SIHG Home SERIAC List Societies 1998 1999 2000 Latest


South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference 1999

Saturday 10 April 1999, hosted by BIAG

University of Reading, Whiteknights Park, Reading

0945-1030 Registration and Coffee
1030-1045 Welcome by Walford Lewis (Chairman BIAG)
1045-1145 Keynote Lecture, "At the Crossroads: Has the Past a Future?" - Alan Stoyel, RCHME
1145-1230 London Docklands - Bob Carr, GLIAS
1230-1400 Lunch
1400-1425 The Kennet Navigation: Conflict of Developing Tourism and Industrial Archaeology - Lawrence Cameron, BIAG
1425-1500 100 Years of Cinemas - Bill White, SUIAG
1500-1530 TEA
1530-1605 IA: The Forgotten Dimension: The importance of geology and groundwater - Paul Sowan, Subterranea Britannica
1605-1640 Brede Waterworks - John Foxley and Ron Martin, Brede Steam Engine Society
1645         Close of Conference

The organising committee has decided that for the 1999 Conference there will be no theme. This was intended to allow speakers from participating societies the flexibility to put forward whatever topic they wanted. The Berkshire Industrial Archaeology Group took the opportunity to invite a speaker from the RCHME to talk about recent IA recording projects of the RCHME, and to look forward to the future as the RCHME merges with English Heritage.

After the conference there will be a chance to visit
(a) The Museum of Berkshire Aviation on the site of the Woodley Aerodrome, the home of the Miles Aircraft.
     Large exhibits range from a Handley Page Herald, Miles Magister, and Fairey Gyrodyne.
     The museum also holds pictorial records and other archives.
(b) The Museum of English Rural Life on the campus at Whiteknights Park

Synopses of Lectures

At the Crossroads: Has the Future a Past?
Alan Stoyel
The Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has recently celebrated its 90th birthday, but as a separate entity it will not see its full century. From April 1st 1999, it merges with English Heritage to form a single, strong, unified body under the English Heritage banner.
This talk is very opportune, therefore, and it will look at the involvement that the RCHME has had with Industrial Archaeology. It will analyse the main ways in which the Royal Commission has been contributing to this discipline, and speculate on how it will continue to do so.
The speaker will then describe some of the relevant recording work in which he has been involved in recent years. This will illustrate the ongoing commitment that is being made to enhance the records that will continue to form the basis of the National Monuments Centre in Swindon.

London Docklands
Bob Carr
The Port of London was the largest port in the world less than fifty years ago. It was the great importing centre of the British Empire when half a century ago the red duster flew from the stem of the majority of ships world-wide. In the 19th century London was a major centre of heavy industry, both building ships and making the steam engines to go in them.
Although the majority of the buildings have since been demolished and the area has been densely redeveloped for offices and housing, the old dock basins are still essentially intact. For the knowledgeable industrial archaeologist it is still possible here and there, to make out traces of the industrial and maritime past. Bob Carr hopes to give some idea to the intending IA visitor new to the area, where to look for things of interest among the exciting, but distracting, recent architecture.

The Conflict of Tourism and IA
Lawrence Cameron
The subject of the lecture is the impact of the leisure industry on industrial archaeology. This will be illustrated by examples from changes occurring along the Kennet Navigation especially the restoration of the turf locks.

Lawrence Cameron spent most of his career as a teacher. Before retiring he lectured at the Bulmershe Teacher Training campus of Reading University. Having qualified in "dirt" archaeology he went on to concentrate his interests in IA, lecturing in the subject at WEA classes at Reading University. The WEA industrial archaeology classes, run jointly with Ken Major, resulted in the formation of BIAG.

100 Years of Cinemas
Bill White
The talk will give a brief introduction to the early days of cinema-going, from the fairground and church hall to the super cinemas. One site at Southampton, which has been used for showing films for over 100 years, will be the focus of the talk. Examples of other cinemas in Hampshire will illustrate changes in which some have survived but many have gone.
Bill White was a founder member of the Southampton Industrial Archaeology Group, SUIAG. Having worked most of his life in the building industry Bill is now enjoying retirement involved in many of Southampton's historical projects; these have included researching the history of local cinemas. He is presently Chairman of SUIAG.

The Forgotten Dimension: The Importance of Geology and Groundwater
Paul Sowan
Paul Sowan was educated in Croydon and after dabbling in chemistry at school he took a degree in geology. He now teaches science and chemistry, despite the limitations of the Health & Safety at Work Act. A visit to Iceland with a college expedition led Paul to a lifelong interest in that country and things that happened underground. In 1963 Paul became the youngest, and eventually the longest serving Honorary General Secretary of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society. In 1974/75 he was amongst the earliest members of Subterranea Britannica, and now serves as Chairman.
Paul's IA research includes underground building-stone quarrying, mining and the civil engineering of early railway earthworks and tunnels. The cutting of canals and railways, sinking of mines and wells coupled with a wide range of rock types led to the rapid pioneering growth of geological science in Britain.
So many industrial processes depend on water supply and on such little-studied products as abrasives and refractories that 'the geological connection' deserves to be better understood by industrial archaeologists. This talk examines the interdependence of geological knowledge and understanding, and industrial development. This will be illustrated by examples of industrial developments including mineral extraction, water supply and tunnelling. The talk will come up to date through to the 20th century military schemes and some "Cold War" underground works.

Brede Waterworks
John Foxley and Ron Martin
The talk will illustrate the development of the waterworks in the Brede Valley near Hastings. 120 years ago, Hastings, in common with many rapidly expanding towns, was urgently seeking an increased supply of potable water. In 1904 the Brede Valley was developed to yield 1 million gallons of water per day. Two identical, but mirror image, triple expansion steam engines were supplied by Tangye of Birmingham. They were fired by Lancashire boilers with coal brought upriver by barge from Rye to Brede Bridge. Here they were transhipped onto an 18" gauge tramway across the fields to the works. Each pumping engine had the dual function of raising raw water from the wells for treatment at ground level, before pumping onwards to the service reservoirs above Hastings, a rise of some 515 feet. Additional resources were promoted in 1933 and 1951 with the construction of Powdermill and Darwent reservoirs and a further pumping engine of the 'late' Worthington-Simpson design was erected in 1940. Modernisation in 1965 brought the demise of steam power. One Tangye engine was scrapped in 1969, followed by the demolition of the works chimney and boilers in 1981. The other engines remained in the 'listed' houses. Renovation began in 1994 following the creation of the Brede Steam Engine Society. They open the Heritage Site on the first Saturday of the month. Both engines can now be turned by compressed air and there are good prospects for the restoration of steam in the future.
John FoxIey spent over 40 years in civil engineering, initially with British Railways on the design, construction and maintenance of bridges, earthworks, marshalling yards and trackwork. A career move in 1966 brought him into contact with land drainage, water resources and sea defence works throughout Sussex, before expanding into the project management of water supply and waste water treatment schemes. In 1995 the role widened into the management of the entire water supply function within Southern Water. John was a founder member of the Brede Steam Engine Society and is currently its Chairman.
Ron Martin spent his working life as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor in private practice in Brighton. He has been General Secretary of the Sussex Industrial Archaeology Society since 1979. He was involved in the setting up of the Sussex Mills Group. He is Vice-Chairman of the Brede Steam Engine Society. Ron Martin has been convenor of SERIAC and secretary to the participating groups' organising committee since its inception.