Monday 8 July 2019

This and that and Plumstead Station

There is a petition out on Plumstead Station:
“Network Rail South East: Save Our Station (History) - Plumstead - Sign the Petition!  via @UKChange

The background to this is explained on the Facebook Plumstead People page
and this has been copied at the bottom of this posting.  So - see below.


Meanwhile - What else has come in?

A number of people have pointed out to us  information from the the pan European heritage organisation, EuropaNostra, with reference to their endangered sites programme and the possibility of referring our poor gas holder to it. It's probably much too late to save the gas holder now -  although we are still hoping that some elements from can be kept.  However, I am putting below are some details from Europe Nostra web site.

"Call for Nominations - the 7 Most Endangered 2020 - Deadline extended to 1st August 2019. Most Endangered Programme: Apply Now 

"If you know of an important heritage site in Europe that is endangered – such as a historic monument or archaeological site, a place of worship, an industrial complex, a historic park, a museum or a movable heritage asset – why not nominate it for the 7 Most Endangered programme 2020?  
The Most Endangered programme identifies threatened monuments and sites in Europe and mobilises public and private partners - on a local, national and European level - to find a viable future for those sites. It is not a funding programme. Its aim is to serve as a catalyst for action.  
Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage network, runs this programme in partnership with the European Investment Bank Institute and with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.  You can nominate a heritage site with the support of an organisation in your country that is a member of Europa Nostra or directly by joining our pan-European network of member and associate organisations.  
The 7 Most Endangered heritage sites in Europe for 2020 will be announced in March 2020.  It is only with your help that we can save our shared heritage treasures! Submit your nomination by 1 August 2019 (deadline extended).

EUROPA NOSTRA The Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe  |  La Voix du patrimoine culturel en Europe. Headquarters Lange Voorhout 35, 2514 EC The Hague, The Netherlands | +31 70 302 40 50 | . With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union"

And better get in fast before Boris junks any chance we get of being part of the programme 


London Railway Record. The July 2019 number has a colour feature on  Woolwich Line signal boxes. These are pictures taken in the 1960s by Terry Tracy and covers boxes from Woolwich Arsenal to Slade Green. 
It begins with Woolcwich Station signal box which dated from 1906 and continues with Abbey Wood, Belvedere  Crabtree Crossing, Erith, North End and Slade Green.  The photographs are interesting and with each one are details of the box, its purpose and its eventual fate.


Links is produced by the Newcomen Sciety and the cover of the June 2019 issue features a porcelain pot with a picture of our East Greenwich gas holder reproduced on it.  Inside an article describes how all techniques from the past have been used up by  potters is today and cites the work of Raewyn Harrisom who has produced these pots showing the East Greenwich Gas holder.  Hopefully we can get in touch with Raewyn  and find out more about her work and why she picked the holder as a decorative item


Appleby Engineers

Appleby were a major engineering firm based on the Greenwich Peninsula and elsewhere in the late 19th century.  We have had speakers at GIHS on Appleby ands a short article about them in the Greenwich Society Newsletter last year led to a great deal of interest from local people. Research on Appleby has been undertaken by  John Steeds and he ill has been in touch with us recently about some questions from the Museum at Goulburn in Australia where some Appleby engines are preserved, He has sent us the following information which he has sent to  hem

"One of the questions you asked me was where the castings for the Goulburn beam pump were manufactured. Whilst I cannot be certain, I now think that there is a very good chance that they came from the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Company in Derby.  This was also known as the Union Foundry. I have recently discovered that Charles James Appleby was a director of A.S.Haslam and Co. in Derby.

I had thought that I had found details of all of the various Appleby works, in both Leicester and London.  Because of a couple of references I had long suspected that there may also have been another works in Derby, but despite a lot of hunting, and various other experts telling me that I was mistaken, I had rather given up the hunt.   However, I have recently found an article telling me that Charles Appleby was made one of the six directors of the newly re-formed Engineering    and Ironfounding  business of “A.S.Haslam and Co” working at the Union Foundry in Derby.

On 13 Dec 1876 Alfred Searle Haslam resurrected his old company, as a new company, and was joined by 5 new directors. In addition to A.S. Haslam,and C.J.Appleby the other new directors were Edmund A Pontiflex, John Barton and William Henry Ashwell – all clearly Engineers of some distinction, as I have been able to find details of their various careers and Joseph Jessop who had connection with Appleby Brothers.   Initially Haslam’s specialised in heavy and hydraulic machinery but then came ship refrigeration.   Appleby Brothers intention was to send as much of their heavy work as possible to Derby - and I guess that this probably included the castings for the Goulburn Beam Pump. Also, the 1882 date of the pump is relatively soon after the date that the Applebys became involved in the Derby Works.

Mr Alfred Haslam became very successful in the production of refrigeration for ships for the movement of meat from the other side of the world. This he patented in the early 1880’s and he monopolised the industry until the mid 1890’s. In addition to refrigeration of ships he supplied refrigeration to docks, hospitals and hotels. He was so successful that he was knighted by Queen Victoria and became Mayor of Derby.

I am still trying to find more information about the Derby production.  As a part of your researches, have you found any reference to the Haslam Union Foundry?

and John has asked us: "I would really like to find out how long Charles James Appleby and Joseph Jessop remained Directors of A.S.Haslam and Co.   Do you know of any directories etc. where this information may be found?"


Here is the detail for the Plumstead station petition

Save Our Station History! Network Rail are mandated to provide accessibility to all train stations; this is a good thing! Destroying local history and ignoring the local community is not! I am petitioning Network Rail to reconsider their plans, re-visit the very attractive alternative proposals suggested last year (from Positive Plumstead Project - and respect Plumstead. 

Step Free Access for all London Stations, especially Plumstead (SE18) is welcome however not at any cost. Network Rail proposes installing an “off the peg” footbridge and lift shafts, directly from the station building. which will mean demolishing the historic bridge and replacing it with a massive modern box structure. It should be noted, that the station was built in 1859, not just to cater for the area’s rapidly expanding population and Royal Arsenal workforce, but so that materials could be transported to and from the Arsenal via the famous “Hole in the Wall”. Evidence of this use still remains at the station. Its importance to the history of the Arsenal should not be underestimated. Furthermore, the Greenwich Line was the first in London. The only original stations surviving are Greenwich, Westcombe Park and Plumstead – presenting three different styles.

During the Area Planning Meeting Network Rail refused to consider the following points; 1) The current layout presents pinch-points, which are problematic at busy times. Network Rail’s plans will exacerbate the problem rather than solve it.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project would create two ways to enter/exit the platforms. Indeed, this will be of particular  benefit to people living in Glyndon, for instance.)

Network Rail’s plan will mean the demolition of the 1892 iron lattice footbridge, the removal and replacement of the attractive brick steps, also dating from 1892, damage to the attractive 1892 section of the building, removal of part of an 1892 canopy and removal of a crenellated section of the original 1859 station. The crenellations (repeated over the Sam’s Coffee sign) are mirrored on nearby buildings, creating (in heritage lingo) group value and a sense of place. 
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project would mean that all of the original features, of this charming Victorian Station, will be retained.) 

Network Rail intends to install an unsightly, “off the peg” footbridge close to Plumstead Bridge, at a height that will blight an area earmarked for a “makeover”. Indeed, the Area Planning Committee gave this very reason for its previous refusal. Network Rail has notably failed to address this issue by sticking to its original designs.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project proposal would move the bridge further along the track, westwards, so that the station can continue to tie together the Victorian elements of local architecture, rather than the eye being drawn to the current proposal.)

Concerns have been raised around fear of crime and anti-social behaviour in relation to enclosed bridges and covered stairs, citing experiences of the new footbridge at Church Manor Way as an example.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project suggest ideally the bridge be made of glass, which is less obtrusive and less likely to attract crime and anti-social behaviour than one that is mostly opaque.)

The station will have to be closed, for some considerable period, for the works proposed by Network Rail, to be carried out.
(Alternative plans suggested by Community Action Group Positive Plumstead Project mean extended closure will be unnecessary.)

The Network Rail plans, by their admission, are the more expensive. 
(So £££ cannot be sued as an excuse to dismiss this.)

Network Rail proposal  received absolutely zero formal submissions of support. 83 people, however objected.
(So local support cannot be cited as a reason to go ahead.)

Network Rail coerced the Area Planning Committee into accepting its lazy, one size fits all proposal, by using emotional blackmail, ignoring requests and reneging on an arrangement for a site visit to explore alternative ideas. Previously, Network Rail endeavoured to protect attractive stations, by locating such additions separately, albeit that these tended to be in more affluent areas. Under the Access for All programme, however, they are applying a one size fits all approach. 

Network Rail is relying on a very old law (dating back, even, to before the creation of the station itself) which means that it can build and demolish whatever it likes within and close to its property. Which means ignoring local community voices.

Recently in Charlton SE7 Network Rail, due to local public pressure, were made to change their minds in shutting an important access crossing, please sign and hare this to get them to change their minds and Save Our Station (History!)*

Sunday 7 July 2019

Diana Rimel

GIHS is sorry to learn that Diana Rimel has died.  She was one of the true local historians of Greenwich.  Diana had been associated with GIHS from the start, had contributed a number of articles to both the newsletter and this blog and has also come to speak to us on a number of occasions.

Diana began her working life as a secretary (didn't we all) and attended the London School of Economics as a mature student in 1970 for a history degree.  Later she set up a number of historical groups and organisations throughout the area mainly in association with Goldsmiths College. Some of them became independent historical groups - survivors include the Mycenae House Local History Group and another is the Bermondsey and Rotherhithe History Group.  She also wrote for a number of magazines and newspapers - including our local Kentish Mercury and for a number of others. In particular she was involved with the Ashburnham Triangle Association, and its newsletter, She also published a book in 1994 about the Ashburnham Triangle Conservation Area. She also identified the local architect, Dinwiddy, and highlighted much of his work.

She will be greatly missed

Her family are compiling a tribute board for her and asking people and to share memories of her or send photographs.  Her daughters are on Donations in her memory to the Friends of Severndroog Castle. htpps:// Her funeral is on 18th July 12.15 Eltham Crematorium.