Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Mysterious Wimbledon 'Flue'

Before I continue with the results of a recent trip down the Kings Road, I thought I'd throw this enigmatic object into the mix. I really don't have much of a clue as to what it might be, but it does have an air of mystery about it as well as a clue or two.
Spot the 'flue'. Tucked away and very inconspicuous
As you can see from the photo above it's not very big, nor very prominent. Roughly A4 sized and up against a wall I think it was the markings on it that actually caught my eye more than anything else. 
A hollow metal flue. Could it have been for cables?
This view shows, I hope, the fact that it seems to be a hollow pipe - and the only reason I can think it might need to be hollow is that it was either for ventilation or for cabling. Obviously the main marking is the arrow sign, which crops up quite often on pavements, walls and other places.  It's the symbol used by the MOD or the War Office I suppose, in its early days, is called a Broad Arrow or a Pheon.  Interestingly it was also used to mark prisoners outfits at one point which was the origin of all those Beano-esque cartoons of villains in arrowed uniforms. The other common use that seems to pop up quite regularly is when it  is used by the Ordnance Survey to mark measurement points around the country but even here the word 'Ordnance' betrays a military origin to its usage..
It's a crisp and un-weathered casting with what looks like the MOD insignia.
The question is what was it for? The first picture shows a suggestive tarmac outline around it, possibly (or possibly not) indicating some sort of subterranean floor plan. Was it for air? It looks very narrow but maybe there's some sort of bunker underneath (presumably Wimbledon Common would have been seen as a possible glider/paratroop dropping area)? Maybe there's no bunker but an old military communications point of some sort. Or maybe it's neither and instead it's a hollow survey mark with the groove on the rim indicating the measuring point.

Bit of a mystery then, but any suggestions gratefully received!

(In response to one of the comments posted, the site is almost opposite the  drinking fountain by Cannizaro Road (B281)  and in front of a very nice house. However I do like the suggestion of a Womble letter box!)

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10 comments:

Chas said...

Wombles letterbox?

Alan Burkitt-Gray said...

Yes, but where is it precisely?

I think Ordnance Survey benchmarks have a horizontal line at the top of the arrow -- there is a label which shows the height of that line above mean sea level.

Dub said...

I don't know the answer, but I admire the problem.
Looks like an overflow (i.e. if the water goes above that height some'll flow into a drain). But it seems so insignificant compared with just how much water there'd have to be to get to that height!

Monkeyboy said...

Hi, was bored so did a bit of a search for "benchmarks"

Looks similar to something found in the link below, scroll down. Suspect yours has been cut or broken off? Cast-iron can be brittle.


http://cheltonia.wordpress.com/2009/09/13/westal-green/

Timmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

It looks like an ashtray!

Boydongood said...

I think that it is an anti-gas ventilator from ww2. The basement of the building was probably an air raid shelter. The ventilators can be closed off in the event of a gas attack. For an example of another design see http://theroyalwindsorforum.yuku.com/topic/689 (post #5).

Andythebtman said...

It is ventilation for an underground BT cable chamber. The small lid on the left of the first picture is for accessing local cables feeding nearby properties. The large lid on the right reveals a ladder into the cable chamber.

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