Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Reminisence day for ex-gas works staff

Search for former employees of the South Metropolitan Gas Company

Reminiscence Event

Where: Greenwich Heritage Centre, Artillery Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, SE18 4DX
When: 10.30 am, Friday 8th January 2010
Who to contact: Judith Garfield, (office@ech.org.uk, 0208 553 4343) or Claire Days (claire@ech.org.uk, 0208 553 4343)

A search is on for former employees of the South Metropolitan Gas Company to help uncover the hidden stories of the people who made the company what it was. Eastside Community Heritage is looking for people who worked at the Company to share their memories at a reunion to take place at Greenwich Heritage Centre on Friday 8th January 2010.

The South Metropolitan Gas Works was the last gas works to be built in London, the brainchild of George Livesey. He received parliamentary permission to build the works on 140 acres of Greenwich Marshes (now called Greenwich Peninsula) in the December of 1880. In keeping with Livesey’s religious ideals, frivolous decorative features were not a part of his grand design for the works; however the two gas holders were the biggest in Europe. The works were grand, but plain. Livesey later introduced a profit sharing scheme with the workers, although this was a move unpopular with the union as it included a clause preventing the workers from striking.
Despite several problems faced in the early years of the South Metropolitan Gas Works, the works expanded over following years, providing not only employment but a plethora of social activities and venues which the workers could take advantage of.
The event to be held at the Greenwich Heritage Centre will be an opportunity for former employees of the Gas Works to get together and talk about old times. Participants are invited to bring along any old photographs, papers and artefacts to show to others, if they have any.

This is a part of the Working Lives of the Thames Gateway project that aims to record the experiences of working in industry in Havering, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich and Bexley. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Eastside Community Heritage is an independent charity founded in 1993 to record and celebrate the histories of the people of east and south east London.

In 1999 Eastside established the People’s Archive, which is located at the University of East London and holds over 1000 oral histories as well as a large collection of films and photographs.

To find about more about Eastside Community Heritage, please visit our website, www.hidden-histories.org.uk.

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