Home | Membership | News | Diary | Walks | Calvocoressi Fund | Books | Journals | Links | Database | e-papers | About us

Notes and news — December 2019

In this issue:

GLIAS 50th anniversary lunch

As they entered the striking new frontage to King's Cross station on 12 October, more than 30 members of GLIAS passed between platforms 9 and 9¾ to ascend an impressive stairway leading up to 'The Parcel Yard'. They were arriving to enjoy lunch together in celebration of the Society's first half-century.

It soon became apparent that The Parcel Yard was an appropriate venue — the conversion of the building from its former utilitarian use to become a popular pub/restaurant has been sensitively done. The labyrinthine interior gave it an authentic character with no need for trendy gimmicks. The anteroom where we gathered was rather confined — cosy and intimate you might say — but it was here that friends met and old acquaintances were renewed, some members having travelled considerable distances for the occasion. One of these deserves special mention — we were delighted to be joined by Lyn Smith who had had an early rise that morning to arrive at King's Cross from Penicuik, near Edinburgh. Her late husband Denis was, of course, one of the most influential and popular members of GLIAS.

GLIAS 50th anniversary lunch © Robert Mason

The meal was excellent, held in the so-called 'First Class Lounge' with its walls displaying historic railway posters. In fact it was noticed that our (West Riding) Chairman's envious eyes fell upon the striking 1937 poster for the LNER's West Riding Limited!

After a short welcome speech by the Chairman the meal was accompanied by much chatting and reminiscing about the Society's first 50 years, and no-one was in a hurry to go home at the end. Conspicuous by his unavoidable absence was founder member Michael Bussell whose interesting message of goodwill was read out — see Michael's comprehensive account of the origins of GLIAS in the Society's 2019 Journal. Ben Weiner gave the well-deserved vote of thanks to the Committee and organisers of the event.

Some members had arrived early with time to brave the drizzle and venture into the surroundings behind the station. There we found an astonishing transformation in progress. Let's compare it with Nikolaus Pevsner's description of the area in one of his rare social comments (Buildings of England — London except ..., 1952): 'The vast railway constructions ... destroyed large areas for living purposes and reduced the value for others, and their streets going grimy attracted the new poor class of workers for the railways. Just north of King's Cross is the most intricate and noisy railway landscape of London (with the exception perhaps of some parts of Southwark)'

Far from noise and grime, the new ambience is one of spaciousness and calm. A variety of wide spaces paved with good quality materials allow large numbers of people to enjoy the shops and restaurants in what clearly is still a historic industrial environment. New insertions range from the crass (circular blocks of flats plonked inside relocated iron gasholder frames, in the name of 'conservation') to the subtle, sinuous roofs stretching across unifying, and unexpectedly enhancing, two of the old coal drops buildings. The renewed setting for the Regent's Canal completes the transport heritage of this new locality for London. Importantly for us, we must not forget that the success of this transformation is largely due to the expert advice, pressure, and perseverance of those GLIAS members who successfully influenced the design process.

Huge congratulations to the organisers for their inspired choice of venue for this successful and enjoyable event — and Good Luck to GLIAS for our next half-century! Ken Catford

Michael Bussell, who could not attend, sent the following:

'I'm not attending the lunch today but I'd like to send my best wishes to everyone present as one of the few members remaining from when GLIAS started back in 1968-69. Most of the credit really belongs with our first Secretary, Paul Carter, and our long-serving Chairman Denis Smith. I hope that my essay on the early days of GLIAS in the latest Journal gives due recognition to all their efforts from what — it is hard to believe! — is now half a century ago.

'In those early days there were many sites to find, explore, research, and record, with uncontrolled access (including at weekends) often being granted to us 'amateurs' on the strength of one phone call requesting it. Times change, and nowadays security and health and safety concerns have made access to sites more difficult, while the increasing — and welcome — requirement for formal recording as a condition attached to planning permissions for redevelopment or alteration has diminished the role of the amateur for such work, with the corresponding rise of the commercial archaeological organisations. And the astonishingly rapid and recent developments in recording and publishing techniques, largely digitally-based, are almost beyond the imagination of those of us who started back then with measuring tape, film cameras with manually set exposure control, and typewriters.

'Today there are, arguably, fewer 'traditional' industrial sites in London to attract our interest compared with 50 years ago, but information on both those that remain and those that have gone is in much greater abundance. GLIAS and its members have contributed much towards that for our capital city.

'I end by looking forward in optimistic mood to the GLIAS centenary celebration after another successful half-century. There is still plenty to be researched, recorded, published, and explained in London's industrial archaeology, even if some of it will in future not be what we traditionally think of as IA. For example, how about the industrial archaeology of Canary Wharf when the city office has gone the way of the police telephone call box, or of the liquid-fuelled motor vehicle and its supporting infrastructure in London when — if! — we get clean renewable power sources for the car, bus, and lorry?'

GLIAS Recording Group: for the record ... 1979

Forty years ago there was so much more to find out about and so much more to record. So much more enthusiastic energy to do it! And it was so much easier to arrange visits to places which nowadays, if they existed, would probably be out of bounds.

Poplar Dock 3 Sept 1978 © David Thomas

Accompanying is a photo of a typical group on a typical foray, at to Poplar Dock, where wagon load traffic was still being handled at the dock albeit using electric cranes.

It was transferred to lighters, which then were towed alongside ships in the main docks for their own lifting gear to take it on board. The derelict hydraulic pumping station is in the background, as is an accumulator tower. The turntable well illustrates the small size of wagon handled.

The group includes Bob and Pam Carr, Paul Gibbons (who moved from London and became involved with the roller mill at Rowsley, Derbyshire), Adrian Saunders, the late Tom Smith, (for many years a Committee member), the late Jim Barr in typical stance — and two others whose names have been forgotten. Malcolm Tucker was nearby.

A report on Poplar Dock, which included off-site research, written by Bob Carr and Malcolm Tucker, subsequently appeared in Newsletter 62, June 1979. It can be accessed on the website, although one Newsletter photograph has been mislaid and a similar one will be substituted. David Thomas

GLIAS Recording Group: you never know who you'll meet

In 1978 GLIAS arranged to borrow the keys for access to Clink Wharf, Clink Street, for recording visits, and the site was written up in GLIAS Newsletter 57, August 1978. I revisited it by myself to check on details and found that a pile of theatre props now took up some of the space on the ground floor. While I was wondering where they had come from there was a voice — someone else had followed me in, presumably also having borrowed a key. Fortunately I hadn't disturbed the props. The owner of the voice, now clearly American, asked what I was doing and I explained. He was Sam Wanamaker, the American actor, and the props were his property, temporarily stored here. He was already known for his proposals to recreate the Globe Theatre, although did not live to see that come to fruition. David Thomas

Steam engine pioneers

The early pioneers Thomas Savery (c.1650-1715) and Thomas Newcomen (1664-1729) were closely associated (GLIAS Newsletter October 2019). Savery's invention was earlier and he obtained a patent in 1698. This patent of July 1698 lasted 14 years but in 1699 an Act of Parliament extended the protection until 1733. The Act became known as the 'Fire Engine Act'. Savery's patent covered all engines that 'raised water by fire' 1. Newcomen was obliged to work under the shadow of Savery and in 1729 died before the patent expired. However, it has been broadly agreed that Newcomen deserves the credit as the inventor of the steam engine.

About 30 years ago it was generally taught that although the Savery steam pumping machine predated the beam engine of Thomas Newcomen, the Savery engine for most practical purposes was essentially useless and little more than a scientific toy. If we are only considering the drainage of deep mines there is considerable truth in this proposition but there are many other applications for steam pumping.

Taking into account the materials and construction techniques available 300 years ago, the Savery engine was limited and at best could lift water through a height of about 50 feet. However, even with this limitation the Savery engine had many useful applications. It could lift water from the ground floor to the top of a house, even for quite tall houses. In the early 18th century well-to-do customers of Thomas Savery installed his engine on their estates and in their country homes in the London area. Archaeological evidence might still exist?

Later in the 18th century the big London brewers needed beam engines to pump to the top of their tower breweries, however for someone running a more modest provincial brewery one or two Savery engines could probably have done the job. A major problem of large house-built beam engines was their great expense. A Savery engine could be installed for about a fifth of the cost of a beam engine.

Savery engines were used for back pumping overshot water wheels driving a mill. Even though of modest power in many cases a Savery pump could deliver enough water to the top of an overshot wheel to compensate for a diminished water supply during hot summers.

In Portugal, Bento de Moura introduced an improvement to make Savery's engine self-acting. Previously valves had to be operated manually. De Moura's valve gear is described in detail by John Smeaton in the Philosophical Transactions published in 1751 2. In 1765 Matthew Boulton considered using a Savery engine for the waterwheel at the Soho Manufactory. He built a model engine and sought the advice of Benjamin Franklin and Erasmus Darwin 3. The Savery engine continued to be manufactured until the late 18th century 4. One engine was still operating in 1820 5. By the 1780s a Savery engine could develop as much as 10 to 12 hp. Some of the early James Watt rotative beam engines engine were not much more powerful than this and by comparison were enormously expensive.

The problem with investigating early steam engines historically is that because Thomas Savery had a patent for all steam engines, nearly every engine was referred to as 'a Savery engine'. Industrial historians trying to give due credit to Thomas Newcomen could easily have been overenthusiastic. When a writer said 'Savery engine' he or she may have meant just that.

More detailed research by historians and archaeologists over the last 30 years has changed our view of things. If it is possible to excavate a steam engine site it can often be discovered whether a house-built beam engine existed there, or not. The number of Savery engines in industrial use that we know of is increasing. In Manchester, Savery engines were used for back pumping overshot waterwheels driving mills. Joshua Wrigley, a Manchester-based engineer and pump maker, supplied several Savery-type returning engines to local manufacturers from his works on Long Millgate 6.

Savery was not totally eclipsed by Newcomen. His engine continued in use for over a century. Bob Carr

Converted former factories

Further to Bob Carr's piece on the Nestlé Factory (GLIAS Newsletter August 2019) and Michael Bussell's article on industrial reuse (GLIAS Newsletter October 2019), The Guardian's Fantasy House Hunt (28 September 2019, featured three properties converted from former factories.

Hayes Village, Nestlé's Avenue, Hayes
The first batch of one-, two- and three-bed homes will be ready by June 2020 with the final completion in late 2025. ₤325,000-₤533,500.

The Brassworks, Frederick Place, W2
Built in 1819 as a brass instrument factory for Distin's Military Musical Instrument Manufactory and later used by Boosey & Co, it was more recently used for offices. Now a large loft-style apartment is on the second floor with four en-suite bedrooms, a large reception room and a covered terrace. ₤4.75m.

Old Aeroworks, Hatton Street, NW8
The Old Aeroworks, built in 1920, is one of the earliest all-concrete buildings in Britain. Originally manufacturing entire homes under one roof for Bovis, it was requisitioned in the Second World War to produce parts for aircraft. This two-/three-bedroom penthouse has three living areas beneath a corrugated-steel roof with large skylights and a roof terrace. ₤2.5m.

Peter Butt

50 years of industrial change in Hammersmith Borough: 1969-2019

To follow my selective overview of industrial reuse in London in the October Newsletter, I offer an equally selective look at the industrial changes in that period since GLIAS was founded in my own 'patch', the London Borough of Hammersmith (nowadays titled 'and Fulham'). It happens that I have lived here since 1966, so I have kept an eye on changes over the last half-century. To cover all the changes would warrant a lengthy Journal article, even a book, but that's for some other day!

Crabtree Wharf on Fulham Reach, 1972, looking north (everything beyond has also since gone)

In the 1960s the borough's riverside was still largely industrial, taking advantage of the Thames by which materials and goods could be carried to and from the London docks, as well as coal brought in by coasters. Today the river traffic and the trade has gone, and with it the Manbré and Garton sugar refinery, Duckham's oil store, a stone works, and numerous wharves with multi-storey warehouses, mostly replaced — as along so much of Thameside — by multi-storey blocks of flats. The provision of a riverside walk offers some offset for the loss of interesting and economically useful sites. Not far from the riverside was Fulham Pottery, the first in England to make stoneware in the 1670s. It was still selling potter's materials into the 1970s but then the site, with some buildings of almost Dickensian vintage, was redeveloped. The single hovel of a bottle kiln survives, surrounded by and dwarfed by an office block.

All that survives of Fulham Pottery, December 1982

Railways here have seen great change. The West London Line and its southward extension through Kensington Olympia were created jointly by four separate railway companies, which made full use of its connectivity between railways south of the river at Clapham Junction and the Great Western and LNWR lines in Willesden. Numerous goods and coal depots were established along its route, some serving for a century or longer. The last closed in 1981, and all have been redeveloped, mostly for residential and related uses.

Kensington Olympia Station looking north, 2014

The fortunes of Kensington Olympia Station have fluctuated. Once a major 'hub' for an amazing variety of passenger and goods rail traffic, by 1969 it had declined such that its only regular passenger service was a peak-hour weekday shuttle link from Clapham Junction to Kensington Olympia. This was for workers at the erstwhile Post Office Savings Bank head office in Blythe House behind Olympia (vacated in the 1970s, then occupied by Euston Films among others, and now a Joint Museums Repository, as noted in Newsletter 304, and the huge Lyons' Cadby Hall food factory nearby (closed and demolished in the 1980s). The shuttle, affectionately nicknamed the Kenny Belle, was the last steam-hauled suburban passenger train service in London until it was dieselised in 1967.

In the early 1970s Kensington Olympia station and environs were, for a while, considered a possible location for the London Channel Tunnel Terminal, but for a decade or so from the mid-1990s only empty Eurostars passed through, travelling between Waterloo and their North Pole Depot (built on the derelict site of the GWR Wagon Works). In 1994 however a frequent local north-south passenger service was re-introduced — after a mere 54-year suspension that was triggered by World War II air attacks on the line! With expanded services now run by London Overground it is once more possible to 'circumnavigate' London by trains to and from an again-busy Kensington Olympia.

Old Oak Common Loco Depot Store, June 2010 Old Oak Common Turntable and Buildings, June 2010

The North Pole Depot is now a maintenance depot for Intercity Express trains, while a little way to its north and west the large former GWR Old Oak Common Loco Depot built in 1906 had looked after first steam and later diesel locomotives, before finally closing and being demolished in 2012 — having first been comprehensively recorded — to make way for a new Crossrail Train Maintenance Depot (GLIAS Newsletter August 2010). This northern part of the borough, with many mostly smaller industrial sites, has now been incorporated within the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, which is planning major developments in the area. A huge Old Oak Common Station 'hub' is also proposed to serve the HS2 line — if that gets built — with interchange to Crossrail and other nearby lines. A major current land user in this area is the car dealing company Cargiant, which displays many pre-owned cars in older industrial buildings and on cleared former industrial sites. Its distinctive blue cladding has been applied, in particular, to the former Rolls-Royce building in Hythe Road.

Earlier this year an ideas competition was held for re-use of the disused brick viaduct near the centre of Hammersmith. This climbs eastward between Studland Road and Beadon Road, built as part of the 1869 LSWR route from Richmond via the long-erased Hammersmith Grove Station to Olympia (then named Addison Road). This closed in 1916. One suggestion is that the viaduct could become a greened 'High Line', as pioneered with an abandoned elevated rail route in New York. Whether anything will come of it is uncertain, as the viaduct is 'marooned' within Underground railway lines (which perhaps explains why it has remained undisturbed for a century). Access would require new pedestrian bridges over the tracks.

Changes to Hammersmith roads in recent decades have been less drastic than might have been the case. By 1970 bottlenecks in the main highways through the borough that link central London and the West and South-west of England (A4), and Oxford and South Wales (A40), had been eased by the construction of the Hammersmith Flyover and Westway. Planners were then advancing proposals for 'ringways' — four concentric motorways spaced out around the capital (along with what are now unthinkable suggestions, such as for an 'expressway' through Covent Garden). Environmental and other considerations resulted in only some portions being built. In Hammersmith is the one short length of the so-called West Cross route (labelled M41) of the planned Ringway 1 that was built, running south from Westway to the Shepherds Bush roundabout. (A further southward extension was planned to straddle the West London line, but happily was abandoned.) Currently a somewhat controversial east-west cycle 'superhighway' is being planned through Hammersmith; bike rental stations are numerous; and roadside electric car charging points are appearing across the borough. The industrial archaeologist in 2069 will have some new road transport artefacts and sites to study!

Fulham Gasworks Gasholder No 2, 1972 view of a 'tripod' guide Fulham Gasworks Gasholder No 2, 2014 overall view from beyond security fence erected since 1972)

Changes in public utilities have been substantial. The riverside Fulham electricity power station has gone, while a little to its east Lots Road power station, built to supply electricity to Underground railways, is being converted to residential use, sitting alongside the Chelsea Harbour development built on the derelict Chelsea Basin railway coal yard. Close to Lots Road but on the west side of Chelsea Creek, Fulham (formerly known as the Imperial) Gasworks, ceased making town gas in 1969, and with the subsequent switch to natural gas the southern part of its large site has been cleared and redeveloped, some under the appropriate name of Imperial Wharf (also the name of a new station on the West London Line, opened to serve the area in 2009). Residential development proposals for the remaining Gasworks site include retention in situ of the world's oldest surviving gasholder, No. 2 of 1830, recently upgraded to II* listing. Imperial Square, modest terraced dwellings built in the 1870s to house gasworks employees, was treeless and rather bleak when I first saw it in the late 1960s, but is now a gentrified and bosky upmarket address. The Edwardian engine house of Hammersmith Pumping Station of the former West Middlesex Water Works was recently converted to flats. A huge cast and wrought iron beam removed from one of its engines when decommissioned, which I photographed lying in the yard in 1969, is now at Kew Bridge.

Imperial Square BW 1282 Imperial Square 130418

Hammersmith Pumping Station, removed engine beam, 1969

In Shepherds Bush the linked engine and boiler houses of the Central London Railway's electricity generating station of 1900 were subsequently used by a machine tool firm, from which comes the current Dimco Buildings name; in 2008 this became White City bus station for the adjacent Westfield shopping centre. A further change of use will see it adapted as a public events venue. Immediately north of it, past the site of the Central Line's first Wood Lane Station (closed in 1947, its distinctive façade with station name and roundel reportedly dismantled for re-erection), was the Kensington Vestry (later Borough Council) Depot. In the mid-1970s a small GLIAS team recorded (but, red face, has yet to write up for publication!) the long-disused and derelict Refuse Destructor of 1905. This was basically an incinerator with ramp access for 'dust-carts', which unloaded to feed cleverly designed coal-fired 'ovens'. These ensured that damp household refuse (no plastics in those days!) was dry by the time it reached the hearths to be burnt. Combustion heat also raised steam that powered a machine in an adjoining building, which compacted the resulting clinker with hot asphalt to form 'silent' paving blocks — much favoured in city streets in the days of iron-shod wheels, and an exemplary recycling of both waste material and heat.

Westfield Dimco now Bus Station 190710 W C Destructor BW SL 21076 DES 3

To illustrate the pace of change, the single-storey commercial buildings that were built on the cleared Destructor Depot site barely four decades ago are themselves being replaced by expansion of the Westfield shopping centre. This is a reminder that retail selling (along with online sales) remains a major employer and industry in its own right, as are 'services' in various forms, while manufacturing is on the wane.

Much has changed — and much gone — in the entertainment, sporting and leisure industries. Exhibition centres cater for each of these, and three sites in Hammersmith have served well, although only one now remains. The first major building at Olympia was the 1886 Grand Hall, recently upgraded to II* listing. The centre grew over the next half-century, with new halls and other buildings including a quite early 1937 multi-storey car park. Planning permission was given earlier this year to a major redevelopment that will add 60,000 sq m of office space and a large Brutalist-looking arts centre, and introduce other facilities and alterations to existing buildings that will surely change the character of this popular venue.

Olympia multi-storey car park on Maclise Road, 2018 Olympia Central Hall facade on Hammersmith Road, 2000

Earl's Court 1 Demolition in progress, August 2015 with roof sheeting partially removed to expose steel roof structure Earl's Court Demolition in progress, general view from Cromwell Road Flyover in June 2015 with original 1936 'Earl's Court 1' on left and 1990 'Earl's Court 2' on right, both sheeted for demolition

Not far away, the Earl's Court site either side of the West London Line saw its first exhibition in 1887, although it was not until 1936 that the bulky silhouette of its main building appeared on the local skyline. Almost unbelievably, that has now gone (GLIAS Newsletter February 2015), as has the 1990 Earl's Court Two building spanning the West London Line, both to make way for a huge residential scheme masterplanned by Sir Terry Farrell, although progress on this has slowed. Many will have memories of attending major events at these venues that have since ceased (Bertram Mills' Circus, the Royal Tournament), or moved to other locations (the Boat and Motor Shows, among others). The Ideal Home Exhibition, first held in 1908 and then variously at both venues, is now the Ideal Home Show, still held at Olympia before Christmas and again in spring.

1908 also saw the opening of the Franco-British Exhibition, the first to be held on the White City site of 140 acres, its name inspired by the appearance of its many buildings. Most of the site was developed in the 1930s as an LCC housing estate, and some more from 1949 onwards by the BBC for its Television Centre. The White City Stadium opened, also in 1908, hosting the Olympic Games that year and again in 1952. It became notable too for greyhound racing, but was demolished in the mid-1980s and replaced by another large BBC building. With recent BBC relocations this building has become part of White City Place, while Imperial College is developing a new campus close by. Change is unceasing!

Hammersmith Palais, from 1919 a 'go-to' venue for bright young things, was demolished in 2012 and has been replaced by student residences. The Hammersmith Odeon opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace, essentially a cinema with a fine organ, although it is best known these days as a venue for popular music of many types. In recent times it has become the Apollo, prefixed by the name of one sponsor or another.

It was Gaumont too which earlier had built Lime Grove Film Studios, opened in 1915. In the late 1940s these were acquired by the BBC, and many well-known television programmes were made here before closure in 1993, the site being now occupied almost inevitably by housing. A disused ironworks became Riverside Studios, near Hammersmith Bridge, opened as film studios in 1933, and they too later saw intensive use by the BBC until 1974. A Trust then took over the building and ran it as a theatre and arts centre. A major reconstruction on the site has taken in the adjacent Queen's Wharf building next to Hammersmith Landing drawdock, with re-opening due imminently.

The overall scale and extent of industrial changes occurring piecemeal become more obvious when aggregated and considered over a period such as half a century. Certainly, much has changed — even the borough's name, now Hammersmith & Fulham. Other London boroughs will likewise of course have experienced change. GLIAS members might like to describe what has happened in their own locality. Michael Bussell

Kempton Park 1929-2019

Kempton Great Engines Trust The impressive pumping station building at Kempton Park housing two giant triple-expansion steam engines was officially opened on Thursday 24 October 1929 by the Minister of Health, the Right Honourable Arthur Greenwood MP. Ninety years later this event was marked by a re-enactment, held on Thursday 24 October.

Guest speakers in 2019 included Sir Mark Prescott, Sir Richard Stilgoe and Sir Peter Bazalgette — all having family connections with Kempton Park and London's water supply. Sir Mark is the grandson of Sir William and Lady Bessie Prescott, whose names were given to Kempton's two triple-expansion engines. Sir William was Chairman of the Metropolitan Water Board and was responsible for organising Kempton's inauguration ceremony in 1929. Sir Richard is the grandson of Henry Stilgoe, Chief Engineer of the Metropolitan Water Board. He was the man who designed the Kempton engines and considerably improved the water supply of London. Sir Peter is the great, great grandson of Sir Joseph Bazalgette, one of the great civil engineers of the Victorian era. A video of the speeches is available, see

Sir Richard Stilgoe started engine number 6, the Sir William Prescott engine, and this ran for a short time. Next there was a buffet lunch with food almost the same as that provided by Harrods in 1929 but with mock turtle soup substituted for real turtle. Ninety years ago guests sat at tables with white cloths. This year the catering was efficiently undertaken by staff and students from Richmond-upon-Thames College. Music was provided by a string quartet.

The weather was an almost exact replica of that on 24 October 1929 — we had much heavy rain. Outside, the 1860s Shand-Mason fire engine from Kew Bridge was in steam and there was a row of period motor cars — provided by Jim Richardson. The planned outdoor activities were somewhat curtailed because of the rain but all in all this was a memorable day. Many thanks Kempton Steam Museum. Bob Carr

Extra tracks for the East Coast Main Line

Further to the enquiry in GLIAS Newsletter August 2019, p8, extra rails are being laid. To increase capacity at King's Cross, the eastern bore of Gasworks Tunnel is to be put back into use and two extra lines are being laid through it. At Stevenage a new single track line is being built on the west side of the main lines to a new platform five at Stevenage station. This will accommodate trains from the Hertford Loop. Many thanks to people who have written in. Bob Carr

The London Fieldwork and Publication Round-up

The London Fieldwork and Publication Round-up 2018 has been published by The London Archaeologist. The following items are of IA interest.

Brian James-Strong

Thirty six inch diameter water main

36 inch main burst 8 Oct 19 R Carr

This photograph illustrates just how much water a main carries. Following the fracture of a 36-inch water main to the left of the picture this gently sloping road was turned into a shallow fast-flowing river. The flow continued at roughly this rate for about ten hours before it diminished. Bob Carr

SS Robin

The SS Robin has not been much in the news lately. Now Robin's website has been updated and redesigned, see

SS Robin Victoria Dock L NW  5 May 19 R Carr

There are plans for her preservation and display as part of wider proposals for a London collection of historic vessels in the Royal Docks (GLIAS Newsletter October 2018). Bob Carr

Barking Riverside

Class 710 electric trains are now running between Gospel Oak and Barking (GLIAS Newsletter April 2018). Work is in progress to extend the Goblin line south-eastwards to Barking Riverside with an optional intermediate station at Renwick Road. Completion is expected in 2021. Bob Carr

2020 anniversaries

The Regent's Canal will be 200 years old in 2020. The Canal & River Trust is planning a series of events to celebrate this anniversary.
More information at:

There is also a GLIAS lecture on the Regent's Canal by London Canal Museum volunteer Brian Johnson on 19 February.

The theme of the Inland Waterways Association's Canalway Cavalcade — on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 May — will be 'Celebrating 200 Years of the Regent's Canal'.
More information at:

According to the Friends of Regent's Canal there will be a procession from King's Cross towards Limehouse on Saturday 1 August 2020, the actual anniversary of its opening.
More information at:

The Rotherhithe & Bermondsey Local History Society has a full programme planned to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of Mayflower in 1620.
Full details at:

Croydon Airport celebrates its 100th anniversary in March 2020.

Croydon Airport Visitor Centre is located in the world's oldest Air Traffic Control Tower and is open on the first Sunday of the month throughout the year (

The first innovations in Air Traffic Control were developed here. The International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations plans to celebrate 100 years of air traffic control but that will not take place until 2022 (

The Lenox Project

The Lenox Project, which aims to build a replica 17th-century ship in the former Royal Dockyard at Convoys Wharf, Deptford, needs new and keen volunteers with the time, and the skills, to join its management team.
Please email with your details to get involved. Web:

Conservation Watch

Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Tower Hamlets planning application PA/19/00008/A1
Plans to redevelop Whitechapel Bell Foundry (GLIAS Newsletter April 2019) into a boutique hotel have been controversially approved.

Tower Hamlets Council's development committee voted three against and three in favour, with the chairman using his casting vote to approve it.

The council received more than 750 objections to the proposals to redevelop the historic building, home of Britain's oldest manufacturing firm which operated from 1570 until it closed the site in 2016. There were five letters of support.

One councillor told the development committee the plans would amount to 'historical vandalism'.

Marian Place Gasholder Site, Bethnal Green
St William Homes are hopefully committed to retaining the two historic gasholder guide frames (GLIAS Newsletter October 2019) within the Regent's Canal Conservation Area at Bethnal Green and they say they will shortly submit a planning application.

Next issue >>>

© GLIAS, 2019