South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference 2017
“Celebrating 50 years of SIAS”
Saturday 22 April 2017
Sussex IndustrialArchaeology Society
at Worthing College, Sanditon Way, Worthing
09:00-09:50 Registration and Coffee
09:50-10:00 Welcome: Sir Freddie Sowrey, President of SIAS
10:00-10:45 Industrial Archaeology and the Archaeological Community: Fifty years On: Professor Marilyn Palmer, President AIA
10:45-11:00 Comfort Break
11:00-11:45 The Architecture of T. H. Myres for the London Brighton & South Coast Railway: Alan H. J. Green, SIAS
11:45-12:30 The Development of the British Roadside Letter Box: Paul Snelling, Information Offi cer, Letter Box Study Group
12:30-13:45 Lunch Break
13:45-14:30 50 Years of Sussex Mills: Peter Hill, Past Chairman Sussex Mills Group
14:30-15:15 The Brighton ‘Atlantic’ Locomotive Reconstruction: David Jones, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
15:15-15:45 Tea Break
15:45-16:15 50 Years of SIAS: John Blackwell, Chairman SIAS
16:15-16:30 Closing remarks
16:30 End of formal proceedings The courtesy coach will make two trips to Worthing Railway Station at 16:45 and 17:15
16:45-16:45 Selection of IA films from the last 50 Years
(Regrettably there will no courtesy coach after the films)
Mini Biographies and Synopses
Industrial Archaeology and the Archaeological Community: Fifty Years On
Professor Marilyn Palme, President AlA
Marilyn Palmer is Emeritus Professor of Industrial Archaeology at the University of Leicester, and currently also President of the Association for Industrial Archaeology and Chair of the Trustees of the Council for British Archaeology. She has published widely on industrial archaeology, but her most recent book, Technology in the Country House, brings together her interests in industrial archaeology and the country houses of Britain.
This talk will review the development of the discipline of industrial archaeology from the 1950s when the need to record the vanishing heritage of British industrialisation was promoted by the Council for British Archaeology, who distributed the original site record cards, to the intensive urban excavations now undertaken by professional contract archaeologists such as the development of the Kings Cross Goods Yard in London.
Volunteer input was vital in those early years when the statutory bodies approached by the CBA to undertake recording did not have the staff or the expertise to carry out such work. The record cards eventually formed the basis of the National Industrial Monuments Record at the University of Bath, which was eventually taken over by first RCHME and more recently by English Heritage and now Historic England.
The rapid decline of Britain’s traditional industries from the 1980s onwards was on a scale that volunteers could not have coped with, and RCHME and other national bodies then undertook comprehensive surveys into industries such as textiles and coal mining.
Then, in the 1990s, the advent of developer-funded archaeology led to the recognition by professional archaeologists that the excavation of industrial sites could yield important information unobtainable by other means. Such excavations have normally taken place on city centre sites, and there is a continuing need for volunteers not only to record threatened buildings but also to undertake research as well as to maintain industrial sites and open them to the public.
The Architecture of T. H. Myres for the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway
Alan H J Green BSC CEng MICE
Alan Green is a retired Chartered Civil Engineer whose entire career was spent in the railway industry. He blames his career choice entirely on the influence of Messrs Banister and Myres whose work inspired him at an early age! He occupies his time as a local historian and author and chairs the Chichester Conservation Area Advisory Committee.
The aesthetics of any construction project can be greatly enhanced by a harmonious working relationship between a good engineer and a good architect; a relationship in which they can freely combine their skills and creativity to develop something which is both fit for purpose and attractive to the user and beholder.
During the rapid expansion of the London Brighton & South Coast Railway in the 1880s, the company’s Chief Engineer, Frederick Banister, engaged the young architect Thomas Harrison Myres of Preston, Lancashire to design the buildings for 18 stations on four of his new lines in Sussex. These buildings were in a highly distinctive style and all the stations were extravagant both in scale and in the facilities they provided - and generally unnecessarily so.
Unusually, T H Myres not only designed the main buildings at these new stations but also the ancillary ones such as footbridges, signal boxes and goods sheds, thus providing a one-stop-shop architectural service for his client. By the turn of the century the LB&SCR could justifiably boast that it had the finest crop of stations in the land, even if the same could not be said of its rolling stock!
All four of Banister’s ‘new’ lines had closed by 1965, but three of T H Myres’ stations live on in preservation on the Bluebell Railway where they can be admired, enjoyed and, above all, used. Nine others survive, bereft of track and trains but adapted for new uses - sadly not always in ways which are sympathetic to Myres’ designs.
This talk will examine the T H Myres style whilst putting his work and that of Frederick Banister into context, particularly so in the cases of Singleton and East Grinstead where the challenging site conditions and operational requirements called for great engineering and architectural ingenuity from the pair, and gave rise to their finest joint achievements.
The Development of the British Roadside Letter Box
Paul Snelling, Information Officer, Letter Box Study Group
Currently the Information Officer for the Letter Box Study Group, Paul has been interested in letter boxes since his work between 1975 and 1981 involved looking after the 650 letter boxes in Mid-Sussex.
This presentation charts the development of British Letter Boxes, prior and subsequent to, their introduction in 1852 to date. The main types of letter boxes will be discussed together with their major development phases. The introduction of the letter box arose from a request for better posting facilities in the Channel Islands. Hitherto, posters had to walk a considerable distance to the receiving house (Post Office). Based on the surveyors recommendation, the idea of cast iron receiving posts was introduced in 1852. The first box in mainland Britain was installed at the Botchergate, Carlisle, in 1853, but London didn’t receive its first 6 boxes until 1855. Today the letter box estate of Royal Mail is around 115,500.
There are 3 main groups of letter box types, together with a wide variation of non-standard boxes and posting apertures. Sub-divisions take the variations to over 850 but many of these are small detail variations. Manufacturers total over 50, some will be well known to industrial archaeologists, such as Andrew Handyside and the Carron Company. Delegates may be surprised to learn that one was based in Newhaven, East Sussex - Toggle Mouldings. Current manufacture of letter boxes is undertaken by a Royal Mail subsidiary company, Serious Engineering, formerly RoMec.
The primary material used in manufacture of letter boxes has been cast iron. Since 1947 lamp boxes have been made in steel with cast iron fronts. The latest lamp boxes and pillar boxes are made from laser cut steel and formed into shape, as are the business boxes used for the receipt of meter franked mail. Other materials used have been wood. fibre glass, and plastics.
50 Years of Sussex Mills
Peter Hill, Past Chairman Sussex Mills Group
Peter Hill is a retired proprietor Community Pharmacist whose main hobby for the past 45 years has been the study, restoration and preservation of windmills. He has recently retired as Chairman of the Friends of West Blatchington windmill in Hove after 37 years and was Chairman of the Sussex Mills group for 15 years. He is also a member of The International Molino logical Society, which has given him the opportunity to study mills in many parts of the world.
The past fifty years have seen many changes on the milling scene in Sussex with some of these monuments to our Industrial Heritage disappearing completely whilst others, thanks to the efforts of enthusiastic volunteers, have risen like a phoenix from the ashes. The formation of the Sussex Mills Group in December 1988 with Frank Gregory, a mill enthusiast extraordinaire at the helm, saw a great surge in determination to ensure that the design, technology and mechanism of our mills would be recorded and preserved for future generations to enjoy.
In some cases, what may have seemed to be too daunting a project, has , in fact, presented the volunteers with just the sort of challenge they needed to embark on a programme resulting in a full restoration back to working order. In other instances petty authority and continual battles with the ubiquitous health and safety regulations have made life extremely difficult.
Sussex is a county in which we can now boast fine restored examples of all three windmill designs: i.e. post, smock and tower plus we have several fully operating watermills and are proud to offer a selection of twenty mills for visitors to the county to enjoy on open afternoons throughout the season. In addition to these, there are those throughout the county which are privately owned and have been converted for domestic purposes but none-the-less the original site has been preserved. This brief presentation will, I hope, illustrate what can and has been achieved with these remarkable old buildings and perhaps inspire others to consider preserving what was, prior to the Industrial Revolution, the sole source of mechanical power upon which our forefathers depended.
The Brighton ’Atlantic’ Locomotive Reconstruction
David Jones, Bluebell Railway Preservation Society
David G. Jones, C.Eng, M.I.Mech.E. has been a member of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society for 40 years and is the Secretary/Treasurer of the Brighton Atlantic Project. He is on the Bluebell Railway Speakers list and also gives guided tours of Atlantic House where the new locomotive is being built.
The reconstruction of a London Brighton and South Coast Railway ‘Atlantic’ Class H2 steam locomotive at Sheffield Park on the Bluebell Railway was instigated with the chance discovery in Maldon, Essex of a suitable boiler in good condition in 1986. The project to produce the rest of the engine commenced in 2001 with the intention of reviving an extinct 1911 design, to be called No. 32424 ‘Beachy Head’, after the original which had been scrapped in 1958 just before standard gauge preservation started. This ‘new-build’ is now well on the way to completion with a first steaming of the finished locomotive on the Sussex heritage railway expected in two to three years time.
The presentation will describe this £1 million project, especially the use of new technology where traditional techniques have largely disappeared in the UK, as well as the methods of raising the substantial funds needed. This includes the financing of the purpose built shed in which the locomotive is being constructed as well as paying for the many specialised castings and fabrications together with their machining in-house at the Bluebell Railway and at selected engineering companies across England. The provision of the many detailed drawings, based on the originals held by the National Railway Museum, York, from which modem CAD images have been produced by a Brighton Atlantic team member, will also be covered.
The completed steam locomotive, which will be out-shopped in British Railways lined black livery, will run on the 11 mile Bluebell Railway and may also visit other heritage lines in the future, but is not intended for main line use. There are many other new-build locomotives under construction in different parts of the country which are being specifically built for the main line, an expensive undertaking due to the need for additional safety and signaling equipment to match the modem Network Rail system.
50 Years of SIAS
John Blackwell, Chairman SIAS
John Blackwell spent a working life with London Transport, arguably the finest such organisation in the world. Mainly concerned with financial management in all its aspects he was, prior to retirement, Commercial Manager for London Underground’s Jubilee Line Extension to Stratford, which opened in 1999. He has been a member of SIAS for 45 years and Chairman for over twenty.
His interests cover all aspects of IA, especially, unsurprisingly, transport. SIAS was formed in October 1967 initially as a Study Group concentrating its small membership on recording the fast disappearing industrial sites, buildings and artefacts. As membership increased several groups emerged who had the necessary skills to undertake restoration work and over the succeeding years many such projects came to fruition and continue to prosper. Our award winning journal Sussex Industrial History commenced publication in 1970. SIAS’s redoubtable General Secretary, Ron Martin, was instrumental in inaugurating the first SERIAC conference in 1983. Sussex Mills Group was formed within the Society in 1989 reflecting a popular interest and providing a forum for those who maintain and operate mills in the County. Funding was obtained in the 1990s to employ a full time recorder for the rural areas and over 4,000 records are stored on CD Rom and will be included on an on-line database, at present under development.
Three Field Guides have been produced during our 50 years the latest being the Gazetteer for the AlA Conference which we hosted in 2015. What of the future? An ageing membership and a lack of interest in our industrial past by the younger generation, not helped by the way history is presented (or not) in schools, is a concern for all IA and similar organisations. How that is addressed will determine the next 50 years.