Saturday, 13 May 2017

Beckton



Post to the north East Ham
Post to the east Beckton




Aaron Hill Road
New housing built under the London Docklands Development Corporation post -1980
This is on the site of part of the Beckton Gas Works Tar and Liquor works – but mainly on a tangle of rail lines for the internal railway which served these departments. This was superseded by later gas works departments.

Alison Close
These properties were originally post war local authority housing, built on what was then unused land.

Alpine Way
Trading estates on a road ironically named for the adjacent spoil heaps then known as the Beckton Alps and which were at one time used as a ski centre. The road itself dates only from the 1980s when it was built through part of what was the Beckton Gasworks Products Works. It may have been built on the trackbed of one of the internal railway lines. It is now part of London Industrial Park
Solar House. This appears to be the Ladkarn Workshops which were designed by Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners in 1984-5 and originally in the West India Docks. That building was moved here when Canary wharf was built in 1986. It is a silver steel-clad shed, with a mezzanine supported by six red masts and was seen as a revolutionary structure.  There appears to be no contemporary reference to its past and it may be the wrong building.
Alpine Bar, Pub at Mountain Alps Ski Centre. This has now been demolished
Ski Centre. Mountain Top were bankrupt by 1995 and there is now no sign of the skii centre or its operations. It was said to offer
recreational skiing and snowboarding on a floodlit main slope, complete with fully integrated lubrication mist system and Doppelmayr overhead ski lift.
London Industrial Park. This was begun in 1979 by Fewster & Partners.

Beckton
This area was previously largely covered by the Beckton works of the Gas Light and Coke Company (the ‘Chartered’), subsequently North Thames Gas. It was named after Simon Adams Beck Governor of the Company at the time the works was built in the 1870s. It closed in 1976 and subsequently Newham Council began to install infrastructure and some early housing schemes – with a view to a large housing and mixed use development.  The area was then handed to the London Docklands Development Corporation by the Thatcher government, and the work done by Newham was continued by them. They were eventually instrumental in getting the third phase of the Docklands Light Railway into the area.  Their focus was more on low end private housing than the community and social housing envisaged by Newham, and to this end many thousand homes were provided.  To this were added some trading estates, major areas of chain superstores and the like, and some fanciful leisure projects like the ski slope.

Beckton Gas Works
This huge gas works covered not only this square but that to the east. In this square were the products works and some of the vast railway infrastructure. This was the ‘out of town’ works of the first ever gas company  - the Gas Light and Coke Company – ‘The Chartered’ – set up in 1811 and which by the 1870s had subsumed many of the smaller later gas companies in the north London area. Beckton Works dated from the 1870s when governments had encouraged the gas industry to built larger more efficient works on out of town sites, thus enabling closure of the smaller inner city ones. At nationalisation in 1947 it remained much the same, except it was then called North Thames Gas.
Products works. This was essentially a series of factories which dealt with and processed the byproducts of coal gas manufacture – coke, tars and a range of chemicals. Following the invention of coal gas processes were developed for what became a major branch of the British chemical industry. Coal tar was used to manufacture ingredients for disinfectants, insecticides and dyes. Sulphur was a raw material for manufacturers of fertilisers. Beckton Products Works, was built in 1879 and was the largest such works in the UK, except for East Greenwich Works.     Besides millions of gallons of road tar, products included phenol, the cresols and xylenols, naphthalene, pyridine bases, creosote, benzene, toluene, xylene, solvent naphtha, ammonium sulphate and ammonia solution, etc.

Coal Hole Lane
On 19th maps Coal Hole Lane ran east from East Ham Manor Way from a point slightly north of Winsor Terrace. It ran to cattle pens but seems to have petered out short of the river bank

Cyprus
Originally this was an estate built in 1881 estate and named after island which was taken in 1878. It was the only pocket of housing on the marshes.  It was never more than a few streets and very little remains of it. After the Second World War many prefabs were located here for people made homeless by bombing.

East Ham Manorway
This section of road is confusing and has had a variety of different uses and names. A manor way is generally a pathway going from a settlement to the Thames – hence this is a route from East Ham going through marshes to the river. Currently the section of road called East Ham Manor Way runs from a junction with Woolwich Manor Way at Winsor Terrace and runs into the square to the south where it intersects with Cyprus Place. It is no longer a through route. On 19th maps it can be seen to come into the area from East Ham and to run as East Ham, or East Ham Hall, Manorway to one of the marsh ‘walls’ – flood barriers – and then to run to the river as Woolwich Manorway. This continued even when, in the early 20th it had become a tram route – and post Second World War it was part of the North Circular Road and on the same route. By the early 1980s this had changed and from the junction with Savage Gardens a new road, Cyprus Bypass, took the North Circular down to a new junction with Woolwich Manor Way to the south. This is now completely different and Cyprus Bypass has vanished. The main road is now all called Woolwich Manor Way and what is left of East Ham Manor Way is now a side road.
Winsor School. The first school here was opened by the Gas Light and Coke Company and taken over by what was then the Borough of East Ham in 1883. A new school opened ion the site of what is now Winsor School in 1887 it was then called New Beckton Board School. In 1924 it was renamed Winsor School, after the founder of the gas company, and reorganized into separate senior and junior departments. This building was destroyed by bombing in 1940 and the school reopened in huts in 1944. In 1947 a single-storey temporary school was built. The current school buildings were built in two phases; first in 1987 and the second in 1991. The school also has a large nursery unit and a large ICT Suite.

Ferndale Street
This is an extended version of what was an old street on the Cyprus Estate.
St.Mark's Mission. This was a mission church from St. Michael and All Angels founded in 1890. It closed when St.Michael’s withdrew from the area in 1952.

Pennyroyal Avenue
London Borough of Newham housing from the 1970s. These replaced old cottages. Some later housing appears to cover the site of the football ground.

Railways
The railway history of this area is complex – the modern line of the Docklands Light Railway is straightforward but it was preceded by industrial lines and lines which were public or semi public.
Beckton Gasworks and the Railway  A single track branch railway was laid for and financed by the Gas Light & Coke Company coming from the North Woolwich line east of Custom House 33. The then terminus was outside the gasworks. The line then accessed the works where an internal railway network ran on 41 miles of standard gauge track.  In 1873 a freight service began and also a non-timetabled passenger service ran to what was then called Beckton Station in Winsor Terrace. From 1874 the station and line were operated by the Great Eastern Railway. There was another station called Beckon Gas Works inside the worksand this was  operated 1895 -1904. The goods service ended in 1930
By products works railway. This was a separate system and much simpler and smaller with only 15 engines.
Docklands Light Railway.  This was planned from 1988 as an extension to the early DLR line on the Isle of Dogs.  A depot was also planned (in the square to the east).  Passenger trains began to work between Poplar and Beckton in 1994.

Roding Road
Industrial and trading area – much of it devoted to the haulage industry,

Royal Docks Road
This is a new road built from the junction of the North Circular with the A13 and running to a junction with Woolwich Manor Way. It is designated as a part of the North Circular.

Warwall
Gallions School. Primary school opened  by the Borough of Newham in 1999.
Warwall Recreation Ground. This includes a multi-sports Olympic facility for featuring a 15 station outdoor Gym a double-sided climbing wall, basketball court, tennis wall, football goal and freestyle area for aerobics, dance, martial arts, yoga, etc.
18 Winsor Park Community Centre
20 Children’s Resource Centre

Winsor Terrace
The road is named for Frederick Albert Winsor, a wildly eccentric German who promoted the manufacture of gas from coal for lighting when no one else knew what it was. He was one of the founders of the Gas Light and Coke Company in 1811 which in the 1870s  opened Beckton Gas Works.  He had little to do with the new gas company but his son, with the same name, remained a director for most of the rest of his life. The road was opened by the Gas Light and Coke Co as the approach road to their new gasworks and it ended at the main gates. It was lined with workers housing.
Entrance to the  Beckton Gas Works, with plain pillars and ironwork. Behind it is a small park-like area with some concrete circles, an electricity pylon and the backs of supermarket car parks.
Gas Company Housing.Terraces of two-storey red brick houses of the 1870s, with larger units at the ends of terraces for senior staff
Winsor School. The first school here was opened by the Gas Light and Coke Company and taken over by what was then the Borough of East Ham in 1883. It closed in 1904 .This may have been in the building later used as a Methodist church.
Beckton Station, This was on the south side of Winsor Terrace built in an area which is now apparently under a roundabout on Royal Docks Road. It opened in 1870 and was initially owned by the Gas Light and Coke Co.  It had a single platform, a hut and a shelter and was all gas lit. There was also a signal box. Trains ran to meet shifts.  There were not really any staff.
Sidings. These are behind the station with five tracks for marshalling outgoing coke trains. Coke wagons would be pushed n here from the works and then collected by main line trains to go to their destination.
Signal box. This stood at the junction between the public line and the internal gas works railway. It also operated the crossing gates.
Methodist Church.  This began about 1875, in people’s houses. Missioners from the Canning Town circuit later opened a Sunday school and it later moved into the Gas Light and Coke Co’s School

Woolwich Manor Way
This road now runs from the A13 towards the river. In the past stretches of it have been called both East Ham Manor Way and Cyprus Bypass.
Winsor House. Brewers Fayre.Pub and restaurant
Beckton Station  This is the terminus of the Docklands Light Railway Beckton Extension which roughly follows the line of the old Dock Railway. Like all open-air DLR stations, Beckton is unstaffed and tickets are bought at machines. .
Beckton Bus Station.  This is directly opposite the DLR station and opened in 2008, It is owned and maintained by Transport for London.
Beckton Railway. The Beckton tramway crossed the road in thee area of the current DLR station. It was controlled by a signal box which later also controlled the local authority trams
East Ham United Football Club. The club played at a ground sited between Pennyroyal Avenue and what is now Woolwich Manor Way. The club was established in 1933. In 2001 they became Barking & East Ham United. This merged club closed in 2006 and East Ham became defunct. The site now appears to be part of the housing estate although it also appears to have still been in intermittent use in 2000.
St Michael and All Angels Church. This began as a mission from St Mary Magdalene Church in East Ham in 1883. A church was built in 1906, funded by the Gas Light and Coke Company but was not rebuilt after bombing in 1941 and the district was merged back into St Mary's parish. It stood on the south east corner of the junction with Winsor Terrace. St Michaels Vicarage still stood in the 1950s. The site is now a Premier Inn.
Manor Way Farm.  This was on the west side of the road north of Savage Gardens and appears to have survived into at least the 1970s. The site was owned by the Port of London Authority,
Horses. This is a sculpture sited opposite Beckton DLR station. It is a stainless steel group in a circle of trees.

Sources
British History On line. East Ham. Web site
Disused Stations. Web site
Docklands Forum. Archive papers.
Everard. History of the Gas Light & Coke Co.
London Borough of Newham. Web site
London Railway Record
Wikipedia. As appropriate

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