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Notes and news — December 2020

In this issue:

Gasholder Number 13, Old Kent Road

On 16 January 2020 the Evening Standard had a news item comprising three illustrations (two in colour) and some text under the heading 'Alligator park coming to the ... Old Kent Road'. A reptile enclosure was being proposed to accompany housing and office/light industrial development at the former gas works site, making a feature of the sole remaining gas holder, 'listed' in 2017.

The holder frame is 160 ft high and 218 ft diameter and the sides of the three-rise bell, without gas, sit some 50 ft below ground level. So quite a space, even if most of the height would just contain fresh air. (Malcolm Tucker gives a full description of the holder in GLIAS Newsletter August 2017).

And then ... nothing, until a much shorter piece in the South London Press on 4 September 2020 said the scheme was now withdrawn, the developer having done 'a snappy u-turn'. New proposals are expected in 2021.

So this piece of Livesey legacy will remain an eye-catching but unused feature reaching above most of its surrounds for a while longer.

November 2020 © David Thomas

Across the Old Kent Road, at number 682, the Livesey Public Library, a deep red brick building which became a small museum and most recently a nursery, provides a different link. A painted hoarding combines the two, albeit a jaunty impression rather than accuracy. Not far away, at numbers 596 to 608, colourful ceramic mural scenes are set around the ground floor of the former North Peckham Civic Centre (1966). The building is due to be demolished, but the murals will feature in an impending development which will include two tall blocks, of 38 and 24 stories. The latter block will be named ... Livesey Building. If the Bakerloo Line extension to Lewisham is ever built there may be a station hereabouts, for which a correct but dull name would be Old Kent Road South. Or how about 'Livesey Quarter'? David Thomas

Murals, November 2020 © David Thomas Murals, November 2020 © David Thomas

A nice job next to Fulham Gas Works

My first job in 1959 was as a laboratory assistant working for the North Thames Gas Board at their appliance testing establishment called Watson House, located in Townmead Road adjacent to the Fulham Gas Works and the Thames. Its role was to conduct some applied research and to test all appliances that operated by gas such as cookers, boilers, space heaters and the like. I worked in the water heating laboratory and tested samples of such appliances for safety and efficiency before sale to the public. I did countless analyses of flue gases and water temperatures. A slide rule was in daily use! Much thought was being given to the conversion from 'town gas' made from coal to North Sea gas with its much higher calorific value. There were perks at work such as sampling 'British Standard Cakes', fish and chips and fruit pies produced as part of the test routines for catering equipment. You never went hungry at work and most lockers were stuffed with leftover test food. Oh, and you could get your laundry done to help with tests on washing machines!

I travelled to work by bus from Somers Town to Fulham, terminating in a long walk down Imperial Road from King's Road, when, depending on the strength and direction of the wind, there was a miasma of coal dust from the adjacent conveyor belts carrying coal from the unloading wharves on the nearby Thames to the gas works. Transients and local inhabitants endured air pollution that is unthinkable these days, together with the noxious fumes from the retorts. The wharves and conveyor are shown on a map dated 1949 but not on one for 1938, suggesting the basin within the works had been the main coal receiving place until at least 1937.

My first photo shows 'Accum' at the wharf. She was a 'flat iron', so called because of the cut-down superstructure to allow such craft to pass under Thames bridges. Mr. Accum was a gas engineer, described as 'largely responsible for the success of the Gas Light & Coke Company' (in a note mentioning a book by him, c.1820), suggesting the vessel was owned by North Thames Gas Board.

'Accum' at the wharf © Sidney Ray, 1959 View from the crane © Sidney Ray, 1959

The view from the crane, in my second photo, has now long gone, replaced by luxury accommodation and an enjoyable riverside walk round Chelsea Harbour (at the end of the Walk in GLIAS Newsletter September 2020). At that time named Chelsea Basin, there are no moored craft except two yachts. Most of the wagons are the then ubiquitous 16 ton mineral ones, painted grey as they had no vacuum brakes. A diagonal white stripe indicates the end with the openable door for tipping, though there are also some earlier wooden ones. There is little sign of activity, except for one coal merchant's lorry alongside a wagon for unloading. Beyond, Lots Road power station has its four chimneys and a coal conveyor at the western end. But what was the building there, with its own two metal chimneys, which no longer exists?

From Imperial Road © Sidney Ray, 2016

My final photograph, from the same Imperial Road as I walked down in 1959, was taken in 2016. That holder has now gone. Only houses in Imperial Square, built for gas works employees, and the oldest remaining gas holder in the world (1828), currently within hoardings surrounding site redevelopment, remain. Sidney Ray

Anti-aircraft gun platform at Cheshunt

On the east bank of the River Lee Navigation at Cheshunt TL 3698 0222 is a concrete structure, listed grade II in April 2004. It was built during the Second World War to support a Bofors gun. The principal target to be protected was very likely the Royal Gunpowder Mills to the east at Waltham Abbey.

Developed in Sweden from 1930 the Bofors gun was a 40mm rapid firing automatic anti-aircraft weapon which could fire 120 rounds per minute. A Kerrison Director*, an electromechanical analog computer, was fitted to British examples. Three people operated the Director by pointing it at the target while entering estimates for speed, range, and atmospheric conditions. The Director then drove the gun automatically via hydraulic servo-motors. This computer was fast enough to be used in demanding high-speed low-altitude situations where engagement times were very short.

Many thousands of Bofors guns were made but only about 80 elevated concrete platforms ever existed and this example is a rare survivor. It was probably built about 1940.

At Cheshunt there are two parallel independent towers roughly 20 feet high separated by a gap. The southern platform housed the Bofors gun and the northern platform the Director's prediction equipment. The gap was essential to isolate the predictor from the vibrations of the gun.

When we prepared the AIA 2004 Hertfordshire & Lea Valley Gazetteer (ISBN 0 9528930 7 X) this gun platform was missed out. Bob Carr

Historic Tube train set for London return

The Epping Ongar Railway is set to acquire a 1938-vintage Class 483 Underground train from the Isle of Wight when the island line is upgraded in the new year.

The London Transport Traction Group, which is behind the project, plans to restore the four-coach unit to London Transport condition and carry out work to allow it to run under its own power on the EOR and at galas around the country.

The Class 483 carriages have been running on the Isle of Wight since 1989. The Island Line is having a ₤26 million revamp, which includes extensive work on the track and new trains using refurbished D-78 stock from London Underground.

Another of the outgoing 1938 trains could be heading to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

Upminster Windmill

Upminster Windmill, which has been undergoing extensive renovation since 2016, is on course for final completion by spring 2021.

The cap and sails, which were refurbished or rebuilt by the millwright Willem Dijkstra in Holland, were lifted into position on Monday 30 November.

Upminster Windmill Upminster Windmill

Progress can be followed by a live webcam feed at

Coal for locomotives

Users of lump coal such as heritage railways now have a problem. There is a serious risk that their fuel could become scarce and much more expensive (GLIAS Newsletter November 2020).

The last mine producing washed lump coal in England, essential for steam locomotives, stopped production in August 2020, signalling future problems for heritage railways. The three remaining opencast mines from which heritage railways have been obtaining most of their UK-produced coal, Ffos-y-Fran in South Wales, Shotton in Northumberland and Garlaffen in Ayrshire, are all scheduled for closure in the next two years.

Currently the UK burns eight million tonnes of coal a year, mainly in pulverised form for power stations and the steel and concrete industries. Lump coal forms a very small proportion of the total. If the need to produce coal for the domestic market is removed it will mean the heritage movement will become the only major user of lump coal and the amount required could be too small to justify UK producers maintaining a supply. In any case there is likely to be a big increase in price.

In a lighter seasonal vein, it is a Scottish custom at Hogmanay to arrange for 'a stranger' to enter the house just after midnight carrying a lump of coal. If a lump of coal becomes a precious commodity this tradition will have even more significance.

Figures collected from the Heritage Railway Association and the Heritage Fuels Alliance show that about 35,000 tonnes of coal are used each year by heritage railways and other coal-fired users, including steam boats, traction and pumping engines, steam lorries, cars and model locomotives, as well as static uses such as blacksmiths' forges, industrial museums and the grates of stately homes.

Steam-hauled trains attract up to 13 million visitors a year earning ₤130 million and heritage railways generate a total of about ₤400 million for the national economy. These railways are an important source of employment and skills training, especially in country areas. There are 158 operational UK heritage railways with a total mileage of 562, roughly the distance from London Euston to Mallaig by train. Heritage railways manage 460 stations, about the same number as Northern Rail.

Coal-burning heritage railways produce about the same carbon output as 110 return airline flights across the Atlantic. There are more than 84,000 such flights annually. In the UK there is twice as much charcoal burnt on barbecues every year as coal in steam locomotive boilers, and burning charcoal emits the same unhealthy PM2.5 particles* as coal.

The total lump coal requirement across the country is currently less than 2% of the UK's annual coal requirement. Ninety percent of the coal British heritage railways consume has come from four British opencast sites; this represents about 0.25% of all the coal burnt in the UK.

Only two million tonnes of the eight million tonnes of coal used in the UK is mined in this country and planning permission is not being granted either to increase the size of these sites or open new ones. UK coal could therefore die out and we would become totally reliant on overseas markets. Heritage railways are being forced to buy coal abroad, predominately from Russia, increasing their carbon output significantly because of the extra distance involved.

Heritage railways usually do not choose to import coal from unknown international sources having worked closely with their domestic partners to ensure quality control and minimise carbon emissions. Where possible they use the best quality coal and ensure the coal is burnt as efficiently as possible, keeping emissions to a minimum. Most heritage railways use a variety of means to improve steam locomotive efficiency and also offset carbon emissions. Pre-heating locomotive boilers with a warming fire lit the day before use is a common practice which both reduces emissions from trying to raise steam too quickly and protects boilers from damage from rapid heating and expansion.

In the House of Lords debate on heritage railways, the Chief Whip Lord Ashton speaking for the government said: 'We are working carefully to consider how we might achieve a successful balance between enhancing environmental and public health protection and ensuring that the UK's heritage vehicle industry and indeed heritage houses that burn coal on grates continue to thrive.'

The Director of the Heritage Railway Association is leading open discussions with heritage sector suppliers, DEFRA, Ministers, and the MP for Digital Culture, Media & Sport the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC in order to identify a long-term sustainable approach to heritage coal supply.


This note has been prepared using information from the internet, in particular an excellent article on the North York Moors Railway website. Some of the above facts may be ill-defined or inaccurate. If anyone has access to more reliable information please write in with corrections and comments. Bob Carr

13 amp plugs

Ben Weiner has asked me about the revolutionary nature of the 'square' pin plug (GLIAS Newsletter November 2020). It was in fact a part of a revolution in domestic wiring.

I was only 13 at the time of the launch of the 13 amp plug in 1947 with the advent of British Standard 1363. As I understood from Uncle Fred it was all part of the move to BS1363 for wiring which started being discussed in 1942. This involved everything earthed (including light fittings). A single sized plug which would only go into its own type of socket, which in turn would not accept round pin plugs. Each appliance individually fused to the right value with a cartridge fuse (In the beginning 3, 5 and 13 amps although now only 3 or 13 [red or brown] are used). This contained within the plug which was designed to resemble in size the old 5amp round pin although it was square. Its socket had a safety measure, the line and neutral holes were closed with a shutter which was opened by the insertion of the plug with its slightly longer and larger earth pin. 1363 also took in the concept of the entire ring main, a concept which allowed the use of 2.5mm single strand cable with line and neutral both plastic sheathed and bare earth all contained in a 10mm plastic 'cab tyre' sheath (known at the time as the 'hundred year cable'. This allowed the cable to be buried in a 'chase' without conduit but with boxes for sockets and switches. The very short plug pins allowing very little protrusion of the socket.

There must be some who remember lead or later hard rubber sheath (where the name 'cab tyre' came from) cable with associated buckle clips? In exposed positions the later having to be nailed on every 9in before the cable was laid in the strap being tucked through and folded over. I well remember just post war the cable running down the wall to the light switches and folding over all those buckle clips. And the addition of the 30-amp socket for the front room three-bar fire when Dad took out all the gas. And when we moved in 1951 Dad installed the ring main with 13-amp sockets in every room and we had electric fires in the bedrooms and Mum had her electric 'copper'. Not forgetting the dedicated 30-amp circuit for the cooker whose control box had the kettle socket for the 'new' plug. Bob Rust

The Szlumper connection

'Mr Szlumper reported he had had the iron of the Gellivion viaduct tested by Messrs Kirkaldy & Co, with the result that the iron had been proved to be very satisfactory in every respect, and payment for the testing was duly authorised.' ₤19-2s-3d was paid to D Kirkaldy & Son. Barry Railway Co. Board Meeting Min, 18/3/1887 (National Archives, Kew, document RAIL 23/2).

Barry Dock and its Railway (both quickly becoming plurals) were built to tap the coal traffic carried by the Taff Vale Railway to Cardiff and Penarth Docks, some from pits owned by promoters of Barry Dock. Junctions between the Barry and Taff Vale railways were built near Pontypridd. The viaduct mentioned, now demolished, was over Nant Gelli-vion, a short side valley west from the Rhondda just before that joins the Taff.

Sir James Weeks Szlumper, recorded above, was a civil engineer building the sections of the Barry Railway at Pontypridd. He was also engineer to a dozen or so other relatively short railways, mostly in Wales. In retirement he lived in Richmond and became involved in local politics, which earned the 'Sir'. He and his wife are buried in Richmond Cemetery with a modest memorial (section O, plot 2411).

His younger half-brother, Alfred Weeks Szlumper, also a civil engineer, retired as Chief Engineer of the Southern Railway. Alfred's son, Gilbert Savil Szlumper, became that railway's General Manager, based at Waterloo station. Their combined terms of office included major swathes of electrification of suburban passenger lines and the up slow line fly-over at Wimbledon, plus the marshalling yard at Feltham. (Piece on the latter in next Newsletter). David Thomas

Rubber roads

Don Clow gives this topic an excellent introduction to rubber roads in GLIAS Newsletter February 2002. This note has a few extras.

In September 1923 the inaugural meeting of The Institution of the Rubber Industry was given a presentation entitled 'Rubber Floors and Rubber Roadways', reported in The Builder for 28/9/1923, page 500*. This says that Britain was the first nation to have rubber roadways, continuing:

'The first rubber roadway ever to be constructed was invented by Mr Morland M Dessau, and this was in 1913 in Southwark at the junction of the New and Old Kent Roads. The construction employed in this case was the mounting of a Yarrah wood block, 3in wide by 8in in length, with a pure plantation rubber facing ½in thick. Probably we have all been very interested during the last week or so in seeing rubber blocks laid around the Cenotaph in Whitehall. In this case a smooth concrete surface has been prepared, and on this hot pitch has been spread just prior to laying the rubber. The rubber blocks are constructed with a groove one side and a corresponding projection on the other, so that when laid they are really mortised and tenoned into position. Before being laid each block is dipped in hot pitch. Rubber roadways constructed by a different method have been laid in Glasgow and Edinburgh during the present year. In these cases a rubber block, measuring 9in x 4½in x 2in thick, is fixed by means of an embedded steel spike into a concrete base block of slightly smaller dimensions.......

'..... Large slabs of rubber were laid a good many years ago at the entrances to both Euston and St Pancras stations and elsewhere, though these were under cover........

'..... The rubber pavement in Princess Street, Edinburgh, was down for over 20 years... (and)... lost only a fraction of an inch in thickness.'

The presentation also covered rubber carpets for public buildings and uses for rubber surfacing in houses, including in bathrooms. By then indoor use was not new. Kelly's Directory for 1918 lists a firm manufacturing 'India Rubber tiling as laid at the London Metal Exchange, Lloyd's, Guy's Hospital &c.'

A few months later The Builder (14/12/1923, page 936*) reported further developments which included coloured rubber blocks for indoor use instead of tiles. Manufacturers were F & E Stanton Ltd, Harders Road, Peckham, SE15.

Almost 100 years later rubber is the main constituent of tyres of vehicles running on roads predominantly of tarmac, though also with long stretches of concrete slabs. Tarmac News announced, in June 2019, that they had developed a system of using recycled tyres mixed with tarmac for road surfaces, with tyre noise reduction a key selling point. A trial section was laid on the southbound section of the M1 between Junctions 23 and 22, near Leicester. Wikipedia says 'rubberised asphalt' was being experimented with in America in the 1960s.

Mr Morland M Dessau (1865-1946) appears to have been a rubber manufacturer. He is mentioned in passing as advocating motorways from London to Brighton and to Birmingham, and inventing waterproof matches, but little else. He was born in New York and is buried in South Ealing Cemetery. Does any member have more info on him — and why rubber block roads appear not to have caught on? David Thomas

New uses for elevated trackbeds

Many of London's railways were built on elevated rail tracks in the 19th century, on arched viaducts infilled below with units rented out as workshops and storage.

The main reason for these structures was to avoid level crossings over the many streets along the route.

Some lines have subsequently become redundant, leaving inconvenient and unsightly barriers often overgrown with vegetation.

We reported last month on schemes in Camden and Battersea to find new uses for the arches and track beds (GLIAS Newsletter November 2020), inspired by the success of the Promenade Plantée in Paris and the New York Highline.

Here are a couple more projects under consideration:

Similar to the Camden Highline is a proposal to revamp a 200m disused part of the District Line in Hammersmith. A design competition was held in 2019 with 63 designs submitted. Two winners were chosen — an 'aquarium' with a series of greenhouses, aquaponics and swimming pools, and a 'Mediterranean park' with a sustainable garden space with a continuous promenade and stepped seating areas.

Even more ambitious is the Low Line Commons, a walking route along the rail viaducts from Bankside through London Bridge to Bermondsey, connecting 'diverse neighbourhoods and communities in south London, linking existing and new hubs of creativity, entertainment, and industry along its course'. The winning proposal, by PDP London architects, proposes four initial key interlinked themes: a productive green infrastructure, convivial public space, diverse and green economy, and historical and cultural connections. It will feature tree planting, community gardens and new wildlife habitats.

Low Line Commons

London already has an elevated garden walkway — at Canary Wharf where the Crossrail Place Roof Garden, located above the new station, showcases unusual plants from across the globe, encased beneath an intricate lattice roof.


This may not fit the GLIAS bill but is an oddity worth, I think, a mention.

The Gaumont cinema still stands in the High Road Wood Green (now a fringe religion church) but at the time of which I write — 13 January 1945 — was a working cinema. It was approached up five steps through eight pairs of swing doors into a lobby, then up three more steps into the foyer which contained the ticket kiosk. Behind this was a second lobby which had two pairs of double doors on its right which were at the top of the two aisles in the auditorium which was at right angles to the lobby.

In the late afternoon of the 13th a V2 fell on Gladstone Avenue about 200 yards from the cinema and about 150 yards from the back of the shops that faced the cinema in the Wood Green High Road. The following morning my brother and I went to have a look to be met with an amazing sight. All the 16 doors were opened, jammed outwards with the door closers dangling and a policeman standing guard. I asked him why the doors weren't blown in and he explained that the V2 explosion took up all the oxygen and created a huge vacuum and dragged the doors outward. He told us that the vacuum had also pulled all the litter out of the auditorium. The same applied to the shops; the glass was pulled out of shops facing the cinema and blown in on those facing away. When we met our mate's sister who worked as an usherette, she said she had been called in to help clear up. She told us that as well as the rubbish all the dust was drawn out of the auditorium carpet. For the first time she knew that the carpet was red and blue and had a logo. Bob Rust

Information required

Does anyone have any information about a gentleman called Aubrey Wilson (b 1923, d Jan 2009)?

Wilson's book London's Industrial Heritage was published by David & Charles in 1967 and therefore just predated the founding of GLIAS. In the 1960s and 1970s he wrote one or two articles on the subject as well. His main line of business was marketing; he even suggested applying market research methods to industrial archaeological research.

Stephen Spark is trying to establish whether Mr Wilson took photographs of items and places of industrial historical interest and, if so, whether these have ended up in an archive anywhere. His interest is specifically focused on his visit to Mauritius, probably in 1967.

Stephen writes: 'He wrote that it was "a recent business visit to the island, which allowed only a short time to look into its industrial archaeology", but he nevertheless found "an astonishing wealth of material for study". Sadly, his optimism about the Mauritian government's commitment to preserving historic structures and artefacts proved to be misplaced — successive governments have been dreadfully negligent in that regard.

'I have been researching the history of the Mauritius Government Railways (in operation 1864-1964) for many years, so it was exciting to learn that he had seen remnants of the system, along with interesting machinery etc in the sugar mills. The revelation was in a short article 'Opportunities for Industrial Archaeology in Mauritius' published in The Journal of Industrial Archaeology, vol 5, 1968, pp293-298.

'It's not much to go on, but I am hoping, against all the odds, that (a) he may have photographed or made notes about what he saw and (b) those photos/notes have survived somewhere. Photographs of the MGR, especially immediately post-closure, are as rare as hen's teeth, so any lead, however, tenuous, has to be followed up.

'In fact, I'd be very interested to receive suggestions of people or archives (beyond the usual ones such as The National Archives, British Library, etc.) that may have material relating to the IA of Mauritius, including sugar mills and associated engineering works, limekilns, aloe fibre works, salt works, the railway, the port and so on. There were numerous connections with London's own IA — the sugar came into Tate & Lyle at Silvertown, for example, so it's not all that tenuous!'
Stephen Spark, Flat 3, Ground Floor, 4 Carminia Road, Balham, London SW17 8AW. Tel: 020 8675 4372. Email:

Teddy Bagnell, a retired expat living in SW France, wonders whether a redbrick United Dairies building with a large dairy cow on top, somewhere on the A3 in suburban London, still exists.
Teddy Bagnell, Jaussin, 1340 Route des Monts, 47370 Anthé, France. Tel: +33(0)553 707525. Email:

Where is this? The answers

Answers to the pictures of changing London (GLIAS Newsletter November 2020):

From Cody Dock looking SE down Bow Creek towards London City Island

1. From Cody Dock looking SE down Bow Creek towards London City Island — London's 'mini Manhattan'. See

Looking east along Murrain Road, London N4

2. Looking east along Murrain Road, London N4. This road is just to the west of Clissold Park, Stoke Newington.
Bob Carr

Conservation Watch

Bethnal Green Gasholders

On 24 September, LB Tower Hamlets' Strategic Development Committee voted to approve St William Homes' ambitious scheme for developing the Marian Place Gasholder Station in Bethnal Green, which will see the retention of two very distinctive gasholder guide frames within a housing development (GLIAS Newsletter December 2019).

Although they are not nationally listed they are major features in a canalside conservation area alongside the Regent's Canal and LBTH included their retention in the recently finalised local plan. St William Homes is a joint venture between Berkeley Homes and National Grid, with the objective of redeveloping National Grid's numerous brownfield sites, of which there are three in Tower Hamlets alone. Their scheme is to build luxury flats within the two guide frames as a flagship project, and 35% overall of affordable housing and a mini-park within the limited space of the rest of the site. The architects Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners have produced a good-quality design that includes several circular residential towers echoing the gasholders and parking and servicing underground within former gasholder tanks.

The proposals are not without controversy and three public petitions were presented by the East End Waterway Group against aspects of the scheme. First, there is a sizable opinion that the smaller of the two guide frames should not be infilled with housing, thus leaving its form more visible and allowing sunlight to penetrate to the canal. Secondly, the developers propose to dismantle the guide frames (one with internally bolted cast-iron columns and the larger one of riveted wrought-iron or steel latticework) and refurbish them off-site before re-erection. Removal of lead paint and repairs to metalwork may be easier in a workshop than from scaffolding, but there will practical difficulties and risks of breakage in taking them apart plus extra costs in transporting the pieces off site and bringing them back. Also, ambiguous drawings throw doubts as to whether the structures will be reinstated accurately, and the landscaping at ground level fails to express the in-ground tanks in which the telescopic bells formerly moved up and down or the roller carriages with which they engaged the guide rails. GLIAS and others objected on these technical points but we were largely ignored. Intended conditions include approval of method statements for the dismantling, repair and re-erection processes, which will require further studies, with the possibility remaining of a change towards conservation in situ. But consent for the scheme as a whole awaits the outcome of discussions behind the scenes, probably about financial obligations. Malcolm Tucker


The AGM deferred from May 2020 because of the pandemic will be held online on 3 February 2021; the calling notice and instructions for joining via Zoom are attached to this Newsletter. The Board regrets that the meeting still cannot be held face to face because of the continuing situation. We are worried that we may not reach the quorum of 40 so we ask that members make every effort to attend online, but if you are unavailable or don't have an internet connection please appoint a proxy using the form attached to the calling notice. We encourage you to instruct your proxy on how to vote for the individual motions. Note that the Board is recommending a number of special resolutions in the light of our experiences of the pandemic. Tim Sidaway, Secretary

Chair's Report to GLIAS Members for 2019-2020

2019 saw GLIAS start to celebrate its 50th year but most events were planned for 2020 and then we were overtaken by the COVID-19 pandemic. The enclosed AGM documents would have been presented to you last May but now our delayed AGM will be given via Zoom.

GLIAS remains a group of people, who care about London's industrial heritage and I wish to thank all members, who willingly give their time and knowledge to help GLIAS continue as a leading society in this field. Our Vice-President, Malcolm Tucker, generously gives his knowledgeable advice to all concerned in the planning processes, especially those concerning gasholders. Our finances have been well cared for by Dan Hayton and you will find the attached accounts to be in good order. We are increasingly concerned over our falling membership and rising running costs. Our secretary Tim Sidaway does much to keep the Board up to date and in due order. Chris Rule is our minutes secretary; Robert Mason edits the new style newsletter that is now commercially produced and distributed. I must thank Prof. Martin Adams (Editor), Ben Weiner and Dan Hayton for the editing and production of LIA18. Having said that I would only chair for five years I have been in post for nearly 10 years and having been elected Chair of the Association of Industrial Archaeology three months ago I am standing down; Dan Hayton is proposed by the Board as the new Chair.

As an educational charity GLIAS provides free public lectures and guided walks. Lectures were to be held in The Gallery, which is given freely by Alan Baxter Associates. Youla Yates organises the attractive lecture programme that in 2019 was: April — Ripples in Time by Graham Dolan and May — Trinity Buoy Wharf and its historic ships by Richard Albanese. But in 2020 COVID forced their cancellation after the first one on the Regent's Canal@200 by Brian Johnson had been given. In conjunction with the SE London U3A I organised a day school on London's Industrial Heritage to celebrate GLIAS@50 at the London Metropolitan Archives which was attended by some 150 delegates. After the conference GLIAS hosted a drinks reception for delegates in Kirkaldy's Testing Museum.

IA walks were once again organised by Andrew Turner: two evening walks, one around Smithfield and another from Tower Bridge to Rotherhithe. Saturday afternoon walks were Clerkenwell led by Mike and Kate Quinton, Dartford leader Martin Watts and Linda Graham, Rickmansworth leader Andrew Turner, Camden leader John Goodier and City Geology leader Allan Wheeler.

October saw some 40 members have a very enjoyable 50th anniversary lunch was held in private rooms at the Parcel Yard Pub, King's Cross Station. We also held a photo competition to link to SERIAC but events meant this was only virtual with the results in the Newsletter. I attended meetings of the All-Party Parliament Committee on the Industrial Heritage (APPC-IH) on behalf of GLIAS. I represent the Society on SERIAC, Lea Valley Alliance and Danny on the Enderby Group.

Our Calvocoressi Fund supported Ursula Jeffries' research on printing in London and funded the design and production of a new publication on House Mill. The fund is still open to applications for support.

The Society's website, which hosts a complete record of our newsletters as well as other features, attracts much interest not just from Londoners but also the wider UK and worldwide. We are currently working on a new format for the IA database using software developed by the Yorkshire Archaeology & History Society — Industrial History Section that is web-based and interactive.

I must finish this report with yet another appeal to ALL members to help GLIAS start to fully function again when the pandemic has passed and we are all vaccinated. My previous appeals to you all to help fell on deaf ears but, since we have learnt to meet via Zoom, physical meetings in Central London are no longer essential. With the change in Officers, we urgently need a new Treasurer but all fresh minds on the Board will be more than welcome.
Professor David Perrett, chair GLIAS, December 2020

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