Tuesday, 16 June 2015

River side east of the Tower, north bank. Silvertown

River side east of the Tower, north bank.
Silvertown

Riverside strip used for 19th century industry which includes the TNT works site of a devastating 1917 explosion. The area is now under intense development pressure

This post covers only the north bank of the river for this square. On the south bank is Charlton Angerstein

Post to the south Charlton
Post to the east Silvertown
Post to the west Greenwich Marsh

Bradfield Road
On Port of London Authority maps Bradfield Road is sometimes marked as West Ham Causeway.
Lyle Park well-hidden pocket provided by Lyle's for the Borough of West Ham in 1924. The Park was opened in 1924 by Sir Leonard Lyle, JP on land that was gifted to West Ham by the Golden Syrup manufacturer. It one of only three riverside parks in the borough. The park changed now contains a set of ornamental wrought iron gates, originally the entrance gates to Harland & Wolff Ltd, ship builders. It is a rectangular piece of land fronting the Thames with a narrow strip leading to Bradfield Road. There is a drinking fountain, erected by public subscription and dedicated to 'the men of West Silvertown' who died in the Great War. What was the putting green and bowling green is now a heather garden. The entrance to the park has a small garden area with lawn and flower beds, next to which is a children's playground.
Bloomsbury Varnish Works. This is the site adjacent to Lyle Park. The varnish works seems to have operated here under a variety of companies until the early 2000s. It is now operated as a scrap yard
Greenshields Trading Estate. On the site of a British Road Services repair depot which closed in the 1950s.

Knights Road
Lafarge Tarmac Silvertown Site. Trad wharf. This is a branch of the large concrete and buildings materials processing company. This was a Euromix site, making ready mix concrete, taken over by Lafarge Tarmac.
John Knights. They are now part of the PDM Group but the original company is now over 130 years old, beginning as a candle maker. the Silvertown site has always used other people’s waste to produce new products and now PDM providing an environmentally sustainable disposal service for a wide range of bio-degradable chain waste John Knight came here to make his Royal Primrose soap and the site has evolved and has an oil mill, seed and cake warehouses, a glue factory and even a fat melting plant. Today, the plant processes more than 100,000 tonnes a year of food chain by-products. The Silvertown site includes part of the original office buildings. SARVAL operates a rendering plant processing raw animal by-products from abattoirs, meat processing plants and butchers' shops to produce a range of tallows and processed animal proteins.
Atlantis House. Offices for Atlantis Oil and Chemical Co, Ltd.who operate Manhattan Wharf.

Riverside
This stretch of the river bank is referred to as Hook Ness
Manhattan Wharf. This wharf dates from at least the 1890s when it was used for the storage of paraffin.  It has been operated by various companies since. In 1946 it was used by the Vigzol Oil Refining Co Ltd and later by William Simpson & Co., Petrolane Merchants.  It was also said that it had been used by The London & Thames Haven Oil Wharf Ltd, from 1901 to 1944 and in 1979 by the British Sun Oil Company. It is currently apparently used by the Atlantis Oil & Chemical Co Ltd . It is very likely of course that all these companies, and others who have used the site, are  interrelated. The site is now currently owned by Ballymore Property Co., developers of much of  the Docklands and riverside sites.
West Ham Stairs and Causeway, sometimes called Manhattan Causeway.
Mohawk Wharf. At one time this too was an oil wharf operated by the Anglo-American Oil Company.  It was later Bow Waste Paper Mills Ltd. Processing paper waste. In 2007 it was part of the service area for the adjacent Euromix/Lafarge batching plant handling aggregates from JJ Prior's quarry at Fingringhoe.
Sunshine Wharf. Currently used as a metals recycling depot. This was the Sun Chemicals Wharf - Sun is an American printing ink manufacturer. It was sold housing developer Ballymore in the early 2000s
Deanston Wharf. Currently used for paper storage and shredding. It was previously used for tea, and pioneered mechanical handling. This was British Data Management now Iron Mountain. They have a large jetty
Venesta Wharf . This was the Venesta factory, Box, Barrel and Case Works. Venesta had been set up with a works in Millwall to exploit their plywood product.  They moved to this Silvertown site in 1928, closing the Millwall factory and concentrating all UK production here. They started to introduce aluminum foil despite some initial problems but by the early 1950s this site was purely dealing in foils while plywood production had moved to Erith. The site is now Kierbeck Business Complex – Kierbeck are a steel fabrication company but this appears to be run with units to let. The wharf itself is said to be no longer usable.  The site itself is apparently owned by Ballymore.
Crescent Wharf. In 1894 Brunner, Mond & Co. opened a chemical works here, They made soda crystals and, caustic soda. This ended in 1912 and part of the plant closed.  At the start of the Great War under pressure from Lord Moulton at the Explosives Supply Department, the chemical plant was used for the production of TNT   On 19 January 1917 an explosion devastated the Brunner-Mond works and the Silvertown area.  A large part of the factory was instantly destroyed together with nearby streets. There was damage throughout the area including 900 homes.  The site of the factory is said to have never been reused. There are however a number of business units on the wharf.  The wharf is now owned by Ballymore.
Memorial. This says “TO THE GLORIOUS MEMORY OF THE MEN FROM THESE WORKS WHO FELL IN THE GREAT WAR 1914 - 1919  and “AND TO THE MEMORY / OF THOSE WHO WHILST / SERVING THEIR COUNTRY / BY MAKING T.N.T. / PERISHED IN THE / EXPLOSION IN THESE / WORKS. JANUARY 19TH / 1917 “and “ALSO TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE WHO FELL IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR 1939 – 1945”
Island Jetty. This jetty is owned by Gulf Oil and stands to the south of Venesta Wharf in the river with no apparent land connection.

Sources
Carr, Dockland,  
Carr. Docklands History Survey
Hill and Bloch. Silvertown Explosion.
John Knights. Web site
Lafarge Tarmac. Web site
London Gardens on line. Web site
London Government, Web site.
Marcan. London Docklands Guide
PMSA. Web site
Port of London Authority. Web site
Port of London Magazine
Port Cities. Web site
Sarval. Web site

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