Thursday, 25 April 2013
The April 2013 GLIAS Newsletter has some bits and pieces of interest to Greenwich historians:
23rd June Crossness Engines Steaming Day plus Model Engineering Fair. 10.30-5 with last admission 4. £5 www.crossness.org.uk
Peter Butt - writing about London Gateway - says " As a school teacher in the 1970s I regularly took classes of 12-year old pupils for a walk along the south side of the Thames from Greenwich to the Blackwall Tunnel and which passed through a working container dock. That part of the public footpath was between the rails that the front and rear pairs of the legs of the cranes ran on, the path being marked out by white lines. My pupils did find the experience 'interesting'!
Bob Carr writes " The small industrial building in Blackwall Lane at TQ 394 783 roughly opposite Greenwich Town Social Club has been demolished. Until a few years ago it accommodated a form of Italian bakers and confectioners. Apparently they moved north of the river because traffic congestion in the Blackwall Tunnel was becoming insufferable'.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
Having said that - I am no great expert on power stations, particularly railway power stations - and its good to see them in one place and listed out. There is a real problem with the history of many old power generating sites in that privatisation saw a huge amount of archive material junked and I know to my cost that there are some local power stations where there really is nothing left to read up on. So, again, congratulations to Ben for finding out some bits about Blackwall Point Power Station (which stood on the riverside near the Pilot) - I know that can't have been easy.
I am very pleased that he has highlighted Greenwich Power Station - although he hasn't followed up the suggestion that it is the oldest operational power station in the country. But it is a good introduction to it and explains its background - but - Ben - did you read the article on it by Peter Guillery which GLIAS published, and, by the way, it has been refitted again in the last ten years, and rumour is that it is to be refitted again for Biomass.
I am sorry that he hasn't given more information about our other remaining old power plant in the Borough - the Plumstead Generating Station at White Hart Road. This was listed at the instigation of GIHS members and GIHS has published detailed information on this interesting site, researched and written by Dave Ramsey. It deserves a lot more.
And so we come onto what he says about the gas industry - and I am sorry if this sounds like a lot of carping. I don't mean it - its good to see something written and I will make sure that a nice supportive review goes into the gas history press (yes there is such a thing!!).
He starts with - as ever - William Murdoch. I just wish people who write about Murdoch and gas would take themselves up to the Birmingham Reference Library and read their way through the excellent archive which preserves the notes of the people who actually worked on developing the first coal gas making plant (James Southern and William Henry).
And so - no mention of the site in Goswell Road (Brick Lane gas works) where gas was made from 1816 and where Transco are still on site. Precious little about Old Kent Road - where the Livesey holder was recommended for listing (Ben - you did read Malcolm Tucker's report to English Heritage on gas holders in London, didn't you??). There is also a big imbalance in the account of the Commercial Company - which was essentially one of South Met's puppet companies. Nothing about Livesey's political role in gas industry pricing and company structures - let alone his workplace relations (all those adjitprop plays of the early 1980s).
But I won't go on about Livesey - but I will finish by saying that one day I will tell the world about the truth of the Millennium Dome and Livesey's ghost story - which he mentions. But not just yet.
I intend to say nice things about the book - which is why I am not picking through the gas chapters bit by bit. Its a book we need - but its a subject where you probably need a lifetime to read all the source material. Perhaps no one person could do it.
PS - memo to self to scan (ugh!) and upload my M.Phil thesis (on Livesey's workplace relations and political role), my BA project on the 1889 gasworkers strike and the bits I've actually written on a biography on to http://marysgasbook.blogspot.co.uk/
Saturday, 20 April 2013
The Conference was opened by Deptford MP, Joan Ruddock - with a speech expressing her support for the recognition of the Deptford Yard's history while various 'regeneration' schemes are considered. She recalled how she had explained to Chinese developers that in our eyes the dockyard has the same status as the Great Wall of China has for them. She mentioned two projects being put forward by local people - a project to restore John Evelyn's Sayes Court Garden, and the project to 'Build the Lenox' - a replica 17th century warship at Deptford. (speaker on that being booked for GIHS)
Chris Ellmers gave his paper in his usual erudite and lively style. This was on the private shipbuilding yards and ironworks which surrounded the Royal Dockyard and the interrelationships between them. We must get Chris along to GIHS to speak on this - as well as everything else he is so knowledgeable on.
Peter Cross-Rudkin spoke about the work of John Rennie in the Royal Dockyards - which was focussed on the dockyards nationwide and not just about Deptford and Woolwich, although they were mentioned of course. He was very interesting however on Rennie and his work.
Philip McDougall spoke about the Woolwich dockyard focussing his talk around a print of the launch of the 120 gun Nelson in 1814. This was all about the carnival atomosphere around the launch of this ship - the visitors - the flotilla coming down river from London, and so on. He also talked about the development and eventual demise of Woolwich Dockyard. Philip would love to come and talk to GIHS about this but it would need to be at a daytime meeting - something which perhaps we should attempt.
The next speaker, English Heritage's Mark Stephenson, has been to GIHS several times and also sends us helpful information on current work in the Borough. He was looking at how site investigation can be planned and executed along with the developers and the planners - and how strategies for this have been developed.
Duncan Hawkins has already spoken to us - and also led site visits - on the archaeology undertaken at Deptford Dockyard in 2011 and 2012. This work is ongoing and will eventually be published.
The final speakers - Chris Mazeika and Willi Richards - again need no local introductions. Since they bought what has become known as the Shipwrights Palace on the Deptford site they have worked unceasingly to publicise and promote this important site. Their paper continued to analyse some aspects of the site.
These papers will all be published by the Society in due course
The Conference raised some important issues - and clearly just one day on the two dockyards is going to leave lots of holes. The focus, rightly, was on Deptford. However I had a conversation with members of the GLIAS Committee only last week and was reminded that they were involved with a number of local people in the 1970s on an excavation and study of Woolwich Dockyard - involving I understand supervision on the late Beverley Burford - then assistant curator at Plumstead Museum. GLIAS holds a great deal of unpublished material on Woolwich Dockyards - as did other people involved at the time - and I was told they would welcome an opportunity to bring some of it to light.
................... ideas????? as to how this might be achieved?
anyway - thanks for the day, and the arrangments to the Naval Dockyards Society - and to their new Chair and Committee elected earlier today.
Friday, 19 April 2013
Greenwich Peninsula was a big centre for barge building - many different vessels were built here until very recently and includeds some boats which are still very much in use on the River. Lighters and other commercial craft were also built here.
Of most interest were the Thames Sailing Barges - operational in the late 19th century until the mid-20th. Some of these were very, very famous vessels and there is a huge amount of interest out there and many enthusiasts. Just this last weekend I was in Maldon at the quayside looking at the barges moored there, and saw just how many of them were very smart and we were told how new barges are now being built.
It is important to recognise just how sophisticated and versatile these vessels were - and are. They were built for the Thames and for all the little creeks as well as the Channel. They could go up river - under all the bridges - and went to places like Isleworth and beyond. They could go up tiny creeks in very shallow water. They could, and did, cross the Channel and go into Continental rivers. They could be worked with a man and a boy.
The barge matches - which many of these vessels competed in, and won - still take place. Happy to find dates of this year's events
I am putting below a list of those vessels built in Greenwich which I know about - and I am sure (and I hope) that all of those 100s of enthusiasts were not only read this but send in many many corrections to what I am sure are lots and lots and lots of mistakes. This is a subject people really KNOW about.
Barge builder Shrubsall - they were based at the Northern end of the Peninsula on part of the area of what is now Peninsula quays. They were an Ipswich based company who came to Greenwich in 1901. There are some good articles about them by proper barge enthusiast writers - I could get references.
Alderman Built 1905 for Groom of Harwich. Lost in the Second World War.
Bankside. Originally built by Wakeley Bros. and rebuilt in 1926 by Shrubsall. She ended up owners by Francis & Gilders. Mined and sunk in the Second World War,
Duchess. 55 ton barge built 1901 for for Clement Parker of Bradwell. She was lost at Dunkirk, - abandoned off St.Abb's Head and drifted.
Genesta. (this is a confused jumble of bits - not sure which bits of this - if any if it - are correct) Sjhe was nuilt in the 1900s by Shrubsall and named after a yacht which won the America's Cup. At one time she was missing for four days off Blythe. She once sailed to Guernsey. She was owned by APCM and won sailing matches. After being wrecked for the second time in 1939 she sold and then converted into a motor barge in the Second World War for Hammond. In the 1950s she was in an accident at Gas House Dock, Gillingham and then wrecked off Folly Point, Hoo Fort full of beer barrels from Meux at Pimlico. She was raised and taken to Churchfields to be burnt. But she ended up as a hulked at Pipers in Greenwich and her huge main mast was displayed there as a relic. (I would love to know what happened to that!!)
Pall Mall. Rebuilt in 1905 and owned by Shrubsall in the 1930s. She had an accident off London Bridge on way to Honduras Wharf and Shrubsall bought the wreck.
Varuna. Built 'on spec' in 1907. There was no buyer so Shrubsall used her himself before eventually selling her on. She sank down channel when in use as a yacht but in 1957 was still hauling , timber to the Surrey Docks.
Venta. Previously called Jachin; she had been smashed on Newhaven beach and Shrubsall bought the wreck and rebuilt her. She became barge yacht in in 1948 for Judge Blagden and sailed to Sweden in 1964
Veravia. Had been called Alarm previously and was rebuilt. She had been built in 1898 in Sittingbourne for Lloyds paper mills. She had caught fire with a load of paper and had to be helped into Dungeness. Shrubsall altered her drastically and she was changed again in 1938 in Greenwich by Humphery and Grey. In 1960, owned by Hayling Coal and Transportation Co. she sank when loaded with 140 tons of spent oxide from Portsmouth Gas Works going to the glassworks at Rouen. Gales has kept her windbound in the Camber - she sailed but turned back because of a heavy swell and freshening wind off the Nab Tower. She anchored off Chichester where she remained 5 days and then left but after 8 hours the wind shifted and she sank in a huge sea. In 1961 she was converted to diesel at Prior's Yard Burnham on Crouch. As a working barge she went to the Continent with Belgian roofing tiles, and up the Rhine with Appolinaris water packed in straw. She carried Portland stone used for the Cenotaph. Before 1930 she took coal from Goole to Mill Rythe, and cullet to Antwerp and back with bricks from Boom. In the 1960s she took meal to Ipswich from Tilbury; scrap iron from Deptford to Goole, coal from Keadby to Wapping, and meal from Hull to Faversham; Wheat from Hull to Peterborough. She took flour from Guernsey amd returend with granite road chippings to London. . 'Vera via' is the 'true path'.
Veronica. Built 1906. she eventually became a house barge and her remains are at Bedlam's Bottom. Her name boards and some other items were at the Dolphin Barge Museum in Sittingbourne. But that too has now closed.
Victa. Rebuilt in 1913 she became a house barge at Strood,
Vicunia. Built 1912 for , for Middleton of Harwich and was still at work in 1957. The name is a place in Chile.
Vidora. Name is a place in Canada.
Vimosa. Built in 1908
Barge Builder Pipers - one of the leading barge builders. Based adjacent to the existing boat builder on what is now Lovells - the works there is essentially Pipers under different ownership.
Brian Boru - built 1906 in wood. Broken up 1988 in Brentford
Edgar Scholey. Built 1904. She was broken up 1950s having been a house boat at Cheyne Walk,
Ernest Piper. Built 1898 in wood. Rerigged for Goldsmiths in 1928. Her remains lie in Shepherds Creek
Gerty. Built 1897. Broken up in 1933 at Millwall
Giralda. Built 1897 - the fastest barge ever built. counter springy floor. A half model was made pf her and preserved. (and where is that?) She was designed by Piper's Foreman, Jack Gurrell commssioned by Goldsmiths of Grays and designed in order to win the Diamond Jubilee gold cup. She was flat and ugly and too light to keep her shape and so had to be strengthend. She cost £1,350 to build; was 80ft long and had 3,000 ft of canvas. She was Champion of the Thames in 1898, 1900, 1904, and 1909. She was Champion of the Medway 1898, 1900, 1903, and 1904. She became a mooring barge in 1928 and then was damaged in Ramsgate Harbour. Piper bought her back in 1943 and hulked her - left her unused and unusable off their wharf. Some remains of her were kept by the Piper family - and her picture turns up all over the place, I have seen it on table mats!!
Gwynronald - previously called Charles Allison. Built in 1908 and owned by Samuel West of Gravesend and used for Ballast. Her remains have been in Oare Creek since 1957
Haughty Belle. Built 1895 to the specifications of E.J.Goldsmith. She was a wooden racing barge with iron leeboards. She was eventually broken up in Cubitt's yacht basin, Royal Docks.
Miranda. Built 1909
Pip. Built in 1921 as a steel motor barge. Later called Pinup and in the 1950s called Pine. She was run down off Purfleet by a steamer and her crew were drowned. She was dismantled and then hulked at Greenwich.
Squeak, Had been previously called Dorcas Also called 'Hokey Pokey' because she had a painted hull. She had been based at Sandwich trader and off Woolwich petrol drums on board caught fire and the skipper was killed and she was sold to Pipers for £60 who rebuilt her as a larger vessel. She was the subject of a lawsuit because of damage in 1943 off Sheerness Gas works jetty. She was eventually dismantled in 1948 after nearly sinking in Sea Reach. Her remains lie at Funton.
Surf. Built in 1899 as a racing barge. She was fouled by Minnehaha at Tilbury in 1900
Surge. Built in 1905 the name means Sure you are Giralda's Equal
Surrey. Built 1901. Her remains lie at Whitewall Creek
M Piper. Built 1914. She was broken up for scrap at Bloor's Wharf in 1954
Serb. Repaired by Shrubsall. She was at Dunkirk having been sent there while loaded coal for drifters at Tilbury. Sge was then towed to Ramsgate and set out for Dunkirk, but was told to go back so she was towed back to Ramsgate and laid up at Ipswich. She became a yacht owned by R.Green and was sunk off North Foreland in 1954
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Coming to me from such an unlikely source of the Councillor's weekly mailing has been a booklet 'UK Kebab Industry. I am entirely unsure why this has been distributed to Greenwich Councillors since most of the action seems to take place in the further flung reaches of Stoke Newington .... but still .... it would seem ungrateful not to mention it.
The booklet claims that there are perhaps 17,000 kebab shows in Britain run by Turks, Kurds, Asian and Greeks - and that they produce 2,000 tonnes of lamb doner and 700 tonnes of chicken every week.
They claim that the first kebab shop in Britain opened in 1966 in Newington Green, followed by another in Upper Street. The booklet talks a bit about the spread of kebabs round Britain and pictures the largest kebab ever weighing 2,000 kg. and ends with the social impact of the kebab and its economical impacts - and then a young entrepreneur.
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
Monday, 8 April 2013
Thursday, 4 April 2013
Maceroni and his associateswent to Joshua Beale at his East Greenwich Engineering works for vehicles to be made and which Gordon supervised. Joshua's brother Benjamin Beale helped with the drawings and together they went to Wright's carriage works in Ray Street, Clerkenwell, and selected a carriage to which they could add the steam engine. When the carriage was tested it was discovered that the steam blew the fire out and so alterations had to be made. This extra work was done by Beale.
On a Wednesday in 1840 another party went in Maceroni's carriage from East Greenwich through Lewisham to Bromley 'a distance of 8 miles, performing the journey in the (almost) incredible short time of 28 minutes'. They finished by going up Blackheath Hill at 12 miles per hour 'with only one wheel clutched' 'in gallant style with a load of 17 passengers' The next day they went up Shooters Hill at 14 mph with steam blown off at the top, having left. This was done in the 'incredible time of 28 mins'. On the way back they went up Blackheath Hill in gallant style and at the top of Shooters Hill with they stopped at The Bull for what they said was water.
Inevitably, water was not all they took at the Bull - 'the men were regaled and eulogised the scientific engineer'. They carried on across Blackheath and on up Shooters Hill at the speed of 14 miles and hour and so back to East Greenwich,. Everyone was delighted.
Alexander Gordon said that this was not all strictly true. He said that there had been collisions on bad roads . Frank Hills protested that the only problem was with taking in muddy water . Gordon went on to point out that if these vehicles were to undertake regular and reliable services then they needed to demonstrate that they could do it. Why they publicise, he asked, when ever they' 'ascended a hill' or went over a 'newly gravelled road' or met with one of the 'collisions so natural on common roads'. This might have perhaps been remarkable when Samuel Brown went up over Shooters Hill but 15 years later in 1840 vehicles should be able to cope. If Mr. Beale and Mr. Hills had these wonderful cars - then, asked Alexander Gordon, were they not running regular services in them?
this article originally appeared in By Gone Kent
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
Hancock's coaches all had identifying names - one was even called 'Autopsy'. A coach called 'Era' is shown in illustrations, dating from 1832, and advertising a service between London and Greenwich. Era was built by Hancock for a body called the London and Greenwich Steam Carriage Company. It appears that separate companies had been set up to run omnibus routes - one of them, for instance, was the London and Paddington Steam Carriage Company. These companies, ostensibly different, all seem to have had most of the same people behind them. The London and Greenwich Steam Carriage was not a Greenwich based company but a body set up in London which wanted to run an omnibus service to Greenwich.
'Era' is not mentioned in the account of 'Enterprise' but Hancock himself said he had made 'Era' for work in Greenwich. It may be that the problems which Hancock had with David Redmund meant that the vehicle never actually ran a service. 'Era'anbH carried sixteen people sitting inside and two outside. In addition there was crew of three - the driver, an engineer and a lad. There were two engines for the engineer to manage. The 'lad' stoked the boiler with 'common gas coke ' - that is coke bought from the gas works.