Friday, 22 August 2014

IKEA and a Greenwich built engine

The Newsletter of the Association for Industrial Archaeology for  Autumn 2014 has arrived - and in it are two items of relevance to Greenwich.

One of them is an appeal for information about a steam engine which is being restored.  The article doesn't mention Greenwich but it is here that the engine was built - well aware, I suppose, of the fathomnless depths of the Boroughs ignorance of the technological achievements of its past. 

This is about the Museum of Western Australia who restoring an engine from the SS Xantho originally installed in a Crimean War era gunboat.   They are trying to produce a virtual copy of this engine which they say is of 'considerable significance in the history of manufacturing technology' and that it is the 'only example of a John Penn and Sons trunk engine which was the most common type of Royal Navy warship engines 1870-75'.

They are asking for some help with details of construction.  I am including this because the factory was here, on Blackheath Hill, and because anywhere else in the world you would expect some local knowledge about it - but sadly, while they care about  these things in Western Australia, we clearly don't.

If anyone thinks they can help, please let us know and we can forward it to the correct person.

IKEA - AND SAINSBURYS.  The newsletter contains a detailed article about the possible demise of the 'tellytubby' Sainsburys.   This is largely about the attempt to get it listed - and points out that claims that it would be the first listed purpose built supermarket are not strictly true since the whole of Milton Keynes shopping centre is listed.  However it points out that the supermarket is said to 'represent a paradigm shift in public building'.  It uses half the energy of a conventional supermarket and is surrounded by earth banks and the toilets are flushed with rain water filtered by a reed bed in the adjacent nature reserve. 
It was shortlisted for the Stirling prize in 2000 and won a RIBA sustainability award. The author points out that it won first place - with 5,000 voters - in the People's Choice section of the Stirling Prize but that 'this popular vote may count against the building - popular taste does not find favour in high minded architectural circles'. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Old Loyal Britons - request for listing

Local Greenwich readers may be aware of a planning application to demolish The Old Loyal Briton's Pub in Thames Street.  We have been given permission to reproduce a submission by The Greenwich Society and the Greenwich Conservation Group to the Council for its inclusion in the Council's Local List of buildings of interest.   This submission includes interesting historical research on the pub and its setting.


The Old Loyal Britons, 62 Thames Street, Greenwich, SE10

The following represents a joint request from the Greenwich Society and the Greenwich Conservation Group to the Royal Borough of Greenwich that the above premises - in their present form - be considered for inclusion in the Council’s List of Buildings of Local Architectural or Historic Interest.


The Group became aware of the intention, should planning permission be granted, to demolish the present building on the site through the notification by letter, site notice and public notice (in the 5 August 2014 edition of Royal Greenwich Time) of application 14/1636/F. This as part of a proposal by Buzzgrade Ltd to build in its place a 6 storey block over a basement level providing A3 (Restaurant) use and/or A4 (Pub/Bar) use at ground floor and basement levels with 9 flats in the five floors above.The Group appreciates that, in the past, applications have been submitted and approved for extension works to the present building on the site - namely application 03/2594/F (approved June 2005) and a renewal application 10/0027/F (approved February 2010/now lapsed) - but, since both these applications retained and built on the existing structure, it was not thought relevant, at the time, to make a case for local listing.With the threat of demolition, this is no longer the case.


The present building sits at the western end of Thames Street close to its junction with Horseferry Place (formerly Horseferry Road). The site is in the West Greenwich Conservation Area and is in close proximity to the western boundary of the Buffer Zone of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site and can be seen from the World Heritage Site itself in the long view from the Greenwich Church Street approach to Cutty Sark Gardens


Thames Street lies at the heart of what was, in Victorian times, an intensively developed riverine area bounded to the north by the River Thames, to the south by Bridge Street (now Creek Road), to the west by Norway Street and, to the east, by Church Street (now Greenwich Church Street) and the former Billingsgate Street, the line of which presently forms the western boundary to Cutty Sark Gardens.
The area was home to wharves and jetties on the river frontage and, in the immediate hinterland, there was a wide range of industrial uses such as a coal merchants, a hay and straw yard, a brewery, the base for the town’s fishing fleet and, in a myriad of closely packed streets, the homes of families associated with these industries - not least that of the fishing fleet.
Public houses featured prominently with some 10 in the back streets and a further half a dozen or so in the main thoroughfares of Bridge Street and Church Street - a list of those known to exist in mid-Victorian times is below. 
In the mid 20th century the area was cleared to allow for the construction of the Meridian Estate, a series of municipal housing blocks, starting in the east, prior to the outbreak of the Second World War and to the west, after the cessation of hostilities when building restrictions were lifted. Some of the blocks were given the names of streets which originally filled the area - for example Coltman House and Rockfield House,

At present only three of the mid-Victorian buildings remain.  These are -
the former St Peter’s Church and Schools (now


St Alfege with St Peter’s Primary School)

the former Thames public house (previously Rose & Crown) in Norway Street 

and the building which is the subject of this request

Further images can be found of this building and the surrounding Meridian Estate blocks on page 117 of the West Greenwich Conservation Area Appraisal document.


62 Thames Street is, above ground, a two storey building filling on plan virtually the whole of the 0.02 hectare plot with a frontage occupying, save for a side access area, the full width of the site while, deeper into the site, the massing steps back to provide a reduced width rear extension, also of two storeys.
As viewed from the street, the south facade of the building consists of 2 no. ground floor storey height semi-circular headed openings behind which is a traditional pub frontage screen consisting of timber framed windows and doors. At first floor level, there are 2 no. six over six pattern vertical sliding timber sash windows. The facade terminates in a shallow arched parapet masking a series of flat roofs behind. Between the ground and first floor levels is a traditional painted timber fascia with lettering indicating the current pub use.
The original stock brick facings at both levels have, at some time in the past, been either over-painted or rendered. The ground floor front facade is faced in render. The side elevations have no especially distinguishing features but are typical of mid to late- Victorian construction.
The interior has been much altered so that, at the front of the building, many spaces which would have been separate rooms have, over time, been opened up to create larger spaces better suited to the building’s more recent uses.
The external and internal fabric is in a reasonable state of repair.
There are suggestions that the tall arched openings on the front facade relate back to a time when the building was used as a home for one of the town’s early fire stations, perhaps as an appliance house. Since research into this suggestion is ongoing, certainty in this regard cannot be established.
What can be established is that beer retailing operations existed on the site as far back as at  least the early 1850s and the building operated as licensed premises up until the early 1990s.
Since that time the building was used variously as a restaurant and as a short-lived Chinese takeaway and gambling den. From October 2013, the premises have been trading as The Old Loyal Britons as a base for the East Wickham Brewery where it continues to trade - on a relatively short lease - brewing and serving cask ales, serving meals using locally sourced produce and offering a wide range of community activities.

Historical Associations    

It is said that the pub was given, for a time, the temporary name of The Lone Sailor in recognition of Francis Chichester who, in 1966, in his yacht Gypsy Moth IV single-handedly circumnavigated the globe. In 1967 Chichester was knighted in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College for his exploits and, subsequently, Gypsy Moth IV was berthed, until 2003, close to the site of the pub at the extreme western end of Cutty Sark Gardens adjacent to the Thames Path.

Planning Policy

Core Strategy policy EA(b) Pubs - supporting paragraph 4.2.30 to this policy acknowledges that “The architecture of a pub is often distinctive and over time these buildings have become important local landmarks and heritage assets”. It goes on to say that “Many of the buildings are statutorily or locally-listed for their architectural and historic value”.
Regrettably, The Old Loyal Britons public house has, to date, not been recognised as such.
Hence this request for consideration of a local listing.    


In the light of the foregoing and in the knowledge that the future of the building is the subject of a live application which proposes its demolition, the Greenwich Conservation Group requests that urgent consideration be given to the inclusion of the Old Loyal Britons public house at 62 Thames Street on the Council’s List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest. While recognising that the building is modest in scale and appearance, it is a vernacular building typical of its period and it is a remnant of the many domestic buildings which would have occupied the area. It does not deserve to be lost and a local listing would go some way to offering a degree of protection. 

Prepared by Philip Binns on behalf of the Greenwich Society and the Greenwich Conservation Group - 18 August 2014

List of pubs in the immediate area of The Old Loyal Britons in mid-Victorian times

Bee Hive - 22 Bridge Street
British Queen - 67 Church Street
Dover Castle - 53 Church Street
Fubbs Yacht - 9 Brewhouse Lane * 
Lord Hood - Bridge Street
Loyal Briton - 18 Horseferry Road (now Place) * date at least 1861 (
Masons Arms - 57 Church Street
Old Loyal Briton - 62 Thames Street * date at least 1852 (Masons Greenwich Street Directory)
Retreat - 1 Horseferry Road *
Ship & Sailor - 71 Church Street
Steam Ferry - 45 Horseferry Road *
Sugar Loaf - 6 Billingsgate Street *
Sun - 17 Wood Wharf *
Thames (formerly Rose & Crown) - Norway Street/Thames Street *
Unicorn - Horseferry Road *
Victoria - 51 Thames Street *

* - denotes pubs within the riverine area

Monday, 18 August 2014

Tory Prime Minister opens Greenwich Housing Estate

Prentiss Court is now an estate of Council owned housing standing at the bottom of Charlton Lane, just south of the level crossing.  It was originally company housing built for the employees of Harveys, metal fabrication company, based in the Woolwich Road. 
Here is the report of its opening taken from Harvey's Company magazine December 1952

ON Friday 3rd October, Prentiss Court, an extension to our Harvey Gardens Housing Estate, was opened by the Minister of Housing and Local Government, The Rt. Hon. Harold Macmillan, M.P.
Mr. H. T. Eatwell, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, opened the proceedings by welcoming the guests, and mentioning the Company's appreciation of the fact that the Minister of Housing and Local Government had come to perform the opening ceremony.
“It has long been the policy of our Chairman, Mr. Sydney Harvey, and the Directors," said Mr. Eat well, "to take a practical interest in the well-being of our employees. We already have some hundreds of houses and this extension provides for another 32 employees and their families. This is an example of what private enterprise can do. It is, of course, paid for in full by the Company.
The project has only been made possible by the help and co-operation of the Minister's Department, the Local Authority, the Architects, the Surveyors, and the Contractors and their workers, and I wish to take this opportunity to thank them and congratulate them on the results of their united efforts. One of the most notable facts about this estate is that by the efficiency and enterprise of the Con- tractors and the willing production of the workers, these dwellings have been completed at an average rate of one every ten days.
You will all like to know why this Estate has been called Prentiss Court. During the war, Dr. Howard Prentiss came to us after a distinguished career, as our first Medical Officer. Not only did he give magnificent medical attention to our employees, but by his cheerful example and Christian charity, became a firm friend and mentor to us all. I am sorry to say that after a brief retirement, Dr. Prentiss passed on in 1951. All who knew him feel that these fine fiats and houses are a fitting memorial to such a wise counsellor and good friend."
 In concluding, Mr. Eatwell mentioned that in the piping days of peace and plenty it was the custom to present a gold key to the person officiating at a ceremony such as this. It was felt, however, that as the main material used in our Works is steel, it is fitting that this key is also made of Good British Steel. The Minister was then asked to accept the key for the purpose of opening Prentiss Court.
In his reply the Minister said-" This is a very unique occasion and one which it is a great honour to me to be asked to attend. It is unique because it represents a very special effort over a long period of years by the great and well-known firm who have built these flats and houses. G. A. Harvey are known the world over. They represent all the best of the old and the new; they are an old family business still conducted' by the family of the founder and they have all the new modern outlook that we connect with the most go ahead methods. Perhaps I may be allowed to share a little in the sense of honour that is done to a family business, because I have myself the honour of being the third generation of my own family business, founded by my grandfather and now carried on by my son. There is, I think, something that the special relationships of family business still have to give in the daily life of industry; they have a sense of comradeship and partners together in a great enterprise, and certainly Harvey's have shown that, not only now but for many years.
As you said, Mr Chairman, this new effort is only an extension of a long tradition of the Company of providing homes - for their employees, in addition to the several hundred homes which you have already provided his makes a new departure and a new effort.
I was interested to hear of the long traditions surrounding this site. I had been an ecclesiastical property, passed to a railway and then became a pumping station, but anyway it is, now revived and restored to a very fine purpose, and I do not think you can find anywhere anything more beautifully designed or better adapted than these buildings which we are to open today.
I am very glad that you have introduced the variation. I open a great number of flats, a certain number of houses, but I always like to have a mixture of houses, maisonettes and flats which breaks the rather tedious character when you get too much the same, and 1 am sure in our modern planning the more variation we can get the better it is. Here on this fine site you have provided in the most modern wav a very remarkable series of dwellings.
These 32 dwellings are the last addition to what you have already done. I am sure that everybody concerned, Mr. Chairman, shares in the thanks and gratitude which we owe to your great Company, and I am sure everybody concerned feels that it is this kind of development, closely associated with industry, which has a great part to play in the housing drive. Everyone has a part to play. There is a great work to be done. Much has to be done and perhaps the greater part must for a long time fall on the direct efforts of the local authority, but much has to be done also by private effort and private enterprise. There is in my view no conflict between these two conceptions. Hand in hand, each has a part to play in the fulfilment of this housing drive, with which we must press forward so long as we have the power and solvency to do it. In so doing we make by far the greatest contribution to the people as a whole.
There are many things we would like to have in our lives and many pleasures and benefits we hope to obtain. I think the home is always the first and most vital of all things. It is the very basis of life itself in any State; it is the basis of the family, just as the family itself is the basis of the nation, and it is by this joint effort by the local authority, by go ahead firms, by private enterprise, by individual effort by individual people that we shall in due course get on top of this great problem.
Meanwhile, Mr. Chairman, it is my privilege to take this key with which to open the dwelling which is to be the symbolic opening to-day, and to join with you and pray that all who live now and in the future in these 32 dwellings may have happy and useful lives; that all who live there may be happy themselves and spread happiness among all with whom they work, and may God's blessings rest upon Prentiss Court and upon all those who dwell therein."
After the Minister's speech Mr. Eatwell called upon the Vicar of the Parish, within which the Estate lays, The Reverend G. E. Saville, to offer a prayer.
The Mayor of Greenwich (Councillor Harry Ingle, J .P.), with whom was the Mayoress, expressed his pleasure at being associated with a scheme aimed at improving the housing schemes of the borough. The difficulty to-day was that there were too many housing applicants chasing too few dwellings, and a second difficulty was that the' council had to see that its energies were devoted to providing accommodation for those in urgent need, sometimes to the exclusion of those who by reason of their employment desired to live in close proximity to their work, and for that reason the council appreciated the efforts of Messrs. Harvey.
Following the opening of the front door or Flat No. 16, the Guests inspected the flat and made a tour of the rest of the Estate, paying particular attention to the Communal Laundry where a demonstrator was able to point out the facilities available.
The whole party then adjourned to the Works for tea.
Among the guests were: Mrs. Howard Prentiss ; Miss Marguerite Harvey; Mr. and Mrs. A. S. Charlton, Director of Housing-The Ministry of Housing and Local Government; Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Jennings, Borough Engineer and Surveyor for Greenwich; Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Dore, Housing Manager-Borough of Greenwich; Col. and Mrs. S. M. Roberts, Chairman, "Local Housing Association"; Chief Supt. H. N. Arber and Mrs. Arber, Chief Supt., "R" Division, Metropolitan Police; Mr. H. W. H. Icough, Leader of Greenwich Borough Council; Mr. and Mrs. Peter J ones; Mrs. Bushell ; Mr. H. B. Fergusson, Senior Director, G.A.H.; Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Harvey, Director, G.A.H.; Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Cooper, Director, G.A.H.; Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Howes, Architect; Mr. and Mrs. F. L. Jackman, Architect; Mr. W. T. Watson, London Manager-Sir Robert Me Alpine & Sons, Ltd.; Mr. and Mrs. Stewart W. Cox, Chief Engineer-Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons, Ltd.; Mr. and Mrs. W. Pitcher, Engineer Agent- Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons, Ltd.; Mr.A. E. J ones, Site Foreman-Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons, Ltd. Miss Morley and Mr. Garland, representing the Staff ; Mr. Robbins, representing the Foremen; and Mr. Heale and Mr. Stevens, Chairman and Secretary (respectively) of the Shop Stewards.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Lovells Path

Lovells Path
by Fred Mason
This may be of interest to residents who live near to Lovells Wharf.
Along the new river path there is a small inlet opposite a new reconstructed stone wall.There is a plaque telling us that this is part of a wall left over from Stone Wharf? Perhaps I can spread some light on this inlet. It is in fact the top of a large ramp, 130 ft wide. To see it in its present state no one could guess what it was in the past. As a boy in 1948/50 I had helped my father do some repairs to a boat he owned on this ramp. You could bring a boat up to the river path at the top of Cadet Place that had previously been called Paddock Street. I remember at the time my father telling me that this ramp was a public ramp. My father and is father were sailing barge skippers for Pipers, a yard close by so he would have had local knowledge. Being close to Ballast Quay I should think fisherman from Ballast Quay and Peter boats etc would have used this ramp being so close by.
In the state is now it is just a mess. It has been steel piled, had concrete added more than once prior to the Woolwich Barrier being built, for flood protection, and had been dumped on by various contractors. The big stone ramp that went from high water mark, down to the low water mark at a constant angle has been dredged up to allow ships to get onto their berth at Wimpeys Wharf. The wharf is not there now and it was adjacent down the river. The ramp could best be seen from Lovells path at low water.
Putting two and two together, I don't think think this ramp was for locals to mend boats as it was big and cost a lot of money. The ramp lined up with Cadet Place and the remains of an old stone wall, which on a map dated 1695 tells us here was a Magazine (this is a naval term for a room on a ship to hold gunpowder). I think this ramp must have been built to facilitate the building of this magazine. A great deal of materials would have been needed. As on a map it is quite large going from the river down to Banning Street and from Cadet Place to the end of what is now Babcocks.
Peeping out from the eastern end of Babcocks corrugated iron fence is a stone pier, about 5ft high, the path you are standing on has been built up 4/5 ft, so the pier would have originally been 9/10 ft high. Is this the eastern end of the magazine compound? If you want to see it, be quick, as it won't be there long.

Fred  - you know I disagree with you about the site of the Government Magazine - because 1). the site of the magazine was owned by the Government and these other riverside sites were (and are) all owned by Morden College  and 2) because plans of the Magazine show it alongside Tudor Bendish Sluice which could still be seen emerging out of the Enderby site underneath the steps into the river alongside the Enderby jetty - it has just been extinguished and removed by the current builders on the Enderby site (one of the last remains of Tudor Greenwich). 3) neither the plans of the Magazine nor the one picture of it, nor the records of it, mention a ramp.

I think what you say about the ramp is very interesting. And I am writing this from memory so I may be wrong. If you look at the 1880 Ordnance Survey map you will see that a site near where you mention between Pipers Wharf and Granite Wharf is marked as the 'District Board of Works' - the local authority before Greenwich Council was invented.  Marked on it and heading towards the river is a ramp - in fact if you go into the same yard now you can see the remains of this ramp inland.  My guess - and this is a guess - that the District Board of Works built the ramp for the dust carts so that they could take them to the river and tip the rubbish into barges to be taken off down river. Later they moved this whole operation down river to Tunnel Avenue Depot - and you can see the big new E shaped jetty still there near where the Amylum silos used to be.    So your Dad could have been right - if it was owned by the Council it was a 'public' ramp.

Hope you don't mind me saying all this

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Request for info - Did you work at Harland and Wolff?

Harland and Wolff were once one of Britain’s largest ship building companies. At their highest point they had a workforce of 35,000 and shipyards in Belfast, Glasgow, Southampton, Liverpool and London. Eastside Community Heritage are currently researching a project looking at H&W’s North Woolwich Shipyard. We are looking for participants who would be willing to tell us their stories in regards to Harland and Wolff. Did you or your family work for H&W? Maybe your school watched one of their ships being launched? Tell us your H&W story! Contact Eastside Community Heritage at: or visit: or call: 02085533116 

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Information provided about Ralph Lucas, Greenwich Car Designer

We have received the following information about Ralph Lucas, the Greenwich-based car designer referenced recently in this Blog, from Barbara Holland. Many thanks to her for the information.

Ralph Lucas (1876-1955)

Ralph Lucas, born in Greenwich in 1876, indeed has an interesting place in the early history of motoring as a designer and builder of motor cars. He had a small workshop on Westcombe Hill, Blackheath in the early years of the 20th century. His family also boasts a number of notable or local connections, particularly his son, Colin, as well as his father and grandfather.

Ralph was one of 3 children, with the 1881 Census shows him residing at Park Lodge, Hervey Road, Blackheath with his father Francis R. Lucas, a telegraph engineer and his mother Katherine M. Lucas.  He went to St. Christopher’s School in Blackheath (1887-90), followed by Cheltenham College (1890-95) and Jesus College, Cambridge (1895-97).  In 1897 he began working as a draughtsman at Johnson & Phillips, Victoria Way, Charlton, moving up to sub-manager in 1899. 

It is at this time that his interest in motor car design and manufacturing was beginning, with the first Motor Show exhibition at the Agricultural Hall in Islington.  His premises were located at 191A Westcombe Hill, a workshop at the rear of the houses there. The access to it still exists and is now the site of Capital Roofing.  The 1901 Census shows him boarding at 9 Eastcombe Villas, Charlton Road, with his occupation recorded as a mechanical engineer and an employer. 

He became a member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 1903, with his record describing him as a motor car manufacturer and patentee.  In fact, he registered 15 UK and 3 US patents between 1899 and 1910 for a range of different engine parts.

His place in motoring history comes as a result of the ‘Valveless’ car, developed at his Westcombe Hill workshop and exhibited at various motor shows from 1899 to 1908.  Although described at the 1907 Motor Show at Olympia as ‘an ingenious engine’, by 1908 it seems that he had abandoned many of the distinctive features for commercial production by David Brown of Huddersfield.  It would appear that very few models were actually made.

An interesting insight into this period of Ralph’s life comes from a letter published in the Motor Sport Magazine for July 1957 from C. Berner.  This was Correze Aage Oscar Berner, who co- lodged with Ralph at 18 Charlton Road in 1901.  Correze Berner worked for a short period at Johnson & Phillips with Ralph Lucas and helped him in the development of his first motor car. In his letter he describes Ralph as someone ‘who spent all his days and most of nights at his small works nearby making has Valveless cars, with a truly valveless engine, a two-stroke. The engine was a close relation of an American pump engine his father had installed in his house in Forest Row in the Ashdown Forest.  As a budding engineer I was glad of … the opportunity to work on a real car’.  He also describes taking the Valveless on test runs down to Forest Row. They soon became close friends and he spent most of his free time at the Valveless works as an unofficial draughtsman.  He went on to work for more than 30 years at the Telegraph Construction & Maintenance Co. (Telcon) at Enderby’s Wharf, Greenwich under Ralph’s father Francis R. Lucas.

Details of Ralph’s career after this are sketchy.  He married his wife Mary Anderson Juler, a pianist and composer in 1903, and lived at 18 Charlton Road and then 7 Craigerne Road between 1903 and 1911. They had 2 sons, Anthony Ralph Lucas (b.1905) and Colin Anderson Lucas (b.1906).  In the 1911 Census the family is recorded at Redcliffe Farm, Wareham, Dorset with Ralph’s occupation described as a consulting engineer (motor cars).  At some point he moved back to London to live at 10 St.Germans Place, Blackheath where he lived until c.1939.

During the First World War (1914-1919) he served as a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve at an Admiralty Experimental Station.  Which one is not clear – there were a number of secret establishments set up all over the country to develop the technology used to fight the war, such as new fuels, submarine technology etc.. However, his engineering skills would have been put to good use.

His next recorded foray into motor manufacturing was the development of the North-Lucas Radial in 1922 with Oliver North at the Robin Hood Engineering Works, Putney Vale.  This car was seen as a ‘revolutionary design’, although apparently only one was built – by the Chelsea Motor Building Co.  A letter from Eric Riddle (a close relative) in the May 1991 edition of Motor Sport magazine, states that Ralph drove the North-Lucas Radial as his only car between 1922 and 1928, covering 65,000 miles in it.

The North Lucas

After this, his career appears to have changed direction.  The next reference for Ralph is in connection with his son Colin Anderson Lucas, a renowned Modernist architect.  Colin’s biography describes him joining his father’s building firm – Lucas, Lloyd & Co. - in 1929.  Colin’s first house design was built for his father in c. 1930. This was Noah’s House and Boat House, Spade Oak Reach at Cookham, Berkshire, the first reinforced concrete building in the Modernist style in the country and now a Grade II* listed building.  

Ralph’s father, Francis, died on 28th November 1931, leaving him a share of his estate worth £75,697 15s 4d, with his brother Dallyn Lucas.

Ralph lived at Noah’s House with his first wife, Mary who died in 1952, and then with his second wife, Lillian Knight.  Ralph died on 7th May 1955, leaving £19,403 16s 01p to Lillian Lucas.

Ralph Lucas’s Family Connections

Grandfather: Ralph Willett Lucas (1796-1874)
Ralph Lucas’s grandfather was born in North America – censuses vary, saying both Canada and the US – and was a landscape painter of minor fame.  Some of his work has been sold through Bonham’s and Christie’s in recent years, including this one of Croom’s Hill:

Croom’s Hill, Greenwich

It is not clear when he came to this country, but he is listed in Pigot’s 1840 Directory as a teacher or professor of drawing, living in Royal Hill. He married Charlotte Clarke at St. Alphege’s in 1844 and is shown as a widower and an artist, living at Royal Place in the marriage entry.  Other directory and census entries show that he lived at 3 Glen Mohr Terrace, Hyde Vale from at least 1851 until his death in 1874.  The 1871 census entry records his occupation as ‘retired ordnance officer’.  An obituary for Ralph’s brother Keith Lucas, a physiologist, records him as having been a Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery who fought in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Father: Francis Robert Lucas (1849-1931)
Ralph’s father, Francis Robert Lucas, also has a place in local engineering history.  He was a telegraph engineer, working from 1856 at the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Co. (Telcon) at Enderby’s Wharf in Greenwich. He was involved in laying submarine cable, succeeding Henry Clifford as Chief Engineer in 1893, and becoming Managing Director in 1906 until his retirement in 1925. He participated in the cable laying voyages of SS 'Great Eastern' in 1878;  invented a wire-sounding machine which was first used on the cable laying ship the 'Alert' in1887; invented a type of oceanographic sounding machine in1891;  patented a scoop sounder, an instrument also known as the 'snapper' which was used when cable laying.  

Son: Colin Anderson Lucas (1906-1984)

His son, Colin found a degree of fame as a pioneering International Modernist Architect, credited with designing a number of private houses in the 1930’s, the first one for his father.  He joined the London CountyCouncil’s Architects’ Department after WW2, and was responsible for the design of a number of large housing estates, the most notable being the le Corbusier-influenced Alton Estate West at Roehampton.  His third major project was the recently demolished Ferrier Estate, Kidbrooke completed in 1972, the year he was awarded his OBE.

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