Thursday, 20 September 2018

Comments about the gasholder



The petition on the gasholder on Change has allowed people to comment on why they have signed.  We've fished out all these comments - and are quoting them below, without any names attached, but roughly grouped into subject areas.
- a bit of a warning - some are factually incorrect, particularly those which over estimate the amount of influence and  control that the Council has had over the proposed demolition.  There is at least one which I have no idea what the author is referring to and some others where the writer has made a mistake inn quoting faxts  - although not so as to affect what they want to say.
Hope you enjoy them.

A Brexit in industrial history
Some people referred to their aesthetic appearance

"Many people think that gas holders are a blot on the landscape. However, in my opinion, they fail to see the unique beauty of the ornate guide frames of telescopic gas holders and the way their appearances change with alterations in light. They are great landmarks and were integral parts of city and townscapes in the past. Also, not to be forgotten, they are examples of remarkable engineering skill. Too may have gone and it would be unforgivable if the East Greenwich gas holder was to suffer the same fate."

"Our industrial history matters as much as prettier history, although it is actually very attractive"

 "We need a mix of historic and modern buildings/structures to keep Greenwich interesting. The new sculpture by the flyover, the gas holder and the O2 make an interesting trio of shapes "

A work of art.

Gas holders are fantastic structures with huge potential.  And they are part of our history..

It is an iconic structure and example. Much better to look at than the dome!

It's a beautiful piece of local history

It's an iconic piece of Greenwich skyline

Our city is becoming faceless. Surely our heritage is what makes our identity worth preserving?

"Such an example of our industrial heritage is inspirational for coming generations - when it's gone, it's gone, and we need it to stay and inspire!"

Fantastic opportunity  to do something spectacular instead of bog standard steel and glass.

It is an iconic structure and part of our industrial history.

It’s beautiful

These are  unique structures and should be preserved

Many people wanted it to be converted to other use and many referenced the recent flats built at Kings Cross

This is how it could be utilised rather than another piece of abstract history and heritage banished. Need I say more - https://gasholderslondon.co.uk/

An iconic local structure could have a relevamt future as part of a housing development - as those gasholders along the Regents Canal have become.

This is a fine structure making a distinctive contribution to the skyscape locally, from the Thames, and from a wider area across London..  Its guide frame has potential for adaptive and sustainable re-use, as has been demonstrated successfully by the re-erected gasholder guide frames on the King's Cross Central regeneration site."

"There are good recent examples of gas holders repurposed to good effect. It's good to have variety in our buildings, especially when it supports local heritage to reflect the history of the area."

"The Gas Holder should be retained and repurposed as one of the last reminders of the Peninsula's industrial history. It would be tragic to lose it. The argument that the land is needed for building homes is rubbish - there are plenty of other development opportunities in the area, including the land-banked Morden Wharf."

"Gas holders provide brownfield regeneration opportunities and do not require removal or demolition. In Dublin, Bord Gais sold this as a listed building and it has provided a fabulous regeneration and landmark within the City. The protected gas holder frame and land provided 240 apartments and is a stunning development. It also provided diverse communal gardens, and because of its uniqueness, attracted, under the Barrow Street regeneration, jobs- this is where Google set up its European Headquarters Campus.In the past, Georgian Houses were demolished and we today are shocked, the Council should be mindful that employers seek something special for their sites and the public need to see more than high rise cubic buildings. This is a gem with huge potential."

This historical industrial heritage gas holder should be saved as it a link to the past for the Greenwich Peninsular. What the developer could do is incorporate the external industrial frame i.e. into flats similar to those seen in the new kings cross development. The developer shouldn’t just get away with building more samey blocks of residential flats as is currently happening.

Urban industrial landmarks should be saved. And this could be converted to another community use.

"it's a local landmark and should either be saved ""as is"" or something else built within the structure"

"Look at the way architects have incorporated gas holders into residential projects elsewhere in London. They are stunning, have true architectural quality that will withstand the test of time (or inevitable property price falls). Any developer would be crazy to miss the opportunity to work with an architect who could make something as beautiful here in Greenwich. I’d be first in line to buy an apartment like that - I would never in a million years buy any of the other new builds that are currently being thrown up in Greenwich. Please build something of true architectural (and financial) value, not just more safety deposit boxes for overseas buyers who will drop them like hot coal as soon as the market dips."

I am signing because I like to see surviving pieces of history in out cityscape. Put a roller skater rink in there (summer) and an ice rink in the winter. Make it useful. But don't destroy it!!!

"Keep it, do something with it, they have done so in other areas and those are now assets to those areas.  Make it so."

"This is an important part of our local industrial heritage, as well as being an iconic symbol of East Greenwich and the peninsula. It should be saved and given an imaginative new lease of life."

"Gasometers are cool structures, that can be incorporated into the modern urban landscape, just look at the ones in Kings Cross."

"Greenwich wouldn’t be the same without it and such potential for a fun museum to change the boring new builds. Keep the soul of Greenwich,"

"Please keep the Gas Holder, it is part of our Heritage. make a leisure park around it, with seats and maybe a small lake, for everyone to enjoy. And community allotments for the Peninsula Residents. Please  DO NOT  Build  HIGH RISE developments, to deprive us of what we need most. Clean Air and sunlight. When it was the Metro Gas Sports Ground, we can remember picking blackberries along Horn lane. Pleasant memories of our little bit of countryside."

"Quite apart from the gas holder's significance as part of our industrial heritage, take a look at the imaginative use of a former gas holder in Dublin - it's beautiful!"

"This important historic structure should be reused having a place in the development plans for the Greenwich Peninsula. All across the UK historic structures are being demolished, this gas holder is an important of the area's history and streetscape. Reuse models exist at King's Cross, perhaps those could be followed."

It is quite possible to incorporate a gas cylinder into a building scheme as shown in the Chelsea Lots Road development

It’s vital to keep a link with the past and not have everything knocked down. There are modern designs that can incorporate the gas holder.

Would be very sad to see this landmark and reminder of our industrial past go.  Gasholder Appartments in Kings Cross show what amazing results can be achieved with a bit of imagination

Historic landmarks are part of local heritage and should be preserved. Reuse and recycle by incorporating it into a new building.

I believe the landmark frame plus the bell used to a height of say 30 ft could form a valuable space to complement events at the nearby O2. And use the same car park by mutual arrangement of non-coinciding dates
Due process should be followed and it has not.
Many commentators were concerned with the local area - East Greenwich
"This a fantastic landmark and a glimpse of the history of the area, which has otherwise almost completely changed in the past few years."

Because enough is enough.  Stop destroying what is left of historic Greenwich.  No more houses.  Improve things for existing residents.

Greenwich is an unique combination of maritime and industrial history with modern landmarks such as the dome. Let’s retain the former to maintain what’s special about Greenwich.

Greenwich peninsula is an important part of our industrial heritage , the remaining parts must be preserved."

I want to see a better East Greenwich

It is important historically and retaining it in some adapted form will add to the architectural diversity of the peninsula.

The gasholder is beautiful & an important landmark in an area that has changed considerably in recent decades. If similar structures at King’s Cross can be re-used imaginatively so can this one.

This part of Greenwich is now unrecognizable. Leave the Gas Holder.

This wonderful industrial building is a part of the history of East Greenwich. It is an important landmark feature and should be saved.

My local gasometers just got pulled down - terrible cos they're beautiful

and people had concern about the future


I'm signing because historic buildings must be protected and uses found that maintain their presence in the neighbourhood for future generations.  Additionally I cannot understand how Council officers approved the demolition which is contrary to approved Council policy.

We will regret it in the future - like we always do - why can't we learn to hold on to our precious past?

Let's not destroy all of our heritage. Keep something for us to remember our past. And create some diversity in the otherwise dangerously dull and dreary tower blocks

I want to see the survival of this historical artefact for the benefit of future generations. It is an important landmark. Do not obliterate history!

I'm signing because the destruction of this historic monument removes a link with the past which can never be restored and is in danger otherwise of being forgotten.
Important industrial history monument should be saved for posterity.

The gas holder is part of our heritage and we can make it something new to take into our future
Many are concerned about heritage

This proposal is part of a nationwide calculated destitution of British industrial heritage and resources.  This vandalism must be stopped.

"Because its part of the History Of the area & is the ONLY remaining artifact to show the scale of what once was the coke/gasworks that once dominated this vast area ! There were two, but the IRA destroyed the other ! Will IRA be invited back should this remaining one become unwanted ?"

 We must keep examples of all our history. Gasometers were a big part of life and the skyline until not so long ago. They tell a story. And this is a particularly fine example.

This is part of Greenwich history and should be preserved.

"Crucial to save this historical structure, (and against the lack of accountability, again, by Greenwich Council)."

"It is a significant part of Greenwich's industrial heritage and a great structure in its own right. The Peninsular is being developed, but that should not mean resetting the clock to Year Zero."

Stop destroying our heritage!! Soon all of our heritage sites will be just bland concrete!

The demolition of this gasholder would result in the removal of a structure of great historical interest which should be preserved just like any other historic building.

This is a very visible link with the historic past of Greenwich Peninsula and should be preserved as part of innovative design such as been achieved in places such as Kings Cross and even Berlin.The borough should stand up for its own policies and see the boroughs inheritance as important and worth encouraging developers to use it positively.

Too much of our history is being lost!

The industrial heritage of gas works is an important part of this countries history

Greenwich Council need to stop behaving like such total hypocrits & prove they do actually respect our local heritage & history by reversing this travesty and preserving the gas holder

We must preserve this important part of our local history.

I'm signing because they are a part of our heritage and are fast disappearing.

It is all that is left of the history of East Greenwich/North Greenwich. Wipe history away at your peril (our peril)  How could you even consider replacing it with more tower blocks?

"Many other such gas holders around the country have been preserved in one form or another with less historic significance and importance as the surviving Gas Holder construction on Greenwich Marsh.  Greenwich Gas Holder brief history:-Built between 1881 and 1886, at the time the Gas Holders were the largest of their kind in the world. The first, Number 1, built in 1886 and of 8,600,000 cubic feet (240,000 m3) was the world's first 'four lift' (moving section) holder. The second, Number 2, with six lifts containing 12,200,000 cubic feet (350,000 m3), was reduced to 8,900,000 cubic feet (250,000 m3) when it was damaged in the Silvertown explosion in 1917. The gas in Gas Holder was ignited and it was wrecked completely. Number one Gas Holder was also very seriously damaged.  This caused a massive fireball, which rose thousands of feet into the air. Although Number 2 was reduced in size it was still the largest in England until it was damaged again by a Provisional Irish Republican Army bomb in 1978. The site its"

"This gasholder is a masterpiece from the gas-engineer Sir George Thomas Livesey, built in 1889. The construction of the guide frame is unique and a milestone in the development of the guide-frame in the 19th century. Thus this gasholder was a significant example in my dissertation "Der Gasbehälter als Bautypus" (eng.: The gasholder as a buidling type)."
They seem to be hell bent on removing every last bit of our history! I wonder why...


Gas Holders have a history we need to recognize and not lose forever

very important part of our heritage

"This gasholder is historically of great interest and to demolish it would be the act of philistines. Please preserve it, as other councils are doing."


and had concerns on industrial hstory
"An icon of the Industrial revolution. Once it's gone, it's gone!!"

"As unique as any Pictish souterrain, becoming rarer than early saxon burial mounds. One of a few diminishing testaments to our Victorian industrial heritage. Give history some respect. It gives a place a sense of enhanced community and really good development requires that context rather than newness piled upon newness. Without context, like so many 1960's developments, the alternative massed developments will be demolished as shabby failures in 30 years time as plain ugly."

"Gasholders, a magnificant part of our industrial and visual history."

"George Livesey’s fine gas holders are major works of industrial engineering, of national significance. The loss of this structure would rob the Greenwich Peninsula of its most important and recognisable marker of its history and industrial archaeology. It must be saved!"

"We have to celebrate our industrial history,  even if its ugly!"

As an historic borough I believe that Greenwich should retain such an iconic landmark for future generations.

Every industrial monument is for itself a fairytale setting that captivates people and therefore worthy of protection.

Greenwich has a rich industrial heritage and we will be culturally poorer if we tear it all down. It can co-exist with the necessary improvements to the area

Historical monument to the industrial past

History is important

Industrial heritage is important.

The gas holder is an important part of Greenwich heritage from the time when 'gas' was king.

These are part of our history in Greenwich- keep them and embrace diversity in building structures.

These holders represent an important development in structural engineering and also are a handsome part of the Cityscape.

This is a valuable part of our industrial history.

This is an important part of Greenwich's industrial heritage

Industrial history is so important in Britains development and needs to be part of the landscape. There is room for modern and ancient and everything inbetween.

and the holder as an icon
This is an important part of the Industrial heritage of East Greenwich and an icon of the local area.

"This structure is iconic, recognizable the world over, and an important part of industrial heritage. It deserves to be saved, and to be protected against future threats."

which identifies the area
This unique structure helps define the area's identity.

and people are aware of conversions elsewhere


"It's an iconic gas holder and an important part of the area's history, not only to Greenwich but also as a landmark viewable from the north side of the Thames as well. As gas holders, including historically interesting ones, are torn down all over London surely we can do for Jumbo as King's Cross did for their gas holders and recognise the value these striking structures hold."

The Gas Holder should be creatively incorporated into a new development not demolished. This has been done effectively in Kings Cross - so why not south of the river? It is iconic and a landmark in the Peninsular.


and its role as a landmark
It is a historic landmark for Greenwich

I am signing because it is the last vestige of the industrial heritage of Greenwich and must be preserved at all cost as a landmark for future generations.

"As the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate in Blackheath Westcombe Ward in the local elections in the Borough of Greenwich, I oppose the demolition of this historical landmark."

"It would be a crime to destroy this beautiful iconic landmark. It seems it has failed to be listed by accident or carelessness. The peninsula has precious little remaining to remind us of its heritage, and the retention of the gas holder was always intended."

"The industrial history of the riverside is being steadily erased, to be replaced by walls of glass.  The retention and reuse of the gasholders at Kings Cross shows what can be done with some imagination and wit (qualities sadly missing from the development community by and large). RGB Greenwich have commendably acted, recently, to safeguard other industrial monuments downriver at Charlton - it would be tragic to overlook this magnificent and singular landmark at Greenwich."

An iconic landmark which should be preserved as a part of the heritage of East Greenwich.

Industrial heritage is important - this is a landmark.

It's a crucial part of the whole history of Greenwich - and London - visible to all arriving in Greenwich by river.  Greenwich - palaces AND power stations!

It's a great link to our last and visually it stands out and should remain.

This is a local landmark. There are many creative ways to use this as housing.

This is an important historic landmark and should be saved.

This is an important landmark and it's destruction would be a significant loss to Greenwich's Industrial Heritage and be seen a serious failure of judgement on the part of the Council in years to come.

This is an important Landmark in an area without much character

It’s an important landmark  and holds history of the area .

This is an iconic piece of our industrial heritage apart from being a local landmark.

It is of historic importance but also could be used in a creative and landmark manner in the future

let Greenwich become another Battersea... well perhaps... ;

A great local icon and landmark its possible replacement would be less worth, guaranteed!"

It is a landmark and if we lose our landmarks we lose our way not only physically but also socially and historically.

"How many children know the Gas Holder is linked to the tiny row of gas homes beside the Pilot Inn. This gas holder adds a sense of perspective and interest to an otherwise soulless new build area, where we will lose awareness of our rich industrial  heritage. Knock down another bland tower block instead!"


and people refer to their own local memories
 "I have lived in Greenwich for 40 years and whilst so much has changed, Jumbo has always been here and should remain as a reminder of our history"

"I pass this everyday on my way to work. I've lived here for 7 years and Gas Frame No 1 is still one of my favourite parts about the peninsula. It embodies historical engineering and it's one of the only surviving pieces of architecture after the Blitz on the peninsula. Destroying it means we're destroying another piece of our community. The best parts of London are the ones that cherish the historical landmarks and design new buildings that live in harmony with these structures. Let's work together, and create something that doesn't throw out the old in order to bring in the new."

"i'm sick of there being nothing left our historic past i have grown up with this there on my travels to my nans as a kid she may not be here anymore but it is nice to see this, it brings back childhood memories, leave it where it is ,, stop trashing our borough with these horrible new builds"

Enough of Greenwich memories are going let’s stop this from happening

I grew up in Greenwich and these were an iconic site

I’ve walked past this monument to my grandparents and great grand parents every day. It must stay. It. Must. Stay!

My dad worked at that has works myself and siblings were brought up knowing that was were our dad worked for many many years so it was like home from home for me anyway

My father worked there but mainly it helps to balance the plethora of high rise buildings across the river.

These are familiar sights that are disapearing from our heritage when we were independant of fuel from around the world. To some they maybe an eyesore but to many others they are the first sign of home !

"One of the few remaining reminders of  Old Greenwich in this area, please save it!"

Greenwich is jammed with recent high-rise residential developments; its unique character has become lost in a sea of bland buildings, increasingly blocking-out the skyline.  I am in favour of retaining the famous gas-holder at East Greenwich and in retaining some of the character of a great historical and industrial area."

So much here on the Peninsula is changing ... The Gas Holder is a beautiful reminder of our history and so needs to remain for future generations to learn from ... if this goes most of the peninsula will be square angular blocks of same-ness

"Had family that worked at the Greenwich Gas works, such a small thing to keep to local history alive."

We're losing so much and gaining little.   Leave it alone Greenwich
and a need for 'place making'
How many 'places' are there on the peninsular - it's an opportunity to place make & retain heritage.

As examples of this already uncommon building type get rarer so they endow their surroundings with an even greater feeling of place.


It's an amazing structure

Saturday, 8 September 2018

Next lot of riveting news


Some of the items below have already appeared on the Greenwich Industrial History Facebook page.   Facebook reaches different audiences but a smaller one - but the idea is to try to put some of his on both.  But let’s see how we go!

Follow up emails to requests for information below to indhistgreenwich@aol.com

-----------------------------

The BIG news in Greenwich historical circles continues to be the very shocking closure of the Greenwich Heritage Centre and we understand that even those working in the archive on the last date were not aware that it would not reopen.  The quickly set up Greenwich Heritage Users Forum have now met with Len Duvall, our Greater London Authority member and Chair of the Greenwich Heritage Trust.  Future meetings are being arranged.  A member of Greenwich Industrial History Society was present at the initial meeting along with someone from Greenwich Historical Association and some professional historians.  Most, if not all, of the local history societies are in touch and have representatives eager to take part.  Some national organisations concerned with archive as well as some of the archive owners/depositors have been contacted

It is understood that the buildings in Woolwich in which the heritage centre was based are to be converted into a theatre as part of the new Woolwich arts area.  Meanwhile the archive itself will be stored in Anchorage Point in Anchor and Hope Lane.  We are told access to it will depend on whether you are a ‘professional’ or an ordinary user.  (A distinction which I, Mary, personally find offensive).

Plans for both the old heritage centre building (Building 41) and Anchorage Point need planning consent.  If you are concerned about this situation please make a submission on either or both of them through the Council web site or in writing to the planning officer concerned.

The Planning meeting for Building 41 is likely to be on the 25th of September so it is important to get any comments in as quickly as possible. The case officer is Emily Leslie


We understand the case officer for Anchorage Point is Lesley Agyekumaa-Sasu and we understand it may go to Woolwich area planning committee on the 16th October.


Also please get in touch with any general comments – we can pass them on to the Archive Users Forum.  This is a very brief summary of what is going on.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
We have a request for information on Pipers Barge Builders who were on the Greenwich Riverside at what is now Riverside Garden from the 1890s until around 1990.  They built some famous racing barges including ‘the famous’ Giralda and one of their Greenwich built barges survives as a bar on the Embankment. Please get in touch if you can help

----------------------------------------
Adriaan at the European Industrial Heritage Organisation – has written about a new cranes database.

"As you know EFAITH has launched a campaign to build a European database on harbour and other cranes - see www.harbourcranes.eu - which is a part of the industrial heritage campaign of the EuropeanYear of Cultural Heritage 2018

Information is now arriving from different countries and we should like to add also harbour cranes that still exist in the UK. I remember there were some in London, but also in Portsmouth and Southampton. Can you spread the message and could GLIAS provide us with details of the cranes that are still standing in London ?
A record card (questionnaire) can be downloaded from
http://www.harbourcranes.eu/?q=collaborate - but even if the details are not complete we will be happy to receive the information

Let us know if you think there is something we should send, or if you decide to do it yourself. Happy to post up links to info about the 2 cranes which were sadly demolished in 2000 at Lovell's Wharf - today's Riverside Gardens
--------------------------------------

THE GASHOLDER – the on line petition is now well up and if we add the paper petition we must be very near 1500 signatures.  You can still sign https://www.change.org/p/royal-borough-of-greenwich-southern-gas-networks-save-the-nationally-important-east-greenwich-gas-holder-from-demolition

Hopefully the campaign group will be meeting SGN along with the planners in a week or so’s time. And thank you very much to Councillor Sizwe James for all his help.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Crossness Engines AGM – this is on 25th September (a Tuesday) at 11.am  but the meeting notice doesn’t actually say where it is!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We have a request for information on the British Steel Plant in Riverway – this stood behind the Pilot Pub and was more generally known as Redpath Brown’s or – later – Dorman Long or Bolkow Vaughan.  When it closed there was some industrial action and an occupation of the site.  If you know anything about this please get in touch.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


We have a note from a reader who says “I carried out the Electrical installation on the Golden Dawn and her sister ships at Cubow. At that time I worked for Lowestoft based LEC Marine. Would you like more information, what would you like to know??

Cubow were a ship repair and ship building business on the site to the west of Woolwich ferry with a couple of newish blocks of flats (what else!!) . They were still at work in the 1990s

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Steve Peterson has told us that he has put on Youtube a copy of his video of Ian Bull’s presentation to GIHS on the Royal Arsenal’s outstation at the Yantlet.  This was riveting and is a must see


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In the post:

Subterranea - the 'Magazine' produced by Subterranea Brittanica, about all things underground. Its a fairly posh publication with lots of interesting articles The current edition does include a report of a boat trip which looked at sites for the Thames Tideway Tunnel. Although the trip looked at sites upriver of London Bridge the tunnel itself will come down the river past Greenwich. The article has a lot of detail about the tunnel and how it is being built. A number of GIHS members were on the trip - and it even includes a very unflattering picture of one of us.
It also includes a report on their AGM - but does not mention that after the main event the members were treated to a presentation on the Greenwich and Woolwich Foot tunnels on behalf of the Friends Organisation, (FOGWOFT) by Ian Blore and Mary Mills
(Look on the Sub Brit website for how to get/see this www.subbrit.org.uk)

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Also in the post:

Cut-A-Way which has nothing to do with Greenwich at all but is a newsletter for the Thames and Medway Canal Association. I am mentioning it because it refers to one of the more eccentric canals around - and only 20 miles or so down river. (www.thamesmedway.co.uk)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------GREENWICH SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

A rather belated report on their Summer number –which includes

A rant from me about how a museum was needed about Greenwich itself in Greenwich and not just national museums in Greenwich and a heritage centre in Woolwich. This was written before the sad fate of the Heritage Centre was known.

A note about the heritage engagement project at St Alfege’s church and the appointment of Wendy Foreman to manage it.  Please email Rebecca.parrant@st.alfege.org.uk for details

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Industrial Archaeology News – this is a national newsletter. Their autumn number includes

An important article by Robert Carr on industrial chimneys – this is in a national context but e does illustrate it with our own Woolwich Dockyard chimney describing it as ‘rather impressive’.

In another article, about gasholders, Robert also mentions our petition on the East Greenwich holder.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Charlton Society have asked us if we know anything about trenches which are at the top of Hanging Wood in Charlrton


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We understand that the art work on the steps at Enderby Wharf is safe and well and has survived the various contractors working on the path.  It describes the history of cable making on the site and was installed via Carol Kenna and Groundwork in the early 2000s.  Look back on this blog and there is a whole history of it. We also understand that gates are being installed to access the steps and an information plaque (content unknown!).
Thanks to Jane, the Council's Enforcement Officer for this information and help

--------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

WESTCOMBE NEWS  

The September issue contains a long and informative article by Peter Luck  on 'Saving Greenwich's Historic Gas Holder' and a Fact File on the 'Significance of the Gas Holder'.  Happy to send copies if people want them.  
Also thanks to WN for a plug for my little Jetty booklet with a nice article.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BLACKHEATH SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

The Autumn edition contains an article by Neil Rhind on the closure of the  Heritage Centre 'appalling'.!

- and also a long article on the new railway signalling system to be installed at Blackheath Station. Lots of detail - railway fans will love it!  The new cable will run under platform 1 to a high voltage power source at Pond Road interchange. There will be a new signals exchange in the sidings behind Platform 1.  This will mean removal of vegetation which is upsetting some people and there are various other arguments about the boundaries of the conservation area and listing statuses. They think the new box is a bit too big, I think.

There are also notes about changes at Age Exchange, Lewisham Station and fund raising at Blackheath Halls. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AND - MY LITTLE ADVENTURE

The aggregate boats which come into Deptford Creek are all 'Priors' - except its not Priors anymore, but the boats are all family names.  They come from 'Ballast Quay' which is at Fingringhoe in Essex and they bring aggregate dredged there down to Deptford.  If you look on Google Earth you will see  a huge patch of works on the riverside.
I knew it would be difficult to see anything there - but off I went. Fingringhoe is a substantial village and luckly I could park off road at the gates to Ballast Quay.  lots of 'go away' type signage. I stood and looked in and a man came up.  He said he owned this area and it was his home. To get to the quay you had to walk through his area, and he wasn't having that - and anyway they were very unfriendly at the Quay. Just then a huge great lorry came hurtling down - 'jump quick' said the man, as the lorry shot down the lane through the gates, past his house and on.   The man said that the firm have given up dredging and their mineral rights.  They dug dug dug until they had a huge mountain, and that is what has been coming down to Deptford.  Once that is gone, no more. So - ………………….
I also asked him about the old crane - he didn't know.
and so I went home.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


MEANWHILE

What has GIHS been doing

We had a meeting with Cllr.Miranda Williams who is now the lead member for culture. We covered a lot of issues - QRtags, the 'cultural offer', Royal Arsenal railways, etc etc.  Happy to send details.
Mostly it was to try and impress her and her office, Taki Sulaiman, of the interest inherent in industrial heritage and what a lot we have of it in Greenwich. 

We have also had another more general meeting to discuss current issues -

Closure of the Heritage Centre - use of the Borough Hall - Plumstead Railway Footbridge - meeting on Peabody plans for West Thamesmead  - Arsenal walk with the conservation officer - the Gridiron - how to get something scheduled as an ancient monument - riverside pill box at the Arsenal - canal and swing bridge - Enderby Group and the house to be a pub - gasholder and researches on its (non) listing history - QR tags and lack of responses from Tracy - Rockwell and the rope works - Creekside meeting by with councillors  - Alan Baxter walk round Woolwich - serenading chimneys - riverside path closures - and etc etc etc

Don't forget our next talk- look to the left - about the power station and the observatory...…...



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

News, notes and whathaveyou from the world of Greenwich History is th


The big news in the world of Greenwich history is the sudden closure last week of the Greenwich archive and the Heritage Centre.  Although this was scheduled it was not expected to be so sudden and promises for the future are not very clear.  The archive is overwhelmingly important to local historians and indeed to visitors who may be from overseas or students working to a deadline.

As a result of this is that within the past week or so a Greenwich Archive Users Forum has emerged. At the moment this is a very ad hoc body.  Last night some members went to the Greenwich Planning Board meeting where some of the buildings proposed for a new cultural centre on the Arsenal site were discussed. They hoped to draw attention to the issues around the archive and hopefully this happened.

The Group is keen to build up support among archive users and groups with members who use it.

Please get in touch if you would like to go on the supporters list (e.pearcey@gmail.com) and hopefully we will have news of the current situation in due course.

The archive belongs to the Council but has been managed for some years by the Greenwich Heritage Trust - and we are hoping to meet them as soon as possible


The campaign on the East Greenwich Gas Holder continues - the petition is still open and still growing.  They hope to meet planning officers along with Southern Gas Networks staff soon.  Peter and Mary met Cllr Sizwe James on this recently and he has been extremely helpful. Cllr Nigel Fletcher has also been asking a lot of the right questions and we understand the Council has written to SGN.

Last week a group of us were taken out to dinner at the Greenwich Kitchen (very nice) on the Peninsula by Malcolm Tucker - who is the great expert on gasholders. This was to welcome to London Barbara Berger whose PhD from Munich University features our amazing gas holder.

In a different subject area - among the experts who Malcolm had invited were people from the History of Structural Engineering Group and we took them to see some features of the Peninsula – including the Pilot and cottages. They commented that the cottages must be built on a ridge of gravel in order for them to have stood so firmly over the past 218 years.  This is now being investigated.


Bell Green
We understand that the gasholders at Bell Green which Lewisham Council locally listed are now facing the same fate as our East Greenwich holder. SGN have got prior approval of demolition from the Government and Lewisham Council have been forced to agree a management programme for demolition. (told you, told you, local listing was useless). We look forward to hearing what more is happening there.


Crossness Engines.         

We have a copy of their latest newsletter which sadly on the front page caries an obituary to Harry Collinson. More happily inside they spotlight Langridge, father and son volunteers.

Crossness of course also had its problems with the big engine house closed because of asbestos. They say a full survey has been undertaken and they need £417,000 pounds in order to clear it. They are fundraising and meanwhile trying to do their best to keep the show on the road

The valve house has now been opened and has an exhibition of small engines- and they list the huge team of volunteers who worked to achieve this.

Finally they announce a grant of £29,800 to allow them to buy locomotive Busy Basil for their future Rang Railway.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There is an article by Allan Green in the Subtel Forum (https://subtelforum.com/products/subtel-forum-magazine/  on Enderby Wharf. This is a copy of a paper Allan gave to a conference in 2004 and is thus out of date in some details. It is however a major article from a major author on the subject and we would very much commend it to readers.


Our wonderful gas holder was highlighted by feature writer Jane Shilling - who lives in Greenwich - in the Daily Telegraph on the 18th of June this year. Thanks Jane
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Woodlands Farm
We understand the farm held an event on the Great War and the effect on farming particularly in the Welling area. Happy to hear more details of this from the farm - please let us know.


GLIAS Newsletter

Great to see pictures – actually coloured pictures - in the newsletter. We understand however that this may be costing more than is economically reasonable. GLIAS is therefore looking to produce an electronic version – if you would like to get this email gdpr@glias.org.uk

GLIAS advertises walks – book via walks@glias.org.uk

  • on 13 September around Park Royal and Old Oak
  • on 6th of October around London Bridge and Bermondsey

They are also rescheduling the GLIAS visit to Morden College – the Blackheath based charity which has an amazing archive of local industrialised area.  This will be on 25th September and places need to be booked before the 21st September (d.perrett647@btinternet.com)

With reference to Greenwich –

  • the newsletter features an article by our Richard Buchanan about trends in electrical transformers (but not those in Greenwich)
  • An article by Bob Carr on Greenwich Town hall (that’s GREENWICH Town Hall) giving some details of its modernist architecture. It there the Greenwich activists who have suggested that it would make a good museum of history of Greenwich as a town with an industrial and civic history – apart from Henry VIII and the navy
  • Bob has also highlighted the refitting into an old diesel engine dust cart with a low noise zero emission eRCV by the Borough of Greenwich – which will also give the vehicle a much longer life.

Finally and sadly the newsletter includes an obituary for Sue Hayton who was one of the mainstays of the GLIAS committee since the early seventies. She was yet another alumnus of Denis Smith’s Goldsmiths College course. She had been responsible for the membership of GLIAS from its outset and also worked on the printing and production of the newsletter. She is a great loss to the society. Condolences to Danny, Alice, Barbara and of course, little Sid.


A recent visit to the site of Betteshanger Colliery, near Deal in Kent.  involved a discussion about the opening of the Kent Miners Museum there next March.  We were told that in their archive is an address list of families in Greenwich and put up Kent miners in the 1980s strike - some will remember that well.  It would be good if people in Greenwich were able to send their memories of the Kent Miners to compliment this archive and will be happy to forward anything should anybody send in.

Monday, 16 July 2018

News now


Woolwich Antiquarian Newsletter. 
The current edition includes an article by Jim Marrett on Woolwich potteries which features the story of the Woolwich stoneware kiln.  He also mentions finds in the Rope Yard Rails area of red earthenware called 'London Ware'. The oldest of these kilns showed that Woolwich had a 400 year old pottery industry

The Newsletter also summarises a number of sites in ‘A Further Date with Building' by Jim Marratt.  Among other sites he mentions the LCC Shooters Hill Fire Station built in 1927 and designed by J.B.Corslake.  Opposite the fire station is a wall in which bricks were made by 'Stephen'.   He also mentions the Lakedale Road Fire Station and the nearby horse tram depot - and many RACS buildings in Woolwich as well as Beasley’s brewery in Plumstead.

The two new Woolwich ferry boats are mentioned which are being built in Poland.  These will have small low emission engines which charge batteries at a constant rate.

The newsletter also gives the news that the Falconwood Model Railway has been told to leave its current site by National Grid. They are trying to identify a new sites - and would welcome information. 

Fishing

We have been sent a copy of a book by Roger Williams called “Whitebait and the Thames fisheries”.  This tells the story of how Whitebait became a popular dish and how it moved to Greenwich rom Dagenham as a feature of pub menus.   We have booked Roger to come and speak to us about Greenwich fishing and Whitebait next summer. In the meantime the book is £7.00 from Bristol Book Publishing.

We have also noted a talk by Roger given to the Docklands History Group on fishing in the Thames.  He pointed out that Greenwich was the biggest supplier of fish to Billingsgate until the 19th century.  This ended when the Royal Hospital was extended and many of the buildings used by the fishing industry were demolised. The industry began to move to the North Sea ports which they helped to build as the railway provided access. Grimsby owes a lot to Greenwich

 Rapid Wire Systems

GLIAS has noted the local existence of rapid wire systems in shops. These systems was where the assistant put your money into a little metal tray, pulled a lever, and it whizzed off and then came back with your change.  We understand the Age Exchange Centre in Blackheath has a system like this which came out of a shop in Hackney.  In Woolwich the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society had such a system which not only returned your change but also your dividend.


Greenwich Visitor.  
The July edition has an article on the gasholder and the presentation of the GIHS petition. It also covers the subsequent resolution at a Council meeting which was voted down. Thank you Visitor for featuring this.  
Also in this edition is a full page feature and appreciation by Julian Watson of Greenwich historian and writer Beryl Platts who died a few weeks ago.  Julian highlights her work in defeating the plans for the Ringway motorways which were intended to run through central Greenwich and how she drew attention to the historic fabric of our area.  Pat of that heritage is the Borough Hall, in Royal Hill,  and on another page an article by Alan Watkins talks about the Hall and its background as part of Greenwich’s revolutionary 1939 town-hall and how it would make a wonderful museum for Greenwich Town  (as distinct from Woolwich).

Westcombe News.  
The July this also featured the story of the Borough hall with architectural details about its history.  They also mention the new bridge which has 'healed 'the missing link of the Thames path.  Another Initiative highlighted by the News is the installation of seven storyboards on the history and wildlife of Blackheath which had been put in place.  In June the News carried the story of the gas holder and the need to sign the petition.

853 blogger has also picked up the story of the gas-holder in some detail. 

Perhaps we should point out that none of these commentators on the holder appear to understand that neither the council nor its officers have given permission for demolition of the holder. They have only agreed to a management process by which the holder can be demolished.  The decision to demolish has been rendered unnecessary by the government’s imposition of the immunity to listing order.


Elizabeth writes to us about a new book by Dr. Peter Hodgkinson. this is about Major Conrad Hugh Dinwiddy who was a ‘civilian turned artillery man’ and as such invented an aerial range finder, an aiming post scheme for firing, schemes for firing artillery from river barges and the use of a monorail for artillery supply. He was killed in battle in September 1917.  He ad bene a pupil at the Roan School and had been s surveyor at East Greenwich Gas Works.  Elizabeth says we must see the website www.peterhodgkinson.co.uk.



Thursday, 12 July 2018

Greenwich No.2. gas holder 1917

These pictures show the wreck of Greenwich No.2. Gas holder in 1917.

No.2. Gas Holder stood slightly to the north of the current holder. It was much larger and was for many years the largest gas holder in the world. Its tank - the ground level part of the structure - is still there and is rumoured to be the future works site for the Silvertown Tunnel.  
In 1917 there was a massive explosion in a TNT factory in Slvertown on the other side of the River.  No.2. gas holder was badly damaged - and these pictures show the damage. They are part of a collection of over twenty pictures of the damage which we have been sent by the National Grid Archive. 

During the explosion the gas supply to south London was saved by valvesman Frederick Innis whose quick actions earnt him a British Empire Medal.   I am pleased to find more about him on the Ladywell Cemetery Web site - and hope to add more soon - and a lot more pictures.