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Notes and news — June 2018

In this issue:

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Industrial Heritage

In October last year the APPC-IH chaired by Nick Thomas-Symonds collected evidence on the challenges facing the industrial heritage sector. Nick, MP for Torfaen, a constituency that includes the Blaenavon World Heritage sites, is keenly interested in our Industrial Heritage.

There were three half-day sessions when evidence was given by 21 representatives of Industrial Heritage organisations from all parts of the UK who each gave prepared statements and answered questions put by the Chair. Unfortunately, I could not attend the last session when among others Sir Neil Cossons, Keith Falconer and Prof Marilyn Palmer, all past Presidents of the AIA, gave their evidence.

The Chair was though keen to gather information from the other attendees, who were usually few in number. Oddly as a Yorkshireman I made the point that nearly all the invited evidence had come from those associated with the North with the exception of one about Chatham Dockyard and most were very parochial not looking at the wider picture. Evidence was mainly given by those professionally involved in the area. Few talks directly concerned volunteer organisations, where concern was expressed about falling numbers and their increasing age leading to loss of expertise. Personally, I was shocked to learn that our national tourist boards don't even publicise our industrial heritage abroad yet nine of our 24 World Heritage sites are industrial! I asked why bodies such as the Science Museum and Newcomen Society were not asked. After the sessions written evidence was accepted by others. I sent a long letter on behalf of GLIAS as to why London is different and should have been featured. GLIAS's views are featured on a number of entries in the report.

On 1 May APPG-IH launched its report at the House of Parliament, which I attended on behalf of GLIAS and Lindsay Collier from the Lea Valley Alliance was also present. The illustrated full report is some 42 pages. The summary recommendations are:

We need government and other national organisations to take notice of the report and take speedy action. To read the report follow the link from
David Perrett

EYCH2018 — chimneys

Woolwich Dockyard Chimney L NE 1 May 2018 © R Carr

This year is the European Year of Cultural Heritage (EYCH) which includes themed months to encourage more people to discover and explore industrial heritage. In March the theme was energy, power and prime movers. London's Markfield Road beam engine was in steam for this. In May it was industrial chimneys and for June it is the urban environment, including services such as water supply and main drainage. In July and August it is the turn of travel and transport. October is the last themed month, highlighting the adaptive reuse of old industrial buildings.

What is meant by industrial chimneys are those built for furnaces and boilers. There are few factory chimneys left in London but power stations and cinema smokestacks are eligible.

One of the best surviving examples in London is the massive octagonal brick chimney, built by about 1843, for the Royal Navy's Steam Factory at Woolwich Dockyard. Intended to vent all the furnace flues in the yard, its design was based on the latest examples in the Industrial North. Originally 208 feet high it was later reduced in height to 180 feet, but it's still impressive. The names of the specialist chimney designer and its builder appear to have been lost. It was listed grade II in 1992. Bob Carr

The May campaign in favour of factory chimneys is a great success — putting the focus on chimneys as landmarks and symbols of past industries. For the #Ode2Joy challenge on 9 May, the 'Serenade for a Chimney' event, 14 videos were sent in, from six countries.

There is now a poll opened to elect the most popular video. The winner will receive a free industrial heritage label with QR-code. The videos can be watched from the webpage and don't forget to cast your vote!
Adriaan Linters

New gallery at London Museum of Water & Steam

While there are many museums that tell the story of local water supplies and have working steam engines this new gallery at Kew is the first, that I know, to devote a gallery to the story of electric power.

Kew opened its new Electric House exhibit on 22 March. The gallery explains the introduction of electrical pumping to the London region. It is based in part around a surviving Hathorn Davey & Co of Leeds, one of five installed at Kew in 1943-44. Other exhibits include a Reader steam generator set of c1907, a WH Allen vertical spindle pump of 1952 ex Hammersmith waterworks, some wonderful control panels dating to the 1930s and hopefully soon to be functioning again a Mercury Arc Rectifier.

I remember seeing the one that worked at Kempton P.S. but the demise of the need for DC power as well as health and safety concerns means that few survive. This one built by the Hewittic Electricity Co, Surrey came from the Sandersons Wallpaper Factory in Uxbridge.

This is an important new gallery but sadly too many of the steam engines are currently out of action. David Perrett

News on the 'Rocket'

Pic © Frank Treviss

I have finally some good news on our 'Rocket' (GLIAS Newsletter April 2018).

Originally sited in what used to be Webster's Yard, it appears the property and contents were purchased by Quattro, so the 'Rocket' is now owned by Quattro. This appears to be a cement company and that site is part of the HS2 development at Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC).

My source at OPDC tells me that she has spoken with Quattro and they have confirmed they have transferred the 'Rocket' to a farm they own for safekeeping while all the HS2 upheaval takes place. They will not return it until completion of HS2, currently scheduled for 2026. There are ongoing talks about its position on completion of HS2. I had been in touch with Gunnersbury Museum and they are interested to hear what has happened to it. Quattro are keen for it to be returned to the area of origin, also as that was the Acton Laundries' area at the end of the 19th century. They are also talking about 'some restoration' — the paintwork had almost completely worn away. There is no timescale for the restoration; I would imagine they would do that nearer to completion time so it is gleaming on its return.

I mentioned to my contact that we feel more confident it is less likely to 'disappear' now we have a paper trail on it and she said she has agreed to liaise with Quattro every 3-4 months to confirm all is still well. I feel that is a good sign — particularly when these companies seem to change staff fairly frequently without passing on vital information. Sue Peach

Signal boxes

Another signal box (GLIAS Newsletter February 2018) still in situ is Dudding Hill Junction, on the freight-only line between Cricklewood and Acton Wells Junction. The box is situated by the footbridge over the line in Gladstone Park, nearest bus routes 226 to the south and 232 to the north.

Dudding Hill Junction signal box

The line slits at the junction, the left-hand lines heading north on the Midland main line towards Luton and the right-hand tracks south towards London. Cricklewood bus garage is in the triangle between the two diverging lines and the A5 road. Martin Weyell

Victoria 1897 Jubilee wall plaques

Re: the article by David Thomas (GLIAS Newsletter October 2017) on Jubilee plaques. Here are some photographs of two plaques in Claydon, Buckinghamshire.

Claydon House Terrace of cottages at Verney Junction

The one in sunlight is in the grounds of Claydon House which can be inspected closely as it is at eye level and hence easily photographed. The other photo is of an identical plaque on a terrace of cottages at Verney Junction — former terminus of the Metropolitan Line, still in rural north Bucks. Robert Excell

Save East Greenwich Gas Holder

Greenwich Industrial History has created a petition to save East Greenwich Gas Holder from demolition:

© Michael Mulcahy

Can you help?

I volunteer with the Thames Discovery Programme, and record features in Bermondsey and Rotherhithe. There is a structure (below) which we see only at very low tide, which must have had some sort of industrial purpose.


Do any members recognise what it is? It has been suggested to us that it is the base of a hydraulic crane. Just inland there used to be a mill, you can see the chimney.
Margaret Sparks. Email:

Here are two photographs of a transformer structure in Wimbledon SW19, at the end of Sunnyside, a small road just southeast of The Ridgway.

Transformer structure in Wimbledon SW19, at the end of Sunnyside. Nigel Headley Transformer structure in Wimbledon SW19, at the end of Sunnyside. Nigel Headley

Can members supply any information about the British Electric Transformer Co., Hayes, which according to Grace's Guide was registered in 1903? Who is now responsible for this relic which needs restoration? And what is or was its purpose in a fairly rural residential area?
Stewart J Wild. Email:

I have two bronze medals awarded to my great grandfather, Mr C G Maple, but no mention of what exactly they were awarded for. They are both 40mm diameter and have the following on them:

Bronze medals

1. first side has a traditional straw beehive surrounded by bees and a belt with the words 'Nothing without Industry' on it. The other side has 'awarded to C G Maple' and the words 'East London Industrial Exhibition' and in very small lettering 'Opened by H.R.H. the Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne 4th May 1885'

2. the second medal has the wording 'Grove Mission Industrial Exhibition June 1885' on one side and on the other 'awarded to Mr C G Maple'

The family story is that he was a brass founder and was somehow involved in producing the brass frieze above the doors in the main entrance of Selfridges.

If any of our members have information relevant to these two medals I would be delighted to hear from them.
Malcolm D Osmundson MBE, Old Crossing, Station Road, South Leigh, Oxon, OX29 6XJ. Tel: 01993 774018. Mob: 07977 026766. Email:

The journal of the Greenwich History Society

A bright new well-produced issue has recently appeared. This includes a substantial article on Robert Cocking (1776-1837) who descended by parachute from Green's balloon* over Greenwich. Cocking devised his own parachute, inverting what we now accept as the usual design. Model tests indicated that Cocking's inverted parachute was superior to previous designs but rather than try out a full scale version, he took the bold step of testing the parachute with himself as load. Tragically Cocking fell to his death. His body was put on display in the Tigers Head public house, where an Inquest was held, and there is quite a detailed account of this Inquest in the article. GLIAS member Dr Mary Mills contributes an article on The Advent of Gas Street Lighting in Greenwich in the 1820s. This is a difficult subject with only scarce and conflicting evidence and Newsletter readers will find this work of particular interest. At the back there is a pair of then and now photographs showing Crane Street SE10 in 1950, and now. R Moss & Sons, Rope and Canvas Merchants, derelict in 1950, is now the Trafalgar Rowing Centre.

All Greenwich History Society members receive a free copy of the Journal. Non-members can purchase a copy from the Warwick Leadlay Gallery, 1-2 Nelson Arcade, Greenwich Market, London SE10 9JB. Tel: 020 8858 0317. Email: Bob Carr

Items for disposal

I have a number of journals that need a new home!

All free to anyone who wants them! Collection/delivery to be arranged.
Malcolm D Osmundson MBE, Old Crossing, Station Road, South Leigh, Oxon, OX29 6XJ. Tel: 01993 774018. Mob: 07977 026766. Email:

Darrell Spurgeon

GLIAS is sorry to learn of the death of member Darrell Spurgeon on 8 May.

Darrell was well known in south-east London and contributed to the GLIAS Database from its early days.

Among his many activities he wrote a well-regarded series of 'Discover' books of interest to local historians.

Sincere condolences to his wife Arlette and son Mark.

Conservation Watch

Former Caird and Rayner Premises, 777-783 Commercial Road. Case Number: 1450155
Craning Gate in northern gallery, © Malcolm T Tucker 31 Jan 2017
Historic England is undertaking an amendment to rationalise the List entries for 777 and 779-783 Commercial Road, Tower Hamlets, a multi-phase building complex listed in two parts, into a single entity (under List entry 1385372) to ‘simplify and more clearly articulate the details and significance of the building, in order to inform and aid its future management'.

The first listing, which applies only to the former ships chandler's warehouse to the north-east, was made in 2000 (GLIAS Newsletter February 2001), and the second, which applies to the former manufacturing workshop and service range, was made in 2004, once access to the building and further research were available. The building is on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register.

GLIAS is commenting on the review:

1) The Details should be extended to include specific mention of the Craning Gate in the balustrade of the engineering workshop (pictured right).
2) to 5) The List Entry contains various inaccuracies of identification and description that need to be corrected.

49-50 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED. Application Ref 2017/3511

GLIAS continues to object to the intensive character of the proposed development within the conservation area, the loss of viable and distinctive studio space and the loss without recognition of the last remains of the historic Regent's Canal Iron Works.

The current application's Heritage Statement attempts to dismiss the evidence GLIAS presented back in 2013 on the origins and significance of the range of wrought-iron roof trusses that remains within No. 49 Eagle Wharf Road. GLIAS has done more research since then, culminating in an article published by Malcolm Tucker in the GLIAS Journal (London's Industrial Archaeology 15, 2017, pp.10-20) which validates GLIAS's claim that the roof trusses are the work of renowned ironmaster Henry Grissell, as a part of his works.

The research shows that the premises subsequently numbered No. 49 were surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1871 but depicted in greater detail on a lease plan of January 1871, when they were first acquired by the engineer Robert Legg from the insolvent Regent's Canal Iron Works Company Ltd. Henry Grissell had purchased the land in 1859 for an extension of his existing works, but it was shown not yet built upon on Stanford's map published in 1862, possibly surveyed slightly earlier. In 1862 Grissell set up a limited company, to raise more capital, but this company was brought to its knees by the great financial crash of 1866. It was not in a position to develop the premises thereafter, but unable to dispose of them until 1871. The building range containing the trusses is shown already on the 1871 lease plan, and must therefore have been built in the years between circa 1862 and 1866. Considering that Legg can have had little reason to replace the roof of this workshop, it follows that the trusses are also of c.1862-6. They are in the general style that Grissell used for now scarce workshop buildings in the naval dockyards, where he was a major contractor. Although relatively humble compared with some of Grissell's other work, they are particularly well detailed in the connections, so demonstrating the pride of their owner and builder and illustrating the character of this important former ironworks site. These trusses could be kept in place if the existing studios were allowed to continue.

If the Council decides to approve the development, then GLIAS asks not only that the iron roof be archaeologically recorded to a good standard but also that some of the roof trusses be retained as instructive ornamental features of the site, together with a cast-iron pillar also located on the site.

The developers of the adjacent No. 48 Eagle Wharf Road were seeking to retain some much later steel roof trusses, unconnected with Grissell, as a feature of that site. Salvaging Grissell's trusses from No. 49 for that purpose would be a much more valuable project. Malcolm T Tucker

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© GLIAS, 2018