Friday 15 November 2019

Reviews and snippets November 2002

Reviews and snippets November 2002

LEWISHAM HISTORY JOURNAL – No.10 2002 has just been published by Lewisham Local History Society and contains articles on Dolly Sedgewick and on the Cold Blow Farm area of Deptford.  Both of these are outside of the Greenwich area – but who could resist the article about Dolly who was a ‘lady parachutist ‘ in the early 1900s.  Dolly went on to marry the Lewisham District Surveyor but kept in touch with her past by flying with the Red Arrows in her 90s

CROSSNESS ENGINES RECORD - Vol.8 No.2. Autumn 2002 – keeps up its usual sanitary standard. Articles on ‘The Cinder Path’, ‘Toilets in China’, Notes from the Octagon (see some of this elsewhere), New Boilers needed, Book reviews,  etc etc

BLACKHEATH GUIDE. - The September 2002 edition carried an excellent article by Peter Kent in his ‘Riverwatch’ series – this was called ‘Coming up with the goods’.  Peter talks here about the aggregate trade in Greenwich and how it has helped the construction of Canary Wharf and much else in Docklands ‘had these tonnages been transported by road it would have created in excess of 176,000 lorry movements’. He also notes how prefabricated windows and doors – and indeed the sections of the London Eye and Millennium Bridge have been transported to their sites by water.

GREENWICH TIME - noted the opening of the new ‘Ha-penny Hatch bridge’ across Deptford Creek. The original was built as part of the original Greenwich Railway and demolished in the 1930s.
There has also been a mention of the visit to Woolwich of the replica of Captain Cook’s ship ‘Endeavour’ built for the TV series. Endeavour was open to the public for some days at the new Woolwich Pier in the Arsenal.

GLIAS NEWSLETTER -Among a whole range of things of interest to industrial historians is a write up the Greenwich Foot Tunnel 100 year anniversary celebrations.

JOURNAL OF THE GREENWICH HISTORICAL SOCIETY -This includes a number of articles which are heavily ‘dirt’ archaeology as well as others – ‘Archaeological work in Greenwich 1997-2001’ by Julian Bowsher, ‘Moving status and Maritime Greenwich’ by Joanna Smith, The Knill family of Blackheath by Michael Egan, and an Archaeological Investigation at the Cutty Sark station development by Alistair Douglas. We are also pleased to see a review of Julie Tadman’s book ‘A fisherman of Greenwich’ by Barbara Ludlow.

MERIDIAN - The August 2002 edition of Meridian contained a detailed article about the building of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel as a tribute to its hundredth anniversary.

SLAS NEWS.- The 91st Newsletter of the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Society contains an article on the TV based Time Team’s excavations in Greenwich Park by our member Richard Buchanan.

INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE -The Summer 2002 Vol.28 edition contains several articles of interest to Greenwich readers – albeit they are all things which have either appeared in our newsletter or written by our members: John MacLean’s Clay Pipe Making in Plumstead (you saw it here first – see the sequel in this issue).  Peter Jenkins on Webster and Horsfall (held back by us for lack of space – you will see it eventually), Mary Mills on John Beale of Greenwich.

GREATER LONDON ARCHAEOLOGY ADVISORY SERVICE – Quarterly Review -Includes under ‘Greenwich’ reports on archaeological work at the National Maritime Museum along with Channel 4’s Time Team. Also at Anchor Iron Wharf where Tudor brick walls are probably those of the Hobby Stables, and as East Wing (Building 14) of the Royal Arsenal – showing a strengthened floor used to store ship supplies.
Reports have been received on a number of Greenwich sites - **National Maritime Museum – Tudor walls from the tiltyard and mooring chains from training ship Fame - ** Old Royal Naval College - site trenches used as 18th landfill dumps, internal cess pit, 18th graffiti, and some Roman remains.

GREENWICH AND WOOLWICH AT WORK  by Mary Mills. Sutton Publishing, £12.99 IBSN 0-7509-3000-4.
There have been other publications produced detailing the life of Greenwich and Woolwich in pictures but Mary Mills in her book Greenwich and Woolwich at Work has captured in her unique style an aspect not covered before.
At £12.99 this hard cover of 127 pages of high quality produced photographs, accompanied by informative captions is excellent value. For those born in the two districts the book will bring back memories of their early years, of long lost industries, factories, roads and pubs, which were part of the everyday life of their parents, relatives and friends. To those who are relatively new to the area, the pictures will reveal a new and possibly unexpected aspect to what made the people of Greenwich and Woolwich tick.  To researchers and students ‘Greenwich and Woolwich at Work’ should provoke them into further research to discover and explore how the industries mentioned and those many others not covered influenced the lives of the inhabitants in the area.
Review by Ron Roffey


By Jack Vaughan

In Newsletter July Vol. 5 No.3. p.8 I submitted a piece on the above outlining the possibility of rescuing some relevant hydraulic arrangements attached to the base of the former hospital water tower, shortly to be converted into accommodation.
Ownership of the site which includes the tower has now changed hands and we are taking up the rescue question with the newly appointed builders responsible for the Tower building works.
Crossness Engines Trust have shown an interest in housing the hydraulic items in their collection
We hope shortly to visit the site to discuss any problems of disconnection and transport.


Prince Consort Engine - Following the lagging and the cladding  of pipework, gauges needed to be installed to monitor the control of the engine at work. Meanwhile work on the new cooling pond is progressing -this is being constructed in a former bunded area which lay beneath two enormous diesel storage tanks, which were removed from the site two years ago. The pond has been waterproofed and wooden weirs are being installed to separate out leaves and oil from water on its way back to the condenser.

The Valve House
The site for the Easton and Anderson Engine has almost been decided subject to some final measurements.

Beam Engine House.
Work continues on the windows and soon we will be able to remove stored materials and find room for parts  removed from the Victoria Engine.

Visitor Centre
A cabinet (inherited from Hall Place, Bexley) has displays of the tools made on site. Labelling of the photographic display is almost finished and then  lighting will need to be renewed.. We have started to improve the main hall and a bust of Sir Joseph Bazalgette has been splendidly displayed in a 'classical' cabinet set on the wall at the far end and   painted by our 'resident artist' to depict London in the 19th century.

The Terrace Garden..
Circular flower beds are being restocked with fresh flowers ready for the spring. We are intending to replace all the missing 'rope' style border edging and would like to know of a source of this (please contact if you can help).

Appleby Single-Cylinder Horizontal Steam engine from a Vinegar Works in Southwark has been donated.  This  was once used to drive line-shafting in Sarson's Works. It was stored at the old Streatham bus garage and two reconnaissance sorties were made to plan its  disassembly. On Monday  23rd Sept. a group went to tackle the job which took about five hours, and on the Wednesday a 'H1AB' crane lorry picked up the engine and brought it to Crossness. The lorry had previously been to Kew Bridge Engine Museum and picked up two Watson pumps, originally from the Houses of Parliament where they had been used in the air-circulation system. These will eventually be on display in The Valve House.
2. A Sirex WC pan (c. 1900) is  being extracted from  the  19th century Bexleyheath Adult Education College building. It should soon be on display in the Visitor Centre.

Lady visitors will be pleased to know that the LADIES facility in the small building outside the Beam Engine House has been fitted with new toilet pans and sinks and awaits redecoration.

Adapted from  The Crossness Engines Record, Vol.. 8 No.2. Autumn 2002 without permission.


Notes in 'Festival Times' that the original beams of the Dome of Discovery were hidden away in a Greenwich School sent me scurrying off to find out – was it true?  A look through the local papers for Greenwich in 1951-3 made me pretty sure it wasn't true because there was no coverage of the story at all but there was something else.  – there were stories of the enormous new school started in Kidbrooke in April 1951.  Although its enormous hall was actually planned before the Festival of Britain and before the Festival Hall, it has been compared with them in both style and scale – and it is easy to understand how the story of the beams began.

I am not really sure if the school is really anything to do with the Festival but I am writing to tell Festival Times about it because, apart from the story of the beams, it really has something to say to us about the early 1950s.  The school was the first purpose built comprehensive school, originally for girls only.  It was on a scale not seen before – for 2,000 girls and with huge range of special features (eg: 5 gymnasia!).  They hold huge scrapbooks of their press coverage over the years – and it is fascinating to read the hostile stories in the press when the school opened in 1954 and the constant barrage of critical stories in the tabloid press of the day.  Nevertheless it has survived and along with the educational ideas which marked it out, it is rapidly being realised that it is a treasure of early 1950s architecture. The present management is doing the best it can to see that original features are preserved and, in some cases restored.

The school scrapbooks also contain articles from the technical press, which detail the construction methods and materials in a great deal of detail.  The copper domed school hall today stands out above the surrounding suburban housing – inside it is, understandably, a bit worn,  but the integrity of the underlying design shines through.  The dome is, however, not really like the Dome of Discovery.  If anyone would like details I am happy to send references or a photocopy.  A series of articles was written about the roof by B.K.Chatterjee, who was one of the engineers involved – who was he, and what happened to him? Work by an Asian engineer on such a major building must have been very unusual at the time.  The architects of the building were Slater, Uren and Pike and the consulting engineers were Ove Arup.


The long-awaited Museum in Docklands failed to open this summer after a mysterious benefactor failed to keep a promise to underwrite running costs. As a result it has been forced by its main fonder, the Heritage Lottery Fund, to hold merger talks with the Museum of London.

The museum, which chronicles the 2,000-year history of the Port of London received an initial £11.5m grant from the HLF five years ago. Construction costs ran £1,7m over budget, and so far a total of£16m has been spent. Grants of around £4m from the former Docklands Development Corporation and corporate donors were quickly swallowed up.

The museum's site, a Napoleonic era warehouse close to Canary Wharf dating back to 1802, it is itself a piece of Docklands history. It has been refurbished to house artefacts, paintings, models, boats and machinery that tell the story of London's port from Roman times to the present day. The exhibits are all in place, including numerous archaeological finds from Roman and Saxon times. The galleries are almost ready to be opened, and a fun area for children is nearing completion. The centre also includes a lecture and film theatre.
Copied from GLIAS NEWSLETTER  202, October 2002 without permission.

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