Brief History of the Dust Destructor/Electricity Generator at White Hart Road, Plumstead
By Dave Ramsay
Continuing with extracts from the Local Authority Minutes
Electricity Committee, Woolwich Borough Council, 9 January 1902
Various tenders for electrical plant were accepted. A much cheaper estimate for instruments, from Everett & Edgecoombe had been scrutinised for quality, and found to be very satisfactory. However, a Potentiometer was substituted to improve the quality of one item.
General Purposes, Woolwich Borough Council, 23 June 1902
The Tender for Nixon's Best Navigation Steam Coal, @ £1 2s 6dper ton, be accepted, for Woolwich baths and the Electricity Department. Enquiries -were to be made of the tenderers as to the kind of coal and pit of origin.
Because of allegations made by Cllr. W. Turner, it was recommended that Ald. Turton and Cllr. Butter should examine the quality of coal stock at Woolwich Baths, and future deliveries.
In accordance with the Council's decision of 12 06 1902, the Borough Engineer (BE) Frank Sumner, submitted revised plans for Baths and Washhouses in Plumstead, at an estimated cost not exceeding £35,000.
On the recommendation of the Library Committee, it was recommended that the BE's revised plans, (Scheme A amended) for the proposed Public Library in Plumstead High Street, be accepted.
Electricity Committee, Woolwich Borough Council, 24 June 1902
The BE recommends, and it was accepted, that costs for the building work be apportioned, 2/3 to the Electricity Station, 1/3 to the Dust Destructor, until actual costs were known.
Electricity Committee, Woolwich Borough Council, 6 February 1903
The Town Clerk reported that he had completed purchase of the Woolwich Company's Electricity Undertaking on 02 02 1903 for £95,180. Application had been made to the Board of Trade for commencement of the Woolwich Order.
Electricity Committee, Woolwich Borough Council. 7 May 1903
That the Committee interviewed the manager of the Station Engineer of the Plumstead Electricity Works, regarding allegations that he abused applicants for employment. The Committee found his explanation entirely rebuts the charge.
The Committee considered return information from local authorities operating combined Electricity Station / Destructor Works, with a view to determining rates of pay for Stokers. It was difficult to make direct comparisons since all used the "over feed" method to load rubbish whereby rubbish is tipped direct from the cart into the furnace. Plumstead was going to hand feed the furnaces for more efficient results. This was more laborious work and it was recommended that a 1/2d per hour more than the average should be paid. Therefore the rates would be:
Leading stoker 8 1/2d per hour
Ordinary Stoker 8d. per hour
Clinker wheelers 7 1/2d per hour
And that eight hours should constitute one working shift so far as may be found practicable in the running of the station
The new Labour member the Reverend I. Jenkins Jones proposed that this should read that eight hours should constitute one working shift and that all work over eight hours should constitute overtime. This proposal was agreed.
Electricity Committee Woolwich Borough Council 28 May 1903
A letter was read from HM Inspector of Factories (HMEIF). He found safety arrangements at the new Plumstead Station deficient in a number of respects. The committee resolved that the HMEIF recommendations be carried out as expeditiously as possible.
Electricity Committee Woolwich Borough Council 10 September 1903
The Town Clerk reported that its “Power for Assisted Wiring Act” had received Royal Assent on 11 the August 1903. Section Two of this act gave the Council power to sell electricity to neighbouring Footscray Ccouncil. Section Three gave it powers to install and repair electric installations and levy charges for this. Defaulters could be taken to the Police Court
Clearly the promotion of an Act of Parliament by Woolwich was a source of great civic pride.
The BE reported site values at White Hart Road as follows
Disinfector station - 278 Square yards £14.7s. 2d
Brick and flag making plant - 512 Square yards £26 8s 11d
Destructor station - 3,272 Square yards £169 0s 2d.
Highways - 2,368 Square yards £122 6S 4d
Electricity Committee , Woolwich Borough Council 18th November 1903
The BE reported that considerable savings could be made to the cost of producing bricks at the combined works, by converting the window at the eastern end of the hardening chambers into a doorway. This would facilitate bogeys packed with bricks being taken directly to the stacking ground, saving handling and cartage. It would also obviate the necessity of taking off the western heads of the hardening chambers, which is a lengthy operation, involving the breaking of joints on each occasion. The Committee resolved to carry out the alterations, at a cost of £20.
The BE reported on ongoing negotiations with SE Railway Co. (SERC), respecting the proposed siding for the combined station. The Railway Co. wanted the Council to reduce the cost of a necessary strip of land on the west side of White Hart Road and a 15-fcot strip alongside the railway. A modified offer would need to be made to SERC if progress was to be made. The Committee so resolved.
Various WBC Meetings at which sick pay was discussed
Sick pay appears to have been paid to members of staff on the advice of officers, but at the discretion of the councillors. In particular it seems to relate to accidents at work although not exclusively. The following are examples of payments granted after sickness had ended
date on - 5th November 1903 date off 16th November 1903 - for 15 days - Ricked shoulder Alfred Gosling, Stoker - Full pay
date off 26th July 1904 - Burns to foot - R. Weeks, Trimmer - Half pay
date off 14 July 1904 - Injured hand - E. Brennan, Labourer - Half pay
date off 8th March 1904 - 9 days off - F.Adley, Stoker - Full pay
date off 8th March 1904 - 8 days off - F.Richards, Stoker - Full pay
date off 16th February 1904 - T. Reeves, Trimmer - Full pay
date off 16th February 1904 - J.Lill, Stoker - Full pay
date off 16th February 1904 - A. Williams, Labourer - Full pay
date off 20th September 1904 - Poisoned thumb - G. Munsey, Cleaner - Full pay