Wednesday 11 March 2020

Notes and snippets from 12 years ago - December 2006

Notes and snippets 
from 12 years ago - December 2006


Whaaat!? The East Greenwich-based Independent Photograph Project have produced an Ordnance Survey-type map of the Greenwich Peninsula based on people’s emotional reactions to it – via a clever little hand-held device and some clever computer software. See The Independent Photography Project has an ambitious programme, much of which is based on research and memories of industry on the Peninsula.

Victoria Deep Water Terminal, Greenwich Peninsula SE10

MoLAS geo-archaeological monitoring of geo-technical test pits and boreholes, November 2002.
The site lies on the western side of the Greenwich Peninsula, where a ridge of floodplain gravel, overlain by sand exists below the alluvium. A peaty soil had developed above the sand, which was buried by a bed of peat, about 1m thick. At the interface of the soil and peat struck flints were recovered, which may be of Neolithic date. The peat represented several cycles of increasingly wet then increasingly dry conditions, with probably episodes of dry woodland, wet Alder Carr and sedge fen interspersed with periods of prolonged flooding in which much wood was found. It was overlain by clays and silts, representing a transition to salt marsh and mudflats. The high clay content and increasing iron-staining especially in the upper parts of the minerogenic alluvium suggests it might represent seasonal flooding of a marshy / grassy floodplain soil as opposed to mudflats and salt marsh. The pre-Victorian land surface was represented by a soil that had developed in the upper part of the alluvium in parts of the site, and in the north of the site waterlain channel-edge or foreshore deposits were found between 0 and +1m OD, which may represent (or link with) a post-medieval sluice, tidal creek or watercourse. A sluice dating from the post-medieval period and linked to drains and watercourses existing into the 19th century is known to have existed in this part of the Peninsula. Tarry contamination was found in the lower levels of the made ground, which was up to 3m thick close to the river, in the western side of the site. This is likely to relate to the use of the site from the 1840's by the Improved Wood Pavement Company to make coal tar-soaked wood blocks for paving using the waste products of the gas industry.
Thanks to David Riddle who spotted this piece.

Dick Moy – who was a founder member of GIHS and whose recent death was a great blow to many who cared about Greenwich left much to remember him by. His involvement with The Spread Eagle is part of the remarkable story of post-war development in Greenwich. In addition to food, music and theatre, The Spread Eagle has had close connections with the visual arts. The Moy family managed an art gallery and antique business in adjoining buildings for more than fifty years. After Dick Moy's death in 2005, The Spread Eagle was acquired by Frank Dowling. Their respective historical art collections are brought together to form The Spread Eagle Art Collection. The catalogue is a pictorial souvenir of the people and places in Greenwich. It features a wide range of distinguished artists and illustrators, from the 17th century to the present day, who were inspired by Greenwich, including many who were familiar with the tavern, coaching inn, and restaurant. The Spread Eagle spans more than 300 years of history. It is situated on Stockwell Street, one of the most ancient roads in Greenwich and a tavern from before 1650.

The advent of rail travel in the 1830s and later the development of motor transport led to the demise of The Spread Eagle as a coaching Inn. It survived as a tavern until 1922. For more than forty years it was occupied by a Printer and bookbinder and finally became the receiving office of a laundry. The Moy family purchased the property in 1964 and Dick began the task of restoring the building as a restaurant. During the restoration process many original features were uncovered and many lost relics were discovered. Roman pottery, a Tudor show and a Kentish 'fives9' board - the forerunner of darts, were found. Also a whip that may well have been used by Joseph Steel the Spread Eagle's coachman renowned in Greenwich for his bare-fist fighting. In 1819 he fought Bishop Sharpe and lost a £25 wager. A print, now part of The Spread Eagle Art Collection, portrays him knocked upside down. A trunk was discovered in the attic which originally belonged to Mrs. Webb - the landlady of The Spread Eagle during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. This was also the popular period of English Music Hall and the trunk contained her collection of dedicated photographs and letters of her musical and theatrical clientele. The artistes had all performed at the neighbouring halls of present-day Greenwich Theatre.

These - and many other pictures of Greenwich are included in the catalogue.

We have been given a copy of the 2nd edition of the Gazetteer of pre-1945 industrial sites in Bexley Borough with the compliments of The Bexley Local Studies and Archives Centre who have supervised and paid for the production of the Gazetteer, and The Bexley Civic Society who have given their unstinting support for the preparation of this new edition. It is the work of Michael Dunmow – better known for his devotion to the Crossness Engines Trust. The relics of the industrial past of an area are always under threat from vandalism, dereliction and redevelopment. Bexley has had its historians and photographers at work for many years, most of them working in specific locations or on specific topics. This booklet is based upon a survey which has attempted to secure a record of the industrial relics in the Borough in a systematic way which, it is hoped, will enable future workers to add to and to amend the record and to draw on it for future studies. The work on this gazetteer began some years ago and from the outset was supported by the Planning Committee of
The Bexley Civic Society who have followed its gestation with great patience and have kept the project on their agenda since its inception.

Explosion! The Museum of Naval Firepower in Priddy's Hard, Gosport, Hampshire, is pleased to announce the launch of this highly anticipated new publication: Arming the Fleet - The Development of the Royal Ordnance Yards 1770 - 1945. The publication, by David Evans, has been produced by the Museum in association with English Heritage. This major new book reveals, for the first time, the complete history of Britain's naval ordnance yards from the early conversion of fortifications such as Upnor Castle and Portsmouth's Square Tower, to the underground strongholds of the Second World War. From extensive research using a wealth of original documents, David Evans, author of the acclaimed Building the Steam Navy, traces the development of the sites, buildings, workers and policies that underpinned Britain's armed forces for over 150 years.

Life in Rural Kent 1950's to 70's by Iris Bryce. 'The Hill Folk' follows Iris' award winning book Remember Greenwich and Tree in the Quad. It is a collection of essays of life on a farm near Wrotham in Kent in the fifties, sixties and early seventies.

It was with some excitement that we received an email from Allan Green – who spoke to GIHS about cable-maker Henley in October – about the Coast programme on BBC TV. The programme was to visit the Telegraph Cable Museum at Porthcurno in Cornwall where Allan is based and where the archives of Greenwich cable makers are kept. Cable enthusiasts everywhere were emailing each other frantically. In the end it was an interesting description of the Museum and the revolutionary nature of the telegraph cable – shame they never mentioned that ALL of them were made in Greenwich!

London's most romantic castle is set to enter a new phase of life, if the support it gained during this year’s London Open House weekend is anything to go by. "As good as the Monument", "a wonderful gem... full of magic and presence" and "really spectacular" were just some of the comments from visitors. "It's not the biggest castle I've been it but it has the best views" and "I would love to live here" were comments from children. Nearly a thousand people queued, some for hours, to go up the 18th century folly in Castle Wood, Shooter's Hill, London SE18, and to see its rarely accessible interior. The three-sided castle, holds fond memories for many South Londoners as a place to visit for relaxation and enjoyment, for children to play - and as the area's only castle.

Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust, the group which has been campaigning to save the Castle, appointed Waloff Associates Ltd in August 2006 to prepare an Audience Development Plan for the castle and its surroundings. The Plan, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage, will help the Trust decide which uses are most sustainable and viable for the castle, and then approach the London Borough of Greenwich to obtain a long-term lease. The local authority is currently the owner of Severndroog Castle, which is not accessible to the public at present. Dr Barry Gray, Chair of the Trustees, said: "The Open House event showed the amount of public support. Now we need to be clear what the castle can be used for - and how this can be to everyone's benefit. We look forward to working with Greenwich Council to make sure this happens".
The Trust has also commissioned 2 further reports, a Conservation Management Plan and an Access Plan. This work will be undertaken by Thomas Ford & Partners, a firm of Chartered Architects and surveyors who also act as historic building consultants. When all 3 reports are completed, the Severndroog Castle Building Preservation Trust will approach Heritage Lottery Fund for funding to fully restore the Castle.

Victoria's intermediate pressure (IP) cylinder has been laid bare. All the old metallic cladding has been removed and the lagging stripped off. In the main, the cladding on the cylinder was in a sound condition and although the outer surface was pitted with rust there were patches on the inner surfaces that retained their original 'blued steel' finish. Plain horizontal joins in the cladding were covered by 2 inch wide circumferential brass bands which are in store prior to cleaning and polishing. The metallic cladding itself has also been stored pending a detailed inspection and a decision on which bits to retain. It is interesting that many of the complex non-plain joints in the cladding, such as those between cylindrical and flat parts of the cladding, have brass fascias attached by brass rivets that cover the joins themselves. Again, a decision has to be made as to how many of these brass pieces we retain. Each part of cladding has been measured, a sketch made and a numbered disc attached to it. Removal of the lagging proved to be a very dusty job although much of it came away in chunks. It was applied in about 1900 before asbestos was used for lagging and seems to be a mortar-like material. Samples have been kept for display, testing and record purposes but the rest of the removed lagging has been disposed of as ground in-fill around the site.

With the lagging removed, the intermediate pressure cylinder casting was cleaned down by needle-gunning and wire brushing whereafter it has been primed with red lead paint. The flanges for the steam heating pipes and the pressure tapping points have been left unpainted so that they can be faced off to ensure they make steam-tight joints when the mating flanges are fitted. However, there is still a lot of cleaning to be done and this will be ongoing as we progress. Having removed the lagging, we were then faced with the question 'What do we take off next?' The simple answer was 'The part that is easiest to get at' but that part proved to be crucial to the timing of the cut-off of the steam inlet valve. To ensure that the valve timing is right when the engine is reassembled it is essential that the distances between various adjustable parts of the valve gear go back as found.

On Prince Consort the standard engineering practice of 'pop-marking' the components was used but what we had overlooked was the fact that when the rust and corrosion was cleaned off so the pop-marks were also removed. Therefore, on Victoria, learning from that lesson, before we removed any parts a sketch was made showing the critical setting dimensions by measuring centre-to-centre distances between the pins and bolts also from pins/bolts to flat surfaces of associated parts. The parts that we finally decided to remove were the inlet valve trip rods, complete with adjustment devices that are essential components in determining the trip timing of the steam inlet valve. These parts have now been stripped down to their individual components, detail drawings made of them - and numbered discs attached. They are now being cleaned up and polished prior to being put on display until they can be reassembled back on the engine. This we hope to do progressively - it being probably as efficient a way of storing the various parts as any, and at least we should still be able to remember where they came from!

Published in Crossness Record – apologies for publishing without their consent – due to difficulties in contacting them.

Crane Exported From London
The elderly grey-painted Stothert & Pitt crane, used to unload the small sand and gravel carrying motor ships of J. J. Prior Ltd at their wharf on Deptford Creek has recently been replaced by a tall PLA-type crane of the kind common in the larger London docks about 30 years ago. J. J. Prior carefully dismantled the old crane and it left the Creek on one of their vessels about Friday, 8th September 2006.

Bob Carr - from GLIAS Newsletter.

Siemens Brothers Engineering Society
Members will remember that Siemens Brothers Engineering Society have produced a catalogue of items in their possession. Brian Middlemiss, their Secretary and GIHS member, has written to tell us that following a recent large donation of archive material to the Engineering Society, they have now produced a formal Supplement to this Main Archive Material Catalogue. They have been kind enough to supply us with a copy of the Supplement to be associated with the Main Catalogue previously supplied in 2004. They point out that the need to produce this Supplement was triggered by the sad death of Bill Speller, one of their Members, following which his family made a large donation of archive material to the Society. They took the opportunity to include in the Supplement all the other donations received since publication of the Main Catalogue in June 2004. There will be no further Supplements – all subsequent donations will be treated as 'private donations' and passed, with a covering letter, to an appropriate new holder. The Supplement lists all the items donated, with the identity of the new holders to whom they have been given for the benefit of future generations and researchers. The Society remains indebted to Siemens, UK, Corporate Communications who continue to support their activities and have facilitated the printing and binding of the Supplement.

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