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            "title": "The Whitechapel 'fatberg'",
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            "body": "<p>The Whitechapel ‘fatberg’, a congealed mass of solid sewage, among the largest ever found at about 250m long and 130 tonnes was removed from the sewer under this side of this section of Whitechapel Road by Thames Water in late 2017. A section is on display at the Museum of London in early 2018.</p>\n",
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            "body": "<p>I was born and grew up on the Whitechapel side of the railway, just off Vallance road, on a street called Anglesea Street (demolished, now Fakruddin Street). It was a play street, which they had in those days. The only traffic was low-level and connected to the railway but it was very rare, so we just played in the street as kids. Of course nearby there was a lot of bombed-out houses and bomb sites and we used to play on those too and had great fun. </p>\n\n<p>My father was in the Auxiliary Fire Service during the war and I'm fortunate to have some excellent <a href=\"https://surveyoflondon.org/map/feature/273/detail/#images\">photographs of him</a> in uniform. My mother was a nurse during wartime.</p>\n\n<p>The last V2 bomb that hit London was in Vallance Road, and my mother told me that she was changing my nappy when it hit and went outside into the Anderson Shelter - which probably offered less protection than the house but that's how it was.</p>\n\n<p>Our house was a two-up-two-down terraced house, toilet in the garden of course. And also the water supply was also outside, but we were fortunate in that when you walked out the back of the house it used to drop down and then there was a step up onto a small area of lawn. My dad used to block up the drain, turn on the outside tap and we had our own paddling pool. </p>\n\n<p>As I grew up I went to Deal Street School and made some good friends there. We used to go each other's house and spend time with each other's families. It was really nice.</p>\n\n<p>When I moved from Deal Street School to Robert Montefiore School, which is in Vallance Road, my friends and myself used to go walkabouts because we were too old then to play on the bombsites. That's when my father took an interest. He realised we were doing nothing other than walking the streets. So one day he just grabbed me and took me to the Brady Boys’ Club, which was near Brady Street Buildings or Mansions at that time. There I got interested in photography and concert party. That got me off the streets.</p>\n\n<p>While I was at Robert Montefiore Secondary School, one of the teachers there saw that I had a bit of a knack for metal and he got me extra metalwork lessons. He was known as Mr Hartley, and with his help I managed to get an apprenticeship at Imperial College at South Kensington and so when I was fifteen and four months I was now travelling from Whitechapel Station up to South Kensington every day. I knew that station inside out.</p>\n",
            "created": "2017-06-06",
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        {
            "id": 98,
            "title": "Brunswick Buildings in 1975",
            "author": {
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                "username": "Aileen"
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            "body": "<p>Although the caption to this photograph looking west from Goulston Street along the south side of New Goulston Street identifies this as Wentworth Dwellings it shows, in fact, the portion of Brunswick Buildings that survived the second world war. This extensive 1880s development of artisans' dwellings occupied the south side of New Goulston Street and the west side of Goulston Street south almost to Whitechapel High Street. Most of it was destroyed in the war by a direct hit from a V1 rocket. The corner building in the photograph is a 1950s addition replacing more minor damage. The bomb site between Goulston Street and Middlesex Street was filled in the early 1960s by the vast Cromlech House, itself currently (July 2016) being demolished.</p>\n\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"/media/uploads/2016/07/28/brunswick75.jpg\"></p>\n\n<p>© City of London: London Metropolitan Archives http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk</p>\n",
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            "body": "<p>Much of the previously undeveloped site that now houses Swanlea School had fallen to use by the Whitechapel Distillery by the 1840s. This land was sold to George Torr in 1861 and adapted within a year to be a manure or ‘animal charcoal’ works, conveniently adjacent to the Whitechapel Coal Depot. Around the corner from his sheds, Torr built offices and a chimney on Buck’s Row (Durward Street) employing William Snooke and Henry Stock as architects. Torr died in 1867, but the manure works continued into the late 1890s having receded to its northern parts.[^1] The Buck’s Row office had by 1890 been adapted for club and library use and came to be known as the Brady Street Boys’ Club. This was rebuilt in 1936–8 to plans by Messrs Joseph. In the 1970s and 80s the building was used as a Tower Hamlets Council and Department of Health and Social Security training workshop called Brady House.[^2] Further east, on Torr’s land along the north side of Buck’s Row, a long three-storey warehouse was built in 1864. Taken by Browne &amp; Eagle for wool storage, this was the starting point of that firm’s extensive presence across Whitechapel. Divided into three sections, this warehouse with timber floors on iron columns was raised two further storeys in 1880–1. An iron boiler house adjoined to the northeast on Brady Street from 1879 to 1933. Wool storage was in decline by 1905, and the western division was used by HM Customs and Excise for a time from 1914. The other sections were used for hops storage from 1924. Browne &amp; Eagle departed and the warehouse was auctioned off in 1936. It saw use by Stepney Council before clearance in the 1970s.[^3]</p>\n\n<p>The manure works gave way to housing in stages. Brady Street Dwellings were built by the Four Per Cent Industrial Dwellings Company in 1889–90, 286 densely packed flats in twelve four-storey and attic blocks with concrete floors, designed by N. S. Joseph and Smithem, architects. By the end of the 1890s they were said to be wholly tenanted by Jewish people. This was a major location of the Stepney Tenants’ Defence League’s successful rent strike of 1938. Brady Street Mansions, adjoining to the north, was a project by Nathaniel and Ralph Davis via the Great Eastern Railway Company. A scheme of 1898 by H. H. Collins, architect, was partially seen through in 1901, for 120 flats in six blocks, again with concrete floors. Brady Street Mansions were sold off in 1933 and cleared around 1975. Brady Street Dwellings stood until about 1980.[^4]</p>\n\n<p>[^1]: London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), SC/PM/ST/01/002; District Surveyors Returns (DSR): Metropolitan Board of Works Minutes, 11 Oct 1861, p. 724; 21 Feb 1862, p. 156: Post Office Directories: London School of Economics Library (LSE), Booth/B/351, p. 239</p>\n\n<p>[^2]: DSR: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, pamphlets 022: Post Office Directories (POD)</p>\n\n<p>[^3]: LMA, CLC/B/017/MS14943/001, p. 52; /007, pp. 27, 37, 151; /008, p. 12; /020, p. 263; CLC/B/017/MS14944/019, pp. 524–5; /020, pp. 509–10; /034, p. 363; /037, p. 153: DSR: Royal London Hospital Archives, LH/5/5/21: POD</p>\n\n<p>[^4]: <em>The Builder</em>, 20 April 1889, p. 305: Goad map, 1890: DSR: LSE, Booth/B/351, p.239: London County Council Minutes, 29 March, 28 June and 26 July 1898, pp. 384,768,973; 2 July 1901, p. 899: <em>Estates Gazette</em>, 4 Feb. 1933, p. 1: Isobel Watson, ‘Rebuilding London: Abraham Davis and his Brothers, 1881–1924’, <em>London Journal</em>, vol. 29, 2004 pp. 62–84</p>\n",
            "created": "2018-01-03",
            "last_edited": "2019-05-31"
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        {
            "id": 793,
            "title": "Royal Albert Buildings",
            "author": {
                "id": 277,
                "username": "RobertWard"
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            "body": "<p>It was 1968 and I wanted a cheap flat to rent. One day I wandered into Cartwright street, just behind the Royal Mint on Tower Hill. It runs north from the high brick wall of St Katharine's Dock to Royal Mint street and the old railway viaduct that now carries the DLR. Lined with bomb sites and tenement blocks it was uninviting but halfway down, next to an arch that led to a railway goods yard, was Marie's grocer's shop. I went in and the people were friendly. Yes, there were sometimes flats to rent and Royal Albert Buildings would be best for me. Marie told me where the agents were, in Houndsditch, and I went there a few times until one day they asked for references and a week or two later gave me the rent book and a key for a flat that I hadn't even seen. </p>\n\n<p>Built in the 1880s Royal Albert Buildings was five stories of sooty brick with cream paint around the windows and entrances and green ironwork. There were no doors at street level, just four arched openings between plastered pillars, each leading to a stone staircase with two flats on each floor. Mine was on the second floor and I still remember the feeling of elation and the sharp smell of new paint as I let myself in. </p>\n\n<p>Inside was a square hall with just enough space for a door in each wall. To the left was a sitting room, in front a bedroom, and to the right a kitchen, all with discoloured old floor boards. The sitting room was a good size, with a big mullioned window overlooking the street and low cupboards in alcoves either side of a chimney breast with a blocked fireplace - I would need an electric fire for the winter as there was no other heating. The windows were unusual as each had three sashes instead of two - a fixed lower one so children wouldn't fall out, and two upper ones that slid up and down. The bedroom was at the back of the building, small and rather gloomy as it looked out across a roofed balcony. The kitchen, long and thin, had an old grey enamelled cooker and a sink unit with a cold tap. From it a door led to the balcony behind the bedroom, which had a view of the goods yard, a little rubbish chute, and six feet across it the door to an old lavatory with a high cistern. </p>\n\n<p>It was all as good as I'd hoped for. The controlled rent was £3 a week plus 12 shillings for rates, perhaps a quarter of a typical pay packet then, though it went up a little when the landlord put a shower in the corner of the kitchen as I'd asked. The milkman and postman came early each morning. Electricity was billed quarterly but there was a shilling slot meter for gas and the gas man called occasionally to empty it, count out the contents on the table and hand back the surplus, perhaps a third of the total, which was always welcome. There was a long waiting list for telephones but I eventually got one, a smart Trimphone that warbled instead of ringing, rented as the GPO didn't allow you to own your phone. </p>\n\n<p>The other residents of the block were mostly quiet people, working or retired, with a few children. Marie's shop served the whole street and she was always there and beaming, often with some of her children helping or playing, while husband Frank worked as a crane driver in the docks when he wasn't in the shop. They were from Malta. Most customers were on first name terms and often had their purchases noted down for future payment in little books kept behind the counter. In Royal Mint street was a paper shop, another grocer and two pubs. Tower Hill tube was just minutes away. </p>\n\n<p>Fifty years later the sound of the goods yard stays in my memory. The tracks that led to it branched off from the main line at Leman Street and sloped downhill to the yard in a long curve. A line of wagons would be shunted there and left on the slope without an engine. Sometimes the yard worked through the night and as the bottom wagon was loaded or unloaded and moved along, the ones above would each roll down a few yards to fill the space, like a line of slowly falling dominoes, with screeches, bangs and the clank of chains, an eerie noise to hear in the small hours, especially on foggy nights when there would be more ships' sirens than usual from the river. </p>\n\n<p>I lived there for three years. Then the GLC bought the block for redevelopment together with neighbouring Katharine Buildings, which had communal toilets and some single room flats, and Royal Mint Square. Tenants were gradually rehoused or left, corrugated iron started to appear on accessible doors and windows, and after a couple of years everything was demolished.</p>\n",
            "created": "2018-12-09",
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            "title": "West wing and east wing extensions, 1830–42",
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            "body": "<p>Plans for the first substantial enlargement to the hospital arose in 1830 in response to rising patient numbers, a by-product of rapid population growth. The establishment of the enclosed docks and the expansion of local manufacturing demanded an army of labourers. Many ended up residing in densely populated slums prone to the spread of disease, and were exposed to ‘fearful and appalling accidents’ at work.[^33] A newly assembled building committee observed that within a year, the hospital had been forced to refuse admission to more than 870 cases. A wing extension promised to provide ninety additional beds and separate wards to isolate contagious patients. These motivations coincided with low construction costs and a significant legacy from Edward Hollond, a governor with property in Cavendish Square and Suffolk. The committee anticipated that an extension to one of the rear wings would cost £8,000, which would be covered securely by Hollond’s bequest, existing funds and a fundraising campaign.[^34] </p>\n\n<p>Alfred Richardson Mason, hospital surveyor since 1821, was asked to prepare plans for a wing extension. His father, William Mason, was a local bricklayer and governor who had applied unsuccessfully for the post of surveyor during its last vacancy in 1806 and served on the hospital’s building committee. The chosen plan was reviewed by the medical staff and many of their recommendations adopted. Mason proposed extensions to the east and west wings to provide new wards. The external appearance of the extensions matched the austerity of Mainwaring’s design. On each side a three-bay projection, capped with a pediment, connected the existing wing to a new ward wing composed of six more bays. On the ground, first and second floors, Mason’s plan followed the arrangement of paired wards separated by a spine wall with a central fireplace. The new wards were connected to the earlier wards by lobbies, each containing a washing room and a bath room, along with a kitchen and a nurses’ room. In the basement of the west wing, the extension was allocated to the hospital’s medical officers: a long patients’ waiting hall was bordered by a dispensary and separate physicians’ consulting rooms. Staircases in the second-floor lobbies rose to an attic storey with rooms for special cases, including separate rooms for private patients in the east wing and a ward for contagious cases in the west wing. The hospital was surrounded by an assortment of open spaces, including a drying ground adjacent to the laundry and a burial ground to the south of the quadrangle.[^35]</p>\n\n<p>William Colebatch was employed as contractor for the west wing extension in June 1830, and construction began without delay. The new wards opened in August 1831 and were fitted up with fifty iron bedsteads, an improvement from the earlier wooden beds judged to be ‘receptacles for and filled with vermin’.[^36] Although the number of beds was considerably less than the ninety initially intended, the extension proved to be of immediate value as it opened before the first outbreak of a cholera epidemic. Sir William Blizard, eminent surgeon to the hospital, circulated a plea to the House Committee for special procedures to combat its spread, including the provision of an isolated place to receive sufferers. Although the hospital declined to admit cases of cholera, on the grounds that it was an untreatable disease, the new attic ward was used to isolate infected inpatients.[^37] </p>\n\n<p>A lack of funds delayed the construction of the east wing extension, as the hospital struggled with financial pressure caused by rising patient numbers. An appeal for donations launched during the charity’s centenary year was a success. Robert and George Webb were contracted as builders in December 1840. The extension was finished in 1842 and Mason paid a fee equal to five per cent of the building costs; by now the position was no longer honorary and this was termed the ‘usual’ surveyor’s commission.[^38] The only significant departure from Mason’s earlier plan wasthe provision of separate wards for Jewish patients, which arose from a request delivered in 1837 by a committee of Jewish gentlemen devoted to ‘the more effectual relief of the sick poor of the Jewish community requiring medical aid in and about London’. This deputation on behalf of ‘Gentlemen of the Hebrew Nation’, noted for their generosity and support towards the hospital since its inception, was made by Joel Emanuel and Abraham Levy.[^39] In addition to exclusive wards for Jewish patients, the committee requested a team of Jewish medical staff and a separate kitchen to prepare kosher food. By these measures, it was hoped that Jewish patients would ‘receive that consolation and peace of mind which would prove most consonant with their religious feelings’.[^40] Although the committee offered some financial support and predicted the initiative would encourage donations, the project was deferred until funds were secured for the hospital’s enlargement. The centenary festival attracted donations and, when the east wing extension was completed, two wards in the earlier part of the hospital were set aside for men and women.[^41]</p>\n\n<p>The effects of this improvement were not permanent due to demand for beds. By 1854 the House Committee had decided to allocate portions of wards to Jewish patients as an interim solution until a future enlargement of the hospital. Despite this failure, the wing extensions were considered an overall success. Their completion was followed by a sharp decline in mortality rates inside the hospital from ten per cent to eight per cent, and then as low as six per cent. Further alterations to the east and west wings followed in 1853–4, with the addition of fireproof staircases and water closets at the south ends to designs by Mason. This extension was carried out by George Myers, along with the formation of staff dormitories in the attics of the north end of each wing.[^42] </p>\n\n<p>[^33]: <em>General State of the London Hospital</em>(London: School Press Gower’s Walk, 1854). </p>\n\n<p>[^34]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/9/11: TNA, PROB 11/1764/221. </p>\n\n<p>[^35]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/9/11; RLHLH/A/5/14, p. 243; RLHLH/A/5/15, p. 108; RLHLH/A/5/17, pp. 51–2: LMA, COL/CHD/FR/02/1448–1453. </p>\n\n<p>[^36]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/5/15, pp. 130–4. </p>\n\n<p>[^37]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/9/11; RLHLH/A/5/19, p. 207; RLHLH/A/17/19: Clark-Kennedy, Vol. 1, p. 235; <em>London Pride</em>, p. 105: William Blizard, <em>An Address to the Chairman and Members of the House Committee of the London Hospital on the subject of Cholera </em>(London, 1831). </p>\n\n<p>[^38]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/4/10, p. 147–9. </p>\n\n<p>[^39]: <em>Public Ledger and Daily Advertiser</em>, 18 April 1818, 18 April 1833: <em>Globe</em>, 21 March 1853: <em>General State of the London Hospital </em>(1854). </p>\n\n<p>[^40]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/4/10, pp. 42–3. </p>\n\n<p>[^41]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/4/10, p. 48. </p>\n\n<p>[^42]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/5/27, pp. 44, 62–3, 125, 144, 154, 159–164; RLHLH/A/5/32, p. 30: <em>Jewish Chronicle</em>, 23 June 1905, pp. 14–15.</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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        {
            "id": 191,
            "title": "Print of Marie Celeste Hora (c. 1900)",
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            "body": "<p>A print of Marie Celeste Hora is held in the Royal London Hospital Archives: </p>\n\n<p><a href=\"http://h ttp://www.calmhosting01.com/BartsHealth/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Cata log&amp;id=RLHINV%2f500&amp;pos=5\">http://www.calmhosting01.com/BartsHealth/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&amp;id=RLHINV%2f500&amp;pos=5</a></p>\n\n<p>The Marie Celeste Maternity Ward was so called in 1898 after James Hora endowed the Samaritan Society (founded 1791 by William Blizard) with a large annual subscription in honour of his late first wife, Marie Celeste Hora. In Clark-Kennedy's view, \"it does seem a pity that the Samaritan Society, founded by Blizard in the eighteenth century and the first society of its kind, should have become associated with an obscure nineteenth century lady who had never had any connection with the hospital\".[^1]  </p>\n\n<p>[^1]: Clark-Kennedy, <em>London Pride</em>, p. 154</p>\n",
            "created": "2016-11-08",
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            "title": "The Jewish community",
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            "body": "<p>The small terraced houses behind the London Hospital were occupied by local residents for much of the time I worked there in the 1960s. Previously I had very little contact with the strict Jewish community, apart from the occasional Liberal Jewish patient in the hospital in Brighton, where I had trained as a nurse. One day, on my way back to John Harrison House, the new nurses' home, in uniform, having just come off duty, I was called out to by an elderly woman at her front door asking if I could help her. When I went to her door, she asked me if I could come in and light her fire. Surprised at this request, I went in to find the fire already laid and it just needed a match put to it. I lit the fire and then asked her why she had not been able to do this herself. She gently explained that it was past dusk on Friday evening, her Sabbath, and her religion prevented her from doing any work, including lighting the fire. My first, but not my last, experience of the strict Jewish community in the area at that time. From then on, each week, when I could, I called into the same woman to light her fire and have the occasional cup of tea with her; which I made and drank without milk. To this day, I still drink tea without milk!</p>\n",
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            "body": "<p>The eighteenth-century house on this site was demolished in 1913. An iron cooper’s shed had been built to its south alongside the railway viaduct in 1894–5. A larger shed extending behind No. 141 was a garage and cart store from the 1920s, with an associated snack bar.[^1]</p>\n\n<p>Greg &amp; Co., electrical and mechanical engineers (G. Gregory and John Polycarpou and Costantine Polycarpou), initiated a redevelopment of 2004–6 that included a five-storey and basement block to the rear to Mill Yard, the proprietorship reincorporated by the Polycarpou brothers in 2005 as Polyteck Building Services Ltd. Papa Architects Ltd (George Kalopedis and Andrew Paps) supplied the designs for ground-floor commercial units, first-floor offices and seven flats above and behind; the owners were their own building contractors.[^2] </p>\n\n<p>[^1]: London Metropolitan Archives, District Surveyors Returns: Ordnance Survey maps: Goad insurance maps: Post Office Directories</p>\n\n<p>[^2]: Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives, Building Control files 27164, 81263: Tower Hamlets planning applications online</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-05-10",
            "last_edited": "2019-05-10"
        },
        {
            "id": 897,
            "title": "Knutsford House (1956–60)",
            "author": {
                "id": 2,
                "username": "surveyoflondon"
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            "body": "<p>Plans to enlarge Edith Cavell Home were produced in 1939 by N. H. Oatley, who proposed clearing the adjacent terraced houses for a six-storey extension. The scheme was revived with a renewed specification after the war, with Bennett &amp; Son appointed as architects. They departed from the familiar and established configuration of nurses’ dormitories interspersed with bedsitting rooms for sisters. Knutsford House, a six-storey concrete-framed and brick-faced block, opened in May 1957 to provide forty-one self-contained flats reserved exclusively for sisters. Each flat contained a bedroom, a living room, a kitchenette and a bathroom. A basement contained a box room, storage lockers and laundry facilities, along with service rooms. Plans were swiftly in hand for an addition extending north to the corner of Raven Row, securing an additional six flats on the principal floors. The block was named in memory of Sydney Holland, the hospital’s chairman. </p>\n\n<p>[^118]: RLHA, RLHLH/X/83/21; RLHTH/S/10/19; RLHLH/P/1/12: ODNB: <em>Nursing Times</em>, 19 July 1957, p. 807.</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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            "id": 410,
            "title": "Bad memories of the London",
            "author": {
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                "username": "patricia"
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            "body": "<p>I used to hate to go to the London Hospital (when did it become The Royal London?) if we had to visit a sick relative. Plus any of my relatives who went in didn't come out. It always smelled of antiseptic and food and the uniforms the nurses wore looked so old fashioned to me (a young, modern girl) as opposed to the modern uniforms you would see on hospital shows on the telly. My father died in 1954 when I was 5 and was taken to the London, but they couldn't save him from a massive heart attack. He was only 35. The London had bad memories for me. Plus I had an accident at school when I was about 8 or 9, at Robert Montefiore Primary on Deal Street, opposite where I lived. I was running up the stairs with a tray of glass jars they used for painting, fell over and cut my hand on one of the broken jars. They called an ambulance and took me to the London, where they gave me a few stitches in my hand. An awful memory for a young child. My auntie Ann lived in a street behind the hospital, Nelson Street, and I hated walking past the place when we went to visit her. </p>\n",
            "created": "2017-07-05",
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            "id": 921,
            "title": "Alan Hughes talks about the history of the Bell Foundry since it has been in his family's hands",
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            "body": "<p>Previously, [before my great grandfather] the company had been owned by the Mears family for four generations. That's very roughly 100 years. The last Mears hit hard financial times, and took into partnership a man called Stainbank, who was from Lincolnshire, he was a timber merchant, but above all he had money. The Mears and Stainbank were only together for 10 years, 11 years, something like that. When Mears died, Stainbank, who was clearly younger, inherited the business. Stainbank, when he died, left the business in his will to his nephew, a chap called Lawson, who was a retired Indian bank manager. That was 1884.</p>\n\n<p>Lawson, being a bank manager, knew nothing else about anything except banking, inherited this business, didn't understand what the heck was going on but realised that it was a business and it was running. His inheritance pretty much coincided with the arrival of my great grandfather, who at the time was a very keen bell-ringer, but importantly worked for a company, I believe, in Vauxhall, a foundry I think it was in Vauxhall. The nub of it is this: he used to visit here on a regular basis selling this company metal. He came in and found this chap Lawson sitting at his desk. They obviously fell into conversation, and at the end of the conversation, Lawson offered great grandfather the position of general manager.</p>\n\n<p>My great grandfather came here as general manager. He was only 22 years old. He ran the company for Lawson. When Lawson died in 1904, great grandfather wrote to Lawson's widow, and I don't have a copy of the letter. It was a letter, apparently, in which he explained why he felt he was entitled to have first refusal to the purchase of the business, having run it for Lawson for 20 years. He made an offer, and I don't even know what the offer was. But it only took her three days to say, \"Yes, fine,\" because she didn't want it. That gave great grandfather ownership of the business, but not the property.</p>\n\n<p>Because when George Mears had taken Stainbank into partnership, the ownership of the buildings and the land remained with the Mears family, who through marriage became the Venables family. In 1960 agents acting for the Venables family said, \"Look, we don't want this property anymore. We want to sell it. You inhabit it, therefore we're giving you first refusal.\" They asked in 1960, it's laughable today, but they asked for £20,000. Which was hard, so we took out a 10 year mortgage in 1960 on the buildings and the land. That meant that in 1970, 10 years later, the ownership of the buildings and the land passed to us as well as the business.</p>\n\n<p>[For the 100 years previous to that] We’d been renting it, paying rent. Exactly, paying rent. The interesting thing too is going back into the sales day books. The Mears family themselves owned different parts of the business. One of the Mearses who was never taken into partnership was a John Mears. He seems to have been the black sheep of the family, but I don't know why. John Mears owned the very far rear of the property, and every month, John Mears was paid rent for that by the partners. We also do have the contract of partnership agreement between Charles and George Mears which is a very lengthy document. When you read between the lines, they really did not trust each other.</p>\n\n<p>They may not even have liked each other but even if they did, they clearly didn't trust each other. That was the Mears family, but because it went very rapidly, Mears, Stainbank, Lawson, Hughes, we have no connection to the Mears family at all. We know nothing about the Mears family, and really the only thing that we have inherited are the sales day books. As a family we have no knowledge of them. We know they came from Canterbury. We know that the first William Mears became either bankrupt, or near bankrupt in his early years. We know that the prosperity of the company grew very rapidly and seems to have peaked some time around 1830, 1840, when Thomas Mears was clearly a very wealthy gentleman.</p>\n\n<p>He was in the list of the first commissioners of income tax in this area when commissioners of income tax started in about 1820 I think. If you go into Highgate Cemetery, go in through the main entrance, the first thing you'll see is this enormous thing, which is the tomb of the Mears family. To have had that position and that size of tomb, you must have had money. The whole history of the Mears family is set out on this tomb in Highgate Cemetery. On a number of occasions I think Charles Mears and also George Mears, possibly Thomas Mears, were in turn masters of the family's company. Clearly, they were people of substance and people of some wealth.</p>\n\n<p>I don't know whether they lived here in the bell-foundry house. I suspect that they did initially, but as they became wealthy, this wasn't a cool place to live, was it? If you look at the property map of this area, this wasn't, and so towards the end of their tenure, they had a foreman whose name was Warskitt. I think it was Warskitt, and I think Warskitt lived here. The Mearses lived in a more fashionable area, but again, I don't know where they lived. Stainbank, I think, lived in Camberwell. Where the Mearses lived, I don't know.</p>\n\n<p>[My great grandfather] came here in 1884, same time as Lawson's manager. He was Lawson's manager from 1884 to 1904…We have been very careful to brush out some of the history there because in fact Albert Hughes [my grandfather] was the oldest of three brothers, Leonard and Robert. They both disgraced themselves. First of all, Leonard in about 1919, when he tried to sell the business behind my grandfather's back to George Co. and 600 Group. When my grandfather protested that he would have nothing of it, then Leonard Hughes said, \"Well, in that case, I'm leaving because this company has no future.\"</p>\n\n<p>He quit. So he has been airbrushed out. Then the other one was Robert Hughes, who was the bookkeeper. He kept the books, did everything to do with the money. For some reason, there was an audit undertaken here round about 1929. The accountants found that Robert Hughes had been augmenting his salary on a regular basis by fiddling the books. He was dismissed and disgraced which left only my grandfather. Those pieces of information have been airbrushed out of the official story.</p>\n\n<p>[Albert Hughes my grandfather] was the oldest. He was the senior partner. As far as I know, he was the only one of the three who was actually a bell-ringer. He was, like his father, a very, very keen bell-ringer. Very good bell-ringer.</p>\n\n<p>Douglas [my uncle] was about six or seven years younger than my father [William Hughes] when he came into the business. My grandfather was convinced that, just as my great grandfather was pretty much convinced that, the company wouldn't survive. .. When my father William, and my uncle Douglas left school, he ensured that they had good employment away from this company.</p>\n\n<p>My father started work at the head office of the Thornycroft Company in Smith Square. They made trucks, diesel engines, that kind of stuff. Douglas started work with an insurance broker, Price Forbes as they were then, but the name has changed since they've been amalgamated with other firms of insurance brokers. He was convinced that when his time came the company would close, but my father decided that he would join his father. Which he did in 1945, and of course we're talking war years when we weren't making bells, we were making aluminium castings for the Admiralty. Then after the war, of course, the demand for the bells hugely increased because, of course, war damage and bombing.</p>\n\n<p>We had this huge amount of work to do immediately after the Second World War but with fewer people to do it because they had gone to war and not come back. I don't know the whole story but my uncle was either persuaded to join with his brother or he decided to join with his brother. I don't know which but they both came into the company.</p>\n\n<p>Again, because we were so short of skilled trades, both of them worked in the foundry extensively and also went out doing bell hanging work extensively because it was an all hands to the pump situation. Life was difficult. We had war damage, obviously, and yet a full order book and yet very little cash, and materials were rationed, so you had an order to build something but you couldn't buy the materials to build it anyway.. These were very trying times and, of course, I joined them later on.</p>\n\n<p>It was quite an exciting time because only from 1970 did we actually own the property… because it had been mortgaged from '60 to '70. We were paying rent on it prior to that. In a sense, it wasn't for us to throw fireplaces away because we didn’t own them anyway. Also, we had decided to do some rebuilding once we owned the property. This was a great time of clearance and let's clear the decks and start again.</p>\n\n<p>The facade has had very little done with it over the years. If you look at photographs of the facade from the 1920s, there is the most enormous and ghastly enameled sign right way across the parapet that says 'Bell Foundry.' Even if you look at the brickwork today, you'll see that the brickwork across the parapet looks a lot newer. I suspect that the parapet was rebuilt. Not just because the bricks look newer, because also it's upright. The whole building leans but the parapet is upright which suggests to me that it was rebuilt. The rest of it has been patch repair.</p>\n\n<p>Again, going back to the time when I joined the company, all of the timber work right the way across the whole of the front was grained in the same way as our front entrance was grained. Now, I personally hate graining. It's just a thing. I don't like it, I think it’s horrible. It pretends to be what it isn't. I would prefer if they just paint it. It took us something like two years to get permission from the local council to actually paint the house timberwork green as it now is. That was a real struggle but at least visually, there is now some separation between what was the bell foundry house with the green and the front entrance, the business, which is still grained.</p>\n\n<p>It's got to be 25 to 30 years ago. Ever since then, any repainting, and it's due for another repaint, any repainting has had to be in the same shade of green because if you change the colour of the paint in a grade two style listed building, you'll have to get at least a planning consent just to change the colour of the paint.</p>\n\n<p>My grandfather died in August 1964. Although I can remember him very clearly, it was as a schoolboy. I started work here in August 1966 [aged 18], so he was already dead but my grandmother still lived here…I started in what we call the loam shop making moulds and casting tower bells. That's where I started.</p>\n\n<p><strong>The Bell Foundry during and after World War II</strong></p>\n\n<p>I've never lived here… This was my grandparents' dining room…It also doubled up as a living room. There was a desk over there. My grandmother was a great writer of letters, so she would sit over there and write letters. .. Well, just behind the door and there was an armchair in that corner and there was an armchair in this corner. Then, there was a radio there.</p>\n\n<p>The panelling was very badly cracked, I understand, by the time we came out of the Second World War. We ourselves here, our own carpenters did huge repairs to this panelling. It was done very carefully. What you can't see is where the splits run down the centre of the panels, they took the panelling out and screwed into the back a series of brass strips which stitched the crack. They stitched the cracks together and then they filled the gaps and they painted over them. But the brass plates just stopped the splits moving.</p>\n\n<p>The repairs to the panelling was done around about 1950. It was to try to make the place half decent after the Germans … I think [the building] survived [WW2 bombing] for two reasons. The first was there were no direct high explosives but were loads of incendiaries. Most of the damage that was done in the East End of London was incendiaries, it wasn't high explosives and it was that the East End burned rather than just being bombed.</p>\n\n<p>Fire did as much damage as high explosives. The Germans were dropping incendiaries, loads of them. This place caught fire loads of times. But because my grandparents and my parents lived here and my father had a reserved occupation. Douglas went to war, had a great war actually because nobody shot at him. But my father was here on reserved occupation, so they would be up all night putting fires out.</p>\n\n<p>There's nothing wrong with a fire provided you put it out quickly. It's if you don't put it out, it becomes a problem. [laughs].. They had buckets of sand and buckets of water and fire extinguisher and all that to the ready. As soon as something caught fire, they'll be running around on the roof putting fires out.</p>\n\n<p>That's why it survived. The following morning they would have to patch the roof again or there'd be glass broken in windows, all that kind of stuff. Providing there was electricity, and there wasn't always, providing there was electricity, you could run the machines and we could continue making aluminium castings. Some days, of course, there was no electricity. Other days, there was no water. Other days, there was no gas. You took each day as it came because that's what happens in war.</p>\n\n<p><strong>The houseman and his work</strong></p>\n\n<p>This was the dining room. Their bedroom, my grandparents' bedroom was the room up here directly above… The room at the back which is now an office was the kitchen… The room above, the next room on the first floor there was the living room.</p>\n\n<p>But the living room was pretty much set out most of the time with musical handbills because my grandmother was a solo hand bell ringer. She used to rehearse, she used to practice in there. She had this large table with all these bells laid out. She didn't have to put them away. She could go in there and just ring bells. That was only cleared away when she got older and she gave up hand bell ringing. Then my grandfather decided he liked to have a television, so the television was up there but the radio was still down here.</p>\n\n<p>Then, the top floor, I never got to visit the top floor until, gosh, 30 years ago because my grandparents and then my grandmother always had a houseman. Somebody who would clean the place, light the fires, clear the ashes but also make teas and coffees for the office.</p>\n\n<p>My early memories here from the '50s and early '60s was all of the offices had coal fires. This was the coal cellar underneath. There was a wooden trapdoor just outside the pavement which has now been covered in concrete but the concrete marks where it was. The coal used to be delivered loose seven times at a time, then large lumps were broken up.</p>\n\n<p>It's almost a full time job if you've got fires in all the offices and the house in the winter just going around, lighting the fires, clearing the ash, leading the grate, breaking up coal. That's quite a job. But he [the houseman] would go out and do all the shopping, he'd keep the place clean. He actually had [two of the rooms on] the top floor. So it's only when my grandmother died in 1972, I think, John Hill continued to live here for another couple of years until he died, and then and only then did I actually get to visit the top floor of the house. Because it was his apartment, I never went there.</p>\n\n<p><strong>2 Fieldgate Street</strong></p>\n\n<p>What is now our shop is actually the downstairs room of No. 2 Fieldgate Street. That was his [a jeweller’s] shop. Sclaire, was his name, Sclaire's shop. He lived in the house above so we had no access to that. Yes, it's here. Sclaire died and one of his relatives, oh crummy, was it a nephew or something, tried to claim that he had the right to live there because he had always lived there, but he hadn't.</p>\n\n<p>A long protracted legal battle then ensued in which we had to find all manner of people who lived here who would swear in a court of law that this guy didn't live there, they'd never seen him before in their lives, and the court found in our favour. That meant that we had the use of those buildings. But we did not have the use of that room or that room, because that was part of the territory that Sclaire occupied.</p>\n\n<p>Sclaire was paying rent to the Venables family, just as we were, and then of course, but Sclaire was evicted before we bought the building, so Sclaire never had to pay rent to us, because by the time we'd purchased it in 1960, Sclaire had gone.</p>\n\n<p>We turned the first floor room .. into a workshop and subsequently it became a drawing office which it still is, and the top rooms were just used as storage, which they still are. It's just a dump. It's a disgrace, really. It's just a dump.</p>\n\n<p>No. 2 Fieldgate Street, we are told, is older than this building. So No. 2 Fieldgate Street was there anyway and then this was built up to it. The GLC dated No. 2 … on the basis of the glass being flush with the front of the building and apparently that puts it prior to 1690 or something.</p>\n\n<p>I don't know and, to be honest, I don't care. [laughs] The other thing I'm told is unusual but not unique is you look at that door, and you think, yes, well, it's got stone facings. Well, they're not. They're timber to look like stone. Again, the GLC said this is an indication of relative poverty. It was the thing to have stone round the door, but if you couldn't afford it you dummied it up in timber and painted it the colour of stone.</p>\n\n<p><strong>How the houses have been used</strong></p>\n\n<p>This is No. 2 Fieldgate Street. But that door is now simply a fire escape. We don't use it for any other purpose. [The drawing office is on the] First floor, and those two windows is just a store. It's just a dump where we store stuff. Actually that room is a bathroom, and is currently used from time to time by our daughters who are living in those two rooms [that used to be the houseman's flat]</p>\n\n<p>[The first floor is what] we call .. the library, which is pretentious. It's just where we keep our old books. This room, has, our elder daughter is an accompanist, that's how she earns her living, and we got a grand piano in there so that's her practice room. Also, if she's having to rehearse, quartets, quintets, whatever, they can come here because they don't disturb anybody.</p>\n\n<p>Here, here is where the piano sits.. The rest of the room is largely unaltered. But we do about eight to ten times a year we have evening receptions here. It's usually for city livery companies or ward clubs, city organisations, who wish to bring a group to view the foundry, but also they then stay on and we serve drinks and finger food and stuff. That is served up here. All three rooms have interconnecting doors as your drawing correctly shows and so we lay food out in here. This room now, we call the red room because we've painted it red, it's the coldest room in the house. It's right on that east corner. It's bloody cold, we thought we'd paint it red then.</p>\n\n<p>I think when he [my great grandfather] was the manager he didn't live here. I think he lived in Leytonstone somewhere, but when he gained ownership of the building he moved in.</p>\n\n<p>Yes, I'm not sure which, either that, or that, was his [my father’s] bedroom. There were two brothers and a daughter. Yes, that's right and my uncle had one room and my father had the other and at the back, where are we, we are behind that room, there was an extension put in around about 1825. That was a bedroom. It's now a kitchen, but that was my aunt's bedroom. I remember it as a bedroom. Brass bed and all that stuff. It had a certain smell to it.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Hughes family history</strong></p>\n\n<p>My father married before my uncle. He met my mother in fact when he was working at Thornycrofts, and they bought a flat in Lewisham. During the war, they got married before the war, because transport was so erratic, he was finding increasingly he was having to walk from Lewisham to Whitechapel and back again at the end of the day. There were no buses, trains out. There's a war, for heaven's sake.</p>\n\n<p>My grandparents were finding it increasingly difficult to stay awake 24 hours seven days a week, so they quit the flat in Lewisham and moved here. There were the four of them in the house. Towards the end of the war, the war would seem faded away. It didn't suddenly stop because gradually we were winning this war, we, collectively, were winning the war and so air raids became less and less and less frequent as the Germans were gradually pushed back home as it were.</p>\n\n<p>Before the war ended, I think it was six months or something before the end of the war, my parents bought a house in West Wickham in a very poor-- It was a new house, it was only two years old but it had been occupied by the Home Guard or something and there were tank traps in the garden, it was a right mess. They bought it for very little. My mother thought my father was absolutely mad to do it, but in retrospect it was probably one of the wisest things he's ever done.</p>\n\n<p>They actually set up house there just before the end of the war. They lived there right the way through. My mother in her '90s then asked to be moved into sheltered accommodation, because she couldn't maintain the house. So for the last three or four years she lived in the house. That's where they lived and that's, obviously, where I was brought up. That was my home.</p>\n\n<p>My uncle Douglas, he married. I don't know how he met his wife, I've always assumed he met her at Price Forbes but I don't know. They married, it was either during the war or towards the end of the war. They initially bought a house in Hayes so they weren't that far from my father and mother. That's Hayes Kent not Hayes Middlesex, and then from there, they moved to Merston. Then from Merston they moved to Chalden and then they stayed there until my aunt died, which would have been 20, 25 years ago, then my uncle sold the Chalden house and moved into sheltered accommodation .. and then he died. That's the history.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Works to the front wall in the 1970s</strong></p>\n\n<p>In the 1970s the GLC were monitoring this building because the front facade was…, slipping gently into the road. We think the problem started with the building of the underground railway because the District Hammersmith and City Line goes straight down the middle of Whitechapel Road. They didn't tunnel it. They dug a huge trench and put a bridge over the top because it's only just below the surface. We think that the holding back of the earth wasn't done with sufficient rigour, and therefore the lands started to slip into the trench slightly before the bridge was built.</p>\n\n<p>It's only the front rooms that are shifting. You can see this room is going. This corner, that corner is about nine inches out of plumb which is a lot for just a two-storey building. The GLC put monitoring all over the place and they came along every six months or something with laser things. They were able to demonstrate that the building was moving at an accelerating rate. So we were faced with doing a number of things. Firstly, there was a great crack down this corner because the facade was tearing away from the end wall.</p>\n\n<p>Stainless steel anchors were put through the thickness of the brickwork to just hold the crack, not to pull it back. You can't pull buildings back but you can stop them going further. That was done. Also they found that this building has no foundations. The bricks just sit on the earth.</p>\n\n<p>They corbel out for about three quarters. That's all. Which was typical of the day. In the cellar here on the front wall, the foundation company came in and they hand dug in metre sections down till they got to the gravel which is underneath the clay. They then cut into the gravel by one metre and they cast a one-metre square concrete block starting one metre below the gravel coming right way up to the underside of the wall. When the concrete had cured they then rammed a non-contracting grout in the gap. When that had cured they'd go and do another bit so they stitched their way round. The whole of the front is now supported on this enormous concrete block thing which goes down into the gravel bed.</p>\n\n<p>Also, I'm told, I haven't looked for the evidence, they put in chains running through the depth of the floor to tie into this back wall so that these walls are also constrained. There are resin anchors into the brickwork in the front and it's either chains or tie bars that go back through the depth of the floor and cut into that part of the building which isn't moving.</p>\n\n<p>We had to have an architect and an engineer come in and do it. We had a grant from the GLC towards the cost of doing it… I didn't handle the grant details. My uncle did that. No, he didn't. The architect did it. A guy called James Strike who is now retired I think… He’s still around. I haven't spoken to him for years but the reason I know he's still alive is within the last 18 months someone who came here said that he knew James Strike and James sent his best wishes or something to that effect. That was him. He retired as an architect and I think he found being an architect hard work and he went into teaching architecture at a university or college somewhere but I don't know where.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Derek Kendall photographs the building</strong></p>\n\n<p>The last interest that we had was from English Heritage who sent a photographer here [in 2010] to photograph the interiors.</p>\n\n<p>We're in some English Heritage hidden London interiors book. It's funny because he came here by permission and by appointment and he was going to take these pictures for this book and we said that's fine. He said, \"I'll only be here for half a day,\" and we said, \"Fine,\" and at lunchtime, he said, \"Can I stay here the rest of the day?\" We said, \"Yes, it's okay. \" At the end of the day he said, \"Can I come back tomorrow?\" He spent three days.</p>\n\n<p>The thing that fascinated him, strangely, most about this building was the staircase. He got really really excited about that staircase and it's just a staircase but he said the thing about it is that, obviously, it's 1738, but he said it is unaltered. He couldn't bring to mind another London property where he had seen a staircase unaltered since it was constructed. Dan Cruickshank, he did some filming here. It was a program he was doing something to do with London sewers. It was quite unsavoury but he got excited about the door furniture on the front door here because although we've added to it we haven't taken anything away.</p>\n\n<p>The original door furniture is still attached and he got quite excited about that. The Queen, when she came here was saying what wonderful buildings these were. I said poverty is a great way of preserving the past. .. If you can't afford anything you don't do anything which means you hang on to what you got…</p>\n\n<p><strong>The workshops</strong></p>\n\n<p>The land that we had at the back, the bit in fact that has been rebuilt, was made up of two parts. Part was a huge wooden shed which was a workshop and it was the wooden shed that we were wanting to remove and replace. Also a yard. Now the wooden shed projected into next door's property, but we owned it. But it was a nuisance to them because it was like a peninsula of land sticking into their land. At the same time between that shed and Plumbers Row there was an open yard. The open yard belonged to them. So they had this little isolated plot of land that we were occupying that they owned.</p>\n\n<p>We owned land effectively in their property. So prior to the rebuilding work we had an exchange of property and it was done on a square foot for square foot basis. I don't think either of us actually gained square footage. But we took ownership of the yard and we gave them the bit that stuck into their property. That gives us the footprint we have today. Having exchanged those boundaries we then set about clearing the whole site and then constructing new workshops. They don't look new anymore but they were new 40 years ago… 1980, That is the construction of those workshops.</p>\n\n<p>The foundry is incredibly quiet today because we have a policy with holidays that you use it or lose it. Our holiday period is in end of March. Purely coincidental this is just about half our staff are on holiday today, and I've already mentioned that.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Walking around the house </strong></p>\n\n<p>The mantle shelf is new. Because they didn't have mantle shelves. Mantle shelves came in Victorian times. The other thing, of course, from the 18th Century and that is that you didn't designate a room for use. You would move the furniture around according to how you were intending to use the room. But, again, the GLC seemed to think that this room was used for food because of the marble.</p>\n\n<p>Yes, marble apparently was relatively expensive for people who were poor. You didn't go splashing out on marble but marble was used for setting out food because it would keep food cool all the time. They thought that in the original plan of things this room was probably used for serving food because of marble. I said, \"But it's on the first floor. Why would you carry food up the stairs? That doesn't make sense.\" They said, \"But they used to do that.\"</p>\n\n<p>[The kitchen was] Downstairs right in the far corner [on the ground floor]. So everything had to be carried up the stairs. But I've nothing to support that opinion. It's just, and again, it was given verbally by a GLC architect.</p>\n\n<p>It could even be that at ground floor level you've got smells, you've got noise from the street, you've got people banging on the windows. Maybe coming up to the first floor you've got a bit more privacy. Maybe it's just a nicer place to be.</p>\n\n<p>This is where my grandmother had her hand bells. She had a table in the middle here and all the hand bells were laid out. So the room really wasn't used for any other purpose other than for her to practice hand bell ringing.</p>\n\n<p>This is where Jennifer practices. .. That fireplace has always been exposed but it's not ancient. That has to be mid 19th Century because it's so over the top ornate.</p>\n\n<p>It's almost Puginistic, isn't it? You can also see how with the building moving you've got that great split at the back of the hearth, because that's the bit that didn't move. This is sitting on this floor and it's coming away... We’re now going what 30 to 40 years since that was done. It doesn't look to me as if we're moving further. Of course, you can't put it back. You can feel the slope, can't you? This is the cold room.</p>\n\n<p>That, again, was boarded up. We only took the boarding off there just over a year ago. Again, it had a gas fire and it was boarded. Having been encouraged by taking the boarding off in the library, my wife said, \"I wonder what's behind here.\" We haven't lit this. I don't see why we couldn't. One of the mysteries is we had roof repairs done two or three years ago so there was scaffolding right up across the roof. I went in and inspected all of the chimneys and the intriguing thing is that every single fire has its own flue. The flues don't connect.</p>\n\n<p>There's one more pot than I can find a fireplace for. Well, this apparently is something that people did because the number of fires is a bit like the number of cars. The number of fires you have is an indication of your wealth because coal's relatively expensive. The more fires you had the more wealth you had.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Walking around the property</strong></p>\n\n<p>If we go out to what we call the new back foundry-- we produced this drawing some years ago. This was done in house, but it’s a sort of cut away of what goes on inside… This is 34 Whitechapel Road.</p>\n\n<p>These here really give you some idea of the history. ….. This room here was where we stored metal. And it was called Kimber's room. This was the bit that we owned. And I told you had projected into the next-door property.</p>\n\n<p>That extension was acquired- we don't have a date for it - but it was round about 1820, 1830. That's when the Mears family fortunes, as it were, peaked. But I don't have a date for that.</p>\n\n<p>This is No. 2 Fieldgate Street where we used to keep the music ... all the hand bell stuff used to be kept in the red room. Then of course, we're supposed to provide disabled access. Well, how are you going to get people upstairs? So we thought we're going to have to bring it all down stairs. A wheelchair will come in here.</p>\n\n<p>So we can get wheelchairs into this area…. We also, from time to time, have groups from local schools. So we can take a few school kids in here, which is why that thing moves so slowly because if you're presenting it to children, who are sort of six or eight or ten years old, it needs to move a bit more slowly for them.</p>\n\n<p><strong>The back wall</strong></p>\n\n<p>Okay, structurally this fascinates me because this is the back wall of No. 2 Fieldgate Street. No, it isn't. Precisely. There's nothing there. There’s absolutely nothing there. That is a beam. That is a timber beam. And the whole of the side of the house sits on that timber beam. And above is a nine-inch brick wall. So you've got a nine-inch brick wall sitting on a timber beam.</p>\n\n<p>Yes, and what makes it even worse is where the staircase turns, you would hit your head. And it's been cut back. And it's only two inches deep.</p>\n\n<p>The yard started here. And again, this wall is half-an-inch thick. That's all there is, just half an inch. This panel here.</p>\n\n<p>Well, we think it's 1825 because there's a fireplace through what used to be the kitchen. And it says ‘TM [Thomas Mears] 1825’. Right, okay, so going back through the rear door into the yard area.</p>\n\n<p>When you look at the structure, you're thinking, \"Hang on a minute. This doesn't make sense.\" This wall ends here. It's just a stud wall because beyond that is just half-inch panelling. Same thing here, the wall just ends there. And then all of this is just timber.</p>\n\n<p>We’re pretty sure this is 1825 because of the dating on the fireplace. But you can also see that when the extensions were built, they came out as far as they could. They came out as far as that window edge.</p>\n\n<p>It's all a bit of a mess really.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Various building works</strong></p>\n\n<p>This looks new because that was rebuilt in the 1960s. It was virtually falling down. So that was completely rebuilt then. And that's when the old well was discovered because being a coaching inn, it had a well. And this is the well pipe that went down the well. So that told you the depth of the well. And we filled it in and put proper foundations under this wall because again, this was a wall with no foundations. It just sat on the earth.</p>\n\n<p>This now has a proper foundations. And this also was rebuilt. And that also has proper foundations.</p>\n\n<p>I can just remember when that was the stable, in there, because I can remember the mangers were in there. But that's now our metal house. But that used to be a stable because, presumably, the chap who lived here had a horse.</p>\n\n<p>The yard, of course, also extended further this way. And we know that because these aren't outside windows…</p>\n\n<p>This wall was built in about 1840, when we put in our first tuning machine. And you will see that-- this machine was put in 1920. But it's kind of similar to the previous machine. It relies upon the building to hold it up. So because this was the end of the yard, all they did was put one wall across, and you create a room.</p>\n\n<p>Well, this was what we did [rebuilt the cellars] in 1980, having done the land swap. And the people next door were very reasonable because they could see that, for a time, we would need both parcels of land.</p>\n\n<p>They very kindly waived rent. They just said, \"Okay, how long is this reconstruction going to take?\" We said, \"Well, because we got to keep working. We got to phase the work, so we can keep working.\" We said, \"It won't take more than two years.\" And they said, \"Right. If you do it within two years, we will waive the rent on this yard. But if you start dragging it out, then, of course, that's a different story.\" But we didn't. We just wanted to get it done.</p>\n\n<p><strong>A rare example of manufacturing in London</strong></p>\n\n<p>And the sad thing is, of course, that people don't understand manufacturing. If you say to people, a milling machine, [they have] no clue what you're talking about.</p>\n\n<p>I think the fascination for people who visit is that they are visiting a dirty workshop, where stuff is made because they've never seen it before. And they'll probably never see it again.</p>\n\n<p>... And we then put that frieze on the bell. To us, that frieze has meaning. It won't have meaning to anybody else, but it does to us. It's a frieze that we used in the early 19th century on bells. And the point about these two bells is that they have been made to an old style profile, so that they match in with the old bells that are already in the tower. We can look at that. We just say, \"Well, it's an old-style bell.\" If it's a modern bell, it will have a different frieze on it. And I'd say that's a modern profile.</p>\n\n<p>It's an interesting frieze, that, because for several years I owned a narrow boat. If you look at the decoration on narrow boats, the style of which dates from late 18th, early 19th century, you'll find the same frieze as part of the decorative paintwork on narrow boats. So clearly, it was a fairly normal kind of early 19th century, late 18th century style of-- It's a series of curves. It's a very simple geometric shape.</p>\n\n<p><strong>Dealings with the local council</strong></p>\n\n<p>I think also that because this place suffered neither the extremes of war nor the extremes of wealth, an awful lot has remained unchanged. It's continued to this day with the grants that have been given by national and local government. In 2012 or before 2012, there was High Street 2012, when Tower Hamlets Borough and presumably others decided to spend money restoring and improving the appearance of the properties down this corridor. Well, the money started at Aldgate and came to the end of the block. And it started at the end of the block and continued east.</p>\n\n<p>And we were excluded. Then a couple of years ago, they decided on another system of improving the buildings. It came up to the end of this block. And it started at the end of that block. So every time money is spent on this road, this block is specifically excluded. Every single time. We applied to English Heritage for some grant aid ten years ago for restoring our chimney because our chimney is unnecessary, and it was in dire need of attention. They said, \"No. We can't help you because it would be unfair to your competitors.\" But they have just given our competitors £3 million.</p>\n\n<p>I’m thinking, \"Why is it fair to give them £3 million pounds, but it's not fair to give us anything because we have a competitor?\"</p>\n\n<p>It doesn't make sense. I think Tower Hamlets would like to see us go because they have now rearranged the roads at the side - and we notified them of this - in such a way that it is impossible to reverse a vehicle into our gateway without going the wrong way up a one-way street. So the only way you can load or unload is illegally. There was no consultation. They rearranged the road. And we said, \"Hang on a minute. Do you realise what you've done?\" And they said, \"Crumbs. Sorry.\" So they changed it. Six months later, they changed it back. They did the job twice. On large stuff, even illegally, we can't get a large vehicle into our work. So on large projects, we have to go to the expense of double-handling. We have to load here in a small vehicle, then take it to another site for loading into a container for export. It's actually put up the cost of our export work.</p>\n\n<p>We have twice had people come in from Tower Hamlets saying that we have been reported for using solvents. Now, we don't use any solvents at all in any of our processes. Yet we've had environmental health coming here saying we have been reported to them for doing this. Well, of course, we have been reported because how can we be reported for using something we don't use? They spent a whole day here sniffing around the premises just being a nuisance. I think in a perfect world, Tower Hamlets would like to see us go. It's because this is turning into a residential area. And of course this noise and smoke and dust and all the things that you get with industry-- There's a hotel just opened at the back. So I don't think we fit in to what Tower Hamlets want for this area.</p>\n\n<p>We tried to get permission from Tower Hamlets-- There was a bell ringers' event in London. And there is a small mobile belfry. It fits on to the back of a trailer, and it's towed by a car. We tried to get permission from Tower Hamlets to park it on the pavement to the side, which is why they said, \"No, you can't do that because it might damage the paving stones.\" We said, \"But vehicles pull on to this routinely.\" \"Oh no. You can't do that.\" Then we had some repairs done to the chimney. And we said we would like to have a scaffolding built. \"No, you can't have scaffolding at the front of the building at all. We won't give you a license for it because you might damage the pavement.\" Then we said, \"Can we have a cherry picker to inspect the chimneys?\" \"No. You can't have a cherry picker because the cherry picker might damage the pavement.\"</p>\n\n<p>So whatever we want to do, Tower Hamlets say no. So I think they would like to see us go. From my point of view, I think one of my greatest incentives to running this business is to ensure that Tower Hamlets don't get what they want.</p>\n\n<p>But in the end Tower Hamlets will win because they always do. But we had large trees growing outside, which were disturbing the pavement. We were worried about disturbing the wall. And for years, we wrote to Tower Hamlets and asked them to have the trees cut down. And they ignored it. Then the Queen visited. And the tree was taken down the week before the Queen came.</p>\n\n<p>We've also had to register with Tower Hamlets a letter holding them responsible for not enforcing parking regulations on Fridays because of the mosque. Because they don't enforce parking, which means that cars - depending on upon what time of year it is - they'll park against our gates, so we can't open them, and on the pavement. Historically, we cast on Fridays, big casts, because then the moulds cool down over the weekend. But if we were to have a fire, you can't get a fire engine here because they allow vehicles to park. And if you phoned up parking control, they say, \"Oh, yes, no we don't. When the mosque is operational on a Friday, we don't enforce parking regulations.\"</p>\n\n<p>So we had to go through our insurers on this, and I said, \"But we've written to Tower Hamlets. And they won't reply.\" They said, \"No, but if you register the letter, they will have received it. And although they won't reply, you know they've had the letter.\" So we've had to do that simply to cover ourselves in the event of fire, and the fire engines can't get here, and parking control won't have the vehicles removed. So they're only little things. They're petty. I mean, they're very, very, very petty....</p>\n\n<p><strong>Whitechapel and its future</strong></p>\n\n<p>I think that if you take Greater London, and you say where are things going to change most in the next ten years, it has to be this area. If for no other reason, Crossrail. When Crossrail opens Whitechapel Station, I can get to Heathrow in 19 minutes. Way, that would be great. But the whole thing with Crossrail and with Stratford and the Olympic Park, and the fact that it's been - become rather sort of almost trendy now …-- it's an area that was neglected hugely really after manufacture - after the docks went, isn't it? I mean, that was the big change because it wasn't just the docks. It was all of the industries that were related directly to the docks. And we went through this period of, I don't know, three, four, five decades, something like that; when the East End of London was frankly just forgotten. It was just a sort of smell out east.</p>\n\n<p>Then of course we had the whole Canary Wharf thing. And that actually turned things around. But I can remember, when I started here, there were no shops. There were no banks. There was nothing. You wanted groceries, no grocery store. Hardly anybody in the street. A few drinkers, but that's about all. Loads of traffic, but people went through. They didn't go to it. But that has so changed. And I don't think we have seen anything like the end of the change. I think it's the beginning of the change. But again, that is the tradition of the East End. The whole point about the East End of London, it has been constantly changing and reinventing itself through the centuries. It is an area, I should say, of historically continuing change all the time, the East End's changing. So what is happening now is actually a continuity of what has been happening for nearly a 1000 years.</p>\n\n<p>I’m not complaining, and I'm not in any sense promoting. I'm just observing, a casual look at the history of the East End of London over the last five [hundred] to 1000 years tells you-- I mean, look at the population. Look at the type of people, who live here, who move here, do things, then move out. And then another lot come in; and the development of the docks, and all of the industries around the docks. It's a period of continual change change change change change change.</p>\n\n<p>Exactly that. And so if you record anything, it's just a snapshot in that long history. And don't expect it to look the same in 50 years time because it sure as hell won't.</p>\n\n<p>We are part of the East End. But there are so many, many, many, many other things and other people that have passed through the East End. It is that great sort of lively melting pot, and not all of it's good. There's the good and the bad. But it's a sort of - it's a melting pot of things and energy and goings on, as it were.</p>\n\n<p>I mean, I love it. I prefer the East End to the West End because the West End is too much money and too much Disney, you know? And it's all too smart and too nice. The East End is just loads and loads of different ordinary people just trying to carve out a life…. There’s a sort of an energy in that, isn't there, really, that just keeps it alive?</p>\n\n<p>Alan Hughes was interviewed by Shahed Saleem and Peter Guillery on 19 February 2016 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-05-14",
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            "title": "Memories of Priscilla Church",
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            "body": "<p>Priscilla Church was a student nurse at the Royal London Hospital from 1982 to 1985, and a staff nurse until 1986. She then returned to the hospital as a midwife from 1993-1996. These are some of her recollections of her time there:</p>\n\n<p>The flats [Knutsford House] were really nice – a tiny kitchen and bathroom, a living room and bedroom. I was very comfy for the year I lived there when I was working as a midwifery sister, in the 1990s. I looked out at the front and the helicopter landed just outside which was really interesting especially as it was quite a new ‘ambulance’.</p>\n\n<p>The other homes I lived in as a student nurse were initially Mildmay Mission hospital in Shoreditch (now an HIV/Aids hospice); Luckes; Cavell; John Harrison and Brierley. The last two were in Philpott Street.</p>\n\n<p>We never discussed the uniform either. When I started as a student nurse the hospital had a uniform room where seamstresses made the uniforms to measure. We had detachable collars so that you would change your collar and apron each shift and the dress a couple of times a week. We had removal buttons as well as a collar stud which all had to be removed for laundering, which was done at the hospital too. We also had a starched cap which took some time to make up. Aprons were starched white cotton and only ever worn on the ward. Any duties that took you off the ward e.g. going to pharmacy, one took the apron off. I always get very annoyed in films, or tv where a nurse will where an apron when not on the ward. We had lovely purple cloaks for travelling between the nurses home and the ward. They were also useful on night duty during our breaks – they made a good blanket to keep us warm – four o’clock in the morning is a very cold time. The students wore purple gingham; staff nurses were in purple and sisters wore blue and had detachable sleeves and frills on their caps. ‘Purple passions’ were ill-fitting uniforms worn by students in their first eight weeks when we might visit a ward for a few hours. This was during our induction when we were based in the school of nursing (Philpott Street) (and before our made to measure uniforms were ready). Although modern uniforms are easier to wear and launder I always felt that we looked very smart and professional in the old uniform. One of the seamstresses in the uniform room was willing to make a copy of the student uniform for a ‘big doll’; which I had made and still have and love.</p>\n\n<p> </p>\n\n<p> </p>\n",
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            "body": "<p>Edith Cavell Home was positioned at the north-east corner of the junction of East Mount Street with Stepney Way. At its completion, this six-storey block provided 122 bedrooms for nurses and sisters. Construction by Perry &amp; Co. was delayed by the First World War, yet nurses eventually moved into Cavell Home in June 1918. The clearance of terraced houses provided a narrow rectangular site for this addition to the nurses’ accommodation. A stone porch with neo-Baroque flourishes departed from the austerity of the earlier nurses’ homes, hinting at delegation by Plumbe. The customary arrangement of small bedrooms flanking a central corridor suited the constraints of the site. The ground floor had a sitting room, a library and a visiting room, along with bedrooms for sisters and nurses, while a basement contained servants’ quarters. Accessed by a central lift and a well staircase, each dormitory floor contained twenty nurses’ bedrooms and two larger bedrooms for sisters, who enjoyed the comfort of a fireplace. Water closets were confined to a sanitary tower at the rear of the block. Bathrooms, hair-washing rooms, and linen cupboards were positioned at the north end of each floor, adjacent to a subsidiary staircase. On the second floor, a covered bridge extended across East Mount Street to Old Home. The hospital named the home in honour of Edith Cavell, the British nurse executed in October 1915 for assisting the escape of allied soldiers from German-occupied Brussels. Cavell had trained at the hospital as a probationer in 1896–8 and served on the institution’s private nursing staff until 1901. A plaster bust of Cavell by Sir George Frampton was placed in the sitting room, and survives in the Royal London Hospital Museum.[^117]</p>\n\n<p>[^117]: RLHA, RLHTH/S/10/9; RLHLH/A/5/55, pp. 384–5, 511; RLHPP/KNU/2/8/18: ODNB.</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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            "body": "<p>The Royal London Hospital is one of the capital’s largest teaching hospitals, serving a diverse population of 2.6 million in east London. The institution was founded in 1740 as the first charitable infirmary on the east side of London, intended to offer relief to merchant sailors and labourers, and supported largely by voluntary contributions and donations from its foundation until the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. The hospital has been an important landmark on the south side of Whitechapel Road since it transferred to this site in 1757, when it was surrounded by open fields. Over the next 250 years the hospital expanded gradually to become a sprawling healthcare complex, due to local population growth and advances in medicine and surgery. Its piecemeal evolution was also a reflection of uncertain finances and fundraising efforts. From the late nineteenth century, the hospital spilled into purpose-built detached specialized blocks and a cluster of nurses’ homes was constructed in its immediate vicinity. The footprint of the hospital has recently contracted for the first time in its history, with its transferral to a modern tower block to the south of its historic base. Overlooked by its towering successor, the retained former hospital is set to be refurbished and extended to provide a new civic centre for Tower Hamlets Council. Along with its long and continuing significance to the public life of the area, the Royal London Hospital is celebrated for its association with brilliant minds and significant individuals, such as the pioneering surgeon Henry Souttar and the heroic nurse Edith Cavell. A darker fascination endures around the hospital’s faint connection with Jack the Ripper and its provision of a permanent and compassionate home for Joseph Merrick, known popularly as ‘the Elephant Man’. </p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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            "body": "<p>The provision of nurses’ accommodation was extended significantly by the construction of the Alexandra Home in 1895–6 by William Shepherd to designs by Plumbe. This tall six-storey block was positioned at the crossing between Stepney Way and East Mount Street, abutting the chaplain’s house to the west. With its utilitarian and neatly fenestrated stock-brick elevations, the Alexandra Home matched the austerity of Old Home, with which it was linked by a covered bridge. Plumbe adopted a similar plan to the earlier home, squeezing around ninety bedrooms into an L-shaped footprint. On each dormitory floor a series of single-bay bedrooms for individual nurses flanked a central corridor. A projecting sanitary tower at the north-east corner of the block contained bathrooms, water closets, sinks and fire escape staircases. The attics contained wooden lockers allocated to the nurses. A six-storey west addition of about 1915 designed by J. G. Oatley provided larger bedrooms for sisters with access to bathrooms and hair-washing rooms, a luxury introduced contemporaneously at Edith Cavell Home.[^115]</p>\n\n<p>[^115]: DSR: RLHLH/S/2/72; RLHLH/S/2/39; RHLHLH/S/2/73; RLHLH/3/2/24; RLHLH/S/2/25; RLHTH/S/10/6; RLHLH/P/2/43.</p>\n",
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            "body": "<p>Built in 1903–5 by F. Gough &amp; Co. of Hendon to designs by Plumbe, Eva Lückes Home was a sprawling five-storey block with a U-shaped plan, comprising a north range fronting Stepney Way and an extensive south range overlooking Newark Street, linked by an intervening corridor range. The Lückes Home replaced a substantial portion of the hospital’s estate, including the British Oak Public House, to provide more than 270 nurses’ bedrooms. Decoration was restricted to gables with diaper patterns, a moulded brick cornice, and shallow bow windows set within relieving arches. A porch facing Stepney Way opened into an entrance hall leading to various offices, a visiting room, a writing room and a sitting room. An iron and concrete covered bridge over Stepney Way linked the nurses’ home with the Alexandra Home opposite. Plumbe repeated the configuration deployed at Old Home and Alexandra Home, dividing each dormitory floor into compact single-bay bedrooms and larger bedrooms with fireplaces for sisters. Bathrooms and water closets were confined to sanitary towers at the east end of each range. A basement provided servants’ bedrooms and a sitting room. The attic was reserved for a locker room, a linen room and water tanks.[^116]</p>\n\n<p>[^116]: OS 1876: ODNB: RLHA, RLHLH/TH/S/10/23; RLHINV/752: LCC Minutes, 23 June 1903, p. 974: Morris, p. 314.</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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            "body": "<p>The nurses’ garden occupied a large plot to the south of the hospital, bounded by Stepney Way to the north, Newark Street to the south, and the laundry to the east. It had originally been laid out in connection with almshouses built for John Baker’s Charity by the Brewers’ Company, which agreed to preserve ground directly behind the hospital as a shrubbery. The medical officers had resisted building development immediately behind the hospital, prizing fresh air and good ventilation. This principle was firmly established by 1814, when an accounts committee recommended leasing the vacant, ‘unproductive’ land behind the hospital for any purpose that would not contaminate the quality of the air.[^119] The conveyance of the piece of ground to the Brewers’ Company converted it to a suitable purpose, and it was enclosed for a garden overlooked by the almshouses. By 1881 it had fallen into neglect and was transferred to a local committee headed by the businessman Stanley Kemp-Welch and the Rev. Sidney Vatcher of St Philip’s Church. It was redesigned and replanted in 1882 as a public garden, with a pond, a fountain and an aviary. Entrance gates were donated by the St Pancras Ironwork Company and a garden house was donated by Lord and Lady Brabazon. The garden was inherited by the hospital’s nurses in 1898, shortly after the almshouses were acquired to provide a site for a laundry. Nurses were required to collect a key from the hospital, which fitted the garden gate and the doors of St Philip’s Church. After the construction of an indoor swimming bath in 1936­–7, the garden was redesigned with symmetrical footpaths dividing flat lawns and neat corner pavilions at its west end. The garden survived until 1963, when it was cleared for a pathology block.[^120]</p>\n\n<p>[^119]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/5/15, pp. 318–21. </p>\n\n<p>[^120]: RLHA, RLHLH/S/1/3: <em>The Graphic</em>, 19 July 1884: <em>Globe</em>, 3 July 1882: S. Williams, ‘Eden, as we know it, is a fertile and happy region situated in the heart of Whitechapel’: The nurses’ ‘Garden of Eden’ at the London Hospital’, <em>London Gardener</em>, Vol. 18 (2013–14), pp. 99–118.</p>\n",
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            "title": "Nurses’ swimming bath (1936–7)",
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                "username": "surveyoflondon"
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            "body": "<p>A swimming bath was built in 1936–7 on the east side of the nurses’ garden, financed by a donation from E. W. Meyerstein, a retired stockbroker who endowed numerous hospitals. A handful of sites on the hospital’s estate were considered for a nurses’ swimming bath, but it was determined that the garden possessed ‘the merit of simplicity’.[^121] The chosen position adjacent to the laundry preserved the majority of the garden, and avoided the costly implication of uprooting tenants. The house governor, A. G. Elliott, and surveyor, J. G. Oatley, undertook to engage an architectural firm with specialist experience of swimming baths. Visits were arranged to comparable baths, including those at St Mary’s Hospital, the Middlesex Hospital, and Bourne &amp; Hollingsworth’s staff hostel in Gower Street. Alfred W. S. Cross and Kenneth M. B. Cross were identified as the leading architects in the field. This father-son partnership boasted longstanding experience of swimming baths, including the municipal baths in Haggerston and the nurses’ baths at the Middlesex Hospital. </p>\n\n<p>Cross &amp; Cross designed a low-lying brick-built structure with a sequence of flat roofs serving as garden terraces. The west elevation overlooking the nurses’ garden had a jaunty appearance, exaggerated by a series of porthole windows. A central staircase ascended to a first-floor terrace, adorned with a Portland stone plaque commemorating Meyerstein’s generosity. A porch at the north end of the building served as the nurses’ entrance to the swimming bath, opening into a passage leading to a top-lit changing area. The ground floor was dominated by the rectangular top-lit swimming pool, skirted on its west side by a viewing gallery with tiered seating for seventy spectators. A reinforced-concrete basement contained a filtration plant room. Construction by William Moss &amp; Sons of Cricklewood commenced in July 1936, and the swimming pool was opened in the following spring.[^122]</p>\n\n<p>[^121]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/24/29. </p>\n\n<p>[^122]: RLHA, RLHLH/A/24/29; RLHLH/P/2/15; RLHTH/S/10/35: Alfred W. S. Cross, <em>Public Baths and Wash-Houses: a treatise on their planning, design, arrangement and fitting</em>(London: Batsford, 1906).</p>\n",
            "created": "2019-04-29",
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                    "b_name": "Swanlea Secondary School",
                    "street": "Brady Street",
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            },
            "body": "<p>Two trenches were excavated to evaluate the site for a new building, in 2010, supervised by me.  They showed the area had been comprehensively dug over for a 'brickfield', or brickearth quarry, in the late 17th century. The coal-ashy quarry fills were subsequently reworked by 19th-century brick culverts which presumably drained into the common sewer (aka 'The Black Ditch'). Noteworthy among the finds was a raspberry prunt (a raspberry-shaped applied glass decoration) from the hollow stem of a clear crystal glass rummer (<em>roemer</em>) similar to ones made by George Ravenscroft in the 17th century.</p>\n\n<p>References and illustrations</p>\n\n<p><a href=\"http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O5164/drinking-glass-ravenscroft-george/\">http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O5164/drinking-glass-ravenscroft-george/</a>  </p>\n\n<p><a href=\"http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O2883/roemer-unknown/\">http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O2883/roemer-unknown/</a></p>\n\n<p><a href=\"http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-457-1/dissemination/pdf/vol13/vol13_supp01/RU1.pdf\">http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archiveDS/archiveDownload?t=arch-457-1/dissemination/pdf/vol13/vol13_supp01/RU1.pdf</a>  (London Archaeologist 'Round-up' for 2010. Search the pdf for 'Swanlea')<br>\n </p>\n",
            "created": "2018-03-05",
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}