Posts Tagged ‘Industrial Archaeology’

Industrial Archaelogy 1988

Monday, October 26th, 2020

Some photographs from a GLIAS (Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society) coach trip to Gloucestershire in 1988. For most of the time it rained, rather restricting my photography.

Lock gates, Lydney Harbour, 1988 88-7a-62-positive_2400

Lydney Harbour was built in 1810-3 to carry iron ore and coal from the Forest of Dean. These were brought to the harbour by a tramway built in 1809. Coal continued to be shipped from here until 1960 and the harbour only closed in 1977. It was scheduled as an ancient monument in 1985 and later reopened for leisure use More recently there have been some restoration work and a £2.1m Destination Lydney Harbour project began in June 2020 to develop the area for recreation and tourism. An outer Sea gate from the River Severn leads into a Tidal basin, then a lock connects to the dock and Lydney canal. The upper lock gate is a double gate to protect against high tides in the estuary.

The harbour is the mouth of the River Lyd, and a canal leads a mile inland to Lydney. The swing bridge across the canal between the upper and lower parts of the dock was Grade II listed in 1988. Apparently timber was still carried in barges along the canal until around 1980.

Cookson Terrace, Harbour Rd, Lydney, 1988 88-7a-43-positive_2400

Cookson Terrace on Harbour Rd is a row of cottages built in 1858 as a hotel and housing by the Severn and Wye Railway and Canal Company, Grade II listed in 1988.

Blast furnace, Gunns Mills, Flaxley, Forest of Dean, 1988 88-7b-63-positive_2400

Gunns Mills, Flaxley, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire is a Grade II* Listed Building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, being probably the oldest surviving blast furnace in the country, dating to 1683. The mill was named after William Gunne who owned an earlier mill on the site. A charcoal blast furnace built here in 1629 was demolished by Parliament in 1650. The furnace was rebuilt in 1683 but went out of use in 1743 when this became a paper mill which closed in 1879, after which some buildings on the site were used as farm buildings.

Gloucester Docks, 1988 88-7b-55-positive_2400

The main site for our visit was Gloucester Docks, a remarkable collection of fifteen Victorian dock buildings around the main basin, built in 1827 as the terminus of the ship canal from Sharpness, and the Barge Arm, provided at the same time to stop barges cluttering up the dock. A new dock, the Victoria Dock, was added in 1847 and further warehouses were added to deal with the increased foreign imports after the 1846 repeal of the Corn Laws.

As the size of vessels increased a new dock was built at Sharpness; larger vessels were unloaded there, with some goods being carried by barges up the canal, while smaller ships continued to use the canal. The docks remained busy until the 1960s but commercial traffic had largely disappeared by the 1980s. Since then the dock has become of popular leisure and residential area both for boaters and tourists.

Old Sharpness Canal entrance, 1988 88-7b-24-positive_2400

The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal was for some years the broadest and deepest canal in the world, intended to be 18ft deep and 86.5ft wide. Authorised in 1793, building was held up by financial difficulties and it was only completed in 1827. 16.3 miles long, it avoided a large loop in the River Severn with a dangerous bend. By 1905 traffic along it had reached 1 million tons a year. Our coach took us for a brief visit to the Old Sharpness Canal entrance, opened in 1827 but no longer in use, before going to Sharpness Dock, opened in 1874 to allow larger ships which could not use the canal to dock. This is still a working dock and most of the older buildings have been replaced by more modern structures.

Sharpness Docks, 1988 88-7c-51-positive_2400

I don’t actually remember much of that visit, but the photographs remain, around a hundred of them, though I’ve only included around 30 in the album. I do remember our coach back to London being held up on the motorway and arriving back in central London hours later than planned, having to run across Waterloo station to just jump on the last train home, minutes before midnight.

More pictures from the trip in a Flickr Album.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


Lumsdale and Matlock

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

We had a day before we left Matlock when we were not looking after grandchildren and went on a walk. I’d been to Lumsdale before on my own at the end of 2018, but Linda hadn’t so we decided to walk up there .

The beginnings of our Industrial revolution were driven by water power, before the age of steam, and valleys like Lumsdale were where it began. The Bentley Brook which runs down the valley is a relatively small stream, but the valley falls quite rapidly and its water flow could be harnessed by a series of mills on its descent.

Importantly, its flow was pretty reliable through the year, and could be maintained at a pretty constant level by damning its flow to build ponds at the top of the valley, two of which are still there, though the top pond above them is now dry.

We climbed gradually up the valley, going past the derelict structures of several mills. This picture is looking down from the top of the falls in the picture above, which was taken from roughly where you can just see a person in a red jacket. There are few places with any guard rails and the rocks were damp and slightly slippery, and I was hanging onto a small tree but still didn’t feel too safe, and had to move back from the edge.

Higher up things seem rather safer, and the flow of the river more a result of man-made activities, including a dam to create a large holding pond. There is a second pond a little higher up the valley, and higher still I photographed the remains of another dam, which burst in 1947 and has not been repaired. There are useful explanatory boards at key points on the extensive site, but it remains for the most part open and unchanged for people to walk around, unlike some other ‘heritage’ sites.

We walked across from Lumsdale to Matlock Bank, stopping for lunch at the Duke of Wellington on the Chesterfield Rd before going down Rockside Steps and past the old tram depot to Bank Rd and down to the river.

It wasn’t a very long walk, but was full of interest, as I hope the pictures at Lumsdale & Matlock on My London Diary show.


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.


GLIAS 50

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

I think I joined the Greater London Industrial Archaelogy Society (GLIAS) in around 1979, forty years ago, but it had then been going for 10 years. I’ve not been the most active of members, particularly in recent years when I’ve been too busy with other things, but over the years I’ve been on numerous walks, several outings, attended talks and lectures and even made some tiny contributions. I still enjoy reading the newsletters and occasional publications of the group.

The various walks usually took me back to areas of London I’d already explored when taking photographs, and they often made me much better informed about buildings I had already photographed. I’ve not been on any lately as they almost always take place when I’m now working. But in previous years, the walks were often followed by the publication of small walk leaflets giving the route and pointing out the IA features.

The first of these walk leaflets was for Tower Hill to Rotherhithe and this anniversary event more or less retraced its steps, led by one of the two original authors, Prof David Perrett, now Chairman and Vice-President of GLIAS. It was a walk I’d first taken – without the aid of the leaflet – in the opposite direction back in 1983 (though I’d photographed parts of the area previously) and quite a few pictures from that are now online on my London Photographs site.

This area on Bermondsey Wall has changed considerably since then, though the riverside of Wapping seen at the top of the image still looks much the same. Of course you can’t see it from this same point, which I think is now occupied by expensive flats.

Inspired by these walk leaflets I went on to produce one of my own, a folded A4 sheet printed on thin card by my laser printer, largely as an exercise in Desktop Publishing which I was then teaching a course on.

Over the next few years I made and sold over well over 500 copies, charging I think 20p for each of them, though I never got the cash for some that were sold locally in Bermondsey (it rankled though the money was insignificant.) My best paying customer was a local historian who used them for several years for the guided walks he did on the local area. I think it is now seriously out of date, but ‘West Bermondsey – The Leather Area‘ has for a long time been available as a free download. (PDF)

The first time I put images from the area on line was in a site called ‘London’s Industrial Heritage‘, designed for me by my elder son, and you can see some pictures from this area from the links on the Southwark page.

I haven’t put many of the pictures from the walk on My London Diary, but there are a few more at GLIAS 50th anniversary walk. If you live in or around London and have any interest in industrial archaeology you would find GLIAS worth joining – and it has a very reasonable annual subscription of £14 (£17 for family membership.)


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

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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