It's a Ordnance Survey rivet bench mark. The stone wasn't put there by the OS - it's a boundary stone which was already there and the OS used it as a handy location on which to place their bench mark. You quite often find rivets on boundary stones, milestones, and even large boulders. As long is it is not likely to move the OS might have put a bench mark on it.
My database has all the UK fundamental bench marks (about 200), and almost all the flush bracket bench marks (about 21,000). There are about 500,000 lower order bench marks in Britain, such as this rivet, but I don't have anything like full coverage for them. They are just added to the database by users of the site as and when they log them.
Using the windmill in the background of your photograph, I was able to guess at the location of this stone as somewhere in OS grid square TQ2372. I looked at this square in the Ordnance Survey's own database and found the following:
TQ 2303 7250 RIVET TOP BS 20.0M E PUBLIC CAR PARK 52.0321 3 N 1972 - 0.6
Translating this to English: TQ 2303 7250 is the grid reference of the bench mark. The description is "Rivet on top of boundary stone, 20 metres east of the public car park". The rivet was measured at 52.0321 metres above sea level. It's a 3rd-order bench mark. The height above sea-level is relative to the sea level at Newlyn in Cornwall. It was last checked by the OS in 1972. The rivet is about 0.6 metres above ground level.
Looking again at the map near the windmill, I can see both a car park and parish boundary line, and a nearby 50m contour line, which ties up nicely with the description given.
Rivets like this were part of the OS levelling network. Levelling was the process of measuring the hight above sea level of a given point. The surveyors started at Newlyn and moved out across the country measuring from point to point. From this they built a series of very precise bench marks called fundamental bench marks (FBM), such as this one at Croydon with levelling lines running between the FBMs marked every mile or so with a flush bracket (FB) bench mark. The points between the FBs were filled in with lower order bench marks, such as rivets, bolts, and stone cuts.
These days levelling is done using satellites and GPS measurements. Apart from the FBMs, the old levelling network is no longer used or maintained by the OS and the old survey marks are slowly being lost as roads are widened, buildings are demolished etc.
Monday, 28 December 2009
Monday, 21 December 2009
"The gas is mainly hydrogen sulphide and it gives that rotten eggs smell, " said Gary Paley, of Darlington, who has been a sewerage engineer for 18 years in Yorkshire. "It usually occurs when sewage is being pumped long distances. It can become septic as it does not travel from A to B quick enough. It can also occur in flat areas where the speed of flow is slower.
"The gas will eat concrete if not dealt with. I remember that the sewer near the racecourse in Thirsk had been almost totally eaten by the gas and just the reinforcing bars from inside the concrete pipes were left. "
Thursday, 10 December 2009
The crest pictured above is from a store at Croydon, and on it is the claim that the company was founded in 1900 but Montague seems to be stretching the truth a little on that one. It's more like the day he landed in Britain from Lithuania with £100 in his pocket to seek his fortune, but I guess from his point of view it's a pretty valid claim and he soon set about making the dream of a fortune a reality. Of course Montague Burton wasn't his real name either - he started out as Meshe David Osinsky, tried Maurice Burton for a while but then finally settled on the slightly grander Montague Maurice Burton. He married Sophia Marks in 1909 and they later went on to have four children, Barbara, Stanley, Arnold and Raymond.There is a fascinating account of his story on the Working Lives Archive in a section dealing with the lives of immigrant workers to the country. It is also well illustrated with photos such as the one below.
And it's really his wife and children that are the reason for this particular entry, rather than the much celebrated Montague. By 1929 the Burton website claims he had over 400 shops and premises and by the time of Montague's death in 1952 there were many more. It seems that many of these stores were ceremonially opened by a member of the family - if not Montague himself, then his wife or one of his children, and the stores were often graced with an inscription to commemorate the occasion. I am sure many of these inscriptions still exist - pound to a penny there's one underneath the Croydon store pictured above - but I have recently stumbled across three examples and expect (now that I'm looking out for them ) to find a few more.
The stone is quite easy to spot, partly through its uniformity from site to site and apparently Scottish granite, according to the author J. Foster Fraser
Every Montague Burton shop has the same outward appearance, both in its window dressing and in the name of the firm uniformly presented in bronze lettering on the marble. The exterior stonework is always of emerald pearl granite with shafts of Scotch grey granite. The interior fittings of oak and gun-metal quiet and dignified are the same at every branch.
Mr Stanley Howard Burton, of Harrogate, North Yorkshire, left estate valued at pounds 4,040,016 net.You can also make an appointment at the Leeds museum to have the pleasure in examining Stanley's travelling case or you could have a look at the Audrey and Stanley Burton Gallery at the University of Leeds.
St. Helier Estate, one of the largest housing estate in Europe at the time.
Arnold and his twin Raymond were born in 1917 so he was a more respectable 21 years of age at the time of the dedication. Arnold, like his brothers, also went into the family business and was able to indulge his passion for fast cars as Mel Reuben of Leeds recalled on a Leeds website
Arnold Burton who loved fast sports cars, purchased a top of the range French sports car. The car was being cleaned and valeted for his collection in the washing bay,in my wisdom I decided to take a short cut on the shop bike. Unfortunately I skidded on the wet floor and crashed the bike into the car and badly scratched the car. This was just a hour before Arnold Burton was collecting it.Subsequently I was suspended for the day and sacked the next dayArnold also went into the motor business with racing driver John Woolfe. This love of fast cars never left Arnold with tragic consequences as he was recently involved in a crash that left two people dead. Arnold has also set up his own charitable trust with a focus on Jewish and Yorkshire-related works .
I hope to find some inscriptions from Barbara and Raymond as well as from Montague himself in order to complete the set and with over 600 potential sites I'm sure it won't take too long.
*When The Full Monty Goes for a Burton are two sayings linked to the company. A 'Full Monty' was a cut-price all in one set of clothing suitable for de-mobbed servicemen and Gone for a Burton - a euphemism for being killed - is allegedly based on the same premise,
"It is a reference in some way to the suits made by Montague Burton. Military personnel were given a Burton's suit on demobilization, so anyone who was absent, either by being killed or after demobilization, could have been said to have 'gone for a burton'"
Friday, 4 December 2009
View Larger Map
In this, the Stourbridge and Brierley Hill district, a very extensive business is carried on in the manufacture of fire-bricks of all kinds, used in the construction and relining of blast furnaces, puddling furnaces, cupolas, and air furnaces. The fire-clay deposits here are reputed the best in England, being fashioned into melting pots and gas-making retorts, which fetch high prices; these bricks are exported largely, and are highly prized in all parts of the world, particularly the foreign settlements of the British Empire, the general opinion being that they resist the highest temperatures in smelting furnaces of any others which have yet been produced. Perhaps Ruffords, Mrs. Emily Gibbons, and Pearson and Harrisons, make the best quality. Mrs. Gibbons, relict of the late Benjamin Gibbons, Esq., the well-known ironmaster of the Millfields furnaces, we are informed by Mr. Jones, of the Commercial Gas Works, here stands unrivalled for the manufacture of these Gas Retorts.
...from the earliest times the fireclay extracted from the bowels of the Black Country was considered to be of the highest quality. Usually lying beneath the coal seam, the extraction of fireclay occurred within a relatively small area, centred on Lye, Cradley, Amblecote, Brierley Hill, Pensnett and Gornal. It was shaped into articles known as refractories, of which the most familiar kind is the firebrick, and it was noted that Black Country refractories could withstand the very highest temperatures without cracking. When the Industrial Revolution dawned, the Black Country fireclay fields really came into their own, and by the late nineteenth century there was barely a blast furnace, glass cone, pottery kiln, steel works, iron foundry, coal mine, or chemical plant that did not use refractories of one type or another made in the Black Country. Almost every industry in the Empire depended on our brickyard chaps and wenches, who by 1864 were making 30 million firebricks alone every year.
Many of the aircraft were overturned in the gales, and others suffered from falling trees, and shortly after this, the wholesale scrapping began... After all useful pieces and large metal areas had been removed, the mortal remains were buried in twenty feet deep holes where they remain to this day. This burial process was quite common with another pit being sited out beyond Brize Norton village in farmland, to accommodate the remains of aircraft that had been stored in dispersed sites.
The last recorded "movement" of a German aircraft took place on the 16th of December 1948, when Siebel Si 204D AM 46 was sold to the Eyre Smelting Co.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
View Larger Map
As you can see from the Google view, the house is boarded up and doesn't seem to have had anyone involved with it for some time
I haven't as yet found out much about the buildings early years but it does seem to have been owned by an organization called the St Christopher's Fellowship for some considerable time, possibly going back to the Second World War. The Fellowship was originally a Victorian charity and the the work of three friends who sought to improve the lot of young working boys. Their website has a nice potted history and mentions that one of the three founders, Arthur Kinnaird, was an early footballing 'superstar'! A quick look on Google shows that he was a little more than that and amongst many other fascinating remarks I particularly enjoyed the fact that he celebrated his fifth Cup Final victory by standing on his head in front of the pavilion as well as his enthusiasm for a bit of 'manly' shin-hacking!
Kinnaird played for both the Wanderers - a highly influential early team based in Battersea Park - and the Old Etonians but what the potted history misses was the fact that one of the other founders Quintin Hogg - was not only a merchant, philanthropist and grandparent of our own Lord Hailsham, but was also a player for the Wanderers himself and actually bettered Kinnaird in representing Scotland twice to Kinnaird's single appearance (although I'm sure the fact he was one of those responsible for organizing the first ever match had no bearing on the matter!) The third member of the triumverate, Thomas Pelham, doesn't seem to have played himself but was certainly influential in establishing youth clubs for boys and was a university friend of the others.
Lord Kinnaird ready for a game. Watch out shins!
Those Feet - A Sensual History of English Football by David Winner who notes how they were both heavily involved in the social purity movement including being vice-president of the National Vigilance Association, a fairly extreme and aggressive group involved in '...campaigns and prosecutions against 'indecency' and 'immorality' wherever they imagined it... which was almost everywhere'. All three of these gentlemen seem to be perfect examples of 'muscular Christians' who advocated sport - and lots of it - as a means of keeping energies and attentions away from less 'wasteful' pursuits.
As far as I am aware the premises in Kingston Road might still be owned by the Fellowship as up until a few years ago the building was being used as self-contained hostel accomodation for young men. However it was also for many years the headquarters of the Trinitarian Bible Society as well as providing office space for a number of other organizations. DECO Consulting, SCF Services
and the St Pancreas Foundation amongst others all seem to have operated from the address, although the name of the building seems to vary - Nelson House and St Christopher House being two favourites and The Look Out never being used!
The factory building out the back is the most intriguing though. There were rumours that the premises had suffered at the hands of German bombers and I suppose it could be that they inadvertently cleared some space at the rear of the building. What is certain though is that the space was occupied by another Victorian Christian organization The Trinitarian Bible Society whose 'primary function is to translate and disseminate worldwide Bibles in languages other than English' . Their aims would have matched perfectly with those of the St Christopher Fellowship and for many years they used The Look Out as a warehouse for the despatch of bibles and other religious tracts around the world. Whether it was their decision to leave The Look Out and move into larger premises in an old telephone exchange in Morden that finally led to the abandonment of the building or whether there were other factors at work I'm not sure, but it's a pity that what must once have been an imposing building and a beacon of hope to many individuals on hard times should find itself in such a poor state of repair and with a seemingly bleak future.
View Larger Map
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I fully expect others to appear over the coming months so it might be worth popping by now and then and seeing what's new.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
That's pretty much what happened to me as I was strolling down a South Wimbledon street the other week. I have to confess to having a soft spot for a bit of tile work, whether it be the interior of an old butcher shop, the pillar between to adjoining shops or a (not so) humble domestic doorway. Every now and then you might also come across a few adorning the outside of a house as well, and to my mind can really catch the eye and lift the spirit. If you're susceptible to that sort of thing of course...
...otherwise you might find it a bit of a bore and an unnecessary distraction and possibly decide to paint over it!
The road in question was Merton Hall Road and at the time I saw these I wasn't aware that Merton Council had designated it with its own conservation area Actually the design guide had some useful information in it such as details of the architect and builders
The development of Merton Hall Road on the Merton Hall Estate began in 1884 when George Palmer and his architect Francis James Smith together with Charles T. Tuftin and his surveyor Percy H. Clarke commenced building. These were largely responsible for introducing the lively variety of the Queen Anne revival detail which gives the street its character.There seems to have been a George Palmer of 9 Westbourne Terrace, Garratt Lane, Wandsworth ( a few miles away) who had a whole hat-ful of leases and mortgages in the area at that time so it's tempting to think he was a bit of a local entrepreneur riding the local housing boom. Whoever he was though you can't fault his attention to detail.
I didn't get to picture every set of tiles down the road - some were duplicated and some were obscured - but I think there's a pretty representational set here.
Quite a subdued one to start with. Not a design that shouts at you but quite pleasant all the same.
No, these two, above and below, are not quite the same although if it wasn't for the daisies you'd have to look twice to confirm it. I've no idea who produced the tiles of if they were fairly common 'off the shelf' designs. It would be interesting if anyone recognised them though.
The one below certainly is a duplicate of the one above though. I don't think I saw more than a couple of designs repeated so it certainly didn't feel like there were just job lots of tiles being used. I wonder if the brick border is brown on the one above as well?
Roughly 125 years old and they've still retained their lustre. Not many obvious cracks caused by frost or ice either
I was wondering if there's an unstated sense of tile-snobbery amongst the owners. Do residents secretly covert their neighbours tiles? And why were some painted over? Most inexplicable...
(Below) The black border gives this one a bit of an edge though. It works OK, although I think I'd prefer a white border but the design guide definitely comes out against any unnecessary paining of brick features at all. So there...
(Above) Blues, black, browns and greys - bit of a mish-mash but still colourful enough
(Above) A bit of detail from the set below, which I think looks a bit like a Navajo woven blanket on the front of the house. Not that I've ever seen a Navajo blanket but it's what I'd imagine it to look like
I think this has to be my favourite of the designs though - even if only of the interesting colours. It also seems to have a fair bit of Moorish influence in its design. Very delicate all round and a nice one to finish on.
Monday, 2 November 2009
View Larger Map
Just about London too for the sake of this blog. Apparently it's crept into Surrey but the fact that it's within the M25, has the afformentioned striking sundial tantalisingly visible from the road and that I seem to drive past it at regular intervals means it just about qualifies.
It's no suprise that the locals have gone down the village-sign route as the ancient layout and pattern of the old village is pretty obvious even to a casual visitor like myself. The old village green, pond (nowdays more a small crater with a marsh at the bottom) the pub, church and fine houses are all still there and the large amount of traffic seems more intent on rushing by than hanging around. Well worth a quick visit on a Sunday afternoon then...
I count only the bright hours and is still apparently a big favourite for those commissioning their own more modern sundials, along with Time flies and other traditional time-related mottoes.
The date seems to be 1828 and it's quite an ornate item for what is not a particularly large or ostentatious building. Rather a stern looking sun as well but on the whole it puts other sundials in the shade (boom, boom!)
This low-level weather vane was also nearby. I doubt that it's very old and it seems to be peeling in several places but I was intrigued by the subject matter of a lion and three people. I'm sure it must be an allusion but I've no idea what to.
On the same row of houses, next door to the sundial cottage in fact, here's a very handsome Georgian mansion. It's currently undergoing a bit of renovation and I was intrigued to spot what looked like an insurance fire-plate above the door. In the 18th and 19th centuries the lack of a national fire brigade meant that your fire-cover was exactly that - a small private fire-brigade would come and put out your burning house but only if you were one of their customers! Hence the need to ensure the fire-marks were in a prominant position...A slightly closer view shows a plate depicting what seems to be a temple surmounted by a crown. Some scouting around on the internet led to the discovery of a fascinating booklet on the subject called Fire Insurance Wall Plaques by Rowland G. M. Baker. It was published in 1970 and is available in full online and well worth a quick look. What it does have are some excellent line drawings of fire-plates and from that it's quite possible to identify the plaque as being from the Royal Exchange - and in fact the 'temple' depicted was actually the Royal Exchange itself
The 'Weekly Journal' of 12th December 1719 records that "On Tuesday the Society of Gentlemen Subscribers of the new project for insurance of Ships and Merchandise waited upon the King with a petition for the Grant of a Charter to carry on their new undertaking, and we hear that they were graciously received and their Petition referr'd to the Privy Council". Their efforts were successful and they granted a royal charter in 1720. The company was first known as Onslow's Insurance from Lord Onslow its first governor. It began by dealing with marine insurance only. In 1721 a supplementary charter was obtained by the name of "The Royal Exchange Assurance of Houses and Goods from Loss by Fire", from the fact that their offices were sited in the Royal Exchange. The company also used a representation of the Royal Exchange building as the emblem on their fire mark. This was the old Royal Exchange build in 1669 after the Great Fire, and which was itself ravaged by fire in 1838. That fire unfortunately destroyed all the company's old records .
Getting away from the heart of Weston Green a short walk over the common takes you Esher Railway Station, or more accuratly to the nearby railway bridge. There were an intriguing couple of bricked up doors here, between the two lines. One had a tempting glass arch still intact which apparently used to service the station platforms. Presumably these are now too dangerous and have long since been blocked up.
A closer look shows a tempting array of higgledy-piggldy stair, undergrowth and the refuse of the ages. I wonder if it can still be accessed from the station above?
Out in the open air again I spotted an interesting looking badge on the side of the bridge. A bit too far away for me but a close-up on the camera provided all the required detail.
Joseph Westwood & Co Engineers & Contractors London 1888
There are a multitude of references to this company, or at least to Joseph Westwood. He seems to have been an employee at a Thames Iron Shipyard and stepped in to stop it going bust with the loss of 3,000 jobs, and followed that up by setting up his own foundry and specialising himself in ships and railway bridges. By all accounts his company - or an offshoot of it - were still trading at least up to the 1970's and undertook a vast range of engineering tasks and roles. A nice item to finish on!