Riverside, south bank east of the Tower. Belvedere Marshes

Riverside, south bank east of the Tower. Belvedere Marshes

Heavily industrialised riverside and marshland

Post to the east Jenningtree
View to the north Dagenham marshes
Post to the south Belvedere
Post to the west Crossness Sewage works

Norman Road
Belvedere power station. This was a. ‘crisp, no nonsense’ building by Farmer & Dark and the British Electricity Authority.  It was an oil-fired power station with two 420 ft chimneys. The turbine house was rectangular and considered an outstanding industrial monument. 53 acres had been bought here by the West Kent Electric Co in 1919 and the station was built by the Central Electrical Generating Board in 1954, the official opening being undertaken by the Mayor of Erith in 1962. The station was built in two halves with unitised plant where the generators each have a dedicated boiler. The first half was originally designed to burn coal but always ran on oil. Cooling water came from the Thames. The total capacity of the station was 480,000 kilowatts. A line from the nearby grid station went to the power lines over the Thames as the Belvedere-Barking/Crowlands circuit.  The station was decommissioned in the 1980s and demolished in 1993.   It is now the Isis Reach Industrial Park.
Belvedere Sub-Station. a long rectangular building, remained after the Power Station demolition but has now gone.
Borax refinery. The chemical manufacturer Borax Consolidated opened a factory here in 1899.  It was built on the site of a fish guano factory.  The Borax came by river to be processed there.  The works had its own power generation plant from 1926. Production ended in 1990.  .
Borax Cottage. This was made completely of wood, and had been built in 1870
Crossness Nature Reserve. A network of ditches and open water, scrub and rough grassland. There are water voles and over 130 different species of bird. An artificial sand martin wall, a bat cave, a boardwalk through the reed beds and a pond with a pond-dipping platform.
New Marsh Tavern. This was on the riverside and was a pub for Russell’s Gravesend Brewery,

Picardy Manorway
This road once came from Belvedere village and led to the river and Manor wharf. The road was a typical medieval ‘manor way’, a raised trackway that provided access across the marshes from the settlement on the higher ground, and which probably also served as a flood defence and possibly as a land division.  It is now known as Norman Road,

Halfway Reach Bay.A large inlet was originally the mouth of large creek before reclamation.  This may be part of the Great Breach which was an incursion into the marshes by the river in 1531
Sea wall.  In 1230 and 1240, the abbot and convent of Lesnes Abbey built sea walls and by the end of the 13th had reclaimed land in the marsh. The modern sea wall is a 5m high earth embankment with a 1m high concrete wall on the seaward side.
Pigou and Wilkes powder magazine.  Rebuilt and incorporated into the Borax Works.  The explosion of 1864 was not here magazines but at Mulberry Wharf to the east of this square.
Curtis and Harvey powder magazine. Also noted on this riverside.
Manor Wharf.  This is an L shaped jetty running 22.5m from bank and reached by a bridge. It is of a Timber cross braced construction.  It originally for the Belvedere Fish Guano Works and was Built in 1908 and rebuilt in 1946.
Belvedere Fish Guano Works.  Processed imported guano for fertilizer. Absorbed by Borax 1899.
Bevington’s Manure Works, This was a large L-shaped building beside the river wall, with outbuildings to the west, south and east, and two piers to the north. Thos was have established ‘several years’ before 1870, Bevingtons being the Bermondsey based leather works. . They used scutch -which is the refuse left fed with sulphric acid. The residue was run into trenches and later dug and used as manure, after being dried out. The smell was very offensive
Brown's Glue and Manure Works,  This adjoined Bevington's and had been set up many years before 1870 and were said to be a constant source of nuisance to people on the river. They made glue from the clippings of hides used left by tanners, horses' hoofs, etc which arrived here in a putrid state leading to an offensive vapour when they were boiled. They also made scutch which could be smelt in Woolwich Barracks, four miles away.
There were two piers here in the 1870s. Both have gone.
Car park and jetty owned by the Ford Motor Works Company, for people using their ferry serving the plant at Dagenham. The ferry dated from 1933 to get south London workers to work.  It was free and timed to coincide with the starter and end of shifts. It consisted of three catamarans and carried 2000 passengers a week. When the ford works stopped making cars and only made engines the ferry service was withdrawn from 2004.
Four disused timber jetties. With a disused high conveyor/piperack connecting to the foreshore.
Borax Wharf.  Wharf to serve Borax plant. 50m.
River Wharf. Built 1895. Timber river bank wharf replaced in 1950 by steel piling and concrete deck 102.5m long extending into the river 18.75m.
Renton’s jetty. This was a timber importing business. Sheds etc remained on site
Belvedere Sewage Sludge Incinerator.  This was built to replace the transport of sewage sludge from the Crossness sewage works to the North Sea. In 1994, the local authorities gave approval for an incinerator to be built operated by Thames Water. It was built by AMEC-Lurgi and opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1998. Electricity is also generated as a result of the incineration process. The plant is housed in a metal clad building with an outward curving side and an S-shaped roof. The chimney at the north end has a convex curved side. Two parallel sludge incineration lines produce 6 Mega-Watts of power which is sufficient to drive the entire sewage works. Inside the plant seems is encased in galvanized metal. And are made from an open metal mesh which allows through-floor visibility and good ventilation
Isis Reach warehouse and storage/distribution development.  . 
Riverside Resource Recovery Ltd, this manages waste from the Western Riverside Waste Authority in London. It has a capacity of 575,000 tonnes waste per annum. The facility was given permission by the Department of Trade and Industry for construction in June 2006.   It is a subsidiary of Energy Power Resources Ltd who have an agreement with Cory Environmental Ltd.  The Plant comprises: energy from waste plant, using conventional moving grate technology and processing, on average, 585,000 tonnes per annum of primarily municipal solid waste over the 30 year life of the plant. The main plant building comprising the waste reception hall, waste storage bunker, waste combustion grates, boilers, ash bunker, gas cleaning equipment, turbine house, chimney stack and air-cooled condensers.

Ballard. Report on nuisance on the lower Thames
Belvedere Power Station, Wikipedia. Web site
Crossrail documentation. Web site
Grace’s Guide. Web site
London Borough of Bexley. Web site
Pevsner and Cherry. South London
Natural England, Web site
Spurgeon, Erith and Crayford
Tucker. Ferries of the Lower Thames
Thames Water, Web site


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