Category Archives: Industry

Industries in the area

Glengall Wharf Canal Wall – Update 1

GWG

You may have seen our blog 2 years ago on this historic bit of Surrey Canal infrastructure. The only remaining section of canal bank, which marked the junction of the Camberwell branch (1810) with the Peckham branch (1830) of the Grand Surrey Canal, has probably stood in this position, if not this state, for 120-150 years.

However, although still absolutely solid, the surface is beginning to crumble and become unsightly, especially for the new flats opposite, and the council have been determined to replace it. Work started at the beginning of 2017 on a like-for-like replacement (rather than suburban bypass-style concrete block planters), as far as funds and practicality allow. The top end of Surrey Canal walk has been closed whilst this happens.

Cobbles before removal, garden pergola built on top

Cobbles of the former council refuse yard forming a beautiful basis for the garden. Pre-works test pit in the foreground

First up was the removal of a two metre-wide strip of the beautifully worn cobbles on the top surface, which now forms the ground level for the  Glengall Wharf community garden.

The work has been majorly distruptive for the garden, involving the removal of a fine old self-seeded plum tree and many garden structures. However, it was arranged to take place in winter, outside the growing season, to at least minimise this.

These cobbles, known as granite setts, have been taken up with a JCB and as far as possible preserved for replacement when the wall work is complete. It was thought that they’d been set solidly in concrete, but they’ve mostly come away cleanly, minus a few breakages.

Plum tree chopped down and rubble for cobbles

Plum tree removed and cobbles being taken up

 

Stacks

Granite setts being sorted and stacked for storage and reuse

Around the end of January, work started on excavating beneath the garden surface and removing soil from behind the wall. Here things got interesting for the contractors, as they discovered the foundations of the rubbish chutes, visible in the photo beneath, and on our previous blog

Girders

Bases of rubbish chutes, buried in concrete beneath the cobbles. Probably cut down at the closure of the yard and formation of Burgess Park

68a

Sailing barges moored up next to steel girder refuse chutes

Now, it’s a case of tearing down the old wall and carting it away.

teardown

Note the girder, impossible to remove from the concrete, to be cut back

One or two interesting finds were made:

Earthenware

Stash of earthenware mineral water bottles, various manufacturers. All previously broken, unfortunately!

It also became clear that a previous wall had existed further back than the concrete wall, judging by the foundations uncovered:foundations

Work is due to finish in March, so watch this space for updates. Please do go and see the works for yourself, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment here!

Council to demolish last vestiges of canal

Southwark Council has decided that the original retaining wall of Glengall Wharf should be replaced with a concrete block barrier similar to those used on motorway embankments. Flowers and plants in the gaps will look ‘nice’, but effectively erase any idea of a canal bank.

Showing old wall with rear of Glengall Terrace behind Glengall Wharf Garden

Original wall of Surrey Canal round Glengall Wharf

The existing wall is certainly not pretty, but it’s a major piece of industrial archaeology from the days when the canal ran alongside and turned down towards Peckham. Apart from the small low concrete ledge in the grass oppposite, it’s the only piece of original canal bank left on the entire three and a half mile length of the Grand Surrey Canal. It features in numerous historic photos of the area.

Black paintede wall around wharf, with 2 sailing barges

Glegall wharf around 100 years ago. ©Museum of London

In this image, you can see the black painted wall with timber fenders attached part way down. In the present-day image above and below, the black painting is still visible, with plain concrete below, where the fenders had been attached.

Two stone blocks just visible, embedded in concrete

Two stone blocks just visible, embedded in concrete

It’s also still possible to see large stone blocks embedded in the wall, if you take a walk today. These were the footings of the large loading chutes visible in the historic image. There are 12 visible on the Peckham route, corresponding to the 6 loading chutes which were on that side of Glengall Wharf.

It seems a great shame to bury almost the last signs of industrial canal heritage for the sake of a tidy-up.

See more on the history of the wharf here.

Jowett Street Park workshops gallery

The traditional craft workshops run by Friends of Burgess Park as part of their history project Bridge to Nowhere were greeted with  enthusiasm and a desire to learn craft skills – especially knitting. The word got about and well over 30 people took part on the last day, with 100 participants over the three days. Local people got the chance to try out traditional hand sewing, embroidery and knitting, and canal style art. Most of the people taking part were born long after the canal closed, but were interested to learn more about it. The local residents are definitely keen to develop their craft skills to show and sell their work in the future.

Find out more about the workshops.

May Fair 2013

Photo of tethered hot air balloon

Tethered hot air balloon

This year’s Friends of Burgess Park May Fair showcased the heritage of Burgess Park and launched the Heritage Lottery Funded project – Burgess Park: The Bridge to Nowhere?

Thank you to everyone who came and supported the May Fair this year. We had a great time and were delighted to see so many of you.

The history of Burgess Park was illuminated with the temporary photographic heritage trail. The trail covers about 2.5 miles and will come down after Sunday, 26th May.

 

Photo of Friends of Burgess Park in period costumes

History came to life at the Burgess Park May Fair as the “lime kiln worker”, “Peeler”, “Factory Girl” and “Gentleman” visited Chumleigh Gardens.

The 17 points along the trail explain how the Burgess Park development took place gradually, within living memory. The ever-increasing patches of green which stretched along the canal route were named Burgess Park in 1973. There are still a few remaining features of the park’s “pre-history”, including: canal bridges; former almshouses, library and bath-house; and a lime kiln which was once on the bank of the canal. The site is a lost part of London – an area where thousands of people lived, went to school and worked, and which is now covered by expanses of grass, numerous pathways, and a lake.

If you have memories of the park please get in touch we want to collect your stories and share your memories and photographs. Email friendsofburgesspark@gmail.com

Mayfair 2013 posterAt the May Fair this year we enjoyed:
Friends of Burgess Park stall, historic cutouts by Davies and Daughters and the marvellous Heritage Photography Trail; First Place: Victorian Games and Costumes; Art in the Park: Brickmaking and sculpture walk; The Hour Bank; tea and natural cosmetics at the Glengall Community Garden; Hollington Youth Club; Paris Rock; Massage to You; Lorna’s toys and clothes; Camberwell College of Art; Peckham Vision and Network; Peckham Shed; Pembroke House; Southwark Carers; Faraday Safer Neighbourhood team (Met Police); Southwark Circle; Docks to Desktop (Bubble Theatre); Cinema Museum; St Peter’s Church; Sweet Tooth; Purple Mango; Manmade Food; Dean Masters Caribbean Kitchen; Rosie’s Cakery; Clarice Catering; fishing with Thames 21; and Exclusive Ballooning — the balloon went up; Vauxhall City Farm; Carla’s Boot Camp;  Dogs Trust displays; steam train rides and live music!

Photo of stalls at the May FairMay-Fair-18-May-2013-Burgess-Park-sm