J Ancell 1909 — now empty space with exposed steelwork, retaining decorative features originally from a much higher-status area, such as a ticket hall.
- District and Circle Line Ticket Office, Victoria recorded decorative coved ceiling, built in 1868 by the Metropolitan District Railway
- Little Ben Clock Tower is to be removed and stored as part of the upgrade works to Victoria Station.
The Battersea gasholders
Throughout the 19th century, London's gas companies were in the forefront of building gasholders of ever increasing size, to satisfy the large and growing population's daily demands for lighting and subsequently cooking and heating. There were many challenges in the engineering construction and visual appearance of large holders that were successfully met, giving London a stock of gasholders that was unrivalled both in number and in the quality of their design.
Changes in the industry over the last few decades, notably the creation of the national gas grid, and increasing maintenance costs allied with the development potential of the land on which they stand, have led to a dramatic decrease in their numbers nationwide. The national grid pipelines not only distribute gas but also store it, under considerable pressure. But hitherto London has needed to maintain a good number of holders because of problems of getting sufficient gas into heavily populated areas at times of peak demand (on cold winter mornings), mains at the highest pressures not being permitted for reasons of safety. Extra mains and pumps, and developments in cryogenic storage, are now changing that so that many more sites are being decommissioned or have been already. Battersea is one of them.
Back in 2000, I wrote a substantial research report for English Heritage, identifying major technical and aesthetic significances in a number of inner London's 19th-century gasholders, which I thought put them in a national league. But for various reasons EH has not been eager to increase the number that are already statutorily listed. At Battersea, National Grid Property Ltd successfully obtained a certificate of immunity from listing in 2009, adding to the momentum for this site's redevelopment.
Recently a planning application was submitted to Wandsworth Council for Battersea's demolition, subject to archaeological recording. There were local objections to the disappearance of the 295-foot-high No. 7 Gasholder, a prominent landmark (pictured right). Of the historically more interesting No. 4 and No. 5 Gasholders, largely hidden between two tall railway viaducts, there was perhaps little local knowledge. In my letter to the Council on behalf of GLIAS, I drew attention to the special virtues of these three holders as below, but concluded that 'in the overall circumstances of this case, the Society does not wish to object to the demolition of these holders provided that some presence of them is retained on site in physical form, in addition to recording to appropriate standards and subsequent publication'.
No. 5 Gasholder of 1875-6 has a distinctive and visually striking guide frame of a type that was widely employed in Britain between the 1850s and the 1870s. Giant columns of cast iron, classically styled in the Tuscan Doric order, stand 60 feet (18 metres) tall without interruption by intersecting girders. The columns are very firmly anchored to the ground and a single ring of girders ties their tops.
This style represented the leading edge of design around 1850, when gasholders were first meeting the challenges of becoming seriously 'large', but Battersea No. 5 of 1875-6 is now the only example left (excepting a much altered one in Salford). It is thus not only of architectural and technical significance but also of great rarity, so the opportunity of keeping more than a drawn record needs to be taken, by the salvage of components in the absence of full preservation.
The bell of this holder is also significant technically, its crown being both 'un-trussed' and of relatively shallow rise, representing a period of major controversy in design. The bell's internal construction and that of the 'rest frame' on which it landed in the tank when depressurised, therefore needs to receive detailed scrutiny with expert input during the proposed recording work.
Here, GLIAS proposes that: two of the giant columns should be salvaged and re-erected in the future development as free-standing monuments. They were designed robustly, to share between them the wind loading on the whole gasholder but acting as individual cantilevers. So they will have the strength in bending to withstand handling stresses and be capable of being bolted down to new foundations as freestanding structures. They will symbolise this phase of gasholder design and continue to express the elegance of 19th-century engineering and the wonderment of their size.
No. 6 Gasholder, completed in 1883 (pictured right), is in a significantly later style. The guide frame is a very early essay in the use of a lattice box construction of wrought iron, for the 'standards' — no longer cast-iron 'columns' — and for the top girder. The careful tailoring of its ironwork and the corporate pride expressed in the company's shield with engineer's name deserve the salvage of some components to be displayed as 'public art' within the future development of the site.
Here, GLIAS proposes that: not only can salvaged specimens of the insignia be remounted within the development, but a piece of the guide frame at a junction of girders with a standard could be re-erected as a sculpture.
No. 7 Gasholder, of the 'waterless' type and completed in 1932, was the tallest of seven commissioned by the Gas Light and Coke Company from the German firm M.A.N. and it is spectacular in its setting. It is not unique, nor practical to retain out of use. Its demolition will be a loss to London's heritage.
GLIAS proposes that No. 7 Gasholder may best be represented by a mural.
In her report to the Planning Applications Committee, the planning officer states 'the points raised by GLIAS with regards to retaining some features on site are considered pertinent and can be secured by condition'. Her recommended conditions include identifying which features shall be recovered and retained for incorporation in a Cultural Strategy, and the submission for approval of a Cultural Strategy to include how features recovered from the existing gasholder structures and associated buildings shall be incorporated into this strategy. Subject to these and other conditions the application has now been approved. How this will work out in practice we shall see. Malcolm Tucker
Battersea No 5, guide frame details — by Malcolm Tucker
Battersea No 6, guide frame details — by Malcolm Tucker
The gasholder in Lower High Street, Watford, is likely to be demolished. It is cast iron and was built in 1903. A gas company was first established in Watford in 1834. This merged with St Albans Gas Co Ltd in 1930 forming the Watford and St Albans Gas Company, which was itself an amalgamation of several smaller gas works. Frogmore House, the Grade II* listed red brick house next to it was built in 1716. It was used by the Watford and St Albans Gas Company as the manager's house. It is now derelict and on English Heritage's Register of Buildings At Risk.
It is proposed that a new Waitrose will be built on the site of the former gas works. It seems that part of the new plan includes the renovation of Frogmore House.
The gasholder is clearly visible from the London Overground between Watford High Street and Bushey and from the West Coast Main Line. Kate Quinton
Glass bottles have been made in Charlton for quite a long time. Moore, Nettlefold and Co had a factory there in the early 20th century and perhaps before that. A new plant for United Glass Bottle Manufacturers (Charlton) Ltd was built here in 1919-20, equipped with an Owens' continuous bottle making plant capable of producing bottles in prodigious numbers. The American Michael Joseph Owens (1859-1923) had invented machines that revolutionised the production of glass bottles *.
Sand for the bottle making came by ship from the Continent, being delivered at the company's own wharf on the riverside and there was a rail connection to the new works. Later on sand was brought from Redhill rather than abroad and local sand was probably also used. A pair of 240 volt electric batch cars ran on a narrow gauge railway track from beneath material storage hoppers and delivered mixtures of materials to four large oil-fired furnaces which could produce 440 tons of glass per day. White flint, green and amber bottles were produced with six to seven million being made each week.
The factory occupied an area of 37 acres and there was an internal railway system with five-and-a-half miles of track. As well as the production area there was an administrative block, drawing office, engineering workshops, research laboratory and storage sheds. The furnaces were closed in 1965 and 1966 and the site sold in September 1967. The works had employed over 2,000 people. South of Riverside, it is now the Meridian Trading Estate, just to the south west of the Anchor and Hope public house. Bob Carr
* See The Dating Game — The Owens Bottle Co., by Bill Lockhart, Pete Schulz, Carol Serr and Bill Lindsey; pp50-62, Bottles and Extras, January — February 2010
Motor car listings
English Heritage has awarded listed status to 13 buildings in celebrating the age of the motor car.
The earliest building given listed status is the 'motor stables' built by pioneer Sir David Salomons (1851-1925) at his house at Broomhill, Kent, which dates from 1900. The garages remain almost as Salomons left them.
Also on the list is Empire House on London's Brompton Road built as offices of the Continental Tyre and Rubber Co and which has tyres as sculptural decorations in place of classical wreaths.
Empire House, 220-244 Brompton Road, listed at Grade II, list entry Number: 1405810
Summary of building: Former showroom, warehouse and offices of the Continental Tyre and Rubber Company, 1909 to 1916 (or later) by Paul Hoffmann; converted to shops and flats 1925 by Henry Branch.The Buildings of England, London 3: The North-West, the relevant revised and expanded 'Pevsner', is quite dismissive of the Brompton Road, other than for a long paragraph on Harrod's. The entry for Empire House reads: The road then hooks sharply south towards Chelsea with, as a disappointing landmark on the corner, the squat dome of Empire House by Paul Hoffmann, 1910-16. Peter J Butt
Historic interest: a grand commercial building visibly related to the motor trade, testifying to the growth of motoring in Edwardian England.
External architectural interest: an extremely opulent piece of Edwardian street architecture on a very prominent central London site. The style is a florid Free Baroque with much sculpted decoration in Portland stone set against red brick, all displaying tyre/wreath iconography referring directly to the building's purpose; there is an archway giving access to the former covered yard, above which is a relief displaying the Continental insignia of a rampant horse in a winged roundel, accompanied by a scroll inscribed 'CONTINENTAL TYRE AND RUBBER COMPANY'. The overall effect seems intended to reflect that of Aston Webb's slightly earlier front range to the Victoria and Albert Museum, diagonally opposite on the north side of Thurloe Place and the Brompton Oratory and other nearby listed structures
History: The Continental Caoutchouc und Gutta Percha Compagnie was established in Hanover in 1871, manufacturing a variety of rubber products including solid tyres for coaches. Production of pneumatic tyres for motor cars began in 1898, and in time Continental became one of Europe's leading manufacturers. The firm's UK subsidiary, the Continental Tyre and Rubber Company Ltd, had its first showrooms in Clerkenwell Road, but in 1909 an application was made to erect a grand new headquarters building in the more fashionable environs of South Kensington. Paul Hoffman, the architect of several large commercial and residential blocks in Kensington and the West End, provided the designs. ... The first building phase, including the entrance block to Thurloe Place and the south range to Brompton Road, was completed by 1911. The second phase, comprising the corner block — on the site of the old Bell and Horns public house — was built from 1915; part of the site was used during the latter years of the First World War to build temporary huts for prisoners of war, suggesting that the building was not finally completed until after 1918. Continental seems to have quitted the site in 1925, at which point the building — now known as Empire House — was converted into shops and flats by the architect Henry Branch. In 1927 the rear service yard was converted into a garage for Messrs John Landon & Co. ... As originally built, the main public entrance to the complex contained what a contemporary magazine report describes as 'a luxuriously fitted entrance and reception hall' on the ground floor, with the managing director's office and boardroom on the first floor, and further offices and a flat — designed 'for the use of any of the company's customer's in case of emergency' — on the floors above. [Another part of the building] contained arrival and dispatch rooms on the ground floor, with access to 'a large covered yard for the accommodation of motor-cars and lorries' — entered from North Terrace — behind; smaller offices arranged along corridors filled the upper floors. The principal offices seem to have migrated to the first and second floors when the latter was completed, with showrooms at ground level. Each block contained its own stairway and lift. The basement and attic storeys throughout were used for storage and packing. These arrangements were radically altered in the 1925 conversion.
The Great Western Railway goods depot at Smithfield
Peter J Butt noted that the Great Western Railway goods depot at Smithfield (GLIAS Newsletter December 2012), was located a goodly distance — some three miles — from their London terminus at Paddington.
There was commercial logic behind this: in the days when rival railway companies were in fierce competition for lucrative freight traffic, they often established depots in 'foreign' territory, which could be efficiently served by through trains. The London area was an obvious focus for such initiatives. Thus it was that the GWR had goods depots not only at Smithfield, but also at South Lambeth, Kensington, Chelsea Basin, Poplar, and the Victoria and Albert Docks, among others. This often necessitated obtaining running powers over the metals of other railway companies. To reach Smithfield, GWR freight trains ran over the Metropolitan Railway from Paddington via Farringdon — not something you will see today!
An informative account of the GWR goods depots in London is to be found in 'GWR Goods Services, Part 2A: Goods Depots and Their Operation' by Tony Atkins (Wild Swan Publications, 2007, £24.95). Twelve pages are devoted to Smithfield, including a 1916 OS plan of the area, a detailed GWR plan of the depot below the market buildings, and numerous photographs taken both above and below street level. We read that in 1929 the GWR had no fewer than 667 employees at the Smithfield goods depot, a number exceeded in London only at the Paddington depot. While incoming trains brought meat into the market from GWR territory and elsewhere, there was also outbound carriage of meat purchased in the market for distribution to retailers, while much other goods traffic passed through the depot too. Photographs record the manhandling of animal carcases, although this heavy work was somewhat eased by the presence of two hydraulic lifts from the depot up to the market.
Closed to rail traffic around 1962, much of the below-ground Smithfield depot has survived little altered, accommodating plant as well as offering vehicle parking and storage space. (Part is, I believe, currently being used as a Crossrail work site.) The spirally-ramped road leading down to the depot, just south of the market buildings, remains: it will be familiar to many who walk from Farringdon Station to GLIAS lectures in Bart's Hospital. Elsewhere in London, most GWR depots have been cleared, their sites often redeveloped. The Chelsea Basin depot stood on land now occupied by the upmarket Chelsea Harbour and Imperial Wharf residential riverside schemes. Almost as large as Smithfield was the GWR South Lambeth goods depot, on land immediately south of Battersea Power Station that is currently included in yet another proposal for the regeneration of this area. Here were two huge warehouses and numerous sidings: all gone now, like so much of the railway infrastructure in London and elsewhere that served an essential role for many decades before the motor lorry usurped the railways' role as the principal carrier of goods. Mr Atkins' book offers a valuable record of this important aspect of the London industrial 'world we have lost'. Michael Bussell
Supplementing Peter Butt's note, the former goods depot is now the Smithfield underground car park; members attending our London meetings will probably have noticed the spiral access road in West Smithfield, outside the Barts hospital gateway. This road was originally the goods depot road access. The depot lasted into the British Railways era, closing on 1 August 1962.
The best account of the depot which I have seen is in 'Britain's Rail Super Centres — London — The Great Western Lines' by Laurence Waters which includes a plan. It lies beneath the eastern market building, for its full length and half its width, and also beneath the roadway — Long Lane and West Smithfield — outside. The depot sounds like a railwayman's nightmare with 24-hour gas lighting, one-van platforms, turntables and capstans for shunting. Nevertheless it once employed 500 men and was served by 12 trains a day.
Two hoists allowed meat to be portered directly into the market — these must have been served by tunnels under the road but above the depot itself. (I believe the market also had tunnel connections with other meat trade buildings in the area.)
Understandably, there seems to be no photographic record of the depot. Perhaps GLIAS could organise an exploration of the car park to see what remains can be recognised? Peter Lawrence
Peter J Butt's short but interesting article on railways buildings underneath Smithfield Market can be followed up by a fair bit of information on the internet.
These pages makes for particularly good reading:
The excellent London Reconnections website has posted a number of articles about the railways around Farringdon, including the this one with maps and plans of the underground goods depots: www.londonreconnections.com/2012/london-terminals-fullsome-farringdon-part-1/
Railways at Stroud Green, London N4
May I add a few observations upon Bob Carr's note (GLIAS Newsletter December 2012).
I understand the Tottenham and Hampstead Junction Railway remained an independent line, operated by both the Great Eastern and the Midland, until 1902 when it became jointly owned. It was enacted in July 1862, a period of optimism, and it would appear to have been conceived to exploit its east-west corridor, then in relatively open countryside, as an unobstructed through route around the north-east side of London. That was before the Midland Railway had achieved its direct access to London, and a connection was made to the Midland in 1870 only after other speculative initiatives had failed. See for instance Charles Klapper, 'London's Lost Railways', Routledge, 1976, p51. Its local passenger stations, built no doubt in expectation of suburban growth, were located at crossings with existing main roads such as Crouch Hill and Green Lanes. Apart from the physical difficulties of doing so, there would have been little point in providing a station for transfer of passengers wherever another company's line happened to cross the route, with probably minimal passenger use and income stream, as the rarity of such examples on London's dense railway network demonstrates. Interchange is a relatively modern concept involving integrated transport systems. When new suburban stations came to be provided, as the Great Northern did at Stroud Green in 1881, remoteness from existing stations which might have competed for trade would be a positive factor.
I don't think the two-and-a-half storey Station House at Stroud Green, with its ground floor raised imposingly above a flight of steps, was built solely for the stationmaster. An extract from Kelly's street directory for 1912, under Stapleton Hall Road west side, is conveniently reproduced on the back of the Godfrey Edition OS map of that year and lists here Newton Chambers & Co, coal merchants, and Frith & Co, auctioneers and estate agents. They may be differentiated from Nos. 1 and 3 Ferme Park Road next door to the north, an elegant yet cramped single storey range now housing a restaurant, which in 1894 contained a builder's office, a cigarette and stationers', Caney H J & Co coal merchants, Caney R L, estate agent, and a collector of water rates for the New River Co. These complemented the businesses mentioned by Bob on the opposite side of Stapleton Hall Road, where 64a (auctioneer, estate agent and surveyor) and 64b (F Warren & Co, coal merchants) occupied the diminutive corner house on T&HJ railway land. Nos. 62 and 62a-c completed this grouping with a fourth estate agent, two Tyneside-based coal merchants and the other builders' and decorators' firm. They were on the south side of the Lancaster Road junction, now an open space but seen in full glory in Plate 15 of J E Connor's 'Finsbury Park to Alexandra Palace', Middleton Press, 1997, which also illustrates the station and its commercially occupied house.
The recently demolished former coal office with boot-maker's shop to its north together with Station House and the two railways can be seen from the air in Bing Maps, using the 'Birdseye' oblique views which we are so fortunate to have for the London area and much of southern England, as many may already know. Go to www.bing.com/maps/?FORM=MSN026, enter 'Stapleton Hall Road N4', zoom in on the street map to the junction with Lancaster Road, select 'Birdseye' and un-tick 'Show labels' (which obscure the view), and hey presto! You can zoom, pan and view from four different directions. But remember images are updated from time to time. Malcolm Tucker
Stone sleeper blocks
Re: London and Birmingham Railway stone sleeper blocks (GLIAS Newsletter December 2012).
At Brenchley Gardens ornamental gardens, London SE22 which is on the original route of the 'Crystal Palace High Level Railway line' some blocks are piled up by the side of the footpath which is on the line of the track.
The pieces of stone are about 0.6m long and 0.15m wide. The construction of the wall, 80m long, occurred either in the 19th century or when the small park was laid down in the mid 1920s. I feel that they are part of the permanent way. Maybe GLIAS railway buffs could give an opinion?
They are banked up about 150m from Forest Hill Road and are part of the 'Green Chain walk' route from Crystal Palace to Nunhead Railway Station. The railway was de-commissioned in 1953. Peter Frost
Excalibur 'prefab' estate, L.B. Lewisham
GLIAS Newsletters 229, 232, 250 and 256 have carried short notes by Bob Carr about the Excalibur Estate of detached prefabs, in and around Pelinore Rd, SE6, built in 1945-46. In Newsletter 256, October 2011, he mentioned demolition was due to start.
The South London Press for 17 August 2012 carried a formal notice from LB Lewisham titled 'Initial Demolition Notice. Suspension of the Right to Buy'. This suspended the 'right to buy' and said that it was 'intended' that all properties, bar six 'listed' in 2009 (1 to 7, 25 and 29 Persant Rd), would be demolished by 16 August 2017. Presumably demolition could take place much sooner. The proposed development, with a good proportion of bungalows, would have about 370 'residential units'.
As of mid January 2013, some 20 of the approximately 180 prefabs had been boarded up, but none yet demolished apart from one which had gone by 2010. There are two main designs, all with roofs so gently pitched as to appear flat. The Uni-Seco Mark 2 design (about 80) has a recessed main door, while the rest, Mark 3s, have a flush central door. Many have been altered or reclad over the years. Some retain a separate concrete coal bunker-cum-shed in the back garden. Uniquely, 7 Baudwin Road is clad in brick, albeit retaining the same overall dimensions. Nearby St Mark's Church, with a curved roof, is contemporary. It has a weekly Sunday morning service.
Go and wander around the estate's roads and access paths while you can! David Thomas
Southbank Steel Season
The British Film Institute, Southbank, will be focusing on a 'century of steelmaking on screen' as the final part of its 'This Working Life' series (February 5-28).
It will feature rarely screened documentaries, big studio features and independently produced films to bring alive the stories of the communities around the UK shaped by their steelworks.
Lottery support for windmills
The Friends of Windmill Gardens has become one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories grant. 'Mill Memories' has been given £9,500 to collect the memories that local people have of Brixton Windmill and surrounding area, as well as methods of producing flour and baking bread.
The information will be used to produce an exhibition, book and theatrical performance.
Anyone interested in being trained to interview people, or any suitable interviewees or anyone who might have some old photos of the windmill, please contact: email@example.com
Upminster Windmill Preservation Trust and Havering Council have received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the restoration of Upminster Windmill Heritage Site.
The project aims to restore the windmill, including the internal milling machinery, and build an Education and Training Centre with a workshop and education space.
Development funding of £128,900 has also been awarded to help the council progress its plans to apply for a full grant of just under £1.4 million at a later date.
Upminster Windmill, built in 1803, is the only smock windmill in outer London to retain most of its original machinery. A smock windmill has a sloping, horizontally weather-boarded tower, usually with six or eight sides and a roof or cap that rotates to bring the sails into the wind.
News in brief
There has been discussion from time to time as to whether cotton mills ever existed in the London area. This does not seem very probable but there was one just to the north in St Albans. Cottonmill Lane, St Albans, runs downhill from Prospect Road to join Mile House Lane. At the bottom of the hill on the River Ver there was a watermill at TL 155 054, probably built in the late 18th century for polishing diamonds. In the early 19th century production changed to the spinning and weaving of cotton and the manufacture of candlewicks. About 60 people worked here in 1840. About eight years later production changed to Berlin tapestry wool but by the late 1890s it was an ordinary mill grinding grain. See Made in St Albans: Ten Town Trails Exploring St Albans Industrial Past by Michael Fookes, 68 pages, published by the author, 1997. ISBN 0 9528861 0 3.
With reference to concern over sight lines in relation to the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London (GLIAS Newsletter October 2012) there are about 25 World Heritage sites in Britain. Four are in London; Kew Gardens, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey complex, the Tower of London, and Maritime Greenwich which includes the Royal Observatory. As well as the buildings themselves their context is also important and this must be carefully maintained. Once granted World Heritage Site status is not guaranteed indefinitely and can be removed if inappropriate development takes place. This happened in Dresden when an obtrusive motorway bridge, the Waldschlößchenbrücke, was built across the river Elbe. The British government could well take the line that the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London are famous enough already and, preferring economic growth, that World Heritage Status is not really necessary for them.
The Tottenham Outrage, a horrid shock for civilised Edwardian England (GLIAS Newsletter October 2012), occurred in January 1909, two years before the now better known Siege of Sidney Street. The reason the latter event is now remembered is perhaps because the young Winston Churchill exposed himself to danger during the siege. He was criticised in parliament for his rash behaviour: he was Home Secretary at the time. Arthur Balfour, the former prime minister, accused him of having acted improperly. Some of the siege was filmed at it happened and later shown in cinemas. Footage included the moment a bullet supposedly passed through Mr Churchill's top hat, coming within inches of killing him.
In the Royal Borough of Greenwich the Thameside path used to be a good place for industrial archaeology walks. This path has been closed for some time — good news is that on Friday morning 11 January this year the section past Lovell's Wharf and as far north as Piper's Wharf was reopened. Bob Carr
May I acknowledge the vital role played by GLIAS volunteers in the success of the sixth European Industrial and Technical Weekend reported on so brilliantly by Kate Quinton (GLIAS Newsletter December 2012).
We used public transport and Kate calmly mentions that no-one was lost on the way. Kate was one of the volunteers, who with Mike Quinton, Saskia Hallam, Chris Rule and Dan Hayton, the team led expertly as usual by Sue Hayton, who ensured that no-one was lost and helped the participants in any way they needed over the weekend.
Bill Barksfield also played a vital role in providing and operating the technical equipment at the conference. Finally, may I on behalf of E-FAITH, thank GLIAS for its generosity and David Perrett, John Porter and Geoff Wallis for giving up their time to attend, the latter giving the influential keynote presentation introducing the conference. Paul Saulter
Tube anniversary website
With the London Underground celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, the following website is worth checking out for an interesting series of photographs which illustrates the greatness of the city's pioneering transport system:
Master of Studies in Historic Environment
Cambridge University is offering a new, part-time Master's programme in Historic Environment.
The Master of Studies (MSt) in Historic Environment aims to connect policy and practice in the management and conservation of historic landscapes, parks and gardens with theory, concepts and research.
It will provide essential knowledge and practical skills for:
- practitioners and policy-makers working in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors
- recent graduates with an interest in developing a career in historic environment
- volunteers, and those with a personal interest in the field.
The MSt is taught over two years in short, intensive study blocks. It has been designed to be accessible to those in full- or part-time employment, and to international students.
The course starts in September 2013 and the deadline for applications is 28 March 2013.
More about the course, including how to apply, at: www.ice.cam.ac.uk/mst-historic-environment
Next issue >>>
© GLIAS, 2013