Notes and news — February 2022
In this issue:
From the chair
- From the chair
- The entrance lock of the Royal Victoria Dock
- Bespoke corset making in Islington
- Three buildings near King's Cross
- The first wind tunnel
- Milk in South London
- The Brunel Shed
- Euston Tube building to be moved?
- Flashback — a GLIAS Recording Group in action, August 1970
- Where is this tug now?
- Cattle to London. Part 1
- Britannia Street ventilation shaft
- New lease of life for Chelsea Cabmen's Shelter
- Crystal Palace Subway restoration
I was thinking not much has happened since the last Newsletter, but we've gained five new members and two affiliated organisations, one of which rejoined after missing a renewal.
We've continued to receive notification of buildings and artefacts of Industrial Archaeological interest including a turntable 'found' in Smithfield market.
Behind the scenes work is progressing on London's Industrial Archaeology No 20 and planning the Lecture Series for January to May.
The current situation makes decisions difficult for organisations and individuals over travel and meetings and has led us to offer the lectures online as well as in person. The room we use has limits on numbers as does our online licence and we are using Eventbrite to book places in the real world and cyberspace.
Our first lecture 'EDWARD LLOYD AND THE INTRODUCTION OF HIGH-CAPACITY PRINTING TECHNOLOGY INTO BRITAIN', by Matt McKenzie was held online and in person at the Gallery, 77 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL with 22 members in guests present and a further 36 'viewers'. We have lectures planned through until May when, if all goes as anticipated, the lecture will follow the Society's AGM.
We're still discovering some of the quirks of the venue and the software used. If there are any members who have an interest in the latest 'developments' in hybrid lectures do get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're looking forward to seeing you in person or online at our future events.
Best wishes for 2022. Dan Hayton
The entrance lock of the Royal Victoria Dock
About 1985, the civil engineer and author of a book on the Port of London Mr Ivan Greeves* told me that the original 1855 entrance lock at the western end of the Royal Victoria Dock in London was not constructed as planned — there was 'Jerry building'. Brickwork which should have been there was absent. The first diagram, a cross-section through one of the gate platforms, shows what was intended, the second one shows what was actually there. This absence was discovered when the lock was rebuilt by the PLA in the 1960s. Bob Carr
* 'London Docks 1800-1980, a Civil Engineering History', by Ivan S Greeves, Thomas Telford 1980
Left: as planned; Right: as built
Bespoke corset making in Islington
In 1978 when talking to a friend she casually mentioned that her father was a qualified corsetier and had a small workshop in the basement of their house. Naturally I was interested that, nestling in a leafy corner of genteel residential Barnsbury Square in upmarket Islington was a very small, one person, skilled craft industry.
By the very nature of its product, custom-made corsetry for individuals and celebrities as well as stage, TV and Hollywood productions, signage and advertising, were very discreet. No previous record had been made of the skills involved and the sole employee, a pleasant well-corseted lady called Iris, was near to retirement and the business would then close. Eventually, after much persuading about my serious intentions I was allowed a rare outsider visit to record the procedures involved in crafting a basic corset.
I did my best to follow the well established routines of IA recording. The photography covered the premises, the workroom, the raw materials, the worker, equipment and special tools, stages of production, skilled hands at work, safety, the final product, the product in use and relevant paperwork such as letterheads, advertising and any prevailing regulations for workers.
The small selection of photos from the many taken tries to convey this approach and reflect on the more industrial processes needed to produce the 'pink corsetry' in a former draper's window in the High Street. Sidney Ray. All photos by the author
Three buildings near King's Cross
1. 13-21 EUSTON ROAD
The summary of Kate and Mike Quinton's July walk (GLIAS Newsletter August 2021) led to a search for a newspaper cutting about a building just beyond the end of their walk. It said that earlier this year Camden Council had approved a planning application for its demolition and new development, just yards away from the Council offices.
The two/three storey brick building in question — modest, even nondescript — is opposite King's Cross station, on the south side of Euston Road, between Crestfield Street (McDonalds on the corner) and Belgrove Street (shop on corner). (Photo 1).
Photo 1. Euston Road Coach Station
I am grateful to David Flett, who in 2006 included me in a walk around 'road transport sites' in the area, which identified the building's origin, and to a recent article, dated 4 March 2021, headed 'London's first purpose-built coach station for demolition'. This shows it was opened, albeit not fully complete, in December 1931, as Euston Road Coach Station, three months before Victoria Coach station. The entrance from Euston Road led to passenger facilities, including a restaurant on an upper level. Beyond, fully under cover, and separated by glass screens, were the coach loading bays. A vehicle ramp in Belgrove Street led to the basement maintenance facilities. The top storey is not described, so presumably was all offices. After a war-time closure, the bus station reopened in 1946, to close permanently in 1947. Kelly's Directory for 1961 shows main occupants as a distribution centre and a GPO garage. The article mentioned has further info and some photographs, including what would be considered today to be a very Spartan bus — hardly a coach — heading via 'A' roads of the (long) day to Leeds.
Photo 2. Belgrove Road door Photo 3. Argyle Square end
From walking around the outside, signs show the former 'vehicle' areas are occupied by a storage company. The article draws attention to a doorway marked 'garage' in Belgrove Street. This was the pedestrian access, via stairs, to the basement. (Photo 2). Along this side the height of the opening for buses, 11 ft 4 in, shows it was only for single deckers. Continuing around the end (Argyle Square) shows that there is far greater depth than the Euston Road façade suggests. (Photo 3). The square is in a (low rise) Conservation Area into which the 10-floor new building will protrude.
Incidentally, there were earlier London coach stations, such as the London Terminal Coach Station at 82 Clapham Road, serving destinations south of London (see old-bus-photos.co.uk).
2. 79-89 PENTONVILLE ROAD
Also included on the 2006 walk, this building, again two storeys, was opened in 1924 as Claremont Coach Station. The curved sides and small forecourt make it more noticeable. (Photo 4). Again, only for single-deckers. It too now has signage showing current use by a storage company. Kelly's Directory for 1961 lists a haulage contractor and a machine tool merchant. A vehicle ramp on the east, Claremont Square, side, much too steep for vehicles carrying passengers, leads to the upper floor, which presumably had maintenance facilities. (Can anyone add further info, including closure date, please?)
Photo 4. Claremont Coach Station
3. 356-364 GRAYS INN ROAD
Now a Travel Lodge, this building's flamboyance intrigues, with a stone carving across the porch and a Mercury/Hermes statue high up on the dome. Surely the HQ, containing meeting rooms and a large, unique library of some now-forgotten wealthy group or society? (Photo 5). It is 'listed', so is written up. Described as 'French Baroque' and built in 1909. Named Willing House, for a firm of that name (established 1840), it replaced buildings they already occupied on the site.
Photo 5. Willing house Photo 6. Telephone wires
They were big in advertising, both arranging for adverts in newspapers/journals and owning and managing billboard sites. Activities were split between firms with slightly different names, and this process must have continued, as in the 1967 issue of 'Who owns Whom' Willing & Co Ltd has 13 subsidiaries, seven having 'Willing' or 'Willing's' in their title. How the building was used is unknown. At a guess it had offices, drawing rooms and a workshop for billboards or their parts. Poster printing and storage could have been here or elsewhere. The archway to a courtyard, with carved horses either side, suggests that at the time such quadrupeds were used with the firm's carts or vans.
There is also a description of the porch carving, by William Aumonier Junior (1869-1943), illustrating the communication business. Deterioration means it does not photograph well, and some is now unclear. Left is a trumpeter, and above his shoulder a boy is releasing a carrier pigeon. Centre an older man holds a globe (worldwide reach of advertising) and to the right a cherub with telescope is next to a docking ship. Behind all are telephone wires with insulators where they are attached to the cross spars of a pole. (Photo 6).
The building next door, 344-354, Pioneer House, was owned by the Cooperative Society — named after the Rochdale initiators — but, given that the Coop's London HQ was in Leman Street, what happened here? David Thomas
The first wind tunnel
The first wind tunnel was designed by Francis Herbert Wenham (1824-1908) and built in 1871. It was constructed in Greenwich by John Penn and Sons and consisted of a wooden duct 18 inches square and 10 feet in length. A steam-powered fan drove air through this tunnel at about 60 ft per second — 40 mph.
The test piece or 'aerofoil' was supported downstream of the duct and mounted so that lift and drag forces could be measured. The specimens were just flat plates, not aerofoils in the modern sense and these pieces were presented to the airflow at angles between 15 and 60 degrees.
Experimental work with this wind tunnel demonstrated that lift exceeded theoretical predictions and lift exceeded drag — in the future heavier-than-air flying machines might be a possibility. Bob Carr
Ref Squadron Leader Clive Ellam, Newcomen Links 257 autumn 2021 p34
Milk in South London
Notes and news (GLIAS Newsletter February 2019) contained an article about milk trains to South London. The writer asks a couple of questions which I can provide answers to.
'At Vauxhall a United Dairies bottling and pasteurising plant was erected close to the station and in the era of tank wagons those were placed at Platform 1, being connected via hoses to holding tanks, whence the milk was piped to the dairy. A railway enthusiast website says holding tanks at the station had also been used for milk poured from churns, but this has not been verified. The Clapham Junction total is astounding — an average of over 3,200 churns every day. Can anyone add info about where the milk went (flowed?), and how?'Milk certainly used to arrive at Vauxhall in large quantities by churn prior to the introduction of milk tanks. I had not specifically heard of holding tanks at Vauxhall before but it certainly sounds plausible.
Milk arriving at Vauxhall went to two places. Some was bottled and sent out in milk floats for local domestic consumption. But Vauxhall was also a wholesale dairy so significant quantities of milk were sold to the trade, restaurants and even hospitals.
'In the 1960s there was also a facility for unloading milk tank wagons at Morden, but those were from the Great Western Railway system. Did milk also previously arrive here in churns?'The Express Dairy at Morden South was a modern bottling plant that only opened in 1954. By this time, churns had been largely superseded by milk tanks on the railways, so Morden only ever handled tanks and never churns. Matthew Pinto
The Brunel Shed
Stirring events are now taking place in High Wycombe — there is publicity and mounting excitement — in the town there are buildings close to the present-day railway station which date from the Brunel period. They include a broad-gauge station and locomotive engine shed. The train shed for the old station was built to a Brunel design in 1854. It was for the Wycombe railway which connected High Wycombe to the Great Western Railway (GWR) at Maidenhead. The buildings were in railway use until 1967 when goods services were discontinued but since then they have been becoming dilapidated.
The Wycombe Railway Company was incorporated in 1846 and the 10-mile line from Maidenhead to a terminus at High Wycombe was opened for passengers in 1854. It was a single-track broad-gauge line worked by the GWR. In 1862 the original terminus was bypassed to the north with a new station on the present-day site when the Wycombe Railway opened a line north-westwards to Princes Risborough and Thame. In the following year a branch to Aylesbury was completed and in 1864 a line from Thame to join the GWR a short distance to the south of Oxford was completed.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel was the engineer for the line. It is quite likely that his assistant E F Murray was responsible for the buildings at High Wycombe.
In the early days of railways, for economy and rapidity, many structures were built of timber. It was thought that if they lasted 10 to 20 years they would repay their initial cost and could be replaced by something more durable when sufficient funds had accumulated. Some timber viaducts lasted for 40 years or more.
The three Brunel-period buildings at High Wycombe, the original terminus with an overall roof, the station building to the south-west and on the north-east side the locomotive shed, were of typical broad-gauge design but here their walls were not built of timber but in local brick and flint. Money was lavished on this new terminus.
The broad-gauge locomotives that worked the Wycombe Railway are likely to have been small engines with a single driving wheel, for example members of the Sun class. Locomotives of this class were converted to saddle tanks and it is probably in this form they ran on the Wycombe Railway.
It might at first be thought inappropriate to use saddle tanks for passenger trains but these locomotives were broad gauge and would have been much more stable than present-day standard-gauge saddle tanks. Elsewhere on the broad gauge even express passenger locomotives were saddle tanks. A saddle tank locomotive has the advantage that the water in the tank is warmed by the boiler beneath prior to feeding the boiler.
The first thing that you see when you step out of the present-day High Wycombe railway station is the nearby cluster of Brunel period buildings and their later additions. The local council have bought them from Chiltern Railways and there are now plans to convert them into offices, shops, and a café. It will become a feature welcoming visitors to the town.
Developers Hawkins/Brown have released details showing how things will look when their work is completed. They say their sensitive refurbishment will help breathe new life into iconic buildings and will include materials found on site. A planned new extension will be built using railway sleepers and zinc cladding and original timber trusses will be reused throughout the building.
The developers say that the shed will have a welcoming new main entrance facing High Wycombe railway station, with improved landscaping and a new roof which will restore the original character of the building. There will be a mezzanine level fully accessible by lift.
The existing timber is in fine condition for its age and previously demolished truss sections which have been stored in the building to repair the roof where needed will be reused. Xuhong Zheng, the Hawkins/Brown architect, said that High Wycombe's Brunel Shed is a significant piece of Britain's industrial heritage, a local landmark and an important gateway to the town for all users of the railway station.
Hawkins/Brown are working with engineers Heyne Tillett Steel and the structure of the extension will use tapered sections of engineered timber to create an efficient and visually expressive design.
The photograph taken in mid-November 2021 by Peter Hall shows work in progress. The 1854 station building is on the right and the locomotive shed is on the left. This view is looking east towards the present-day station which is out of sight. What you see in the foreground is a later building added in front of the Brunel train shed. Bob Carr
Euston Tube building to be moved?
The former Euston Tube station building on the corner of Drummond and Melton Street stands alone while all around is demolished as part of the HS2 works for Euston Station.
This ox-blood-tiled Leslie Green building was built for the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway in 1906-7. It has never been listed unlike many similar stations, but there is a suggestion it will be taken down and rebuilt elsewhere. Does anyone know more?
Drummond Street will become part of the Euston Green Link, a half-mile green walking route linking Euston Station and Regent's Park.
Flashback — a GLIAS Recording Group in action, August 1970
Shortly after the foundation of GLIAS members formed a Recording Group to document the fast vanishing locations in London of significance in industrial archaeology as well as its functioning industry. One early project was to record London Underground stations that were unusual or typical of a particular tube line or architect.
In August 1970 a very small group (three!) visited West Finchley outdoor station on the Barnet branch of the Northern Line. The point of interest was that this station had been cobbled together from redundant railway structures elsewhere on the railway network.
The example pictured here is an iron bridge of Victorian vintage used to enable passengers to cross the tracks. One of the founders of GLIAS, Paul Carter, is pictured here on the right using a simple rollfilm camera to record decorative detail on a bridge pillar set in the northbound platform. The group's equipment was simple; notebooks, a tripod and basic cameras. Little has changed there! In addition, permission to access and photograph locations was much more easily obtained some 50 years ago.
Many such record photos must have been taken over the last five decades. Where are they now? Members may care to access their files for pictures and offer them for publication or archiving. Conversion from analogue film to digital files is now easy and cheap while offering a convenient way to disseminate images while preserving a valuable original. See what you can find!
Photograph by Sidney Ray
Where is this tug now?
This photograph shows an American-built tug at Ayr in July 1991. At the time the vessel was named Whisky Warrior and registered in Leith — the name was probably quite temporary and may only have been in use for quite a short time when the tug was used for advertising purposes, or perhaps filmmaking. She also had the name Pelham Point.
Since 2000 the tug spent most of her time at the Greenland Dock London, in the small South Dock and by then the name had changed to Sammy. This name was probably not painted on her hull — the main Caterpillar diesel engine was removed and the vessel probably served as some kind of house boat. About five years ago Sammy was taken away to Chatham to a dry dock. Did she return or was she then broken up. Has anyone been to Greenland Dock recently? Bob Carr
Cattle to London. Part 1
1800 London was a good market for cattle, it being financially worthwhile for beasts to be driven long distances to supplement those reared nearer the capital, often requiring a period of 'fattening up' before reaching the metropolis for sale. Most were for slaughter, though some went to urban dairies or elsewhere as stock. By the 1830s steam ships (still small) could provide a reliable option to include cattle on coastal shipping from Leith and points south along the east coast, Ireland, and Europe — the latter depending on politics, demand in their own country and trade regulations. Within twenty years larger ships and railway links brought change. Cattle from much of England, Wales and southern Scotland could be at market within a day or two of starting their journey.
In 1850, London's main live meat market was, as it had been, Smithfield, where beasts were sold and mostly slaughtered and the meat sold. Main line railways had facilities for unloading cattle which were then driven to the market — definitely the Great Western at Paddington, the London & Birmingham at Camden and presumably the Great Eastern at Bishopsgate and the London & South Western at Nine Elms. The City Corporation began to consider finding somewhere to replace Smithfield as a market and place of slaughter for cattle, but still within carting distance; Smithfield would continue as a 'dead meat' market.
Meanwhile, the Act for the East and West Docks and Birmingham Junction Railway (renamed North London Railway in 1856; NLR hereafter) was passed in 1849 and building of the line from Poplar, and its own dock there, was already under way. And construction of the Great Northern Railway (GNR) was nearing King's Cross.
One entrepreneur was a step ahead of the game. In 1836 a Mr Perkins had opened a spacious cattle market in Islington, between the current Essex and Southgate Roads, although it was never a great success. On hearing in 1850 about plans to replace Smithfield's live meat market (its competitor), the then Islington Cattle Market and Abattoir Company wrote to the Home Office saying it had the ideal site: 'There are no Turnpike Tolls to interfere with the cattle coming to, or going from, the Market as nearly the whole will be delivered from the railway into the lairs.' But the suggested railway link and near monopoly were unknown to the NLR (not exactly adjacent) and too high a price was asked of the City to purchase the site. It closed, bankrupt, in 1852. The City Corporation purchased open land at Copenhagen Fields. The plan showed market stalls, lairs and slaughter houses. But no railway connection.
The NLR Directors 'noted' the proposed Market in December 1851 and, realising the potential appointed a Committee — but only to see what was happening. So at their meeting, when the Secretary tabled the Market plans, they were not discussed, but referred to the Committee.(TNA: RAIL 529/11). More enthusiasm was expressed at a Meeting of Proprietors on 27 August 1852, when the Directors said the site, being 'contiguous to the Company's Railway' (with its connections to other lines) would benefit it from the new Market's livestock and passenger traffic and went on to mention a new Bill which would include wording 'to effect a suitable connection with the intended Cattle Market'... (TNA: RAIL 529/1). The NLR purchased a field adjacent to its line over which a siding, some 750 yards long, would run to terminate south of the Market lairs. But that section of the Bill was not passed.
NLR Minutes for 14/2/1854 report a new Bill was being prepared to authorise, among other things, building a shorter cattle siding, to be used by the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) and the Eastern Counties Railway (ECR, later part of the Great Eastern Railway). Both would run there via the NLR. A pity, then, that the ECR had not agreed to the Bill's payment arrangements and the LNWR was not included in the plan (although hurriedly reassured). Even so, the Bill was approved in July. Yet the line was not built. Perhaps without the proposed deal with the ECR the numbers did not stack up. The ECR chose to use Tottenham as their cattle railhead, driving animals to and from the Market, although it is not known if this lasted until Tufnell Park was opened (below). The field remained just that for a further five years.
However, the NLR, perhaps under pressure from the LNWR and half expecting the 1854 Bill to also fail, had already started 'Plan B'. The LNWR planned to reorganise its Camden goods depot needed to remove cattle pens. To Maiden Lane. And in any case the NLR needed something in place when the new Market opened. So the NLR built 'a temporary' cattle station on its land on the south of the lines, an existing siding being extended to serve it. With an exit onto Maiden Lane/York Road, it was opened on 3 April 1854. Cattle were driven to Smithfield until that closed for livestock. The new Market was opened by Albert, Prince Consort, on 13 June 1855.
The Market was not held every day, and a Friday 'flea market' became established. The livestock market was dispersed to four temporary sites during the Second World War and livestock sales never resumed there after the war, although the slaughterhouses (and presumably some lairage) continued until 1964. The flea market closed in 1965 and most, but not all, of the market and associated buildings have been demolished. In February 2022 three of the four 'corner pubs' remained, although only one was operating as a pub, as did the central clock tower (Photo 1). Along Market Road, most of the cast-iron railings (minus cow, sheep and pig heads), gateposts and some gates remain. The Fields were the site of a rally in 1834 in support of the to-be-deported 'Tolpuddle martyrs'. I was unable to find/identify a commemorative sycamore tree planted 250 years later, though there was no missing a new, small, Tolpuddle Café.
The NLR sold its vacant field to the LNWR in 1858. That Company laid out a coal depot and, alongside the NLR lines, a cattle depot, allowing the 'temporary' one to close. Maiden Lane Cattle Depot had a long platform with a railway siding each side and cattle pens along the centre, with smaller ones for pigs at the outer end. It became the last place in London to handle cattle traffic by rail. (More on that in Part 2). The coal yard had a new life for some years as a Freightliner depot. Today the whole site is a housing estate with undulating open spaces. The only railway remnant is part of a bridge, beyond the Midland main line, that carried the start of the spread of sidings. (Photo 2).
1. Clock Tower, Metropolitan Cattle Market; 2. Remains of railway bridge for track at throat of Maiden Lane sidings
The GNR, also not approached by the Market, obtained an Act in 1854 to open Holloway cattle depot on the east side of its line just north of Caledonian Road, a short distance from to the Market. There was a single siding alongside a platform with a line of about 20 cattle pens, mostly open but with a few covered. The railway land included space for cattle to mill around and a couple of water troughs. In 1870 more pens received roofs as the Depot had become in effect a mini-market, with dealers doing business here, so cows were kept back rather than going to the covered lairs at the Market. I have no definite date for when this cattle depot closed. Clinker's Register says 1 January 1964. That seems too late as a few Portakabin® offices were put there in 1960 when it became a Motorail terminus. New double-level covered vans were introduced in 1962. The mechanical signal box, Holloway Cattle Branch Junction, was not renamed. Conflicting sources say Motorail traffic moved to Kensington (Olympia) in 1964 — or was still using this site in 1967. In 1992 most of the land was designated for non-railway use. The site of the railway siding and adjacent cattle platform edge remain and can (just) be seen on tiptoe over the northwest end of the parapet of Caledonian Road railway bridge (Photo 3).
3. Holloway cattle depot platform edge. Yellow lorry on site of railway siding; 4. Kentish Town goods yard, 1959 — Sidney Ray
Two further cattle depots were opened specifically for Market traffic. The Midland Railway chose to use part of its Kentish Town goods yard. This was almost opposite the locomotive shed (GLIAS Newsletter December 2021) and must have dated from the line's 1868 opening, as it is shown on the 1870 OS map. There was a wide platform with about 20 pens, of which about six were roofed over, and a dead end siding on each side. A map of about 1950 shows only a handful of pens remaining, which had gone by 1958, although the sidings remained — as shown in Sid Ray's excellent 1959 photograph (Photo 4). The area is now partly built on and otherwise 'landscaped'; nothing remains of the railway sidings.
That leaves a latecomer, the Great Eastern Railway (GER) Tufnell Park depot, built as part of their goods yard of that name in 1887 on the south side of their line between Upper Holloway and Junction Road (closed 1943) stations. The line was opened in 1868 but the GER did not acquire land for this goods station until later. The site is on the side of a gentle hill, so the built-up land for the depot and a road alongside is retained by a substantial brick wall, seen from a playing field to the south. Two contracts for materials survives, one for metal pens, fencing and gates and the other for a cattle lair a short distance away. Again there was a siding each side of a central platform. The 1895 OS map shows two blocks of pens, each block being twelve pairs of small pens back to back — a total of 48. The depot road still runs past these sites, occupied by various industrial concerns, to a GPO sorting office. The only item of note is an undated GER boundary stone in the brick wall just past a small open area, the site of a railway worker's house.
The Market had specific trading days for cattle and sheep, and presumably also for pigs and goats. The Metropolitan Streets Act 1897, still in force in 1922, permitted driving of Market animals from and to the nearby rail depots at any time. It spelt out that Maiden Lane dealt with traffic via the LNWR, Great Western, London & South Western and NLR lines; Holloway was GNR only.
Restrictions applied to Kentish Town Midland Railway and (later) Holloway Road (aka Tufnell Park) (GER). Animals could only be driven from these to the Market on Wednesday and Saturday between 3pm and 7pm, and the other way on Monday and Thursday between 10am and 4pm. The roads specified to be used were common to both for part of the way, which must have added interest in keeping herds/flocks separate.
Finally, animals could be driven from the Market to the GNR Battle Bridge Railway Yard on Thursday between 10am and 4pm. Perhaps this was sometimes needed to take pressure off Holloway. There is no mention of which depot handles traffic from and to the London, Brighton and South Coast; London, Chatham and Dover; and that latecomer, Great Central, lines. David Thomas
Sources include: The North London Railway Historical Society Journal, especially Issue 35. A full run to number 65 (2016) is held at Hackney Archives; at present viewing is by registration and appointment only.
London Railway Record No. 99, April 2019, re the 'temporary' cattle station.
The National Archives records of the North London Railway, in series RAIL 529/.....
Part 2 will look at cattle arriving in London by sea, including Deptford Cattle Market, and the way in which rail cattle traffic declined.
Britannia Street ventilation shaft
Close to King's Cross on Britannia Street is a small car park run by Euro Car Parks. This was the site of a former building whose demolition has revealed a circular brick structure that would have been hidden behind.
This is a ventilation shaft to the City Widened Lines of the Metropolitan Railway, in the Fleet valley south-east of King's Cross. The original double-tracked Metropolitan Railway (later part of the Circle Line) was built between 1860 and 1863, and was in open cut at this location. A further two tracks called the Widened Lines were added in parallel here in 1861-6, mainly to accommodate traffic from the Great Northern Railway and, soon, the Midland Railway. These were constructed in a tunnel by cut and cover — a brick arch over the top supported buildings of up to three storeys, to help recoup the cost of the land.
The original Circle Line cutting passes close alongside, between brick retaining walls with heavy, cast-iron flying shores. One can imagine redevelopment will be constrained by foundation difficulties — building loads on the tunnel will put thrust on the flying shores and piled foundations cannot be made. Malcolm Tucker
New lease of life for Chelsea Cabmen's Shelter
Good news for those who appreciate the distinctive green Cabmen's Shelters that are spread about the capital (mainly north of the river!).
Dating back to the 1870s, originally a total of 61 were built by the Cabmen's Shelter Fund (a charity still operating today). Of the 13 survivors (GLIAS Newsletter October 2017) the one at Chelsea Embankment beside Albert Bridge has notably been out of action for years.
But thanks to the Cabmen's Shelter Fund and a grant from the Heritage of London Trust, this shelter — nicknamed 'The Pier' — has been completely restored and will be open to the public as a café, unlike the other twelve, once a tenant is found.
Crystal Palace Subway restoration
Work to renovate the Crystal Palace Subway is set to begin this spring after ₤3million plans were approved by Bromley Council.
The Grade II*-listed structure, partially located under Crystal Palace Parade, was opened in 1865 to connect Crystal Palace High Level train station to the palace itself (GLIAS Newsletter December 2009).
The design for the renovated structure by conservation architects Thomas Ford & Partners, which includes a new weatherproof roof, will turn it into a 'multi-functional space that will be accessible throughout much of the year'.
The site has been on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. It could be open for visitors as soon as next year.
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