London 1980 (5)

The fifth set of black and white pictures I took in London in 1980 together with the stories about them first published on Facebook.


River Thames and Millwall from Greenwich Riverside path, Greenwich. 1980
24h-64: river, rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-64.htm

This was I think taken from Ballast Quay or Lovell’s Wharf, and some of the buildings which can be seen across the river are easily identified.

One, a white building is clearly the Great Eastern (though then it was the Watermans Arms) part of the Cubitt Town development built by William Cubitt it opened as the Newcastle Arms. It is a few yards from the Newcastle Draw Dock

It was writer and broadcaster Dan Farson who changed its name to the Watermen’s Arms when he became landlord in 1962 (though he hired a couple who had worked at Streatham Conservative Club to actually run it for him) featuring it in a TV programme about music halls. He did the place up and got a number of well-known entertainers to visit and sing at the place – including Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey – and other celebrities to come and listen and recorded a few episodes of his ITV series ‘The Entertainers’ there, but the audience proved too rowdy and later shows were made in a recreation of the pub in the studio.

Farson’s tenure only lasted a couple of years and after he left the pub quickly began to run down (perhaps partly because of high costs of ‘protection’ for businesses in the area), becoming a venue for striptease and drag artists, though still occasionally being used for TV and films, and it closed in 2011.

New management converted it into a pub and backpacker’s hostel – and renamed it to The Great Eastern. I walked past on a very hot day last year, hoping to take a rest there and have a pint, but as I approached a fight was taking place between two police officers and a man outside the door, and I decided to walk on.

And just to the right you can see the spire of Christ Church sticking up above the spar.


River Thames and Millwall from Greenwich Riverside path, Greenwich. 1980
24h-66: river, ship,rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24h-66.htm

Another view from the same place shows a similar riverside vista, but this time extending to the tower block on the Samuda estate at the right. Apart from some housing not far from the Watermans Arms the rest of the buildings have I think been replaced by more recent developments.

River Thames and Millwall from Riverside path, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-15: river, rigging

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-15.htm

And a third view, with a longer lens (probably a 50mm standard lens) which shows the buildings on the bank opposite more clearly


Disused wharf and River Thames, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-35: wharf, river, crane

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24i-35.htm

For once I know exactly where this picture was taken, at Bay Wharf, and it is now the premises of a dry dock company, formerly at Pipers Wharf (now part of the site of the Greenwich Wharf development) immediately south of the former Victoria Deep Water Terminal, though I think all the buildings on the site have been demolished.

The man looking into the river had come with me along the riverside walk, and had wandered into the shed while I was taking other pictures.

Bay Wharf appears to have been the site of the Great Breach or Horsehoe Breach of the sea wall at some time before 1622. The area was owned by Morden College and in the mid 19th century Bay Wharf was leased to various industries, including American boat builder Nathan Thompson,and his company, The National Company for Boat Building by Machinery, which went bankrupt more or less immediately and the lease taken over by Maudslay Son and Field in or before 1864, and they used the site to set up a shipbuilding operation, mainly concentrating on screw powered steam ships, and including an experimental ship for Henry Bessemer whose small steel works were at what later became the Victoria Deep Water Terminal.

But they became better known for two iron hulled sailing clippers, Blackadder in 1870 and Halloween in 1871. Blackadder had a very chequered career, leading to a number of court cases, but both boats were record breakers – with Halloween making passage from Shanghai to London in 91 days, knocking 19 days from Cutty Sark’s best. Maudsleay didn’t remain for long as ship builders, but continued to make marine boilers for some years before going bankrupt in 1902.

The site was then leased to Segar Emery, an American mahogany importer, and around 1945 became home to Humphrey & Grey (Lighterage) Ltd, part of Hays Wharf. These derelict buildings were their barge repair slips.

As always much of this information comes from Mary Mill’s encyclopedic Greenwich Peninsula History web site


Disused Wharf and Gas holders, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-11: wharf, gas holders,

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-11.htm

Taken from within a few feet of the previous image at Bay Wharf, but with my back to the river, looking towards the gas works.

No 1 gasholder, 180ft tall and 250 ft diameter was the first ever built with four lifts, rather than three and was completed in 1888. It was in use until recently despite some minor damage by the IRA in 1980, It could hold 8.2 million cubic feet. No 2 holder, at left in the picture, wider at 303ft diameter, was built in 1890 and was the ultimate in frame guiding gas holders, with 6 lifts, two of them ‘flying’ above the guide frame and could hold 12 million cubic feet. The two flying lifts were damaged by the 1917 Silvertown explosion and removed, and the whole holder demolished in 1985.

No. 1 gasholder is currently still standing, though currently threatened with demolition. Only a few gasholders around the country were selected for listing and preservation, and presumably despite its novelty when constructed this was not judged of sufficient interest, though it is a decision hard to understand except on commercial grounds.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-12: jetty, sheds, works, wharf

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-12.htm

Another view of Bay Wharf, this time from the south of the breach, with the large shed on the site of the Maudsley shipbuilding works, though the building is much later, built as barge repair slips for Humphrey and Grey. The shed at left is I think a part of the Victoria Deep Water Terminal.

Mary Mills on her Greenwich Peninsula History web site mentions a jetty erected at Morden Wharf in 1859, which she says “it seems likely that this was in fact part of the area described under Bay Wharf” and I think this may be the jetty shown here.

As mentioned in a previous comment, Bay Wharf is now now the premises of a dry dock company, formerly around half a mile upstream, moved to facilitate the exploitation of the riverside there for expensive flats.


Disused Wharf, North Greenwich, Greenwich. 1980
24j-21: wharf, derelict,

A detail inside the derelict shed at Bay Wharf

http://londonphotographs.co.uk/london/1980/24j-21.htm


The series continues…


My London Diary : London Photos : Hull : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

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2 Responses to “London 1980 (5)”

  1. ChrisL says:

    Thanks, many, are due as this year draws to a close for your consistently interesting and often thought provoking posts, to maintain the standard and frequency you do is appreciated here and I am sure by many of your “silent” readers.
    The quality of reproduction in the Flickr posts makes that worthwhile I think despite the the mechanics of that platform.

    You must have given your assiduous proof readers a Christmas break, one literally tiny, slipped through above: And just to the right you can see the spire of Christ Church sticking up above the spar.
    Should be Left, but so tiny, is the error and the spire concerned I would shrink from mentioning it if not for your fastidious accuracy.

    Very best wishes for the New Year, health wise in particular, on my behalf and, if I may, on behalf of the silent readers.

  2. Thanks for your supportive message and good wishes Chris. Flickr does allow me to post images at a larger size than the 600px longest side I use here – with landscape images appearing in the feed at 75%.

    Though I try hard, errors do creep in, mainly through my poor typing skills. But in this case it is my frequent confusion of ‘left’ and ‘right’ which can create som confusion when out walking or cycling with friends as I tell them we turn left but go right. I go the right way just call it by the wrong name!

    We can hope for the best but I fear 2020 may be a rather difficult year.
    Best wishes to you and all the other readers.

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