Notes and news — August 2003
In this issue:
Farewell Europe House
- Farewell Europe House
- Coal Gas For Ballooning
- Hampton's Waterworks And Railway
- The Former Croydon B Power Station
- Chain For Thames Tunnel Shaft
- 'Mystery Site' In Tottenham
- Geoffrey Fletcher
- Not Hydraulic Power
- Trinity Buoy Wharf
- Sale at Hawker Siddeley Power Transformers Ltd
- Refurbished buildings
- Boundary markers
- Lunettes of Cherubs
- The London Parcels Delivery Company Ltd's Depot at Frant Road
- Packaging Archaeology
- A Research Framework for London Archaeology 2002
- York Way
- Another historic heating system destroyed
- Beller's to close
- Seven Wonders of the Industrial World
I recently passed the St Katharine Docks and noticed something had changed. It soon became clear that Europe House had been demolished (or 'that hideous Sixties building on the corner' as I have been known to call it). I cannot say I am sorry Europe House has gone, but perhaps I have judged it a little harshly. Maybe it is worth a closer look at the building and its successor now under construction.
The north-west corner of the St Katharine Docks is a sensitive site, right by the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Royal Mint and, of course, the docks themselves. The area was designated a conservation area in 1980 and the Tower of London became a World Heritage Site in 1988. It also sits directly behind the Tower as seen from the southern end of London Bridge — one of the 'Significant Views' highlighted in this year's WHS draft management plan.
It seems reasonable to assume, therefore, that much care would be needed when designing for this site. My reaction to the artist's impression of the new building was not favourable, however. It is to be a 180,000 sq ft, seven-storey glass and steel structure containing offices, flats, leisure and retail facilities. This £100m development, known as 'K2', was designed by the Richard Rogers Partnership. The design was dubbed 'Another glass mountain' by Property Week in 2001. Has K2 been designed to be sympathetic to the docks, or are the docks simply viewed as an attractive backdrop to K2?
The docks were still in use when Europe House was built (1962-64, architects: Andrew Renton and Associates). The original Dock House and Offices were destroyed during the Blitz, and Europe House was built on their site. It housed the Port of London Authority's new computer (note the singular!) and also provided the headquarters for their police force. On the roof was a penthouse flat for the PLA chairman, along with its own small courtyard. The 1960s was not a decade noted for its sensitive architecture but a great deal of care does seem to have been taken with the design for Europe House.
When it was constructed, the original 1820s warehouses were still standing round the western dock. Part of a bomb-damaged warehouse was demolished to provide Europe House with extra space. This meant it didn't need to be taller than the surrounding buildings and was able to maintain the existing roof line. It was designed on an 18ft structural grid to retain the rhythm of the bays and windows of the neighbouring warehouses and also continued their line of waterside columns. The exterior was of pre-cast concrete — but again, great care was taken in its composition. It was described as being 'a crushed flint exposed aggregate giving a dark rich texture to blend with the adjacent brickwork.' by Architectural Review in March 1965. The article went on to say 'Andrew Renton's St Katharine Docks offices are the first major building to be completed in central London in which storey height pre-cast concrete units have been used purely for reasons of quality and of maintaining a fine existing architectural environment.'
In the years since Europe House was built all the 1820s warehouses have been demolished. Their replacements are not distinguished, as Pevsner has pointed out, and have 'a peculiar medley of styles'. I cannot properly judge the success or otherwise of Europe House as I did not see the buildings with which it was intended to blend. Judging by the artist's impression, the architects of K2 have rather less regard for its surroundings than the 1960s architects of Europe House. This seems rather ironic given the conservation areas now in place and our supposed increased awareness of our heritage. Maybe K2 will turn out to be a positive contribution to the docks, we shall have to wait and see. Incidentally, I suppose it would be too much to hope for the demolition of the Tower Hotel as well! Chris Grabham
Coal Gas For Ballooning
Having recently read Mary Mills' book 'Places and People in the Early East London Gas Industry' I was intrigued by her references to ballooning, particularly by Charles Green recording the use of Coal Gas to inflate a balloon in 1821.
I then found myself looking into 'Early Balloon Ascents in Southwark and Lambeth' for the Southwark & Lambeth Archaeological Society. When the Vauxhall Gardens closed in 1859 one of its assets was a gas works.
If coal is gassified at high temperature (800°C) the resulting gas is 50% hydrogen. This is ideal for balloons, because it is relatively cheap (£1 per 1,000 cu ft in mid-19th century) and still gives reasonable lift compared with (notionally) pure hydrogen — coal gas was also found to be less affected by heating/cooling when flying under sun/clouds. Normal town gas was made at a lower temperature, and contained less hydrogen but more of the 'impurities' so useful for lighting with bats wing burners.
The Vauxhall Gardens had their own gas lighting and regularly put on Balloon Flights from the early 1830s with coal gas for inflation. An 1847 description (quoted in The Aeronauts 1783-1903 by LTC Rolt; p110) of an evening balloon flight says that during preparation Bengal (antimony sulphide) lights were used. I infer from this that the normal lighting was switched off, so that the entire output of the gas generator could be used for inflating the balloon, which would have needed about 40,000 cu ft (1,100m³) — perhaps upgrading the gas quality for the purpose. Quick inflation (an hour?) was in any case desirable as the hazards are greatest then — and the paying public did not tolerate standing around too long.
Presumably other similar establishments, such the Cremorne Gardens, would have had their own gas works too.
My surmise may be wrong, but however the Vauxhall Gardens gas works was run it would not have been the same as other gas supply companies of the day — who would consider the balloon requirements a nuisance, and could not switch off their other customers while inflating a balloon — unless, as Brian Sturt says, they had a gas holder which they could fill for a balloon inflation during a slack period, without affecting normal production.
Mary Mills in her book says the Bankside gas works, then operated by the Phoenix company, supplied balloons — but where if not at the Vauxhall Gardens? St George's Fields had been an early ballooning venue but was built over in early 19th century. Or perhaps it supplied the Vauxhall Gardens before 1840 when it temporarily closed, or in its last decade after another change of ownership?
Do I remember my father showing me an (ex) Phoenix Gas Works just south of the mouth of the Effra? It would have been a more convenient source. Richard J Buchanan
Hampton's Waterworks and Railway
The MWB Railway Society was founded in Hampton on 20 May with the aim of restoring and rebuilding the railway link on or close to the original MWB track bed based on the original 2ft industrial gauge with the ultimate aim of running between Hampton Riverside and Kempton.
The narrow gauge railway once transported coal and sand to Kempton and Hampton Waterworks from barges unloading on the quay opposite Platt's Eyot on the Thames. The 5,350-yard track bed that ferried coal, sand and other materials from the river barges to the great boilers is still there, largely intact, though most of the metal track has gone.
The aim of the MWB Railway Society project is to transport visitors from the river, through an area that includes a nature conservation Site of Special Scientific Interest, to the grade I listed engine house and museum that features the world's biggest triple expansion pumping engine, restored to working order by the Kempton Great Engines Trust, inaugurated last year by the Prince of Wales and opened as a working public museum.
Members are invited to contribute £5 towards administrative costs. Lionel Beer, Hon Sec, MWBRS, 115 Hollybush Lane, Hampton TW12 2QY. Tel: 020 8979 3148 www.hamptonkemptonrailway.org.uk
The Former Croydon B Power Station
The site of the former Croydon B Power Station has now been redeveloped as the Valley Park 'retail and entertainment complex'. Memories of the, when built, huge (but never actually completed) power station are kept alive by the two surviving 300ft chimneys alongside Galvani Way; by the creation of a nest of new roads named after leading scientists who made important contributions to our understanding of electricity; and by the Ampere Way tramstop on Croydon's new Tramlink system.
The chimneys are currently possibly under threat. The adjoining IKEA store is intended to be extended, either upwards (saving the chimneys) or sideways (requiring their demolition.) There are moves to get the two chimneys listed.
The names of the new roads pose an interesting problem — who was Hesterman? Did he make a contribution to electrical engineering or science? Hesterman Way is right in the centre of the following roads, named after scientists:
Paul W Sowan
- Ampere Way — André Marie Ampère (1775-1836), born at Lyon, France, an after whom the unit of electrical current is named
- Daniell Way — John Frederic Daniell (1790-1845), inventor of the Daniell cell
- Faraday Way — Michael Faraday (1791-1867), born at Newington Butts, Surrey, after whom a unit of electrical charge is named
- Franklin Way — Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), born at Boston, Massachusetts, USA the man who tapped electricity from a thunder cloud!
- Galvani Way — Luigi Galvani (1737-98), from whose name we have galvanometer and galvanizing — the man who made a dead frog's leg jump
- Kelvin Gardens — William Thomson 1st Baron Kelvin of Largs (1824-1907), born in Belfast, after whom the unit of thermodynamic temperature is named
- Maxwell Close — James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79), born in Edinburgh, after whom a measurement of magnetism is named
- Volta Way — Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Volta (1745-1827), born at Como, Italy, after whom the unit of electrical potential difference is named
- Wimshurst Place — James Wimshurst (1832-1903), the inventor of the electrostatic generating machine named after him — remembered for making generations of schoolchildren's hair stand on end!
Chain For Thames Tunnel Shaft
Eric Pearce came across the following article in The Railway Magazine, October 1960, which he believes is of interest to members as he does not recall anything appearing about this part of the building of Brunel's Thames Tunnel:
In the course of the rehabilitation work now being carried out at Wapping Station, on the East London Line of London Transport, an iron chain has been found round the circular shaft leading down to the platforms. The shaft is one of the two original shafts of the Thames Tunnel (the first tunnel for public traffic driven beneath a river) built between 1825 and 1843 by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel.
Both shafts were provided with stairways for pedestrians, but the inclined approaches for wheeled traffic were never built, and the tunnel was not used by wheeled vehicles until, after purchase by the East London Railway in 1865, trains started to run through it in 1869.
The shafts were sunk in an unusual manner. A cast iron ring was constructed on the surface of the ground, and the brickwork of the cylinder to form the shaft was built up on it above ground to its full height of 42ft. The ground inside the cast iron ring was then excavated, and the brick cylinder descended in one piece under its own weight as the ground beneath it was cut away. The rate of descent is said to have been about 6in a day.
The brickwork of the shaft at the Rotherhithe end of the tunnel was completed in three weeks, but there was less hurry at Wapping, where from start to finish it took a year to build and sink the shaft.
The cylinders were 50ft in diameter and 42ft high and weighed about 1,000 tons. The sinking process must have placed considerable strains on the newly-completed brickwork, and contemporary accounts state that the cylinders were rigidly braced to help them withstand the stresses involved. It seems probable that the chain recently discovered was placed round the exterior of the brick cylinder, before the lowering process began to strengthen it as it descended into the ground.
There may well be other similar chains round the shaft at other levels, The chain is of iron and is in reasonable condition after its 120 years in the earth. It is made up of 6in links forged from 1¼in diameter bar.
'Mystery Site' In Tottenham
It is a well-known adage that if you want to find out about something you go to the library. This applies in the case of the 'mystery site' behind the splendid range of Edwardian municipal buildings on the west side of Tottenham Green (GLIAS Newsletter June 2003).
From the first floor of the present Marcus Garvey Library which is in the same group of buildings as the new (1980s) swimming baths, looking south west you get quite a good view of the east part of the 'site'. This is used for car parking. What happens further west cannot be seen and a new twist is that the brief view of this part from the train has gone. With spring and summer a screen of foliage has now grown. The view of the western part can only be had briefly in mid-winter. Bob Carr
Bob Rust's mention of Geoffrey Fletcher's 'The London Nobody Knows' (GLIAS Newsletter June 2003) sent me to take a new look at my Geoffrey Fletcher volumes.
In the 1960s Fletcher was a columnist and artist on the Daily Telegraph recording obscure, changing London. During this time he published nine hardback volumes of his drawings and commentary. There may have been more later. The only paperback I have seen in 'The London Nobody Knows'.
Fletcher himself comments 'I have always been a connoisseur of Victorian Lavatories' and besides a chapter on the subject in 'The London Nobody Knows' there are drawings of other no doubt long demolished public conveniences in several of his books.
If you are interested in bygone, unfamiliar London any of Fletcher's books are worth having — if you can find them. Bill Firth
Not Hydraulic Power
A hydraulic accumulator such as the one which was at Regent's Canal Dock, Limehouse, and the remains of which are manned by GLIAS members for Open House Weekend stored hydraulic energy. Since in general usage the word power has a range of meanings, the use of the term Hydraulic Power when attempting to describe the function of the accumulator to the general public can be misleading. One visitor remarked: 'Hydraulic power — how many kilowatts?' This was an entirely sensible question even if not that easy to answer. The amount of energy stored by the accumulator requires just a straightforward calculation but to talk about power we need to know how fast the stored energy might be used in working machinery about the dock (power is the rate at which work is done).
A way to estimate the power of a hydraulic accumulator is to consider the horse power of the steam engine used to pump the accumulator weight up to the top of the Tower. Say it was a 30hp engine and in doing work about the dock the maximum speed at which the weight came down was five times the rate at which it could be pumped up, the available power would be 150hp. (This is neglecting frictional losses.) If the weight came down ten times faster the power would be 300hp, and so on.
For someone more used to 20th-century units for power the figure of 150hp needs to be converted. One horse power is equal to 746 watts, so 150hp becomes about 120 kilowatts. This would be about the maximum power of the system at Regent's Canal Dock and probably not that impressive to 21st-century ears. For the Victorians 150hp was really considerable. If you drive a motor car look up the brake horse power of the engine, you might be surprised what a considerable proportion this is of the total hydraulic power which was available at Regent's Canal Dock. Bob Carr
Trinity Buoy Wharf
In July 2003 there were three ships present in Trinity Buoy Wharf. VIC 56 was on the riverside with two trawlers berthed round the corner in Bow Creek. To the north was Ross Leopard (GLIAS Newsletter February 2002) and an unidentifiable trawler with a black funnel was immediately to the south. This vessel was a fairly large middle water diesel trawler modified for off-shore work. The hull had once been orange and the upper parts were being painted white. She may have been about on the Thames for some time.
Also noted at Trinity Buoy Wharf was an American Diner (now Fat Boy's) which is open during working hours. This was built in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1941 and sent to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where it was stationed on River Road just north of the City on the banks of the Susquehana River. It was within view of the longest stone-arch railroad bridge in the world. In the summer of 1990 it was taken to Maine where it was restored to its 1940s condition.
The works of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation are in the vicinity of River Road, Harrisburg, and coal trains still run over the railroad bridge. The area is still noted for fast food joints. There were three railroad bridges here, built in 1849 (single-track timber), 1877 (double-track iron truss) and 1902 (stone arch). The third and present Rockville bridge was built for four tracks and has 48 arch spans. The total length is 3,820 feet. It is claimed to be the longest of its type in the world. Bob Carr
Sale at Hawker Siddeley Power Transformers Ltd
Following its acquisition by FKI Energy Technology, this extensive works in Fulbourne Road, Walthamstow, was closed in May 2003 with the loss of 172 jobs; at its peak in the 1970s, the workforce numbered 1,500.
The works was started on a Greenfield site in 1915 by the Fuller-Wenstrom Electrical Manufacturing Co Ltd (founded 1898). In addition to electric motors, this company began making small transformers in 1919 and in 1926, a three-storey high transformer assembly hall for the large transformers (with machine shops in two adjoining halls) was built to the east of the 1925 eastern extension of the 1915-16 factory.
The works was extended southwards in the 1930s and in 1953-54 a c75ft-high transformer assembly hall was built with upper and lower gantry beams (for c45ft span electric travellers) carried on six pairs of riveted steel stanchions. It was designed by architects Elliott Cox & Partners and erected by W J Cearns Ltd; the old transformer assembly hall was used for the fabrication of transformer tanks, which were transported by road to the new transformer assembly hall. This was extended eastwards on four pairs of welded steel stanchions in 1962 and new test facilities were installed at the western end of the 1950s part of the building. Other large buildings were erected in the 1950s and 1960s.
The auction sale of 2,042 lots was conducted by DoveBid Business Auctions & Valuations Worldwide and took place in the 1915-25 factory on 10 July 2003, preceded by two public viewing days. During the auction, images of all the lots were shown on a large screen and bids were taken live and over the internet. The entire contents of the works and the 1936 office building were for sale and included machine tools, coil winding machines, generators, a coil plate cutting machine, various ovens and vacuum pumps, paper wrapping machines, micrometers, vernier gauges and office furniture. The auction ended with the fork-lift trucks, a diesel tractor unit, two diesel flat-bed lorries, 26 electric travellers and the final lot, in the yard at the south end of the site, a Herbert Morris 30-ton goliath crane.
Included among the electric travellers were the four in the 1953-62 transformer assembly hall: on the upper gantry, two 1954 Stothert & Pitt 120-ton main hoist travellers, one with a 10-ton auxiliary hoist, the other with a five-ton auxiliary hoist (with the aid of a special beam attachment between their main lifting hooks, both travellers have a combined lift of 220 tons); on the lower gantry, a 1954 Stothert & Pitt 25-ton main hoist traveller with a five-ton auxiliary hoist and a 1962 Smith & Keighley 10-ton traveller. All purchases have to be removed by 4pm on 1 August, 2003, after which the buildings face an uncertain future.
I visited the works during the three-day sale and undertook some recording of the structural steelwork. My thanks to senior members of staff: Roger Watson, Michael Lewis and Paul Green for useful information. Several photographs and pamphlets are now held at the Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow, but apparently most of the company's records have gone to FKI at Loughborough, where small transformers are still made.
For a more comprehensive account of the works and its associated companies see 'London's Lea Valley, More Secrets Revealed' by Jim Lewis (Phillimore, 2001). Tom Ridge
The refurbishment of buildings with the assistance of English Heritage can help the economic regeneration of the surrounding neighbourhood. Examples of neglected buildings in London which have been restored recently include Poplar Library, 45 Gillender Street, E14. It is on the east side of the main road which approaches Blackwall Tunnel from the north. Built in 1904 in classical style in Portland Stone it is listed grade II.
The library has become isolated from its original community setting by the major dual carriageway to the west and a waste transfer depot and haulage contractor's yard on the east. The building will be used for serviced workshops with six new live-and-work units to the rear. This library will be familiar to many readers who motor through the tunnel to Greenwich, Kent and mainland Europe.
Priory Green Estate near King's Cross was designed in 1947 by Bertold Lubetkin for people on low incomes but in recent years has become run down. A £2m Lottery grant is enabling the estate to be properly restored. Buildings owned by Bengalis and Bangladeshis in the Brick Lane area have also been restored with the help of grant aid and an 1897 terrace of shops in Woodgrange Road, Forest Gate E7, has been restored to something like its former glory.
Refurbishing an icon building in a district can bring enormous local benefit which is quite difficult to quantify. A gigantic increase in local property prices can result over 10 to 15 years. A classic example of this was the renovation of the old Covent Garden market by the GLC about 20 odd years ago. Bob Carr
The cast-iron marker post in Aldenham Road, Bushey, Herts is one of four installed to indicate the boundary of the Oxhey District formed by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners on 25 March 1879. It became the Parish of St Matthew, Oxhey, by an Order-in-Council of 23 January 1880.
They are now on the boundary between Watford and Hertsmere Boroughs. Greg Child
No Position Grid Ref 1 Not known, may have been footpath from Lower Paddock Road, TQ 124 947 or on Oxhey Lane, Watford Heath TQ 121 945 2 On a footpath from Haydon Road, near a footbridge over the Hartsbourne TQ 128 952 3 On Chalk Hill, opposite Haydon Road TQ 123 954 4 Aldenham Road, south of Vale Road TQ 122 956
Lunettes of Cherubs
I recently asked for information about 'lunettes of cherubs working on the railway' referred to in a book I had on Liverpool Street station.
I subsequently found one (a fireman — stoking the boilers) on the Great Eastern facade at the upper level. The others are apparently at the McAlpine private railway museum in Henley-on-Thames where they were incorporated into one of the walls during 1999. They arrived in June 1997 having been in storage in the undercroft of Bishopsgate Goods Depot for some years. The cherubs jobs/activities appear to be signalman (operating a points lever), porter (pushing a barrow with suitcases), driver (operating a lever), surveyor (using a telescope) and platelayer (swinging a hammer). Two are skiving by sitting in trees! There are eight panels at Henley but one has no cherub which must be the one left behind at Liverpool Street. Janet Digby
I have photos of the panels at Liverpool Street — please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to see them
The London Parcels Delivery Company Ltd's Depot at Frant Road
One of the results of working on entries for the GLIAS Database, and on the proposed IA Gazetteer for Croydon, and thus walking every street in the Borough, is the discovery of unexpected survivals.
One such is the London Parcels Delivery Company Ltd's Depot at 128-130 Frant Road, Thornton Heath, an otherwise unremarkable urban residential backwater, running approximately parallel with the main (A235) London Road, and connecting Brigstock Road with Bensham Lane (two much older roads on the fringes of the former Croydon Common).
Frant Road appears to have been laid out in 1882, when it first appears in Ward's Croydon Directory, with 14 houses (unoccupied). Much building took place on the west side of the road in the next four years, but nothing was built on the east side until 1886, when the London Parcels Delivery Company Ltd erected its spacious new depot. This (now 128-130 Frant Road) is opposite Meadow View Road (Eridge Road until about 1939) and has a two-storey building fronting Frant Road, with a central archway giving access to a (now) covered yard at the rear. Stones dated September 1886 set into the north and south walls announce the company's ownership of the land for seven inches beyond each wall.
An illustration and ground-floor plan in The Architect, 7 October 1887, identify the architect as W Seckham Witherington FRIBA. There were two sets of living accommodation, one each side of the central archway, each having its own entrance from the street. Around the other three sides of the yard were stables (at the rear), and a harness room, loose boxes, a manure pit, a 'bank' (presumably a secure storage area for parcels in transit) and covered accommodation for vans. There was a resident manager and, possibly, also a resident housekeeper.
The firm continued in occupation until about 1918, since when the building has had a variety of other users, for light industrial or storage purposes, and the yard is now covered by an overall roof. Paul W Sowan
The Robert Opie Collection display at Gloucester Docks (GLIAS Newsletter June 2003) closed in October/November 2001. The artefacts were then placed in storage.
I understand that another wide ranging collection is exhibited in Stella and Dave Mitchell's 'Land of Lost Content' (National Museum of British Popular Culture, The Market Hall, Market Street, Craven Arms, Shropshire SY7 9NW. Tel: 01588 676176. Web: www.lolc.org.uk).
There indeed appears to be no national nor industry-coordinated focus on packaging. The printed paper, card, cardboard and plastic seems to come under the consideration of advertising. The goods within receive attention because of their nature or the company supplying them, resulting in many a varied and splendid specialist collection in which the packaging may figure.
Mostly the artefacts are used in window dressing and shop displays recalling the national past. Occasionally the local places of manufacture or use are recreated.
One example that springs to mind because of a recent visit is Milestones — Hampshire's Living History Museum (Leisure Park, Churchill Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6YR. Tel: 01256 477766. Web: www.milestones-museum.com). This represents a popular path through the labyrinth of 'integration'.
Also there are many entrances and one is provided by Kenneth Hudson's book The Archaeology of the Consumer Society: The Second Industrial Revolution in Britain. ISBN 0-435-32959-6 published in 1983 by Heinemann Educational Books Ltd, London. Ken F M Farrance
Opie is currently working to open his first registered museum, which will be in London (GLIAS Newsletter June 2006). He has set up a trust and given it ownership of part of his collection and is preparing to apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Part of his collection is on permanent loan to Wigan Pier and he also has items on loan at the Science Museum.
A Research Framework For London Archaeology 2002
The Museum of London has published a Research Framework as a basis both for future research and for consultation with the multitude of other bodies involved in archaeology in Greater London. The 'prime motivation ... was to help unlock the potential of the' new London Archaeological Archive and Research Centre and the document set out to meet two principles:
The Framework also recognises the desirability of 'incorporating agreed research priorities into conservation plans as a means both of enhancing the credibility of the development control process and of ensuring cost-effectiveness and value for money, while legitimately maximising the intellectual return on expenditure.'
- Encouraging partnerships and collaboration between different individuals and organisations;
- Creating a 'suitable framework for research', which can be developed on the basis of discussion and new information. The Framework also has three interrelated aims:
- Realising the potential of the LAARC.
- Managing the archaeological resource more effectively.
- Facilitating better focused archaeological research.
The documents looks at the resources available, not only at LAARC, but recognises the 'great deal [of] dispersed material which remains undocumented' in other museums and the vast range of reports and other sources. It then examines the position by periods and proposes Framework objectives for each period, broken down into various aspects. It will not surprise members that the references to industrial archaeology are somewhat limited, but they are included and the museum recognise the need for expansion.
The periods chosen are:
The report concludes by identifying five major themes for future research: topography and landscape; development; economy (including production and distribution; people and society; continuity and change.
- Roman, where the analysis includes the identification of industrial sites, particularly glassworking and pottery manufacture. The objectives include Roman London's role as a port and as a centre of manufacture; an understanding of water supply and drainage provision; and the procurement and supply of building materials.
- Saxon, where the objectives include elucidating and defining transport networks and producing a synthesis of the scope, technological development and distribution of manufacturing and products.
- Medieval (c1066-c1500) includes a three-page analysis of the economy — production, distribution and consumption. It recognises that 'London was probably [sic] the single largest concentration of industrial production in England' including metalworking, bell-making, textile manufacture and horn preparation. Framework objectives include charting how and why different areas of London developed as specialised producers and London's role in national and international transport.
- London after 1500 also has three pages of analysis of the economy and comments 'If an archaeology of capitalism were to be written, the London region would surely figure large in its development. London's role as innovator, introducer and disseminator of technology, goods and ideas was of critical importance ...'. The objectives include identifying the industries that especially represented London; and contributing to the understanding of London's place as an industrial power.
This is inevitably a very brief summary of the document. The society will have further opportunities to comment and to contribute to the development of the framework, both in correspondence and through meetings of the London Archaeological Forum, as which Fiona Morton and I have represented the Society. If anyone has any comments on this brief summary, I should be very happy to receive them and take them into account in those future discussions. Brian Strong
Bob Carr asked, half tongue in cheek, about the crossing of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) with York Way, just north of King's Cross (GLIAS Newsletter June 2003). The proposal was actually changed during the passage of the CTRL Bill through Parliament, in 1996. The line was to have been further north, close alongside the North London Line until west of York Way, with staggered tunnel mouths, one track passing beneath York Way and the other over the top of it (emerging further east, from a more shallow tunnel that would have been unacceptably noisy for residents). Both tunnel bores will now emerge together, on the eastern side of the East Coast Main Line (Great Northern) railway cutting, and head straight for where the present York Way crosses the old lines into King's Cross Goods Yard on a brick viaduct (Copenhagen Viaduct).
York Way will be lowered to the level of the Goods Yard, to pass under the CTRL (and under a relocated East Coast Main Line to North London link line, but still passing over the new tunnel that is to connect Thameslink to the Great Northern). Also it will be looped to the west, to facilitate construction and to give better vertical clearances. The road will be switched over in a five-week closure planned for autumn 2004, and Copenhagen Viaduct will be demolished, while the CTRL bridge over the East Coast Main Line cutting will be installed over Christmas 2003. There will be a tangle of lines at different levels that will surpass the one at Battersea in its complexity, while York Way's roller-coaster alignment will no longer follow the ancient manorial boundary between Islington and St Pancras.
Argent-St George, the prospective developers of the King's Cross Railwaylands once the CTRL is complete, performed public consultations last December on their outline ideas and the aspirations of local people for the area. Their interim report on the responses to this exercise, 'Framework Findings', June 2003, does not specifically mention industrial archaeology, which is subsumed under 'Heritage'. But they asked a question about their gasholder proposals and that attracted the most comment of all. It is encouraging that very few respondents (5 out of 62) wanted to see them removed altogether or relocated away from King's Cross, while there was a majority in favour of the 'Urban Jungle' scheme for adapting them as giant glasshouses. Malcolm Tucker
Regarding the work on the CTRL there are some questions to which I have no answers. Is the Castle Cement bulk cement depot to remain? If so, will it be rail connected? If so, is it to remain connected to the Great Northern system? If the answers to these point are positive it looks as though the sidings will cross York Way on the level with considerable disruption of road traffic. Can anyone give an opinion? Patrick L Graham
King's Cross gazetteer
The £10billion Crossrail project linking east and west London has finally been given the go-ahead. It will create a twin-bore tunnel from Paddington to Liverpool Street connecting with existing and new rail links to Heathrow in the west and the Isle of Dogs, Stratford and Shenfield to the east.
Work will start immediately on putting together a team of experts to come up with a financial package — which must include a 'very substantial contribution' from private companies.
Another Historic Heating System Destroyed
The CIBSE heritage news-sheet for September last year reported the removal of a Perkins HPHW heating system from Northaw Church. The system had been in the church since 1885 and its removal left only six known working Perkins systems. I just can't help wondering if people who passed by the ripped out Perkins pipes without batting an eyelid would be equally unconcerned if the organ pipes were laid out to rest in the churchyard.
Beller's to close
Beller's the shop (GLIAS Newsletter April 2003) will be closing shortly due to the owner's retirement after 43 years. Don Hayes
Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World
BBC Two is set run in September a new drama documentary series which tells the story of how our modern world was forged.
Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World recreates the epic monuments of the industrial revolution from Brunel's Great Eastern to the Panama Canal which linked the Atlantic and Pacific oceans half a century later.
The seven wonders featured are: the SS Great Eastern, the Transcontinental Railway, the London Sewers, the Bell Rock Lighthouse, Brooklyn Bridge, the Panama Canal and the Hoover Dam.
A complimentary series, What The Industrial Revolution Did For Us, presented by architectural historian Dan Cruickshank, uncovers the scientific, technological and political changes of the 19th century.
This Open University series looks at how much of the modern world has been shaped by the achievements of the Industrial Revolution, which transformed the lives of every man and woman in Britain today.
Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World is accompanied by a fully comprehensive website at www.bbc.co.uk/history where users can find out more about industrial achievements.
The Seven Wonders Of The Industrial World press pack is available at: www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2003/08_august/11/7wonders.shtml
Next issue >>>
© GLIAS, 2003