Saturday, 24 May 2014

The National IA body and Enderbys

The Association for Industrial Archaeology is the national body dealing with industrial heritage - and they tend to get notice taken of them.  I was therefore good to see that their current News (169 Summer 2014) features a longish article on the risks to our own Enderby Wharf.

The article is under the heading
Enderby Wharf  - London  - At risk

"On the south bank of the Thames in Greenwich northeast of the historic town centre, the Enderby Wharf site is the cradle of the world's communication revolution, on a par with the Ironbridge Gorge, cradle of the industrial revolution, and comparable with Bletchley Park".

The article continues to describe how: "From 1857 submarine telegraph cables were manufactured on the site, these being laid on routes such as Corsica-Sardinia, Lowestoft-Zandvoort, Malta-Alexandria and Sicily -- - Algeria. In the mid 1860s the successful transatlantic cables laid by Brunel's SS Great Eastern were made here and many more followed. ......

......................The telegraph revolution of the mid-Victorian period radically changed stock market speculation. business in general, the way the Empire was administered and international politics'.... it is further claimed by Tom Standage in his  thought-provoking book The Victorian Internet that compared with the present-day Internet the electric telegraph was the more significant, since the ability to communicate globally at all in real- time was a qualitative shift, while the change
brought about by the modern Internet was merely a quantitative shift.

and

"As a heritage asset Enderby Wharf is as important to Greenwich as the Royal Observatory, and as important to industrial history as Stephenson's Rocket"

and continues with the sad tale of dereliction and destruction on the site - and the consequent award of planning consent as a cruise liner terminal and more and more blocks of flats.


(The article does not mention what appears to be the complete ignorance of this site by the Council, the developers, and - indeed - English Heritage.   A small group of local historians are battling on. Please get in touch if you would like to help)

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