Monday 23 March 2020

Street furniture - old Greenwich Borough sites


In an issue of  2006 Richard Buchanan and Susan Bullevant described how they and other members of GIHS/Woolwich Antiquarians rescued an old Borough of Woolwich Electricity Junction box. Richard later wrote expanding on the subject. 

Are these features still there - comments?? please??

The junction box with the Woolwich Arms is presumably the earliest type they used (and the only one of this type I have seen in recent years). I have seen three other types of electricity distribution box in the Borough of Woolwich; two made by Siemens, and one by Henleys. These are somewhat bigger - it is never easy to dress the cabling in the confines of a junction box - and are fitted with a door that is hinged at the very edge of the box for maximum accessibility. Woolwich boxes have double sided access, being designed to be put near the edge of the pavement, with a door or removable panel facing the road; and a door facing the pavement. (Modern BT and CATV distribution boxes are single sided and usually set at the inner side of the pavement, backing onto the adjacent property). Overall Height of the distribution boxes described below is above an integral plinth at ground level; below ground they extend about another foot. A rounded height is given, as there is variability in how the box is set in the ground, particularly where the ground is not level. I list below boxes I have seen at the end of 2006. There are probably more.

Woolwich Junction Box with the Woolwich Arms on Shooters Hill: removed from Eaglesfield Road opposite the end of Cleanthus Road. It has a door on either side, hinged on the right with a key operated lock on the left. Overall dimensions: Height: 52 in, Width: 19.5 n, Depth: 14 in. Weight: assuming an average thickness of 1 cm, this junction box works out at 250 kg (1/4 tonne). It is unusual in having a round cap fitted over the centre of the top, suggesting that it was designed to mount a lamp (or alarm?) standard.

Siemens Junction Box I Shooters Hill, Laing Estate (built 1935-6).
I have counted the following on the Laing Estate: Ashridge Crescent: 4, Bushmoor Crescent: Kinlet Road: 2 Plumstead: one in Timbercroft Lane at the junction with The Slade. Overall dimensions: Height: 56 in. Width: 24 in Depth: 15.5 in. 
These boxes have a door hinged at the right hand edge of the side facing the pavement, with pintles held in the base and top; on the left is a key operated lock. Below the door, on the base is cast “SIEMENS”. The roadside face has a removable panel held by six screws. On each side there is a 4 inch square plaque stating: REGISTERED No 750202/29. PATENT No 336752

Siemens Junction Box II - Shooters Hill, Wimpey Estate, one in Condover Crescent. “Siemens” is not visible, the base being sunk in the pavement, but the box has the same plaque on its sides. It is wider than Box I, with full width doors of the same type, on both sides: Overall dimensions: Height: 56 in Width: 30 in Depth: 15.5 in

Henley Junction Box - Plumstead, one in each of Pegwell Street and Lucknow Street by Timbercroft Lane. Overall dimensions: Height: 60 in, Width: 20 in, Depth: 16 in. These boxes have a door on the side facing the pavement, hinged, for maximum accessibility, on the left hand edge. The door has two key holes on the right, at top and bottom. The roadside face has a removable panel held on eight studs by nuts. On the base, below the panel, is cast “HENLEY”.

Woolwich Junction Box with the Woolwich Arms. Further to the one taken from Shooters Hill to the Greenwich Heritage Centre, I have now seen three more. Plumstead: one, at the junction of Burrage Place and Burrage Road; two, diagonally opposite, at the junction of Frederick Place and Bloomfield Road. They have a door on either side, hinged on the right with a key operated lock on the left. The door on the side facing the road is not the full width of the cabinet, while the one on the pavement side is the full width of the cabinet. Both doors bear the Arms of the Borough of Woolwich. These boxes are of a regular pattern, and do not have a cap fitted on top as the one taken from Shooters Hill did.

We have had a number of other details sent in about historic street furniture around the Borough

From a Greenwich Transportation Engineer about an old traffic light pad in Farmdale Road. This dates from when Farmdale was at the end of Westcombe Hill before the construction of the motorway. Recent road works by the Water Board may be in the process of destroying it.

From Mike Neill: The lamp column and base at White Hart Lane Depot have recently been removed – within the last few months - presumably as part of Tilfen's site clearance. It used to stand in the space between the gate pier and the weighbridge office. The weighbridge still survives however, as does an ornate thing that I think was a sign holder - not a light as the old column was right behind it.

There is a Council Tramways cover just beside the bus stop o/s Dreadnaught House on the Woolwich Road

The last surviving wood block paving that I know of in the Borough - maybe from the works featured in the GIHS? - curiously enough in Powis Street, Woolwich.

There is also an old tram telephone box near the Blackwall Tunnel entrance in Blackwall Lane – almost alongside ‘Ranburn’.
(this was cleared during Olympic tidying up)

In Vanburgh Hill outside the nurses homes, now converted to flats, is a metal plate marked ‘Merryweather & Co.’ – was this part of some sort of integrated fire extinguisher system within the building?

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