Tuesday 26 November 2019

LETTERS September 2003

September 2003

From Ted Barr
I am enclosing a cutting from Engineering News Tuesday, April 30h 1963 - That was the Greenwich that was (and  I knew) Weighs  90 tons - 500 ton press built in London Works
Dished and flanged ends up to 9ft in diameter will be pressed on a 500 ton down stroking press now being built and nearing completion at the Greenwich works of G. A Harvey and  Company London Ltd. The press has a stroke of 3ft 6 ins. with daylight 8ft.  With their extensive facilities for the manufacture of heavy welded structures, Harvey’s were able to fabricate, machine and erect all parts of the press in their own workshops.  Overall height of the machine, which  weighs 90 tons is 25ft 6 ins and the clearance of columns is 11ft 10 in

From Iris Bryce   
feel I must write to  let  you know that at  last a  long time dream has come true - I have seen the inside of Enderby  House. A few weeks ago I was given a tour of Alcatel, arranged by Steve Hill, Technical Director. However the highlight of the visit was for me to once again go into my old place of work in the 1940s - the Buying Department. This was in the house by the side of Enderby House - The one described in Mary Mills Greenwich Marsh book. with the Gutta Percha Leaves and cable decor above the door and windows. As a lowly filing clerk in 1942. I was not   allowed in Enderby house - that was the Dining Room for the Directors. Managers and Heads of Departments.   My son in law accompanied me on Tuesday and has taken some photos of the hexagonal room with its wonderful glass ceiling -- we were told that a compass is somewhere in the design of it but to date no one seems to have found It. Do you know anything about this? If any of the photos are suitable would you like copies? I was given two books as a memento of my day - one is by Stewart Ash 50th Anniversary, From Elekktron - E Commerce, The 50 Years of Laying Submarine Cables. And the other one is by Steve Hill and Alan Jeal Greenwich, Centre for Global Telecommunications from 1850.  I’ve worked out that my visit was almost 60 years to the day I left the Telcon in 1943 - and found myself in the A.T.S. within the next 6 weeks.   

From Angela Smith. 
I don’t know whether this enquiry will come within the scope of Industrial History. We are trying to trace the history of George Mence Smith. He owned a chain of hardware shops in London and the South East in the mid/late 1800s. He was born in 1819 in Shadwell and died 1895, leaving a considerable fortune. We have recently found that he was resident some time after his 1st marriage in 1846 in Woolwich, possibly Beresford Square, before moving to Bexleyheath. Our interest would be to find out two things firstly where he was living in Woolwich from 1846 to possibly 1860 and also if there were any of his stores in Woolwich. Would this come within your scope?

From Lionhouse. 
I can hardly believe my eyes - a treasure trove of information on your web site. WOW. Wonderful. You say we can add to it .........well! John Bennett was baptized in St Alphage Greenwich in 1786. He was the son of George Bennett. milkman and Susanna (Wicks) who were married in St Pauls Deptford in 1781. John, somehow, became a watch and clockmaker and is recorded in Baillie & Loomis Watch and Clockmakers of the World, along with his widow. His death is recorded as St Alphage. 1828 and his Hill was proved in 1829. Elizabeth Sinnock Bennett, and sons George Weldon Bennett and William Cox Bennett were working in the Greenwich, Woolwich, Blackheath and Lee areas between 1814 and 1866.  In the 1841  Census for Stockwell Road, Elizabeth Bennett, widow, and her two sons William and John are described as Goldsmiths. In 1851 and 186  they lived in 9 Osborne Place, Blackheath I hope this qualifies me, both on an industrial scale and as a descendant of Goldsmiths. To join the society and I have sent  1 0 to Steve Dale at Shooters Hill today. Anyone who can link the above to the earlier watch and clockmaker .Bennetts of Greenwich. I.e. George working 1802 -11 or George working free of the Clockmakers Company  in London in 1702 - 22 I  would love to hear from you

From Kevin Jones. 
I am an archaeologist with the New Zealand Dept of Conservation.  I have been working on the Auckland Islands (south of NZ) where the Enderbys set up a colony under the aegis of the Southem Right Whale Fishery Company. I have been working on mapping the remains of that settlement. At a later date we would be pleased to offer a note for your newsletter. In the meantime  I would be interested to make contact with y Enderby scholars and to visit and photograph some landmarks in Greenwich.

From Corin Mills. 
I have just finished reading Mary Mills book Greenwich and Woolwich at Work  which I found absorbing.  My   great great grandfather was born in Manchester. and eventually settled in Plumstead to work as an iron turner at the Royal Arsenal. On page 56 of your book is a photograph with a mystery. As an ex metalwork teacher I think I can answer some of the questions. I believe this is the area where small castings were broken out of the boxes of sand in which they were cast. You will note that the platform is raised off the ground and I think that the men are standing on a mesh so that the sand is sifted as it falls through. When the casting is clear of the sand the sprues, runners and risers  which carry the molten metal to the cavity in the sand are broken off and these are visible in small heaps. As anybody who has done metal casting will know small pieces of metal put into a large furnace will burn rather than melt so they will be put into a small crucible for melting down and reuse. There are a number of these crucibles at the extreme left edge of the photograph. In the extreme foreground is a pair of  crucible tongs for lifting these out of the furnace and one of the men is holding another pair. The molten metal would then be poured into ingot moulds and these are the four square boxes on the Floor. The ingots would then be added to the main furnace you can see some piles of these ingots. The wheeled implements, I think, might be used for transport of the crucibles from the furnace, but I can’t see the working ends. These might also be used for moving the ingot boxes around. A fining pot is defined as a vessel for refining metal. Fines are small pieces of waste metal and can go down in size to the microscopic  i.e. metal particles in suspension in old motor oil . I hope  you find this useful.   Picture on page 57: These cartridges are being produced by the method of  deep drawing . If  you follow the link you’ll find a fair description of the process. Even though it has been modernised the process uses the same principles that held in 1914. The machines that the men are working are obviously  hydraulic presses and not metal spinning machines. Metal spinning can produce the same shape as deep drawing. I don’t think the cylinders in the foreground are solid -  you can just make out striations along the length of them produced by the process of deep drawing. The closed end is slightly  flared or flanged, so keeping the cartridge casing in the breech of the gun when the shell is expelled. The flat pieces of metal that  you call blanks are, I think, too thick for drawing and might be a  red herring

From Roy  Kipp.  
I would like to research the tools and processes used by The UK to manufacture large ordnance from about 1880 . (i.e. the end of the RML era) into the early 1900s (pre WWl). Your organisation came to my attention when I located Your March 2001 newsletter on the Web, in which Nicholas Hall references an article he prepared for the Royal  Ordnance  Yearbook on Blakeley and  Vavasseur.  The shops associated with Vavasseur. et al in the 1880s would be particularly  interesting.  Could  you offer a recommendation on how I should proceed from across the pond in Texas.    

From Jackie Settle.  
In a previous issue you published an article about Wheen the soap manufacturers based in Deptford Creek. I am interested as Emma Wheen daughter of Richard married Samuel Berger. I am also a Berger descendant and I am researching the Berger family -- Berger were the paint manufacturers based in Hackney Wick.

From David Pitt. 
 Can  you please tell me where to find information regarding the lifts at either end of the Greenwich Foot Tunnels. I want to know how these are operated and whether the current method of propulsion is the same as when thee  were built in 1902. As circular lifts  do they use giant bearings all around

We asked the Greenwich Council Engineers about this and they replied. “The existing lifts were installed in 1992 and are similar to the original lift.  The wood panelling was re-used although the new lifts are slightly smaller, in keeping with the British Standard requirements. They operate in a similar fashion to the originals with new electric motors and wire ropes at the top of the lift shaft. The lifts run up guide rails and do not have circular bearings, the lift cars being restrained at three points. The only major change between new and old  lifts is the replacement of the sliding grille doors for solid doors. This was a safety  requirement.

From Tim  Geyer. 
I am seeking information on Appleby  Bros. What  we know is they had offices at 80 Cannon St, London and Works at Greenwich. Old Bessemer site. And may  have later become Jessop Appleby . We have the only  remaining Steam operated Beam Engine made by Appleby  Bros 1883, left in the southern hemisphere,  possibly wider, and are gathering information as part of the engine’s story . The engine is fully operational and still in its original pump house, on the banks of the Wollondilly River, Holbom NSW. Australia. The site is now a museum, run by  volunteers under the banner of Friends of the Waterworks Museum. Anything  you may be able to assist with would be very helpful

From Lynn Hampson. 
I have only just read Issue 1, Volume 4 in January  2001 where you printed a letter from Angela Pascoe who mentioned that she was related to Robert Simpson. Proprietor of the Ship Hotel. Greenwich.  I am too! My father. Stan Shore grew up in Greenwich (as did my mother Marguerite Longman) and my paternal grandmother was Ann  Simpson, daughter of Robert Simpson. My  parents, now mid 80s, know a lot about Greenwich and would no doubt be delighted to tell  you any of their stories

From Ken Smith. 
I am enquiring into the possibility  of finding any list that may exist of the names of Thames River Pilots during the middle to late 1800s and of any  pilots that may have drowned in the Thames.  

From Roger Bone. 
I read the small article by Ted Barr in the May 2001 issue 3. Volume 4 of the GIHS on the net regarding Harrison  Barbers slaughter house in Blackwall Lane and remembered that my Great Grandfather Robert James Oak was manager at the Blackwall Lane Depot in the 1890s. My Grandfather described to me when I was a boy , what it was like to live on the premises. I believe the house was called Holmesdale . My  Grandfather took me to see the old place in 1960. It was a laundry  then. Sadly  I did not lake any photos. If you have any  more information I would be very  interested

From Justin Dix.  
I have hundreds of old pictures of Woolwich rescued from a skip where my Stepfather had thrown them. One example -- a cinema - pencilled on the back is last night of the Empire Kinema in Woolwich 1st October 1960. Another is of the Woolwich Ferry  in 1961. Don’t know if these Interest you

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