Friday, 18 July 2014

Harvey's Jubilee outing to Brighton - three train loads

The following article comes from the July 1934 comes from the house magazine of Charlton metal fabrication company, Harveys

Harvey staff in the Brighton Pavilion 7th July 1934
On July 7th all roads led to Charlton Station, and as early as 7.30 a.m. many “Harcoites" had arrived intent on catching the first Harvey Special for Brighton. In fact, so keen was the "time-keeping spirit” that we are not aware of even one person who failed to “clock on" in time to catch one of the three special trains. Long before the first train was due the platform was thronged, and it was amid loud cheers that the 8.10 was boarded. In spite of the fact that there was ample room and to spare for everyone, we noticed that some compartments had an unusual number of people standing, and no amount of persuasion could entice them to occupy some of the empty coaches.

Such is the spirit of comradeship which causes one pal to stand for over an hour in order to associate and look after the safety of his bosom friend. In some cases we under- stand "two friends" were the cause of this temporary sacrifice of personal comfort.

Brighton was reached in due course, and one train after another discharged its load of passengers, all eager to find whether the tide was in or out. Having ascertained this fact, another query had to be settled. "Was Black Rock really Black," or was the privilege ticket only provided in order that hundreds of " Harcoites" might be lured out of the town to relieve the congestion caused 'by the continued arrival of one Harvey Special after another? However,' remembering the spirit of adventure which has made our Company what it is to-day, the resources of the Cliff Electric Railway were considerably strained in order that our minds might be put at rest regarding the colour of the above-mentioned rock. After a perilous trip over miniature- chasms and canyons, it was found that we had been done, and that the" rock" was just the same as in Brighton-" three for a shilling, with the name all through."

Towards the hour of noon the tide, which for some hours past had been steadily flowing from the station, now changed its course, and a bee-line was made towards the Regent Restaurant, wherein our hopes were centred on a real "blowout." We were not disappointed in this, for the tables literally groaned under the weight of foodstuffs, ranging from salmon down to cheese and biscuits via cold meats and pies with offshoots of jellies and fruit pie, etc. It was a truly satisfying sight. After the photographer had done his worst-which, by the way, is here reproduced, Mr. Sydney Harvey, in a few well-chosen words of welcome, gave us the word to "set to." For a period the silence was most notice- able. Course after course was dispensed with until, replete unto the state of fullness, we honoured the toast of His Majesty.

As was only fitting at this stage of the proceedings Mr. Kerridge (Chief Engineer) proposed the Health of the Company in the following words :-

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, - I am going to ask you to honour the toast of 'The Firm; but before doing so, I want to express on behalf of all employees our thanks for being entertained here to-day.
“We have had outings before, but never one like this, and I can assure our Chairman that our appreciation is real and sincere.
“Speaking of outings, I would like to call remembrance to one particular outing to Rosherville Gardens. It was to celebrate Mr. East joining the Firm. There are just a few here who went to it. We had a good time, but our number then was about thirty, including the Staff. The great progress the Firm has made is clear from the numbers here to-day. "
We are proud of our Firm, proud. of its history, and it is a great satisfaction to all to share in its Diamond Jubilee.
“One other thing. I am sure I am speaking for all when I say how pleased we are to see Mr. Harvey (Senior) present.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Toast- The Firm - Long may it continue to grow and prosper."

And then the stentorian voice of the .Master of Ceremonies was heard over the micro- phones: "Pray silence for Mr. James Wells! Who-why!! Someone surely has blundered! But no. Along came the most recent addition to our Company in the shape of a lad of some fourteen summers, who in the-most approved manner presented to Mrs. Sydney Harvey a magnificent bouquet.

Mr Harvey receives the employees presentation
from Mr Icough
So far, all this was very nice. But the point upon which were centred the thoughts of every single person present in that huge gathering had yet to come-namely, the tribute in which every employee had taken part in order to .honour he who founded our Firm, and through whose intrepid will and spirit has been built up the organisation of which we are so 'proud to-day, and it was a moment to be remembered when Mr. B. W. Icough rose and in a speech, brief, but full of sincerity, requested Mr. George Harvey to accept a silver-gilt rose bowl as a token of the esteem and respect in which he is held by every employee. Mr. E. R. Clarke, as Senior Director, also presented on behalf of his co-directors a similar token in the form of copy of Grecian Vase.

The applause .which followed these presentations, stupendous as it was, could not be compared with that which greeted Mr. George Harvey as heroes to reply to the sentiments which had already been so well ex- pressed by Mr. Clarke and Mr. Icough.

It is with pleasure that we print the remarks of Mr. Harvey.

“Ladies and Gentlemen,-I thank you. It has been a long pull, but we have pulled together, and again I thank you for your loyal help. Some have passed on. I hold in affectionate memory. Mr. A. Clarke, Mr. Brown, Mr. East, and Victor, my son.
“I wish you all a happy day, a safe return home ':
Greatly as I appreciate these gifts, I value even more highly the kind' thoughts which prompted you to make them."

Even with the few words which Mr. Harvey spoke, it is safe to conjecture that the minds of many present went back to those early days, and as the eyes' of those who have not served the Company so long swept the "25 years' service and over" table, and saw all the old servants of the Company grouped around Mr. Harvey, our minds were filled with but one thought: " Well done! Thou good and faithful servants."

For on that table, in particular, was seen Loyalty in all its fullness-Loyalty and Good Service, which requires something more than mere £ s. d. to obtain. And then we would focus our attention on the central figure of that long table, and there we found the answer: the personality of Mr. George Harvey, which has so enthused those who worked with him that, in fair weather and foul, they manned the boat, with their faith, so rightly placed, in the man at the wheel.

Those who were fortunate enough to be present will long remember the occasion.

As a fitting climax to this part of the proceedings, Mr. Sydney Barvey rose and. gave, in the following words, a speech which not only looked back e on success, but with the vitality which so characterises the speaker, deals with the future in a manner full of the assurance of attainment.

After extending a hearty welcome to all Mr. Sydney Harvey said:-

“This is a day to which we have all been looking forward for some time, and I hope one that you will thoroughly enjoy.
 “Among our guests we are very pleased to welcome Mr. B. D. Roberts, Director of Art Galleries, Museums and Libraries, and to know that we are helping in the vast improvements which are being made in Brighton, one of the most popular seaside towns in England.

Our Day”
One does not like, as a rule, to blow one's own trumpet, but now that we have .a Brass Band and an alternative Conductor in case of need, I suppose it is excusable. In any case, this is OUR DAY, and I am sure we want to hear something about ourselves.
"Brighton has bedecked herself with flags and, garlands-I presume in honour of our visit;

60 Years
" The firm of Harvey's was started in 1874 by Mr. G. A. Harvey in a small shed at Lewisham standing on less than half an acre of ground: The whole story forms a most interesting and fascinating romance of industry, far too lengthy to relate to-day, except for a few details.
“At Lewisham Mr. Harvey worked his first machine with the help of a boy, and that same machine is still doing work in one of our shops, and one that the Duke of York took a great interest in when he visited our Works.
“Twenty years later, owing to the growth of the business, we moved our Tank Making and Galvanizing Works to West Greenwich. In 1912 we closed both Lewisham and West Greenwich and moved to our present works, The Greenwich Metal Works, where we have added building after building and extended department after department, until to-day the Works cover some 25 acres of ground and employing nearly 2,000 hands.
“And without any desire to boast, I make bold to say that we hold the premier position in our particular line of business. “Our Founder, who is now in his 82nd year and has lived a very active life, still takes a keen interest in the progress of all departments, and I am sure that we are all very glad that he is able to pay an occasional visit to - our Works.
" He views, with mingled pride and pleasure, some of his early dreams and aspirations coming true; and we are continuing to build up our organisation, step by step, on the solid foundations he laid of HONESTY, HARD WORK, ENTERPRISE and SERVICE.
“We have a long record of which we are justly proud. People judge of what we can do by what we have done.

Newspaper Cutting
“Pasted on the wall of Mr. Harvey's office at Lewisham was a newspaper cutting, as follows:-
Nothing that is can pause or stand still.'
“The meaning is clear; no one can mark time for long-one must either go forward or backward. Our way has always been along the progressive path-the pathway called, Straight '-and I sincerely hope it always will.

Familiar Faces
"One sees many familiar faces here this morning - men who have been with the firm since their boyhood days (we have over 40 employees who have been with the firm more than 25 years-a fine record), some who are now past work and are enjoying a well-earned leisure. And we think of those who are no longer with us, and who did their part in helping to build the success of the firm. I should like to mention Mr, East, Mr. A. Clarke, Mr. Brown and my brother.
"Their work lives on and forms part of our tradition.

Iron and Steel Exchange '.
"The other day I was the guest of Sir William Firth at a luncheon given by the Iron and Steel Exchange, and Dr. E. L. Burgin, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Board of Trade, was advocating that the members should use more steel and suggested ways and means. He then turned to me and said:  'There's Mr. Harvey, one of our largest manufacturers, who can make up anything in steel.' A splendid tribute!

Copy of Postcard received Last Week
“Listen to this: 'Forty or fifty years ago I had a tank from you. I shall probably want a replace next week-one about 60 or 80 gallons. Will you please send me a price list? '
Employees with 25 or more service
“I am not surprised at receiving this testimony to our workmanship, but I hope that ALL our tanks are not going to last as long as that one.

Youngest Firm
“Many interesting stories could be told, but time will not permit on such an occasion as this, except perhaps one or two.
"In the early days, a firm of competitors added as a recommendation to their goods that they .were the' oldest firm in the trade.” We immediately got out an advertisement styling ourselves 'the youngest and most up-to-date firm in the trade,' and although we cannot claim to be the youngest to-day, we still try to "be the most up-to-date. The same spirit exists, and there has been no abatement of our energy or enterprise.

Fashions are fickle things for both men and women. At one time beards were fashionable. Then the fashion changed, and Mr. Harvey turned up to the office one day minus his beard. When he went to his safe he was rudely accosted by one or two members of the staff who failed to recognise him in his new guise. First aid was not necessary.

 As some of you may be thinking of going fishing, the following story, told to me by Mr. Harvey, may help you in sizing up your catch, (if any) to your chums afterwards.
" One man: said to the other (probably an American), 'Where did you go for your holiday? ",' Fishing.' 'Did you catch any- thing. ' 'A fine large fish, I guess.' 'How big?' 'Oh, ever so big.' 'As big as a cod? ‘‘Oh, bigger than that.' 'Well, as big as a shark?' 'Oh, much bigger than that.' 'Well, as big as a whale?' 'No! I used that for bait! '

“It so often happens in a large concern that the personal touch is either neglected or forgotten. We are very proud of our Welfare Section, and, like one huge family, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts (though I am not sure if we have any grandfathers), all WORKING WELL and PLAYING WELL.
" Welfare work includes not only sport and social activities of all kinds, but safety of work, canteen facilities, practical sympathy with the sick and convalescent, training of youths, interesting wives and families, and many other things. And if I were asked a question as to which is the most important department in the concern, I am not sure that I should not say' WELFARE ' but I am quite sure what my wife's answer would be; and we all owe her a debt of gratitude for what she has done, and the great interest taken in our womenfolk.
“Welfare has to do with human material- the best of material-but sometimes the most difficult to handle.

Benevolent Fund
"I should like to mention here that our Founder has started a HARVEY BENEVOLENT FUND with a gift of £10,000, and the fund has already been of great help.”
A rumour has been circulating that we have bought land in the district. On this occasion Dame Rumour has not lied, and we hope shortly to be starting a block of "Harco" houses, which will meet a long-felt want in the district.

Some of the party at lunch
" I do not wish to talk about trade to-day, as the factory gates are shut; the telephone bell may be ringing, but no one .is there to answer it; the machinery is quiet and the mail unopened; but I must mention how pleased I am to see that the clouds of depression are passing and we are getting busy.
"We are continually adding to our numbers, and piles are now being driven for further building extensions. Such is our confidence and preparation for the future.
“Let me again just briefly extend to. you all a very hearty welcome and to thank you one and all for the splendid co-operation, goodwill and loyalty which have meant so much to the success of the firm; and thank all those responsible for making the arrangements for today, which have been exceedingly well planned and thought out in typical ' Harco' fashion."

When all was finished so far as the" Regent" was concerned, we dispersed to wherever our fancy led-some to bathe, some to obtain forty winks, others to the speed boats or skee ball.

All too soon came the time to return to Charlton, and for over an hour platform No. 7 rang with the exultant shouts of hundreds of " Harcoites" who had enjoyed to the full every minute of a glorious day.

 And our sincere thanks are due to the Company for their kindness in not only bearing the entire cost of the whole day, but also arranging that employees attending the outing suffered no financial loss in respect of wages.


- glad they didn't dock their wages

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Narrow Gauge Railways on the Royal Arsenal

The June meeting of GIHS heard a talk by Ian Bull on the Narrow Gauge Railways of the Royal Arsenal.  The following report is by Richard Buchanan (with thanks to WADAS) with some annotations by Ian Bull.
The Arsenal found railways to be the best way of getting about on a marshy site – they built few roads.  Its first was a plate railway in 1824, developed from the Surrey Iron Railway (of 1802) and horse drawn.  At this stage the Arsenal was about the size of what has been retained since its closure, though at its height it stretched 3¼ miles, all the way to the Crossness outfall works, and 2sq miles in area.  It then had 147 miles of track; the east of the site with its several isolated high explosive (HE) facilities being served only by rail.
There were three fiefdoms in the Arsenal, the Royal Gun Foundry, the Royal (gun) Carriage Department and the Royal Laboratories (for ammunition).  They did not co-operate; if one had a spare wagon it would not lend it to another that might need one; if there was accidental damage to a train operated by one department, that department had to make good, even if delays ensued.
In 1849 the North Kent Line of the South Eastern Railway reached Woolwich, and the Arsenal entered into an agreement to interwork with them, and build an internal standard gauge railway (the three departments still working separately).  The connection was at “the hole in the wall” in Plumstead. However in 1870 the Army decided that an 18 inch gauge railway would better suit their needs particularly if it were to be deployed in narrow trenches for siege warfare; and be easier to transport.  They had good experience in the Crimea with such railway - The 'Grand Crimean Central Railway' which was steam worked and standard gauge.
So the Arsenal built an 18 railway, which could manage sharper curves, and took it into buildings - anywhere where heavy loads were to be handled.  Inside buildings special cast iron track was made (by the Royal Laboratories from redundant cannon balls) with a level top surface apart from grooves for the wheel flanges.  The standard gauge railway continued in use; where necessary a third rail was laid inside standard gauge track for the 18 gauge.
The 18 railway was steam hauled from the outset (though at Chatham Dockyard, with a system whose length reached 20 miles, horses were used).  The locomotives followed normal practice with the frames inside the wheels; the first engine had the cylinders inside tharger cylinders outside, were not too wide (though side swipes between trains on adjacent lines were not uncommon.  The 18" railway at Woolwich used locomotives with *outside* frames (there were a very few exceptions). The Royal Engineers visited the London & North Western Railway's Crewe Works in the 1850s where the 18" locomotives had frames inside the wheels and cylinders inside the frames. Said cylinders could only be very small and the Military waited until the Hunslet Engine Co. developed outside frames in 1870.
As time passed guns and ammunition got heavier, and stronger rails were laid.  And passenger trains were provided to get workers quickly from the Arsenal gates to the more distant work places.  Faster locomotives were needed for this, with larger diameter wheels.  Open knife-board bogey wagons were made, the bogeys giving some comfort - but also the ability, with the knife-board removed, to take heavy loads at other times.  First class covered carriages were also produced by the Carriage Works.
An 18 railway was sent to Africa and laid to help in the unsuccessful relief of General Gordon at Khartoum in 1885; it was packed up put in charge of the Royal Engineers under Percy Girouard a Canadian of great promise then aged 23.  He relaid decrepit 1860s track with the heavier rails brought back from Africa, and ran it as a single railway.  He remained in charge until 1895.
A compression-ignition engine came in 1896 – slow, but not having a fire it was much safer where high explosives  were handled; four more soon followed.  Otherwise steam continued in use, and with rapid expansion in WWI more of a “Culverin” design first purchased in 1884 were ordered; and 16 of a more powerful “Charlton” class was ordered (of which the “Woolwich” is the remaining one).
In 1922 it was decided to scrap the 18 railway; at the time it had 3000 items of rolling stock including 1100 powder wagons.  Most of the steam engines, which had been worked hard during the war with less maintenance than they should have had, were sold off and scrapped.
However parts of the railway lingered to 1971.  A Diesel locomotive was bought in 1932, from the Hunslet Engine Co.. The loco was called 'Albert'. and another, the “Carnegie”, in 1954 – with cab heating!  Three small Diesels were bought during WW2.
Ian said that however it was run the Arsenal railway was always technically up-to-date.
The “Woolwich”, the “Carnegie” and one of the small Diesels had a new lease of life at the Bicton Woodland Railway in Devon from 1960. Woolwich' went for scrap in 1959 and was purchased from the breakers by Bicton in 1962. 'Carnegie' went directly to Bicton from the Arsenal in 1966. One of the small diesels was scrapped in Greenwich, one went to Bicton where it still is, and one to the Great Bush railway via a Nursery in Littlehampton and the Isle of Wight.
But by 2000 they were worn out, and new management got a Diesel powered ‘steam’ engine.  The “Woolwich” and “Carnegie” went to Waltham Abbey Gunpowder Mills.  The “Woolwich” was moved again, visiting Woolwich in 2011, to the Crossness Engines Trust, who are now rebuilding it.  The “Carnegie” remains at Waltham Abbey awaiting substantial repair.  The small Diesel is now at the Great Bush Railway in Sussex.
The Crossness Engines Trust has several wagons, including the powder wagon which recently stood outside the Heritage Centre, and with the “Woolwich”, could make up a train.  Thames Water, wishing to keep the Trust’s visitors away from their sewage treatment plant, are putting in a footpath by the sewer bank to Plumstead – wide enough to also accommodate a railway track (on the route of the spur line used in building the original Outfall Works).  This would make the Trust much more accessible.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Revolutionary cars in Westcombe Hill

Our attention has been drawn to RALPH LUCAS, 24, Westcombe Terrace, Westcombe Hill, Blackheath, S.E.

Anyone know anything about him?? He lived there in the 1880s.

I always knew Greenwich was important in car invention - I've been going on about the two steam cars built on Enderby Wharf in the 1840s  - but this is yet another inventor.

He exhibited at Cordingley's Autocar and Motor Cycle Show at the Agricultural Hall, Islington held 3rd - 10th July 1899.
and they said that Mr. Lucas "introduces us to what is probably the most interesting exhibit in the show" 

This was a "graduating change-speed gear" with "a very pretty action".
Looking up Mr. Lucas on the net I find that the ever reliable Grace's Guide has a whole page of references to him and his gears plus some pictures.
From GracesGuideJump to: navigation, search
He also appears at the AGM and Dinner of the Blackheath Automobile Club in 1907 as a Committee member and where his address is given as Upper Siebert Road, Westcombe Park, SE. and he is described as the "Designer of the Valveless car"

Grace also has a page on North-Lucas which seems to be a manufacturing company he set up in Putney Vale with a Mr. Oliver North.  They made one 'revolutionary' car apparently.

So - what else do we know about this??

Thursday, 5 June 2014

In the post - Woodlands Farm - Gas History - GLIAS

In the post this morning there were three newsletters - all of interest. 
Let's start with one from an actual workplace  -

Woodlands Farm.  This newsletter has come a bit late, but with an apology - sadly all the dates listed in it have gone except for Open Farm Sunday - which is this Sunday, 8th  11-4

- also a long way ahead - on 6th of December there is a bird watching walk.

The newsletter has all sorts of articles - a rather touching one about lambs and lambing - and another about a tree survey 'itree London' - and something on their garden and a bird report.  Most interesting to historians is an article about Wool Weights - all about clove weights, tods and weighs. Well worth reading.
Woodlands Farm Trust, 331 Shooters Hill, Welling, Kent, DA16 3RP

Historic Gas Times. I admit this is a bit of speciality. The front page has a wonderful article on it by local gas historian, Brian Sturt.  This is all about our local gas works and the work of the collier ships which brought the coal down from Durham during the Great War.  I am going to ask Brian  if we can reproduce this article - since it is very important and I guess Historic Gas Times has a limited circulation.  He has come to speak to us on colliers in the past - but I will as again.

Historic Gas Times. published by the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers.

GLIAS Newsletter
The June 2014 Newsletter doesn't seem to have any editorial content about Greenwich and Woolwich. But they do list some events of interest. 

7th June (this Saturday) Greenwich and Charlton Riverside Revisited led by Andrew Turner (and I know Andrew has some real surprises and lots of new information to give you). You have to book for this - email  (too late to post now so I won't bother with the address)

Crossness Public Steaming Days  22nd June     27th July  31st August  If you haven't seen the engines - you will never forget them, an amazing experience.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Women gas workers in the Great War


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Albion Sugar Woolwich

ALBION SUGAR were on the Arsenal site and one of the many sugar works in east London.  I would be grateful for details of the buildings they occupied - since I know they were of particular interest but have forgotten why.
However - we have been sent this really rather beautiful brochure about the works - but, unfortunately, the facilities available on this blog site will not allow me to reproduce the typography as I would like.   (If anyone would like a PDF of the whole thing, let me know).   .
The sudden appearance of a fully equipped sugar factory, springing into adult existence one bright morning from apparently nothing, is as rare a phenomenon in the industrial sphere as is the emergence of a new comet in the world of astronomy. In both cases speculation naturally arises as to the origin of the new body, its composition, size and orbit -its very raison d'etre. The Directors of Albion Sugar Company Ltd feel that the many questions which are sure to be raised about this new concern merit a full and frank reply. To anticipate and answer such questions as a potential customer would be likely to ask is the purpose of this brochure.
Albion Wharf, Woolwich, London, Autumn 1929.

Albion Wharf and Factory from the Thames
The Story of an Idea - and its Realisation.
One of the most striking features of industrial progress in the last quarter of a century has been the waning of that austere spirit of individualism which not infrequently caused useless friction, and a corresponding waxing of friendly relations between businesses with identical interests. In many instances this friendship exists without any kind of amalgamation or even working agreement. A case in point is the amity that has for some years existed between the firms of White, Tomkins & Courage Ltd, R. & W. Paul Ltd, and Gillman & Spencer Ltd-three businesses engaged in the manufacture of brewing materials, yet each conducted entirely independently of the others.

These three firms have now, while retaining the same complete individuality as hitherto, come into closer association in a new enterprise- Albion Sugar Company Limited. It is as well at this juncture to state unequivocally that this amalgamation is confined to this single development.

Scope for Expansion
THE heads of these three firms had for a long held the opinion that, subject to certain requirements being fulfilled, great scope for the expansion of business lay in the manufacture of Invert Sugar. The idea simmered for some years, until it was clear that all the basic conditions could at last be satisfied, and Albion Sugar Company Limited, Woolwich is the outcome.

What were those conditions, and what were the reasons for them?

The view was held that it would be possible to manufacture Invert Sugar of the highest quality, and at a price which would compete favourably with current quotations, provided first, that the initial outlay could be kept within reasonable bounds, so that it would not be necessary to pay interest on
a large capital: and, second, that, within this limit, such premises could be found as would render practicable the economical handling of goods from raw material to finished product. I t was realised that by adopting the most modern designs and devices in plant a considerable saving in working expenses could be effected, and that a second item on which capital expenditure might be saved was that of premises. Would it be possible to find, ready to hand, and at an economical price, a suitable site with premises capable of housing a complete Invert Sugar plant, lending itself to expansion if necessary, and having both rail and water facilities ? Would it be like crying for the moon to hope for such a Utopia?
The Search Succeeds

For some years, indeed, the search seemed hopeless: no section of the navigable Thames was left uninspected, yet nothing that satisfied all these requirements was discovered. At last, however, when hope had been - almost given up, the dream was realised. The Albion Wharf, Woolwich, property of the State, came into the market, and an inspection quickly revealed that it was, in every respect, an ideal site for the new venture. Negotiations took place with the Admiralty, and the freehold purchase of the land and premises was effected at a figure which was to the entire satisfaction of the buyers. Thus the initial obstacle, which had at one time seemed almost Insuperable, was overcome, and Albion Sugar Company Limited was duly formed and registered
Ideal Premises

PREMISES having been acquired, plans which had hitherto existed merely as ideas began to take shape, and it was realised that nothing could have been more remarkable or more fortunate than the ready adaptability of the Albion Wharf property to the new Company's ideas and requirements. The main factory building comprises three storeys, its ground dimensions being 200 feet by 60 feet, with two wings of the same height and ground dimensions of 160 feet by 50 feet each. Like all State property of a permanent character, this factory is a thoroughly substantial structure, and in all such important matters as lighting, ventilation, stairways and doors it lacks nothing that the most exacting modern requirements could demand. This building lent itself to the perfect disposition of the complete plant, just as though it had been specially designed for the purpose. At the same time, sufficient space has been left for future expansion, and the whole of the plant could be duplicated and even triplicated, if necessary, without occasioning any disturbance of the present arrangement.

A Model Wharf.
The second remarkably valuable asset possessed by these premises is its river frontage. A granite wall 400 feet long, such as no private concern trading for profit could afford to construct to-day, protects the buildings and land against the highest spring tide and also affords a 18 feet berth, so that cargoes can be landed direct to the warehouse by means of a powerful electric crane: coal supplies are also discharged by a 35cwt grab and carried straight to the boilers by automatic conveyor. (It may here be stated that the adoption of the latest labour-saving devices has been a guiding principle throughout the whole equipment of the factory, at a saving of many thousands of pounds per annum

A Natural Water Supply
To proceed with some of the numerous advantages afforded by this unique site-advantages which have been either utilised as they stood or adapted to special purposes. In the process of Invert Sugar manufacture a vast quantity of water is required for condensing and cooling purposes, and it was found possible to utilise an existing inlet from the Thames as a means of supplying water in unlimited quantities. This is an immense advantage which could readily be measured in terms of cash

A private railway siding

So much for the substantial benefits gained from so desirable a riverfront, let us now consider what the back of the premises has to offer. First, a group of buildings which, without any appreciable alteration, have been adapted to hold a large battery of boilers, an extensive garage, a coopers' shop and store-rooms: a second substantial building, connected with the factory by a bridge. In which the spacious offices and laboratory are housed. Second, a private railway-siding connecting up directly with the main lines. Trucks can thus be loaded and despatched to their destination with a minimum of handling, and equal facilities are, of course, available for the speedy and economical return of empties. "Direct from producer to consumer" that hackneyed and misused slogan, becomes, in the case of Albion products, a phrase fraught with significance .

A Fleet of Lorries.
ROAD TRANSPORT is another item Company is particularly favoured. A splendid road skirts the whole of the premises and leads into the Albion Road, via which the Albion lorries speed into all parts

Low Costs Achieved

The list of advantages offered by these ideal premises could be lengthened much more, but enough has now been stated to show that, in their total, these remarkable facilities have made possible the avoidance of a heavy incubus of charges-charges which, no matter under what heading they are debited, inevitably have to be taken into account when costs are calculated. As has been stated, it was on the possibility of being able to initiate and carry on the business with a minimum of capital and working expenses, that the original conception was based, and it is gratifying to be able to record that those early ambitions have now been fully realised.

Staff and Plant.

THE Albion Wharf premises having been secured, there remained to be settled two other matters of very great importance. First there was the finding of a first-class works- manager and the appointment of a trained staff: second, the purchase and installation of the plant

THE Works management
FURTHER good fortune was experienced in securing the services as Works Manager, of Mr. Thomas S. Dick, than whom there is probably no better-known figure in the Invert Sugar industry. Mr. Dick's thirty years' practical experience, in Greenock and London, of every branch of sugar refining and of Invert Sugar manufacture had qualified him as being pre-eminently the man for this important key- position, and it was very gratifying to the Company that he consented to take charge of the new works, for it was realised that, although all the Directors were experienced in various branches of the manufacture of brewing materials, and controlled, in their several staffs, highly qualified chemists, it was nevertheless essential to have on the spot a responsible works-manager who could devote all his time and energy to Albion Sugar Company.

Entirely New Plant.
The purchase and installation of the plant was undertaken with the Works Manager's invaluable co-operation, As has already been stated, it was not the Company's policy to economise on initial
outlay, but rather to ensure that the plant should be a hundred per cent efficient and as much per cent automatic as human ingenuity could devise: this definitely stated principle guided the purchase of every item of plant, and evidence of its application is to be seen on every hand. The whole of the plant is new and of the most modern type: in its various functions are to be seen many devices making for a saving of power and labour and thereby contributing their quota to economical manufacture. So successfully has this initial sine-qua-non  of low-cost production been met that the long-visualised possibility of manufacturing highest quality Invert Sugar at the lowest possible cost has now become an accomplished fact. Thus far, with all their preliminary requirements satisfied and economical manufacture guaranteed, the Albion Directors realise that their hopes and aims have been abundantly justified.

Invert Sugar Processes
We reproduce in these pages a number of photographs which will doubtless give the reader a good idea of the magnitude of the Albion Wharf premises and plant. Beyond a brief title to each photograph we will not attempt any description, as to do so would mean embarking on a necessarily long dissertation on the processes of sugar- refining and inversion. Suffice it to say that raw sugar is unloaded at the Albion quay and that Invert Sugars to meet the various requirements of the brewing trade leave the Albion factory by rail, lorry and barge: the flow of processes between the first and final stages is followed in the order of the illustrations. The works are supplemented by modern and fully equipped laboratories, and every batch of Invert Sugar manufactured has to pass the most stringent laboratory tests before being released for despatch.

An Invitation
There are no secrets in Albion Wharf, and an open invitation is hereby cordially extended to all brewers and to members of their executive staffs to pay a visit to the factory. A conducted tour of the works, tracing the flow of processes from start to finish, is a highly interesting experience, and it is hoped that a great many brewers, whether customers or not, will make an early opportunity to pay a visit.


Sunday, 25 May 2014

More from IA News

Yesterday's posting featured the article in the current Industrial Archaeology News about our own Enderby Wharf  - but that was not the only Greenwich (well nearby Greenwich) items featured in that issue.

  **** a long article on "Roller flour milling, white bread and the Millennium Mills, London.  Millennium Mills will be familiar to anyone who looks across to the other side of the river - easily visible from upstairs in my Humber Road house.  This is an important article about an important site.

****  a short note about a grant to the (just up in Rotherhithe) Brunel Museum - to allow them to open up access to Marc Brunel's entrance shaft.

****  a page on Lewisham's Excalibur prefab and much in the news estate.  (we have a speaker on that early next year)

**** an item on Deptford Dockyard (in Greenwich until the 1970s) and the grant of planning approval by Mayor B.Johnson instead of the decision being made, democratically, by London Borough of Lewisham. 

(Industrial Archaeology News