Thursday 10 November 2016

More news and more notes


Speaker Mark Stevenson Historic England. Mark is our local Archaeology Advisor - he is going to talk about current site work but will also answer your questions

Age Exchange Bakehouse, Bennett Park (rear of Age Exchange shop in The Village) 7.30 15th November

Meanwhile - here are some other bits and pieces.....................

Docklands History Group

This is their current programe

7th December Christmas Social and Evening Talk. Des Pawson. Discovering a Lost Thames Pierhead Painter By
1st February  Derek Morris. Recent Research on Sailortown and the London Docks.
1st March. Jim Lewis. London's Lea Valley - Britain's Best Kept Secret
5th April. John Window. My years on the River
3rd May  Christopher Bull. Forgotten Parish of Denton
7th June  Hannah Melissa Stockton. Oars, Oars, Sculls, Scullts., Constructing the Thames Watermen in the Eighteenth Century
5th July AGM and Chris Elmers. The Hempen Jig. The Story of Execution Dock
2nd August - walk with Diane Burstein Refugees, Railway, a River and a Ram  Historic Wandsworth
6th September - Elizabeth Wiggams, An Archivists View of Morden College
4th October. Edward Sargeant. Blockade Running in the American Civil War with special reference to London Built Ships
1st November. Stephen Humphery. A History of Maritime Rotherhithe - from Hoys to Cunarders.

We are also asked to advertise the Thames Crossing Conference  on 13th May. Details of how to book will be on the DHG web site in the new year.

Also in the DHG mailout is a report of a paper given to the Group by Chris Ellmers on Industrial Discontent in Thames Shipyards 1795-1802. ---

..... it has been known for a long time that despite Trade Union histories which put the birth of organised labour disputes into the mid to late 19th century, that there was a lot going on before that. And that the dock yards and shipwrights were a particularly active bunch.  Chris gave a lot of detail about organisations in the Deptford and Rotherhithe areas - one book published in 1802 by a Deptford worker countered the press's view of such disputes. Chris quoted advertisements in The Kentish Mercury from 1795 which indicate an ongoing dispute in some of South London's private shipyards.  There were petitions against pay cuts in 1802 and 100 strike breaking workers were sent to Deptford from Chatham and there w ere a number of demonstrations - these included striking caulkers who were met by 100  constables outside Barnard's Deptford Yard.


We have a note to say that in Thamesmeads a Friends of Tump 53 is being set up - these Tumps were ammunition stores which have now been made into facilities on Thamesmead  This one is a nature reserve but includes a very serviceable building.



A new book has been published by the Rotherthithe based Brunel Project.  Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern is probably his best known boat and very relevant to us here in Greenwich. When she was launched in 1858 she was the biggest ship ever  and designed to reach Australia without refuelling with 4000 passengers.  She was built within the sight of Greenwich - and the magnificent painting reproduced as a frontispiece in this new book shows her with Greenwich Hospital as a background. For many years a sign painted on the river wall advertised the site of her building and launch. It was removed by the London Docklands Development Corporation and never - very sadly - never replaced.
Great Eastern has been often written about as a complete folly and embarrassment but in fact she was an enormous success to yet another Greenwich based project - the Atlantic Cable. Sadly, although the book talks about her stunning success as a cable layer, it fails to mention our own Enderby Wharf - - oh dear!  With that omission however it is still a very detailed account of Great Eastern's building, launch and career on the high seas - to her eventual breaking up on the Mersey.

I have no details as to where to get this book or anything. I think it is £10 and it is probably available from  The Brunel Museum,  Railway Ave, Rotherhithe, London SE16 4LF

The Museum has also produced a book about Marc Brunel's Tunnel - but I have no details on that


The (National) Industrial Archaeology News features our newest Greenwich power plant in its new edition (179 Winter 2016).  This is in an article by Robert Carr on 'Old Chimneys - New Flues'. He says 

"Nearing completion off Millennium Way on the Greenwich Peninsula in London, the new Low Carbon Energy Centre will serve the largest newly-built residential district heating system in 

Europe. Designed by architects c.F. Mol1er, this power station has a flue stack 49 metres high. The stack is now enveloped in perforated, folded  panels of brushed aluminium, a creation by artist Conrad Shawcross called The Optic Cloak.  Compared with the original design for a monolithic 600 tonne steel box, this new artwork is claimed to reduce the weight of the stack's frame by 40%, and a moire effect creates transparency'.  The photograph, taken in August 2016, shows the cladding of the flue stack nearing completion. The idea is to replace an 'eyesore', a chimney, with a beautiful art work which will enhance people's lives. 
As it is situated next to the southern approach road for the Blackwall  Tunnel, large numbers of people pass close to this new flue every day. The Optic Cloak certainly makes clear that dramatic things are happening  on the Greenwich Peninsula. 
The new Energy Centre will have a capacity of 87 MW. Its construction was partly financed  from the European Union Regional Development 

(we haven't reproduced the photo - copyright reasons - but you all know what it looks like anyway)

AIA have also reproduced a short note about the new historical plaque about the foot tunnel.

Also sent from AIA with their mailout is a copy of Barrie Trinder's The Industrial Archaeology of Shropshire.  This is a very very good book and a great read.  I know its not about Greenwich - or London, come to that. It have heard it said about Barrie Trinder that he hated London so much that he never mentioned it in his books. But, that as may be, he was very very good about Shropshire..


Another book which has turned up is 'The other side of Airfix' by Arthur Wood. Now I remember well, as most of us will, the giant word 'AIRFIX' spelt out giant letter by giant letter across the side of their factory down the road.  I was therefore very disappointed to find only one short reference in the book to their Charlton works. And that is inaccurate because they say "Airfix used an old London County Council trolleybus repair depot in Charlton..,,.. this has now disappeared as part of the redevelopment of the Greenwich Peninsula'. Well yes - it was in THE LCC tram depot but I would very much dispute that that was on the Greenwich Peninsula - in fact the site is now a trading estate running on the east side of the Angerstein Line, and that is definitely Charlton. I also suspect that there are some remains on the site, albeit of the trams, not Airfix.
So - has anyone got any information about what Airfix actually did there????


and for a final gastronmic note

"one of their (Lyons caterers) most important (private banquets) was the banquet given to His Excellency Li Chung Tang a diplomat in the service of the Emperor of China on 11th August 1896 when he visited the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company works at Enderby Wharf on the River Thames. With the Marquis of Tweedsdale just 141 Admirals, Vice Admirals and other important guests sat down for a six course lunch which started two hours late due to the late arrival of Li Chung Tang.

from Bird The First Food Empire A History of J.Lyons & Co


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