Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Riverside east of the Tower. North Bank. North Woolwich

Riverside east of the Tower, north bank
North Woolwich

Riverside industrial strip which includes a still functioning a very large sugar refinery. Other industry replaced by haulage and retail.

This post covers the north bank of the river only. South of the river is Woolwich Dockyard


Post to the west Silvertown
Post to the south West Woolwich
Post to the east North Woolwich

Factory Road
Tate and Lyle Thames Refinery. Thames Refinery is the largest sugar refinery in the EU and one of the largest in the world, with a capacity of 1.2million tonnes per annum. This was opened in 1878 by Henry Tate, specialising in cube sugar. The refinery now produces a wide range of sugars – for specialist applications as well as familiar types. They also produce artificial sweeteners. ‘Sugar boats’, ships of up to 35,000 tonnes, still call at the jetties. There is a Raw Sugar Jetty,   a Refined Jetty, and the Shore Berth. They Handle: 72,000 tonne of raw sugar and Export Refined Sugar. The massive refinery dominates the area and The office frontage building fronting North Woolwich Road is an example of 1950s Festival of Britain commercial architecture with its well detailed fa├žade of strong verticals, clad with decorative tiles. It has an attractive lattice balcony in the setback end bay. Thames Refinery was sold in 2010 to American Sugar Association Refining
Silvertown Gas Works. This was set up by the Victoria Docks Gas Company and opened in 1864. It was taken over by the Gas Light & Coke Co. in 1871. It was closed in 1909. And the site was sold in 1911, but the gasholders were in use till 1914. Before that it had been used as a coal station and was managed at a distance by the staff at the Bow Common Works.  Eventually the equipment was too out of date to continue to be used. The site was taken over by adjacent Tate and Lyle and it was thought some buildings from the works survived into at least the 1960s.
Silvertown Sewage Works. This lay alongside Ham Creek. The Silvertown area had been omitted from the general sewage works for West Ham at Bow Creek as the area was very cut off. In the late 1860s factory owners began to press for something to be done and sponsored a private Bill and the sewer was extended to the area.  In the 1880s a works was built especially for the area alongside the gas works.
District Chemical Works – this was managed by a Charles Wulffing. Nothing more is known.
London Teleport. London North Woolwich Earth Station was opened in by 1984 BT London’s first satellite earth station; it was designed to handle business services from the City and provide trans¬mission facilities for satellite television and radio companies. It first transmitted commercial cable TV broadcasts using the European Communications Satellite (ECS). It was then renamed the London Teleport following a visit by The Duke of Edinburgh.  It became the hub of BT's international SatStream service, videoconferencing and several other specialised satellite services from computer data transfer, facsimile transmission, and telex and telephone communications over private leased lines. In 2011 it was sold to Arqiva who have closed it and cleared the site
Sewage Pumping Station. Designed for Thames Water by Grimshaw Architects in the late 1980s, built in 1995 with deliberately, lopsided curved roofs.  
Henleys. W.T. Henley came to London in 1830, as a dock labourer who taught himself instrument making. When the Electric Telegraph Company was set up Henley supplied the telegraph instruments. As his business developed he eventually set up a factory at North Woolwich. The first order received was to armour the cable link from Ceylon to India and this was followed by other orders. The firm continued making submarine cables and began to diversify. After the Second World War the company became part of Associated Electrical Industries Ltd., and the North Woolwich factory closed the main works being that at Northfleet.
Loon Fung. Chinese Cash and Carry. Loon Fung was established in central London in the 1970s as one of the first Chinese supermarkets in the UK. In 2006, the cash and carry opened in Silvertown, East London to supply oriental foods to the growing cosmopolitan population in the Docklands area and beyond. An oriental gateway advertised the site.

Ham Creek
This small stream once flowed southwards through the area, but disappeared following dock and other building. It formed part of the boundary between East and West Ham.  Its outlet into the Thames formed a small bay and it is said that between 1656 and 1673 it was used as a naval dockyard, supplementing that on the south bank opposite at Woolwich.

Henley Road
Named for the Henley Factory which was alongside the road.

Pier Road
Some artefacts lie along the riverwall. A propeller is mounted on a plinth, along with a small mobile crane and an anchor.

Railway
Railway line into North Woolwich Station. This was originally built in 1847 as the Eastern Counties and Thames Junction Railway from Stratford.  It has latterly been part of the North London Line to Richmond. It is now closed and will be part of Crossrail.

Sources
Atlantic Cable. Web site
Co-partnership Journal
Crouch. Silvertown
Exploring East London, Web site
Hughill. Sugar and all that
Loon Fung, Web site
Stewart. Gas Works of the North Thames Area
Tate and Lyle Web site
World Teleport. Web site

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