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'. 


Unknown said...

John Penn , a ship at Bristol has an engine same maker. It's called Great Briton ,I think this is only from memory

Anonymous said...

Have you asked the Naval Dockyard at Chatham? They have a Victorian ship and perhaps ships architects drawings of the engine.