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Notes and news — August 2001

In this issue:

GLIAS walk: Croydon

This walk, led by Dan Hayton with assistance from Paul Sowan on 7 July, allowed participants to appreciate the geological and geographical setting of Croydon on one side of the Wandle valley, the gradual migration of the town eastwards up the valley side, and several of the major and historically important 19th and 20th-century developments which have made Croydon what it is today. These include pioneering transport developments 1803-1847, the establishment and works of the Croydon Board of Health (1849-51), the first big redevelopment scheme (1890-96) and 20th-century road works including the Purley Way by-pass, the central Croydon flyover and underpass, and the modern trams.

The walk began on the Wandle river terrace gravels at West Croydon, descended to the (now culverted) river Wandle in Pitlake and Old Town, and returned to the river terrace again in the town centre. Additional notes are included on short extensions to Wandle Park, Factory Lane, Purley Way, Lloyd Park and Park Hill.

WEST CROYDON TRAM STOP/BUS STATION/RAILWAY STATION: the tram stop is at approximately the location of the Croydon Canal terminal basin (opened 1809, closed 1836 to make way for the London and Croydon Railway). Last century this was a nodal point for trolleybus routes. Croydon Station (renamed Croydon Town (1847), and has been West Croydon since 1851) was Croydon's first passenger station, opened 1839 as the terminus of the London and Croydon Railway. All the original buildings are demolished, although parts of the atmospheric railway buildings (1846-47) can be seen, re-erected, later on this walk. Some 1860s (?) buildings remain, partially in use by Supreme Motor Spares, at the London end of the down platform. The line was extended to Epsom in 1847, and a branch from the remaining short bay platform at the country end was put through to Mitcham Junction and Wimbledon in 1855. A single terminal platform remains to remind us of the station's first status. The present station buildings date from 1933-34, St Mary's RC church, nearby, is beside a still recognisable old and extensive gravel pit. St Michael's church is by John Loughborough Pearson.

TAMWORTH ROAD: is approximately the alignment of the Croydon Canal Company's tramway to Pitlake. Much of Croydon, at some time or another, has resembled the huge cleared building site on the south side. Barlow and Parker's warehouse, on the roof of which Christopher Craig and Derek William Bentley were caught in attempted burglary in 1952, was on the north side about halfway down.

PITLAKE/REEVES CORNER: the modern tramline's triangle here is a reminder that this is very close to the former triangular junction of the Croydon Canal Company's tramway (c1809-1839), the Surrey Iron Railway from Wandsworth (operated 1803-1846) and the Croydon, Merstham and Godstone Iron Railway (1805-1838) — all of these early railways were horse-drawn and freight-only. The site of Harris's notorious mill and mill pond is beyond and partly below the Roman Way flyover. The flyover is a replacement for one of 1847 to carry the road over the Croydon and Epsom Railway. Several other such structures were built over Croydon's railways, especially on the Brighton line, to avoid level crossings. Nearby is a modern flyover to allow the new trams to cross the railway line.

WANDLE PARK: the modern Tramlink, having crossed the railway, follows approximately the line of the 1855 railway to Mitcham Junction and Wimbledon, and forms part of the park boundary. The river Wandle used to emerge from its 1850/51 culvert into Wandle Park (acquired in 1890) and flow via several ornamental lakes — the culvert has now been extended to the borough boundary, and the lakes filled in. The park, in a former marshy area, is made ground. In the middle is an electricity supply box, probably for cable junctions perhaps from the late 1890s or early years of the 20th century. This area had horse slaughterhouses, bone-boiling establishments, a solid sewage filtering establishment, and the Board of Health's gravel depot. Croydon Council's Stubbs Mead Depot is still here, on the site of the former East Surrey Iron Foundry remembered now only from surviving cast-iron street drain gratings.

FACTORY LANE: is in part on the Surrey Iron Railway alignment. There are remnants of the Croydon A Power Station (a borough initiative dating from 1896 with numerous additions.) Parts of the generator hall survive on the east side of Factory Lane, and the transformers. switches and control room on the west. Nearby was Croydon's second (1866) gasworks, rail-linked, although only a gasholder now survives.

PURLEY WAY: is Croydon's early by-pass (1924), noted for the first use in the UK (1932) of sodium street lighting. The chimneys (all that remains) of Croydon B Power Station (by Robert Atkinson 1939-50) (now IKEA) can be seen — once rail-linked from the West Croydon — Mitcham Junction line. Lots of modern light industry remains along and near Purley Way. Mill Lane leads to the dam across Waddon Ponds (additional springs feeding the river Wandle), but the mill has gone. Reflecting the Wandle's earlier importance as (for its length) one of Europe's most industrialised rivers, with numerous mills, the area remains very industrialised, although the modern industries do not rely on the river at all. And watercress was grown commercially alongside the Wandle well into the last century.

(RETURN BY TRAM TO REEVES CORNER FOR CHURCH STREET)

CROYDON PARISH CHURCH AND OLD PALACE: the Saxon village of Croydon is probably under the modern parish church floor and Old Palace site, Old Palace (the archbishops of Canterbury's residence, now a school) is one of the few places in the town where east Surrey's distinctive building-stone can still be seen, in Norman and later work, although much has recently been replaced by (probably) imported French material. During the 19th century the Old Palace was used as a calico printing and bleaching works, and equipped with a waterwheel (long since gone!) During its use as a factory. the Old Palace's great hall eastern wall collapsed into what is now Church Road. It has been rebuilt, and this is now the main school hall. Between the Palace and Church Street was Laud's (or My Lord's) pond, into which drained slaughterhouses, privies, and the first gasworks! The large 15th-century Parish Church (St John's) was almost completely rebuilt (1872) after a fire in 1867. There is a large granite Metropolitan Drinking Fountain and Cattle Trough Association trough outside the churchyard.

HOWLEY ROAD AND CRANMER ROAD: were laid out alongside the sites of medieval fish-ponds, used to supply the Palace. Further south are Salem Place, an area of former council flats built on what was in the 19th-century Bog Island, beyond that are Pump Pail and Southbridge Road — the bridge became redundant when the Wandle was culverted in 1850-51, and the entire waterlogged and insanitary Old Town area was drained and the ponds filled in by the new local Board of Health at the same time. Until then, the dam at Harris' Mill pond had been responsible for holding back water in Old Town up to seven feet above its 'natural' level in the ground.

CHURCH ROAD: was originally Tramway Road, and follows the Croydon Merstham and Godstone Iron Railway alignment. A flour mill and maltings have long since disappeared. On the east side is Surrey Street pumping station, with gables dated 1851 and 1912. The 1851 building incorporated materials from the atmospheric railway boiler house and engine house at West Croydon, although not reassembled to exactly the same design. The engine house at West Croydon was of one main storey whereas that at Surrey Street is much taller, although re-used bricks, windows and doors can be recognised. The castellated addition of 1867 is by Baldwin Latham. There were further additions in 1872 (by T Walker) and 1912. The tall chimney has now gone. Although the buildings are now redundant for water supply purposes and empty, the wells are still pumped. The pumps now are submersible electric pumps, remotely controlled. A new use for them has yet to be decided. Water was pumped to the town's spectacular first reservoir (now demolished) at Park Hill and, in 1867, the adjoining and happily surviving water tower (also by Latham.)

OLD TOWN/SOUTHBRIDGE/ROAD FLYOVER: the flyover (constructed c1967-68) has pedestrian underpasses which (inexplicably to the masses) require those passing this way, with heavy shopping, perambulators, and whatever, to climb up and over the River Wandle culvert of 1850-51! Nearby at the west end of the flyover Duppas Hill was the site of the clay pits (unusually in the Woolwich and Reading Beds) for bricks c1595 for Whitgift's Almshouses. The fire station with tower is by Riches and Blythin, 1960-61.

SCARBROOK ROAD: ran between springs and insanitary ponds early in the 19th century (including the Scar Brook), but these were all done away with as a result of the local implementation of the 1848 Public Health Act, as a result of which Croydon formed a Local Board of Health and invested in mains water supply and drainage, before Bazalgette rendered London a similar service!

SURREY STREET: has long been the site of Croydon's market (a charter was granted in 1273) The triangle between Surrey Street, Crown Hill, and High Street, is the scene of Croydon's first major redevelopment in the 1890s when Croydon's then slum district of medieval streets, alleyways and tenements was cleared away and the High Street widened from 29 feet to 50 feet — see the commemorative plaque on the Surrey Street/High Street corner, A comprehensive pictorial record of the lost alleyways and houses was made (Relics of Old Croydon, by John Ollis Pelton, a local tea merchant and councillor) and published. Unfortunately, far less has been recorded for posterity from the west side of Surrey Street, where a similar series of alleyways survives, although few old buildings remain. Mathews Yard has nothing of interest, and Sturts otherwise Waterworks Yard has lost both its names (another view of the surviving pumping station buildings of 1851-1912 is still possible); there are still two older buildings in Overtons Yard, including a part of Page and Overton's brewery (1814-1954); at the bottom of the yard were Croydon's first gas works (demolished) and a flour mill (demolished.) The Dog and Bull Yard and Fellmongers Yard survive. Nearby was a medieval stone-vaulted undercroft. Opposite Overtons Yard is Butcher Row (projecting first floors supported on iron and timber columns) and Bell Hill (mathematical tiles on jettied first floor at the rear of 16th/17th century cottages). Also on the east side of Surrey Street is the Croydon Advertiser's former printing works, beside the footbridge to the multi-storey car park. The ground floor level of the car park is used to store market stalls. The two ends of Middle Street, now separated by redevelopment of the Grants Department Store site, like Bell Hill, survived from the 1890s redevelopment. Roffey and Clark's printing works was linked to their high street stationers' shop by a footbridge (now gone.)

HIGH STREET: the west side frontages are all from the widening of 1890-96, and include the Castle Coffee Tavern, the impressive stone-built main Post Office, the former Roffey and Clark's stationers, Grants' department store, and the 1895 Croydon Advertiser offices (the paper was founded in 1865 in nearby Katharine Street). Everything opposite has gone — including the former Greyhound Hotel and Hammond and Hussey's ironmongers'.

KATHARINE STREET/QUEEN'S GARDENS: next to the Corn Exchange is Croydon's third Town Hall, by Charles Henman (1892-96 with modern library extension) which is on the site of the short-lived Central Croydon station (infrequent trains to Willesden Junction 1868-1871 and 1886-1890). There is a small local history museum display (Lifetimes) and the Clocktower shop where a good range of local publications can be bought. Below Fell Road there are two shallow tunnels running eastwards from the Town Hall basement. One emerges at a manhole in a rockery beside the former public toilets block, and was the emergency escape route from the Borough's Cold War Emergency Control Centre. The other connected the old courts in the Town Hall with the former police station and cells which were demolished to allow the gardens to be enlarged. Part of the railway cutting on the Central Croydon branch line now forms part of the Queen's Gardens. Notice especially the retaining wall on the Katharine Street side. On the corner of Katharine Street and Park Lane, note the former Gas Company's offices of 1939-42 by William G Newton and Partners. Croydon's gas supply was, until nationalisation, always in the hands of private companies.

PARK LANE/FAIRFIELD: Fairfield Halls (1960-62), the Technical College (1953-59), and the intervening covered car park are within the former Fair Field (the fairs were suppressed in 1868) which accommodated the lines from East Croydon to Central Croydon and later became the site of gravel pits, then railway sidings and a railway training school. The underpass dates from the 1960s.

GEORGE STREET/WELLESLEY ROAD: a short way along Wellesley Road (towards West Croydon) can be seen the former Municipal Offices (Water and Electricity Departments), commenced in the late 1930s and unfinished at the start of the war, although in partial use from 1941.

PARK HILL RAILWAY CUTTING: the original London and Brighton Railway line (1841) southwards from East Croydon was of two tracks in a conventional cutting with sloping sides made through the Thanet Sand. This has been widened in the 1860s and the 1890s and now accommodates five tracks without additional land-take. The sloping cutting sides having been cut back and replaced by brick retaining walls. The bases of supports for overhead electric wires for local services before third-rail electrification can still be seen.

PARK HILL/LLOYD PARK: from east Croydon a tram can be taken (New Addington direction) to travel through Joseph Firbank's three Park Hill tunnels (between Sandilands and Lloyd Park tram stops) on the former Woodside and South Croydon Railway, or back to West Croydon (via Reeves Corner.) Firbank, famous for one of the contracts on the Settle and Carlisle Railway, took an extraordinary three or four years to construct this very short (4km) railway, largely as a result of attempting to tunnel through quicksands and loose running pebble beds at Park Hill. The three closely spaced tunnels (rather than one long one) reflect the geotechnical difficulties — the north and south tunnels are standard bores of elliptical profile (though mainly London Clay and Thanet Sand respectively), whereas the central tunnel is a cut-and-cover tunnel under a semicircular arch along the floor of a large cutting made in the centre of the hill, presumably to remove the most troublesome ground incorporating the Blackheath and Woolwich and Reading Beds. The railway closed in 1983 and part is now used northwards and southwards from the Sandilands tram stop for Tramlink. Lloyd Park and adjoining land alongside Combe Road contains many of the town's former chalk pits — two in Lloyd Park are still visible. Others are in non-public land.

PARK HILL RECREATION GROUND: also from East Croydon it is a short walk via Altyre Road to the Park Hill recreation ground and park where the Park Hill Water Tower (1867) can be seen. The structure is now empty and roofless. The mound to the south is all that remains of the demolished cylindrical brick-vaulted covered reservoir of 1850-51. At the south end of the park is Coombe Cliff, a former residence of John Horniman, tea-merchant, better known for his museum at Forest Hill. Paul Sowan

Walk details: www.london-footprints.co.uk/wkcroydonintro.htm

The Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society's industrial studies section is currently working on a guide to the industrial and transport history of Croydon, to be published in 2002 by the Surrey Industrial History group and/or GLIAS. CNHSS publishes numerous illustrated books on Croydon's local history and transport. Its Museum Without Walls displays will be found at many of Croydon's tram stops.
Further details from 96A Brighton Road, South Croydon, Surrey CR2 6AD

Underground at Dollis Hill

The Cabinet War Rooms at Whitehall are now well known and open to the public. The alternative Cabinet War Rooms ('Paddock') at Dollis Hill less so. They are expected to be open to the public during the London Open House Weekend in September, for which occasion the two feet or so of water in the lower level is to be pumped out for the comfort of visitors!

There are at least three entrances among modern housing along Brook Road, one of which remains in its original state in a small surface building with associated ventilation and power intake arrangements. The two-storey underground bunker lies below the modern houses on the west side of Brook Road, within the grounds of a former Post Office telephones research station. Paddock Road was opposite, but is now obliterated by excavations for new work, perhaps a water supply installation? The local geology appears to be gravelly drift overlying, presumably, London clay.

There are two floors underground, with notices on the walls declaring the lower one to be floor 26, and the upper one floor 27. Floor 28 appears to have been a surface building. There is no evidence for the whereabouts of any floors numbered 1-25! The two sets of emergency exit stairs are remarkably narrow and spiral around small square shafts. Floor 27 has a long central corridor, with numerous rooms off each side, including some still containing air filters and non-functioning electrical control equipment.

Floor 26 has a similar corridor, but with rooms off one side only. The lower floor rooms include a large central room, presumably the main cabinet room, and a plant room with some equipment still in place. There is very little evidence of any domestic arrangements. One room might have been a small kitchen where a cup of tea might have been brewed (two sinks, but no trace of cooking apparatus). No traces identifiable as remains of lavatories or dormitories were seen. One room has the remains of telephone exchange racking. There appear to be no holes in the flooded lower floor, although persons wading in the rather murky water do need to take care not to fall over a few items of junk and occasional cables scattered about.

The internal walls are flimsy in the extreme, often no more than panels on wooden framing. Much of the timberwork, especially on the currently flooded lower floor, is festooned with fungal mycelium, giving a horror-film appearance to doorways!

Much larger and more strongly built and elaborately equipped bunkers were built in Germany during the Second World War, such as Göring's bunker at Wildpark near Potsdam.

At least two Cabinet meetings are known to have been held at Paddock, one of them chaired by Winston Churchill. Churchill, however, is reported not to have liked the place. In view of the apparent lack of home comforts, this is hardly surprising! Paul Sowan

The changing face of London

Work to demolish the unlisted gasholders at King's Cross started on 6 June and the whole of the site bounded by Battlebridge Road, Goods Way and the King's Cross railway line has been cleared apart from one gasholder with cast iron column guide frame, fenced off. Listed items will probably be dealt with from Monday 2 July.

Redevelopment has started at Paddington canal basin and tall buildings are going up to the west of Bishop's Bridge Road just north of the railway.

The former underground railway power station building in Poole Street (for the Great Northern & City Railway) south of the Regent's Canal and just east of the New North Road, while being largely retained is currently surrounded to the north by substantial redevelopment. A hoarding on the west side of the building proclaims 'Gainsborough Studios' and shows the power station with a tall chimney.

High rise buildings are back in fashion, at least so long as they are not too high. Housing developments of up to ten stories now seem to be permissible in inner London Boroughs. However, close to the former NatWest Tower in the City much bigger things are being contemplated and somewhereabouts is lurking a giant gherkin. The idea seems to be to dwarf the Canary Wharf buildings into insignificance. The new mayor appears to like the proposals and only English Heritage have been cautious. Bob Carr

Building collapses

Considerable disruption resulted following the partial collapse of a Victorian terraced shop in the Blackstock Road, Islington, earlier this year around the middle of March. Costain's were called in to make the building secure. Traffic was diverted for quite a time, including the buses. There must have been a considerable financial loss to local businesses.

This is not the only example of a building collapse in North London recently. Renovation by insufficiently skilled builders can be quite a hazard. In this case it was probably work on a chimney breast which caused the problem. Bob Carr

Crossness notes

The Crossness Engines' Open Day (7 July) lost out to sport. There was just no way Crossness Engines could compete against Henman v Ivanisevic, the women's finals at Wimbledon, Australia v Lions and Australia v England in cricket.

This sporting nation, it seems, was more interested in learning the results of these sporting matches than witnessing the progress at Crossness Engines. Our visitor number was well down on previous years (214) but I am happy to report that from survey returns, our visitors were most happy with our progress and the facilities we provided. The enthusiasm of the volunteer workforce at Crossness has not been diminished by the low number of visitors. If anything there is a stronger resolve to get Prince Consort (see below) in steam just as quickly as possible, within the confines of safety.

There was as usual, a good support from like-minded bodies, Firepower (the new museum in the Woolwich Arsenal), Lewisham Local History Society, the Environmental Agency, Bexley Local Studies Group, FOBLOMS, Bexley Heritage Trust and, of course, GLIAS.

The Crossness Engines Trust thanks everyone for their help and support. Peter J Skilton

A milestone was reached at the Crossness Pumping Station in Abbey Wood this year on 29 May with the completion of the mechanical restoration of Prince Consort, one of the four great beam engines housed there.

To mark the occasion Sir Neil Cossons, chairman of English Heritage, was asked to tighten the last nut by Peter Bazalgette, great-great grandson of the MBW chief engineer and chairman of the Crossness Trust. Also present was Lucinda Lambton, who is a vice-president, and Jennie Page, who is a trustee, and many volunteers and friends to witness the event along with the mayor of Bexley and representatives of Thames Water — a total of around 115 people.

The engine was turned over by using the original hand barring engine, driven by geared electric motor, to drive the flywheel, beam, piston rods and parallel motion. Now we look forward to the next stage which will be to get the engine in steam. Progress towards this is well under way. D I Dawson
Crossness website: www.crossness.org.uk

Firepower — the Royal Artillery Experience

A new £15 million attraction opened in May at the Woolwich Royal Arsenal, the site of ordnance manufacturing and proofing for over 300 years, which has previously been a well-kept secret.

Firepower looks at the role of the gunner in peacetime and war, providing a glimpse of the story of artillery, and in particular the Royal Regiment of Artillery that was founded nearly 300 years ago.

Comprising cannons, mortars, guns, medals, artefacts and library and archive collection, this collection charts the scientific and technological developments in artillery over 700 years.

Ordnance stores were first set up at the dockyard at Woolwich in the 16th century under a directive of Henry VIII. The first recorded building on the present Royal Arsenal site was a mansion called Tower House, built in 1545, within an area known as the Warren. Gun manufacturing and proofing had taken place within the City of London but a more isolated area was desirable and from the 1650s guns were tested at the Warren.

In 1671 Tower Place and 31 acres were bought by the Crown for use as ordnance stores. In 1696 the new Royal Laboratories were built and 1715-17 the Royal Brass Foundry established after an explosion at the private foundry in Moorfields. By that time the Warren was the largest gun repository in the country. In 1805 George III visited the Warren and gave it the title of the Royal Arsenal, marking its prime significance in ordnance manufacturing. When on 26 May 1716 the first two permanent companies of Royal Artillery were formed by Royal Warrant, Tower Place became their headquarters. The military academy was established there in 1720, obtaining its Royal Warrant in 1741. The other Firepower buildings were purpose built for industrial use in the 19th century, being altered and added to as technology developed and the industry expanded, and Firepower will retain many original features.

The Royal Ordnance Factory closed in 1967 with the loss of thousands of jobs. The development of the Royal Artillery Museum in these historic buildings heralds the rejuvenation of the Arsenal in the 21st century.

Four listed buildings have been renovated to house the collection, including Europe's oldest Military Academy, built by Hawksmoor in 1716 and where Wellington drew up his battle plans. Apart from the Heritage Zone, which the museum is the focus of within the Royal Arsenal site, there will be a Commercial Zone, Leisure Zone and a Residential Zone, the latter a major development by Berkeley Homes.
Warren Lane, Woolwich, London SE18 6ST. Tel 020 8855 7755. Fax 020 8855 7100. Website: www.firepower.org.uk

Gingerbread and other biscuits

Grantham Gingerbread Biscuits (GLIAS Newsletter June 2001) can also be bought in Long Eaton, including from a post office near the Sharp & Nickless works. This firm also makes Ginger Snap Biscuits and Golden Brandy Snaps which again taste good (many thanks to GLIAS members who sent me samples). According to the ingredient lists neither of these contain annatto. Brandy snaps are sometimes served filled with cream.

It is claimed that the word ginger originates from Zanzibar through which ginger was traded in the middle ages. Is this true?

Midland biscuits which can be bought in London include Elkes Malted Milk biscuits, introduced in 1936. These are made at the Dove Valley Bakeries, Uttoxeter, Staffs and no doubt make use of malt from the nearby brewing industry of Burton on Trent. The milk probably comes (or came) from local dairy herds which have recently been affected by foot-and-mouth disease. The biscuits have a characteristic Rich Malt flavour and each one carries a picture in relief which shows a cow grazing and one lying down. Across the top of the scene the words MALTED MILK are emblazoned in capital letters.

All this is reassuringly redolent of the politer side of the 1930s and a far cry from an advert recently pasted on hoardings about London. This is for a savory snack — beef and mustard flavoured Hula Hoops — and shows a young man in bed apparently with a cow (called Daisy). The caption reads 'Into beef big time?'. Bob Carr

Copenhagen City Safari

Some 20 people assembled in the foyer of Bertrams Hotel, Copenhagen on Friday 15 June to be led by Sue Hayton on the latest City Safari.

Two bus rides took us to Knippelsbro Bridge whence it was a short walk to the Burmeister & Wain Museum. B&W, founded in 1843, were shipbuilders and engineers, later specialising in large diesel engines for ships, a business which continues under the ownership of MAN. The company museum contains many interesting models of ships and diesel engines some of which can be set in motion at the touch of a button.

Not much of the old buildings now remain but the 18th-century church, Christians Kirke, built for workers from Germany and rather designed like an opera house, was interesting. Inside is a memorial to Peter Appelby, an English shipbuilder who worked in Copenhagen in the 18th century.

From the museum we had a walk in the Christianshavn area, the 17th-century harbour developed by King Christian IV. The main interest is the 18th- and 19th-century warehouses but there are also the former naval hospital of 1755 which is now the Royal Danish Naval Museum (Orlogsmuseet) and the offices of the Asiatisk Kompagni.

This brought us to the Nyhavn which is lined with merchants houses only one of which is original, dating from 1681. Most of the houses are now restaurants and this was our lunch stop.

After lunch we explored the Nyhavn and more warehouses, the Royal Silk Manufactory, passed the modern ferry terminal and across the water saw the Royal Dockyards, which have a number of old and interesting buildings but are not open to the public. Through the Amalienborg, the square in which the royal palace is situated, we went to a group of houses, the Nyboder built from 1631 for members of the services. Some originals remain in Sankt Poulsgade but many have been altered.

Further walking took us past the offices of the state railways, which was originally a barracks, the Kommunhospital, built in the 1860s with the most modern facilities as publicised by Florence Nightingale, and the Kartoffelrækkerne, 11 small streets of workers' housing nicknamed 'Potato Rows'. From the Westerport Station we returned to the Central Station and the hotel.

Saturday morning was devoted to the old city centre, including Vandverks Pumpestation, the first city waterworks, the Circusbygning, claimed to be the oldest purpose-built circus building in the world, the Bryggehus, the brewery which supplied the navy, the Tøjhusmuseet, the old arsenal, the Børsen, the Exchange, a Dutch design and finishing at the Hovedbanegården, the Central Station and lunch.

The first station was built in 1847, the present station dates from 1904-1911. The impressive passenger hall is roofed with twin timber-trussed arches on brick walls. Saturday afternoon was devoted to brewing. First call was the Carlsberg Brewery. The earliest buildings date from 1847 and are now the offices of the Carlsberg Foundation. There is also workers housing which we rather hurried past because the closure of a pedestrian bridge meant we had a longer walk than expected. The monumental buildings of 1892 remain, including the impressive gateway with a 1901 watertower supported by four granite elephants. We spent some time in the brewery museum including the stables for the dray horses and two free glasses of beer.

From Carlsberg there was a long bus ride across the city to the Tuborg site. This is a complete contrast since almost all the site has been redeveloped. The headquarters building remains and another office block is evidently being retained. There is also the largest beer bottle in the world, a concrete replica designed for publicity purposes.

Sunday morning was devoted to commercial Copenhagen. Starting at the Rådhus, City Hall, we walked the 1.8km of the pedestrianised street known as the Strøget with many interesting shops and offices. Off Strøget is the brewers' quarter with the birth place of JC Jacobsen, the founder of Carlsberg, the 17th-century Rundetårn with an internal ramp so that the king's sedan chair could be carried up to the top, which was also an observatory, the Kongelige Porcelænsfabrik, the famous Royal Copenhagen Porcelain works, WO Larsens Pipe Museum in an old tobacconists shop and the Magasin du Nord, a department store in a Parisian style.

After lunch we assembled at the station for the trip over the new Øresund Bridge, a joint venture between the Danish and Swedish authorities to cross the Sound from Copenhagen to Malmö. The first part of the £4.5 billion, 16km project is a tunnel from an artificial peninsular near the airport to an artificial island. The tunnel has four tubes, two for cars, two for trains. Then there is a 3km approach of 18 140m and four 120m spans with the road above the railway. The 'High Bridge' comes next. This is a central cable-stayed span 1km long, supported on four pylon legs and suspended from 80 pairs of cables. Finally there is the approach bridge on the Swedish side comprising 24 140m and four 120m spans. The crossing from central Copenhagen to Central Malmö takes about 30 minutes.

The afternoon was spent in Malmö which is an old and interesting city. The sites included the station, obviously since we had arrived there, the Rädhus, City Hall, the Flensburgska Huset of 1590, the Lilla Torg or Little Square surrounded by old buildings, the Apoteket Lejonet, the oldest pharmacy in Malmö and the Elektricitetswerket, an impressive brick and stone building of 1901 which is now an arts complex.

We returned to Copenhagen by the bridge and dispersed. It had been a full but fascinating three days. Bill Firth
For further information on City Safaris contact Heritage of Industry Ltd, 80 Udimore Road, Rye, East Sussex TN31 7DY. Website: www.citysafaris.co.uk

Croydon Airport

The recently opened visitor centre at Airport House, Purley Way — the old terminal building — is open 11am to 4pm on the first Sunday of each month.

Tours are conducted by members of the Croydon Airport Society and there are always guides on hand with additional information. A visit to the restored wireless room in the original control tower is always included. Admission is free but donations are welcomed. Airport House retains many of its original attractive architectural features and has an impressive front entrance facade being constructed of natural stone blockwork throughout.
Contact Croydon Tourist Information Centre. Tel: 020 8253 1009. Website: www.croydononline.org

House Mill

The House Mill at Bromley-by-Bow is now open every Sunday until the end of October: 11am to 4pm on the first Sunday in each month (in association with a local craft fair); and 2pm to 4pm on every other Sunday. Also it will be open every Saturday from 4 August (with Boat Rally) to 22 September (Open House weekend) inclusive, from 2pm to 4pm.

Visits are by conducted tour, admission £2, concessions £1, children free.
Website: www.housemill.org.uk

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© GLIAS, 2001