Wednesday 18 September 2013

Oh oooer - too much underground in Charlton

The current issue of Subterranea (Sept 2013 contains an item on underground items in Charlton  - some of it a bit alarming. 

The item is headed '
Concern about a probable chalk mine under a railway tunnel at Charlton, southeast London " and relates to an enquiry from Network Rail concerning cavities encountered on the North Kent railway line.  They say "the tunnel had been driven between 1847 and 1849 by John Brogden (junior) [1823-1867]. This line was opened to Charlton Station on 30 July 1849, but the next section tWoolwich Dockyard Station (opened 1 November the same year) was evidently slightly delayed by the tunnelling and the unexpected cavity".

They then quote from the contempary Kentish Mercury " ......the workmen on the North Kent line ....tunnelling under the hanging woods, at Charlton ...... came upon a cave, of considerable dimensions, cut in the chalk and flint rocks.  .......four chambers have been discovered.... the  men .. found a knife and a spoon ........ and having lighted the whole of the tunnel with candles, and conducted visitors over ... charging them 3d for admission."

The article coments furtrher that Hanging Wood was 'quarried out oexistence by Edwin Gilbert' and goes on to give details of the position of the railway and the park. It concludes that  - "the feature discovered in 1849 seems most likely to have been a small drift mine for chalk"   and gives more details of chalk and lime workings wih reference to Lewis Glenton.

The article is by Paul Sowan who is coming to speak to GIHS again on 19th November. But otherwise read Subterranea for the whole story.

Monday 2 September 2013

Pollution - the gas industry view 1929

A Threat to London's Health.
It is not surprising that strong protests have been made in influential quarters against the proposal to erect at Battersea one of a chain of super-power stations,to be set up all over the country. In these utilitarian days it is probably no use being  squeamish about the addition of six chimneys, 255 feet high, to the less popular sights of our city; but the addition of two or three hundred tons of sulphur fumes to its atmosphere every week is in a category that the most hardened materialist cannot but regard as disturbing. And, apart from the cost in health, it would accelerate the decay and besmirching of public buildings and parks in the City and West End-by the agency of the   prevailing south-west winds-thus entailing heavy expense to the ratepayers for extra cleaning and repair work.
It appears, moreover, that at present no satisfactory method of eliminating these fumes from furnace gases exists, and that residents in the vicinity of power stations still complain bitterly of the quantity of smoke, dust and grit emitted. It is worth while recalling here that no charge of air-pollution can be brought against the gas industry; the general use of gas in home and factory, on the other hand, would almost entirely put an end to the smoke evil.
We can only hope it will be realised that the well-being of the public and the maintenance of the amenities they at present enjoy are objects even more worth striving for than the superficially more practical ones the promoters of this scheme have in mind.

Copartnership Journal South Metropolitan Gas Company June 1929