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South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference 2009

"IA in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight"

Saturday 29 April, hosted by HIAS

Guildhall, Winchester, Hampshire

0915-1000 Registration and Coffee
1000-1015 Welcome
1015-1100 Evoking the Memory of King Alfred Motor Services - James Freeman, Founder of FoKAB
1100-1145 A 16th Century Search for Alum in the Isle of Wight - Rob Martin, Isle of Wight IA Society
1145-1230 Vintage Ports: the future of historic dockyards - Dr Celia Clark, Defence Heritage Consultant
1230-1345 Lunch Break
1345-1430 Francis Giles, engineer: Success or Failure? - Dr Bill Fawcett, Railway Heritage Trust Panel
1430-1515 Titchfield Canal or New River: A matter of interpretation? - John Mitchell, Portsmouth University
1515-1545 Tea
1545-1630 A century of clean water supply in South Hampshire - Dr Martin Gregory, HIAS
1630         Closing Remarks
1700         Visit to Twyford Waterworks

The 2009 SERIAC conference was hosted by HIAS and titled "IA in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight". It was held on Saturday, April 29th in Winchester's Guildhall with over 200 attendees.
After registration and coffee the first speaker of the day was James Freeman (founder of FoKAB) and his subject was Evoking the Memory of King Alfred Motor Services. James Freeman is a transport professional who in early life became particularly fascinated with the operations of King Alfred Motor Services. When KA closed in 1973 he maintained the interest, and in 1981 he bought his first KA bus. In 1985 he founded the Friends of King Alfred Buses, which is now a thriving group.
In Evoking the Memory of King Alfred Motor Services James tells the story of the King Alfred buses. He then describes how the restoration of more than ten buses from the erstwhile fleet has motivated a group of some 250 people from many backgrounds to create the energetic Friends of King Alfred Buses (FoKAB), which now owns almost every King Alfred bus left in the world!.
Our second speaker was Rob Martin [Isle of Wight IA Society] and his subject was A 16th Century Search for Alum in the Isle of Wight Rob Martin is Chairman of the Isle of Wight I.A Society, and currently teaches English and French in a school on the Island. He regularly takes part in various archaeological projects and carries out research, which usually ends up on the Society's website . Rob's talk was about the short-lived attempt to manufacture alum on the Isle of Wight in the 16th Century and its relationship with similar ventures in the Bournemouth/Poole area. In the 16th Century growing problems with supply and costs, brought on with the break with Rome, led to England searching for local sources, from which to process alum. In 1564, Cornelius de Voz, a Dutchman living in London, was granted the sole right to search and mine for copperas and alum in England, where he had "founde sondrye mynes and owres of allome....specially within our Isle of Wighte". Voz set up an alum works in the west of the Isle of Wight at Alum Bay. However, within several years, the patent had transferred to James Blount, Lord Mountjoy, who switched his search to the Bournemouth area. This survey will look at various aspects of alum: its chemical composition, source, manufacture, uses and economic and political significance, as well as the Island connection and the reasons for its failure.
The last talk before lunch was Dr Celia Clark [Defence Heritage Consultant] on Vintage Ports: the future of historic dockyards. Dr Celia Clark, a Defence Heritage Consultant, who being based in Portsmouth is seeing the transition from naval to civilian first hand. Celia has a long term interest in the future of defence heritage in Europe and the United States, which she has explored via research and publications as there is a lot to learn through exchanges of experience and policy.
Celia explained that as armed forces in different countries are reduced and regrouped, significant historic industrial sites for national defence are on the closure list and available for transfer to civilian uses. Specialised industrial structures and pioneering new technologies: block cutting, corrugated iron, prefabricated multi-storey iron frame and panel structures, ship-testing tanks and reinforced concrete shell structures developed over many centuries. Who is to pay to sustain complex infrastructures: dock walls, culverts, basins, caissons, cranes? The private sector cannot do everything; public investment is required for the start-up phase and infrastructure until other sources of income emerge. Sustainable reuse cannot be achieved by too rapid, too profit oriented disposal - but by imaginative, long term vision, public participation, mixed use and creative financing.
The first talk after lunch was by Dr Bill Fawcett [Railway Heritage Trust Panel] on Francis Giles, engineer:- Success or Failure? Dr Bill Fawcett an engineer with strong interests in the historic development of architecture, civil engineering and railways. Bill lectured for many years at York University, and has lectured extensively since. He has had eight books published, of which the latest is a history of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway down to 1870. He has long been interested and active in the conservation, currently as a member of an advisory committee of the City of York and the Advisory Panel of the Railways Heritage Trust. Bill also has a website dedicated to railway architecture of North East England -
Bill's talk is on the career of the civil engineer, Francis Giles [1787-1847] and examines whether the bad press he has received from some historians - notably LTC Rolt - can be substantiated. Giles was best known to contemporaries as a very able surveyor and route planner, frequently employed by John Rennie. His work reflects the transition from the Canal Age to the Railway Age, and he engineered a number of canals, harbours [including the first Southampton Docks] and railways. The latter included the Newcastle & Carlisle and London & Southampton Railways, but he was removed from both these schemes because of construction delays and cost over-runs. Do these problems, however, justify subsequent criticisms or were these the outcome of a propaganda campaign waged by George Stephenson, who never forgave Giles for his Parliamentary evidence against the first Liverpool & Manchester Railway Bill? After all, George was similarly removed from at least two railways: the Grand Junction and the Maryport & Carlisle. The second talk of the afternoon was by John Mitchell [Portsmouth University] on Titchfield Canal or New River – A matter of interpretation? John Mitchell has spent most of his working life as a lecturer in the Civil Engineering Department of what is now the University of Portsmouth where his special areas of interest are Free Surface Hydraulics, Coastal and River Engineering and Hydrographic Surveying. John said that there is a traditionally held view, promulgated in various publications and websites, that in 1611, the 3rd Earl of Southampton financed the closure of the River Meon Estuary in Hampshire and the construction of a canal to the west of the river to maintain a navigable link between Titchfield and the sea. There is not a single unequivocal piece of evidence to support this assertion; there is much evidence however, which has been discounted or overlooked by historians in the past, to indicate that the closure works and construction of the watercourse were carried out much later and for a different purpose than that generally assumed. The presentation will review the evidence discovered to date and propose alternative interpretations.
The last speaker of the day was Dr Martin Gregory [HIAS] on A century of clean water supply in South Hampshire. Dr Martin Gregory is a retired schoolmaster. His interest in the history of technology, including steam and Stirling engines, and the sewing machine, goes back over 45 years. He is the present editor of the HIAS Journal and a trustee of Twyford Waterworks Trust.
The nineteenth century saw the provision of clean water supplies over much of Britain. In the south of Hampshire there were both private companies and municipal undertakings. The talk will concentrate on Southampton Corporation at Otterbourne, and two companies; the South Hants Water Company at Timsbury and Twyford, and the Winchester Water & Gas Company in Winchester. Water is still extracted at all four sites, but only Twyford remains complete with its original buildings which now form a Scheduled Ancient Monument looked after by Twyford Waterworks Trust.