Woolwich Antiquarians Newsletter.
They advertise their own future programmes: 2 pm for 2.15 pm on Saturday at Charlton House, in the Grand Salon.
12 May Research & Discoveries, Pearly History & Woolwich Potteries
9 June A further Date with Buildings
14 July Blue Cross Kennels and Pet Cemetery, Shooters Hill Road
13 Oct Mudlarking by the Thames
10 Nov An Edwardian Nursery Magic Lantern Show
CROSSNESS ENGINES TRUST
www.crossness.org.uk Bazalgette Way, Abbey Wood, London, SE29AQ Tel 0208311 3711
email@example.comFamily Open Days - Non Steaming,Beam Engine House closed for asbestos removal.
20 May, 17 June, 15 July 10:30am- 4:00pm
BLACKHEATH SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY18th May Discovering Earthlike Planets. Mycenae House, 90 Mycenae Road, Blackheath, SE3 7SE
FALCONWOOD MINIATURE RAILWAYWelling and District Model Engineering Society, Falconwood, 2-5pm www.wdmes.btck.co.uk
20 May; 3, 17 June; 1, 15,29 July; 12,26 Aug; 9, 23 Sept; 70ct; 16 Dec,Santa Special
WADAS also reports on the Positive Plumstead Project - Their first major concern is the White Hart Road Depot and Plumstead High Street Revamp. We have often reported concerns about the Depot here and it is good to find someone else taking an interest,
They say “The Borough of Greenwich have £2.5m funding from the GLA to brighten up Plumstead - dividing it between the Grade II listed White Hart Road Depot and Plumstead High Street. The White Hart Road Depot is to have workspaces and community facilities such as studios, rehearsal spaces, a nursery, and a gallery. A public square and a pub are mooted.
In his book The Woolwich Story E F E Jefferson says that "In June 1901, work was commenced on a generating and refuse destruction works at White Hart Road, Plumstead, and was formally opened by the Mayor, Cllr J JMessent in October 1903. The cost was £40,000, some £2,600 being spent on direct labour- an early instance of what later became a common feature in the Borough."
The building was the Borough's electricity generating station for Woolwich and Plumstead, a combined rubbish incinerator and electricity generating station being most unusual for the time. The generating plant was closed in the 1920s following the take over and enlargement of the privately built 1895 power station of the Woolwich Electricity Company at Globe Lane. (The site of the, now demolished, power station was temporarily laid out as Arsenal Gardens, but is now being covered by tower blocks of flats by Berkeley.) However, the incinerator carried on working into the 1970s until replaced by the SELCHP plant in Deptford. The building became a depot for general storage (some items being of significance but also for such things a spare door handles for buildings that had come and gone). The depot was closed, and the building allowed to deteriorate. Most recently Crossrail have used (and refurbished) it while building the Elizabeth line. ”
WADAS also report on “Industrial Conservation Areas in Charlton - the Greenwich and Woolwich & Thamesmead Planning Committee (of councillors) were, bar one, unanimous in agreeing to designate "Bowater Road and Thames Barrier" and "Charlton Riverside" as conservation areas. This has now been ratified.Bowater Road is home to the largely complete, albeit disused, Siemen's works. This is the last of many telecommunication works that used to line the Thames - they supplied the world, and did pioneering work in digital transmission up to 1980s. It is the last to survive of the several major telegraph and telephony businesses in the Borough, and probably the best preserved in the UK (the rump of the Telcon works in Greenwich is still active, though most of its site has now been covered by blocks of flats).
Charlton Riverside has other industrial assets, for instance early Cory works, but also a group of high quality workers' dwellings at Atlas Gardens and Derrick Gardens.
THE CROSSNESS ENGINES TRUST report
“Discussions are also starting on what we are calling Bazalgette 200 for the bicentenary of Sir Joseph Bazalgette's birthday falls on 28 March 2019. Planning and fundraising for events to celebrate the engineering genius who created Crossness is about to start. Anyone who has bright ideas about this or would otherwise like to help please do get in touch”.
A visitor from Sweden came to ask about Bessemer’s Greenwich works. He is interested in Göran Fredrik Göransson (1819-1900).
“In 1841 (at 22) he became a partner in the business run by his mother's family, Daniel Elfstrand & Co. The company acquired an ironworks at Högbo and a blast furnace at Edske. In 1856 Göransson travelled to England to buy a steam engine for the blast furnace, but returned having bought a fifth of Bessemer's patent for steel production. With backing from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences he carried out experiments using a Bessemer converter. Initially he tried to stick to Besemer's instructions of using small air tubes (tuyeres) at the base combined with high air pressure. Eventually he ignored this and tried instead with larger tuyeres and a lower pressure and finally produced what is said to be the first ever commercial "pour" of steel using the Bessemer method in July 1858. He corresponded regularly with Bessemer reporting on his progress, but Bessemer failed to even mention him in his autobiography. He opened a steelworks in Sandviken, Sweden in 1862, which after initial difficulties became Sandviken Jernverks AB in 1868. The same company is still in business in the same place), although now only producing specialist steels
-----------------------------APPG Launch Industrial Heritage report
Following from the Evidence Sessions held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Industrial Heritage a report has emerged called “Report on the Challenges facing the Industrial Heritage Sector"
This was apparently launched at an event on 1st May with many attendees (but not us obviously - or even asked us what we thought!)
The report's key findings are that industrial heritage was vital in the formation of local and national identities, and is highly valuable in the UK's contemporary society as a source of economic potential. By providing an examination of the value of industrial heritage to the United Kingdom and the major social, economic and cultural issues impacting this sector, the APPG has compiled a series of conclusions and recommendations on how to face the challenges of the future.
You can read it at https://industrial-archaeology.org/appg-launch-industrial-heritage-report/
Railway lifting bridge over Deptford Creek
English Heritage were asked to assess the railway lifting bridge over Deptford Creek for designation. It is understood that Network Rail are currently considering demolishing the superstructure of the bridge as it no longer functions as a lifting bridge. Deptford Creek forms the boundary between LB Lewisham to the west and LB Greenwich to the east. The eastern supports of the bridge stand on the the Grade 11 listed railway viaduct from the platforms of Greenwich Station to Deptford Creek Bridge in LB Greenwich. The western supports of the bridge stand on the unlisted pier in the centre of the creek which is in LB Lewisham. LB Lewisham is currently considering including the bridge within the proposed Deptford Creek Conservation Area and also locally listing the structure. This is somewhat complicated by the bridge falling within the two boroughs. A 2009 heritage report on Deptford Creek by Design for London noted the bridge as a significant heritage asset.
The applicant, Network Rail, Design for London and the two Local Planning Authorities concerned were consulted. LB Lewisham in their response of 13 December 2011 noted the historical context of the London-Greenwich railway line and the importance of Deptford Creek and its related industry to the growth of Deptford. Also asserted was the fact that the electrical operation of the lifting bridge was a technical achievement for its time and the design, in contrast to Kingsferry Bridge, reflected the functionality of the lifting bridge. Design for London noted in their response of 15 June 2011 that the bridge was identified as a significant heritage asset in the 2009 London Development Agency Deptford Creek regeneration heritage report.
As a specific building type, vertical lift bridges are rare nationally with probably not many more than a dozen surviving examples in England, ranging in date from the mid-C19 to 2000 and including road, railway and pedestrian use
In architectural terms the Deptford Creek lifting bridge is a purely utilitarian structure constructed of steel box girders with no attempt at architectural embellishment. The gantry containing the operating gear, for example, is crudely constructed of steel sheets. Whilst this is perhaps to be expected, with its relatively short span, it lacks the engineering grandeur of the listed Tees (Newport) Bridge. It should be stressed that we have been asked to consider the bridge itself and not the viaduct (already listed) and the pier it rests on. The pier has good quality rusticated masonry dating from its construction in the 1830s but this does not form part of the current assessment. It is perhaps surprising that it was not included in the listing of the viaduct which continues either side of it.
The vertical lift railway bridge was opened in December 1963, designed by AH Cantrell, Chief Civil Engineer, British Rail Southern Region and built by Sir William Arrol and Co of Glasgow. It was the third bridge to cross Deptford Creek along the Grade" listed railway viaduct, originally built by the London and Greenwich Railway in 1836. The first bridge, constructed c1838, was described in 1840 as ' ... a Balance-Bridge which requires the power of eight men to raise it when necessary for the purpose of allowing masted vehicles to pass above Bridge. On each side of the viaduct between the Spa Road and Deptford is a carriage and footway enclosed by a brick fence-wall'. This bridge was replaced in 1884 by a similar double drawbridge, each section winched up to a simple steel frame superstructure on either side of the bridge. The current bridge was able to lift 40 tonnes and was operated by electrical winches. It no longer functions as a vertical lift bridge having been welded closed, probably due to problems with the foundations.
The bridge comprises two spans across the dual channels of the creek at this point. The western span is fixed and is included in the listing for the viaduct between Deptford Creek and North Kent Junction. The eastern channel is bridged by the vertical lift bridge. This comprises four braced, square-section, steel columns (approximately 20m in height) containing the lifting hoists, one pair on either side of the channel, joined by a steel box-truss. The two supports are linked at their centre by a further truss (parallel with the railway line) which carries the enclosed steel-clad gantry containing the electrical operating gear. The supports rest on large concrete blocks, which in turn rest on the footings of the original bridge, encased in dressed Portland stone. The vertical lift track section is supported on large steel l-beams which bear the name of the Lanarkshire Steel Company.
So - its not listed but apparently the buttresses are
--------------------------And while we are on the subject of listing. Richard Buchanan has sent us this piece from the archives about Enderby House
Municipal Offices Woolwich,
Buildings of Architectural or Historical Interest
Enderby' House, Enderby' Wharf, SE10
When the Borough wide study of possible listed buildings was carried out by my officers last summer it did not appear from external survey that this building would attract a mention, but I was then unaware of the internal features and historical associations which you mentioned in your letter.I understand from the Department of the Environment their investigator may have missed it altogether, and I have, therefore, asked them to let me have their observations, at the same time drawing their attention to the interior and to the history.
I have requested this to be done as soon as possible in view of the threat of demolition and which I understand, could arise from future reorganisation and redevelopment by the owners.
Borough Planning Officer
Subterranea Brittanica’s Journal for April 2018 Issue 47 contains an article on Early Thames Subways. ‘The North and South Woolwich Subway and other failed schemes for a Thames crossing at Woolwich”. by Peter Bone
He begins “ The Woolwich foot tunnel was built by the London County Council and opened in 1912 but more than a quarter of a century earlier, an attempt was made to create a foot tunnel under the Thames at Woolwich” and goes on to describe an abortive earlier scheme “n 1873 the North and South Woolwich Subway Company was formed. Plans for a pedestrian tunnel between Woolwich and North Woolwich were prepared”
This is a fascinating article and copies can be obtained through the Sub-Brit web site http://www.subbrit.org.uk/ Please read it!
Peter Bone also mentions the 1904 North and South Woolwich Electric Railway. This was to be a short line passing under the river, with a station at Beresford Square and at the junction of Albert Road and High Street.
And also a proposal in 1919 for a tunnelled electric monorail service between Beresford Square and North Woolwich station.and there is even a picture of that!