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1900 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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1900. Visits to Works.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1900 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the London area

Westminster Electric Supply Corporation

Westminster Electric Supply Co

This Corporation obtained Parliamentary powers in 1888 for supplying electricity in the parishes of St. George's, Hanover Square, and St. Margaret and St. John, Westminster. The area supplied is large, comprising the whole of the above parishes. There are three generating stations, namely, Davies Street, Eccleston Place, and Millbank Street.

Davies Street Station.—This station has a total horse-power of 4,240. The engine room is 88 feet by 46 feet, and is lighted from above. There are two boiler houses, one 72 feet by 43 feet and the other 92 feet by 36 feet. The engines are all Willans and Robinson's high-speed single-acting engines, two are of 80 horsepower each, six of 200 horse-power, and eight of 360 horse-power. All engines are compound and work at a steam-pressure of 150 lbs. per square inch. All the larger sizes are 3-crank engines. The steam-pipes are of steel, and are placed on the walls round the room in the form of a ring, with a stop-valve between each pair of engines. The exhaust pipes are placed beneath the floor.

Steam is generated in sixteen boilers, all of the dry-back marine type. Ten of these boilers are 8 feet by 12 feet, with 3-inch tubes and two furnaces. The rest of the boilers are 8 feet 6 inches by 14 feet with 3-inch tubes, and two furnaces. Best Welsh coal is used with hand-firing, no mechanical stokers being used. Forced draught is not used, the chimney being 175 feet in height. Fly-wheel and duplex direct-acting feed-pumps are used. The boiler feed-water passes through exhaust steam heaters between the pumps and the boilers. The dynamos generate continuous current at 200 volts pressure, the larger size having an output of 1,000 amperes. They are shunt-wound and are coupled direct to the engine shaft. All regulating is done by shunt resistances and switches placed on the switchboard.

Milbank Street Station.—The steam-engines and the electrical equipment of this station are the same as at the Davies Street Station. The total horse-power installed is 3,840. A large condensing plant is at present being erected; this consists of one circulating pump, two air-pumps, and two condensers, and is capable of condensing the steam from all the engines. The engine-room consists of an old and a new building, with an opening in the wall to connect the two rooms. The switchboard gallery is placed across the building at this opening. The old engine-room. is 56 feet by 34 feet, and the new 52 feet by 48 feet. The boiler- house is 140 feet long, and contains one row of fifteen Babcock and Wilcox boilers. An induced-draught fan is at present being erected, the chimney being found too small for the required work. Above the boiler house is a coal store. Three engines are kept especially for supplying the Houses of Parliament, and there is also a special switchboard for the House mains.

The street mains consist of several systems. Bare copper strip stretched on insulators in culverts is used where room can be obtained under the pavement; cables pulled into iron pipes, and cables pulled into earthenware casings, are also used.

All mains run from the stations for distances of from half-a-mile to one mile, and at these points are connected to the distributing mains. Pilot wires are brought back from these points to the instruments in the stations, the engines and dynamos being regulated by them to keep the pressure constant at the feeding points. The number of lamps supplied from the three stations at the end of 1899 were 421,445 of 8 candle-power.

Dr. Alexander B. W. Kennedy, F.R.S., Past-President, is the engineer-in-chief, and Mr. C. Stanley Peach, F.R.I.B.A., the architect.

London Hydraulic Power Co

London Hydraulic Power Co

The London Hydraulic Power Company commenced supplying power in 1884, and now controls the largest system of hydraulic-power distribution in existence. The pressure employed is 750 lbs. per square inch, and there are at the present time 120 miles of mains laid in the streets of London. They are all in communication and extend from the docks in the east to Kensington in the west. The largest mains are 7 inches bore, and the smallest 2 inches. About 4,500 hydraulic machines are at present working from the mains. The power is principally used for lifts, cranes, hoists, and presses of various kinds. There are also a considerable number of injector fire-hydrants and motors.

The quantity of water being pumped into the mains per week is about 16,000,000 gallons. The pressure is maintained from four central pumping stations situated at Falcon Wharf, Blackfriars; Millbank Street, Westminster; Shadwell Basin, London Docks; and Wharf Road, City Road, on the Regent's Canal. A fifth station has been commenced near the Surrey Docks at Rotherhithe which will bring the horse power provided up to 6,000. The capital expended in London has been to the present time about £700,000. The water used is taken from the river, the docks, the canal, and from wells sunk in the gravel beds overlying the London clay. The whole of the water is filtered before being used. The whole supply is registered through meters, and the charges are made on a sliding scale per 1,000 gallons consumed.

Mr. Henry Chapman is Chairman, and Messrs. Ellington and Woodall are the Engineers of the Company.

Milbank Pumping Station.—This station started working in 1889, and was originally laid out for 600 horse-power. It has recently been greatly enlarged by the erection of an entirely new engine- room, &c., on the west side of Millbank Street. There are now seven vertical inverted compound triple three-cylinder condensing engines of 200 horse-power each. The two parts of the station are connected by a tunnel with lifts. The water is pumped from the river and wells by hydraulic pumps, and delivered into high-level tanks, from which it is passed after treatment with lime thr6ugh filters to other tanks at a lower level. From these tanks the water is pumped into the street mains. There are two accumulators at this station. The boilers are fitted with Vicars' mechanical stokers.

Wapping Pumping Station.—This station is situated on the side of the Shadwell Basin of the London Docks, and contains six 200 I.H.P. triple-expansion engines. The general arrangement is similar to Millbank, except that the water is taken from the dock basin, and there is an underground reservoir of filtered water.

Colonial Consignment and Distributing Co

Colonial Consignment and Distributing Co

These premises, called " Nelson's Wharf," cover 3i acres, and are situated on the south side of the River Thames between Blackfriars Bridge and Waterloo Bridge, in Commercial Road, Lambeth.

They were constructed in 1891 for the purpose of forming a central depot, whence the frozen meat supplies from the Colonies might be received and distributed throughout the United Kingdom, inclusive of London itself. They were erected for Messrs. Nelson Brothers (now the above-named company) by Messrs. John Mowlem and Co., contractors, to the designs of Messrs. Bramwell and Harris, of Westminster.

The buildings comprise general offices, living rooms for caretaker and for a foreman, club and mess rooms, &c., stable for nineteen horses on the first floor level, with harness, &c., rooms and van accommodation under; a large covered courtyard for railway and other vans loading from a distributing platform; a tidal dock for two barges, open to the River Thames, with covered courtyard alongside; cold store for 250,000 sheep; engine and boiler house; carpenters', fitters', and electricians' shops; eighteen defrosting rooms, &c., with a jetty 90 feet long by 22 feet wide, having an iron overhanging roof 56 feet wide, sheltering two barges, the site being practically opposite the Temple Pier.

A special feature of the cold store part of the building is that it is practically a brick-box on a concrete foundation without any site openings, the two lower floors being below the ground line. The timber structure supporting the six floors is self-contained and independent of the brick walls, the insulation being formed of bard-wood sawdust 12 to 15 inches thick encased in the usual double thickness of match- boarding with tarred paper sandwiched between.

Cargoes of frozen beef and sheep are received in barges loaded from ships in the docks and in the river, and have to be raised to the sixth or "Receiving and Distributing Floor" by hydraulic cranes, and elevators termed "Sheep Syphons." The latter are endless chains having arms upon them across which the sheep are laid, and are driven by a 3-cylinder Brotherhood hydraulic engine, and deliver the sheep on to a receiving table on the distributing floor. The apparatus is adjustable to the position of the barge at any state of the tide and whilst at work.

From the table the sheep are sorted on to trucks and conveyed by hydraulic jiggers with wire-rope suspended cages on to the various floor-levels of the cold rooms; from which they are again raised by similar means when required for distribution, the trucks being lowered to the courtyard-level van-loading platform by hydraulic direct-acting lifts.

There are nineteen hydraulic elevating machines, made by Messrs. Waygood and Co., eight of which, together with a steam-driven sheep-elevator on the jetty, are capable of dealing with barge cargoes. It is therefore a comparatively easy matter to receive 10,000 or 12,000 sheep per day as an ordinary day's work ; whilst as many as from 17,000 to 20,000 sheep in and out of stock have been handled in one day.

Two systems of refrigeration are installed; one, the De La Vergne direct-expansion of ammonia process, for which there are two machines, each of 80 horse-power with 12-inch by 24-inch double-acting compressors, and compound-condensing steam-cylinders, with about 12 miles of 2-inch expansion pipes in the cold rooms, made by Messrs. L. Sterne and Co., of Glasgow; the other system is a cold-air compression and expansion machine of about 300 horse-power, made by Messrs. Haslam and Co., of Derby, with air-distributing ducts formed in the concrete foundation of the building, but which is seldom used.

The "defrosting" plant is the invention of Sir Montague Nelson, Chairman of the, Company, and consists of a series of rooms fitted with ammonia expansion pipes, and steam-heating pipes, &c., the purpose of which is to thaw out, or "defrost" beef and mutton to the extent of 4,500 sheep and 2,000 quarters of beef per week, giving a daily output for market deliveries. This process is both natural and efficient.

Electricity for lighting the cold rooms, offices, and premises generally, is generated by two of Messrs. J. and H. Gwynne and Co.'s vertical compound engines, each coupled direct to a Paterson and Cooper low-speed dynamo. Hydraulic-power water is supplied for the lifting apparatus at a pressure of 750 lbs. on the square inch, by a Smith and Vale compound duplex steam-pump, having 6-inch water-rams, working on a 15 feet stroke, 12 inches diameter accumulator. The London Hydraulic Power Co.'s service water at the same pressure is laid on through meters to the ring-main water service-pipes as a stand-by, when the pump is shut down for repairs.

The three Lancashire steel boilers 7 feet 6 inches diameter by 30 feet long, of which two are in use at one time, made by Messrs. Galloway, and fitted with Vicars' mechanical stokers, supply steam at 140 lbs. pressure. Service pumps for condenser-water and boiler- feed water, a filter, heater, and general steam-condenser and air- pump, complete an installation running day and night throughout the year. This establishment is now dealing with frozen colonial sheep and lambs at the rate of about 1,500,000 a year, also many thousands of single joints, and about 100,000 quarters of beef from New Zealand and Australia.

Doulton and Co

Doulton and Co

The Lambeth Works of Messrs. Doulton and Co., originally established in 1815 at Vauxhall on a very small scale, were removed in 1826 to the site of the present Head Office in High Street. Messrs. Doulton and Watts' works remained for many years devoted to the manufacture of ordinary stoneware for household, chemical, and sanitary purposes. Towards the middle of the century, the growth of chemical and sanitary science led to a more extended application of stoneware, and the works were gradually enlarged to meet the increasing demands of trade. Especially was this the case with the important industry of stoneware-pipemaking.

On the initiative of Mr. Henry Doulton, the first factory ever equipped with specially-designed machinery for the manufacture of drain-pipes was erected in 1846 at Lambeth, to be followed within a few years by additional works at St. Helen's, Rowley Regis, and Smethwick. Beginning thus with pipes, the use of pottery has extended to ware of all kinds for sanitary purposes, not only in stoneware, but also in the more highly finished earthenwares of Staffordshire.

About 1855 garden vases and pedestals were being made at Lambeth, and were soon followed by the definite introduction of terra-cotta for architectural purposes, a new factory eventually being required to accommodate the necessary processes.

Among the modelled enrichments for this building, erected about 1867, are some of the earliest essays of George Tinworth, an artist whose well-known talents have since been always associated with the Lambeth Pottery. The manufacture of architectural terra-cotta has long outgrown this first building, and is now, at Lambeth, located principally in the building on the Albert Embankment, whose tall chimney-shaft is such a conspicuous landmark. There are also extensive works for terra-cotta at Rowley Regis, near Dudley.

Among other developments now carried on at Lambeth may be mentioned the manufacture of crucibles and fire-clay wares, fire-places, mantelpieces and stoves in glazed ware, filters of all kinds, stoneware conduits for electric mains, fitted sanitary goods, and metal work of all kinds for sanitary purposes. Additional works for the latter manufacture have within the last few years been established at Paisley and Paris.

It was not till 1867 that the first tentative attempts were made to connect art workmanship with the previously rougher productions of domestic use. In the Paris Exhibition of that year a few vases and jugs were shown, decorated in the simplest possible manner with bands of colour. At South Kensington in 1871, pottery having been included as one of the exhibition classes, a more definite step was taken, and some seventy pieces of salt-glazed decorated stoneware were exhibited. They met at once with great appreciation from critics and the public, and Mr. Henry Doulton was encouraged to proceed with the new industry. At the succeeding exhibitions of Vienna 1873, Philadelphia 1876, and Paris 1878, very varied displays were made, that at Paris being awarded the Grand Prix, an honour repeated at Paris in 1889.

There have been numerous and gratifying awards of this kind at other International Exhibitions, but the honour to which Mr. Henry Doulton attached perhaps most value was the visit paid to the Lambeth Works in 1885 by H.R.H. the Prince of Wales to present the " Albert Medal " of the Society of Arts, " in recognition of the impulse given by him to the production of artistic pottery in this country." Mr. Henry Doulton was knighted in 1887. The firm is now a limited company, Mr. Henry Lewis Doulton being Chairman and Managing Director. The number of men employed is about 4,500.

City of London Electric Lighting Co

City of London Electric Lighting Co

This station, situated on the south side of the river, is placed on a site having river frontage, and the buildings are massive and substantial. A lofty building has been erected on the wharf, and is connected to the main building on the other side of the road by a bridge placed at an elevation of 50 feet. A fleet of barges is employed to bring the coal alongside the wharf, and a complete equipment of hydraulic appliances is placed in the building capable of hoisting the coal and other materials to a capacious bunker and store room on the top of the building. On the ground floor of this building the pumping machinery is placed for drawing water from the Thames for condensing purposes. Centrifugal pumps are employed, two being driven by steam engines, and a smaller set are connected to electric motors. At the entrance to the works is placed a large circular water-strainer in the line of the condensing water pipes. The machine consists of a slowly rotating wheel, worked by electricity.

The engine room is 430 feet long by 45 feet wide, and has a gallery on each side. The offices are placed in the centre of the controlling gallery, having a view of the whole length of the room. They are fitted up with is complete telephone exchange, connecting all parts of the works and the numerous distributing centres in the city. There are thirty sets of engines and dynamos, the largest being capable of giving an output of 1,500 kilowatts, or about 2,500 indicated horse-power. Three travelling-cranes, driven by electric motors, are in use, capable of dealing with any weight up to 45 tons.

The gallery on the opposite side of the room is known as the steam gallery, and provides every convenience for manipulating the steam-valves to each engine, and also the large valves in the main steam-pipes. A feature of interest is the arrangement of the water service to feed the boilers, as the whole of the work is performed from the gallery, and is quite distinct from the work of the stokers.

The boiler-house adjoins the engine-room, and contains thirty-three large water-tube boilers all fed by automatic stokers, which receive the fuel by chutes from the coal store overhead. The coal store contains about 2,000 tons, all of which is transported from the wharf bunker by means of a long chain with broad links which push the coal along a trough. A similar conveyor removes the ashes and deposits them into a bucket elevator for enabling them to be deposited on the wharf for removal.

For lighting purposes the City is divided into two districts, one half of the station supplying one district and the other half feeding the remainder. The machinery is also controlled from two separate boards, but if necessary a machine from one portion could be connected on to the other side of the works.

The generating plant of the north side of the station consists of ten Thomson-Houston generators, driven by Winans and Robinson's engines, while that of the southern section consists of Brush (Mordey) alternators, driven by Brush vertical engines, and two Ferranti fly-wheel alternator sets. The steam-generating plant consists mostly of Babcock and Wilcox boilers of the "double deck" type. Each boiler has 4,400 square feet of heating surface, and is composed of twenty sections, each consisting of nineteen lap-welded wrought-iron tubes 3 inches diameter by 15 feet long.

There are two steam and water drums, each 48 inches diameter by 21 feet long, made of steel plate i-inch thick. These drums are surmounted by a cross drum 24 inches diameter by 8 feet long, provided with two steam nozzles 7 inches diameter. The boilers are arranged in batteries. Many boilers are fitted with Vicars' mechanical stokers, and others are worked with the Babcock chain grate stoker, forced draught being provided by means of a Sturtevant blower, and induced draught by large fans made by Messrs. Heenan and Froude. The waste gases are discharged into the main flue, at the end of which are fuel economisers. The main steam-pipes are of steel, 10 inches diameter, with electrically welded flanges.

The high-tension current is carried to the transformer substations by lead-sheathed concentric paper insulated cables drawn into wrought-iron pipes, troughs, and conduits, and are carried across the river by two routes, some going over Southwark Bridge and others over London Bridge. Tho low-tension mains are on the three-wire system. There are twenty-three sub-stations, which are in most cases special brick chambers, built below the surface of the road, and having man-hole doors which are brought up flush with the pavement on the footway. The number of lamps supplied by this station at the end of 1899 were 430,000 of S candlepower, and 540 arc lamps for street lighting. Considerable extensions are in progress for the supply of continuous current; the engines have been supplied by the E. P. Allis Co. of the United States, and others are being made by Messrs. Musgrave of Bolton. Mr. Frank Bailey is the engineer to the company, Mr. F. H. Jackson, being the assistant engineer, and Mr. D. Wilson the superintendent of the generating works.

Stratford Works

Stratford Works

Members visiting these works will start from the main offices, a large block of buildings facing the Loughton line. A telephone exchange has been erected here, establishing inter-communication with the principal foremen in the works. The erecting and fitting shop, 350 feet by 142 feet, and 50 feet high, contains four bays running lengthwise, and has accommodation for fifty engines at a time. It was in this shop that an engine was built in December 1891 in the world's record time of ten working hours. This engine was set to work on coal trains between Peterborough and London immediately on being turned out of the shop, and ran 36,234 miles before receiving its finishing coat of paint. Its mileage to 31st December 1899 was 233,091. Four wheels coupled bogie express engines of the type of No. 1900, the "Claud Hamilton" now on exhibition at Paris, are at the present moment in course of erection. The principal dimensions of these engines are as under—cylinders, 19 inches by 26 inches; diameter of wheels, driving and trailing, 7 feet; bogie, 3 feet 9 inches; working pressure of boiler, 180 lbs. per square inch; heating surface of tubes 1,516.5 square feet, and of firebox 114.0 square feet. The weight of engine in working order is 50.425 tons, of tender 35.05 tons, the total weight being 85.475 tons. The capacity of tender for water is 2,800 gallons, for oil 720 gallons, and for coal 30 cwt. These engines are fired with liquid fuel, the burners being provided with an auxiliary fuel supply, enabling much larger quantities of oil to be burnt than formerly, without increasing the expenditure of steam. The air-inducing rings are also of modified form, whereby their efficiency in atomising and distributing the oil fuel is considerably augmented. The fuel in passing from the tank on the tender to the firebox is heated by means of the exhaust steam from the Westinghouse pump, or, at will, by live steam from the boiler. In the smoke-box there is a battery of tubes through which air entering by an opening under the smoke-box door is heated by the waste gases.

This air is delivered to the furnace through the liquid-fuel injector at ft temperature of 600° to 800° Fahr., or it may, if desired for use with solid fuel, be led direct to the ash-pan. The slide-valves are balanced by strips somewhat resembling Richardson's strips, but by a new arrangement perfectly steam-tight joints are secured between the strips and the valve, and between the strips themselves, no matter how unevenly the strips or valve may wear or expand by the heat, Plate 68. The engine can be reversed either by hand or by compressed air from the main brake reservoir. The motion being balanced, a small frictional clutch will lock it in any position. One end of the reversing cylinder is always open to the main brake reservoir, and by means of a balancing valve the other end is always kept automatically at a pressure of 30 lbs. less than in the main brake reservoir. Should anything go wrong with the air-locking arrangement, mechanical locking takes place automatically. The driver can use the air lever or hand-wheel at will, without putting anything in or out of gear; when reversing by air the hand-wheel remains stationary. Usually it is difficult with a power-reversing gear to operate it when the engine is not in steam; in those engines it can be operated with facility whether in steam or " dead."

The tender is fitted with apparatus for picking up water on the way, the scoop being lowered and lifted by means of compressed air. As has been the practice on the Great Eastern Railway for years past, the tool boxes are fitted at the engine end of the tender, thus obviating the necessity of the enginemen going to the back of the tender when the engine is in motion. The same purpose is served by the automatic recording apparatus with which each of these engines have been fitted, so that the men on the foot-plate can see at any moment how much water there is in the tender. It will be remembered that much was made of these two points during the recent Royal Commission on accidents to railway servants. The engines are fitted with Macallan's variable blast pipe, double sight- feed lubricators, exhaust steam injector, and steam sanding apparatus.

There are in the erecting shop four overhead cranes to lift 30 tons each, driven by ropes running at a velocity of 2,200 feet per minute, and twelve portable machines for cutting off tube ends, facing down safety-valve seatings, boring and facing cylinders, steam-chests and slide-valve faces; the latter operations being performed without removing the cylinders from the frames. Flexible shafts and portable pneumatic tools (the latter worked by compressed air at 80 lbs. per square inch pressure) are in constant use. The side bays are given up to heavy machinery. Over the bays on one side are the chemical laboratory (where analyses of metals, fuels, water, paints, oils, textures, &c., are constantly in progress), the supplementary drawing office (which is chiefly concerned with drawings of the works buildings, and machinery), and the pattern shop; whilst over the other side is the Westinghouse brake shop, in which there are sections of the Westinghouse pump, triple valve, and driver's valve, explaining the action of the Westinghouse brake. The machinery in the erecting shop, in common with that in all the other principal shops in the works, is driven by a double cylinder vertical engine, steam for which is obtained from a locomotive type boiler.

Round the erecting shop are grouped the various shops which supply it with the details required by the erectors. The smithy and steam-hammer shop contain gas furnaces, steam hammers, saws and other machinery, including a shearing machine capable of cutting iron four inches thick at one operation. The machine shop, a building 132 feet by 136 feet, contains 177 machines of various descriptions, grouped according to the class of work they turn out. The machines for turning out finished stud-bolts from the rough bar are good samples of modern automatic machinery. Oilier items of interest are the Medart straightening machine, the profiling and milling machines, the vertical turning and boring machines, and hexagon turret lathe.

The iron foundry, which covers 15,520 square feet, contains three cupolas, one of which is capable of melting 7 tons per hour; the other two each melt 3 tons per hour. Most of the moulding is done by hand, but castings which are required in large quantities, such as brake blocks, axle-boxes, &c., are moulded by means of machines. The sloop is fitted with a 15-ton and a 10-ton travelling crane and eight jib cranes, ranging from 10 cwts. to 21 tons. There are three core ovens, one 24 feet by 18 feet being used chiefly for cylinder work. The average turn out is 55 tons of castings per week.

The brass foundry, brass stores, and coppersmiths' shop, with the brass-finishing sloop above, are grouped in one building. The brass-foundry has nine ordinary furnaces, from each of which eight charges per day may be taken. Plate patterns are largely used in this shop, which contains a Tabor pneumatic moulding machine, worked by a small air-compressor in an adjoining building, which contains also the hydraulic installation which supplies the whole of the power required in the different hydraulic presses, riveters, lifts, cranes, &c., in the works. The coppersmiths' and brass-finishing shops both contain some interesting machinery, including two pneumatic hammers, hydraulic testing-machine, seventeen lathes (nine screw-cutting), hydraulic pipe-bending machine, milling machine, and a group of machines for making copper and Stone's patent bronze flexible stays. The stays are cut from bars by a circular saw, then straightened by rollers and centered by a pneumatic hammer, and afterwards screwed the entire length. The slots in the bronze flexible stays are cut by means of a circular saw. In the brass-finishing shop are two automatic chasing saddle lathes. Special attention has been paid to the ventilation of the brass-foundry and coppersmiths' shop, large " Blackman " fans, 4 feet in diameter, being fixed in the walls and working with very, satisfactory results.

The boiler shop, measuring 212 feet by 139 feet, contains six bays and a side wing of 77 feet by 46 feet. Pneumatic hammers and caulking tools are largely used in this shop. In the flanging shop adjoining there is a hydraulic flanging-press worked at a pressure of 1,680 lbs. per square inch. It has four 6-inch diameter rams for holding the work, and one 20-inch diameter ram which forces up the die with a maximum pressure of 236 tons. Adjoining the smithy and steam-hammer shop is the test house, which contains a 50-ton and a 75-ton testing machine, the latter of which is capable of testing chains up to 90 feet in length.

Near the main offices is the drawing office, close to which is the engine-repairing shop and its machine shop. The wheel shop contains some of the heaviest machinery in the works. It is 190 feet by 70 feet, and is built in two bays, each of which has a 6-ton overhead travelling-crane. There are sixteen wheel lathes and nine lathes for axles, crank-pins, &e. Crank-axles are turned and then machined round the webs for hooping in a slotting machine. After the hoops are shrunk on, the key-ways are cut in a duplex milling machine, and the cast-steel wheels are forced on to the axles by hydraulic pressure of from 80 to 120 tons. Every crank-axle is carefully examined with a view to the detection of flaws, and is condemned if the slightest flaw or pin-hole is found.

In the carriage department the whole of the passenger-train vehicles are built and repaired. There are extensive saw mills. In the body shop may be seen some of the new wide carriages in course of construction. These vehicles seat two more passengers per compartment than the ordinary carriages and have been designed by the locomotive superintendent to meet the constantly increasing traffic in suburban districts, the length and number of trains having practically reached their limit. There are two shops, the sewing machine and polishing shops, where female labour only is employed.

On the opposite side of the line are the oil-gas works, a carriage- wheel shop, a repairing shop, &c., and also the engine sheds and buildings connected with the running department. A special feature of the latter is the enginemen's dormitory, which contains sleeping accommodation for fifty men, each bed being in a separate cubicle. There is a reading and smoking-room, dining-room, kitchen and baths. It is lighted throughout by electricity, and is worked without " rules and regulations." It may be mentioned that the number of bed occupants from the opening of the building in November 1890 to the present date is over 150,000, and that it has twice been found necessary to enlarge the accommodation.

The wagon shops, which were originally built on the site now occupied by the carriage repairing shops, have been removed to Temple Mills, about a mile and a half distant. The question of wagon brakes is of special interest just reow in connection with the recent Royal Commission on Railway Accidents. Various forms of " double " brakes fitted to Great Eastern wagons can be seen at Stratford, as also a special arrangement for balancing the doors of wagons.

Liquid fuel apparatus can be seen in use in the Stratford works on stationary boilers, rivet forges, and on locomotives. The fuel distributing station, which is most complete, is close by the running sheds. The oil fuel on arrival is emptied from the tank cars into a series of underground storage tanks with a total capacity of 50,000 gallons. From these it is pumped by a rotary pump through 3-inch mains to high-level cylindrical reservoirs, holding 40,000 gallons. The engine tanks are filled from the crane arms through 4-inch pipes, the flow being controlled by sluice valves at the extreme ends of the arms.

The Locomotive Superintendent is Mr. James Holden, M. I. Mech. E. The number of workpeople employed at Stratford and Temple Mills, including engine-drivers and firemen, is 6,700.

East London Waterworks Co

East London Waterworks Co

The Lee Bridge Pumping Station has been largely extended, especially in pumping plant and machinery, since the abandonment of the pumping station at Old Ford. The engines are:— the "Victoria," erected in 1854, diameter of cylinder 100 inches and 11 feet stroke, diameter of pump 50 inches; the " Prince," diameter of cylinder 84 inches and 11 feet stroke, diameter of pump 45 inches; the " Princess " is an exact duplicate of the " Prince "; the " Duke " is a compound rotary engine, diameter of high-pressure cylinder is 23 inches, of low-pressure cylinder 39 inches, the strokes being respectively 4 feet 5 inches and 6 feet 6 inches; the pumps are of the bucket and plunger type, the bucket diameter being 27 inches; the " Duchess " is exactly similar to the " Duke." The "Horizontal " is a compound engine, with cylinders of 23 inches and 40 inches diameter, and stroke 3 feet; the diameter of pump is 22 inches. At the " Duke " and " Duchess " a new well has been sunk into the chalk.

Exceptional difficulties were encountered in sinking the cylinders. From the surface of the ground to the chalk was entirely quicksand. Tunnels have been driven in the chalk to a great distance and in various directions. The water is raised by a compound direct-acting horizontal engine. Of the " Triples," the north, central, and south are triple-expansion engines of the inverted marine type, and were built to supply the place of the Cornish engines formerly at Old Ford. They are capable of forcing 42 million gallons daily into the company's district. The "Prince Consort" is a triple-expansion engine, capable of forcing 14 million gallons into the district. An additional well has been sunk into the chalk just adjoining this engine-house, and a triple-expansion direct-acting pumping-engine has been erected there. A new " Worthington " engine with Babcock and Wilcox boilers has been erected upon a site immediately adjoining the " Duke " and " Duchess " engines. There are also several turbines for pumping water, which are actuated by the fall of the River Lee.

At these works the main portion of the company's filtering operations are carried on. The filter beds are twenty-five in number, covering about 25 acres. The water is conveyed from the impounding reservoirs at Walthamstow by an open channel about a mile and a quarter long. A line of railway is connected from one end of the works to the other and to the Great Eastern Railway; and wharfage is also provided on the banks of the River Lee. There is also conveying machinery for taking coal out of barges and delivering it, without being handled, into the stores attached to the boiler houses. In addition steam cranes and grabs are in use. The whole of the works are lighted by electricity. The offices of the Engineer, Mr. W. B. Bryan, M. I. Mech. E., superintendents, and staff are at Lee Bridge.

Walthamstow.—The most important works at Walthamstow are the ten storage reservoirs, having a total area of 319 acres, and a total capacity of 1,200 million gallons. Two more, the "Banbury" and "Lockwood", reservoirs, are in course of construction, which will, when complete, bring up the above figures to nearly 480 acres, and 2,400 million gallons respectively.

The principal outlet from these reservoirs is through a 48-inches "Venturi" meter, which discharges the water into an open canal, through which it flows to the filter beds at Leo Bridge. This meter will register up to 60 million gallons a day. The reservoirs are filled through open cuts and culverts, which tap the River Lee about four miles above Walthamstow. At Walthamstow there is a well sunk into the chalk, the water from which is pumped by a horizontal compound engine and by a horizontal triple-expansion engine. Another well is also approaching completion, from which the water will be lifted by a horizontal triple-expansion engine. The adits at the bottom of these wells will ultimately be connected. The water from both of these wells can either be pumped into the open canal which feeds the Lee Bridge filters, or to the pump wells of a vertical triple-expansion engine (similar to the " Prince Consort " at Lee Bridge) which forces it direct into the district. There is also at Walthamstow a small set of filter beds.

In addition to the Lee Bridge and Walthamstow pumping stations, the company have works at Chingford, Ponder's End, Rammey Marsh, Waltham Abbey, Woodford, East Ham, Sunburyon-Thames, and Hanworth Road, Sunbury. The high-level covered service reservoirs are situated at High Beech, Buckhurst Hill, Woodford, and Finsbury Park. The whole system provides water for 1,370,000 persons at 35 gallons per head per day.

John I. Thornycroft and Co


The works of this firm are situated on the River Thames at Chiswick (the nearest railway station on the District Railway is Turnham Green, and Chiswick on the London and South Western Railway). Mr. Thornycroft built the first of his high-speed steam launches at Chiswick in 1864. The employment of these launches as torpedo craft became general ten years later, and the firm has since been constantly employed constructing torpedo boats, and more recently torpedo-boat destroyers, for nearly every country possessing such craft; the total number built, including those now under construction, amounts to 352 vessels. The firm have now in hand H.M. 30-knot torpedo-boat destroyer " Stag," and four first-class torpedo boats for H.M. Government. These are of quite a new type, carrying a greater load and running considerably foster than any similar vessels possessed by our own or foreign navies; also for the French Government two twin-screw shallow-draught gun-boats, which will be sent out in floatable sections to be put together in China.

The mode of bending the tubes for the Thornycroft water-tube boiler, of which there are some 800,000 I.H.P. at work, will be found of interest; a new method of expanding tubes, invented by Dr. Burton, is also being experimented with.

The works cover six acres of ground and have a fifth of a mile river frontage, and are capable of employing 2,000 men. The ship-yard is entirely roofed over, which tends to produce good work and gives every facility for rapid construction.

Multi-Colour Printing Co

Multi-Colour Printing Co

At the printing office of this company, 24 Rosebery Avenue, was exhibited a four-colour printing machine of remarkable exactness, the paper being seized by a travelling alternating gripper and never released until all the colours had been impressed thereon. By a positive action, this gripper held the paper so firmly that it could not change its position, and, even though the sheet was not properly placed to the marks, the colours were in register with each other. The incorrectness of register in two-revolution and in stop-cylinder machines was thus avoided. The forme-rollers for each colour were quite independent of all others or combined in action with them as the case required. Each impression was under complete control, individually or all working together. With these advantages the machine-minder could deliver a sheet with a single colour, followed by one of two or more colours as he desired. The completion of the sheet in several colours at one operation enabled the operator to analyse his subject as a whole, and regulate the flow of ink accordingly.

Staines Reservoirs

Staines Reservoirs

These works, which are the joint property of the New River, West Middlesex, and Grand Junction Water Companies, are near Staines. The intake from the Thames is situated in Buckinghamshire on the left bank of the river, about 300 yards above Bell Weir. A t this point sluices and a sluicehouse are constructed, the intake being protected by screens to prevent leaves and other floating matter from entering the conduit. The first length of the conduit, for about 350 yards, is covered, as required by the Act of Parliament, and, running from the intake in a north-easterly direction, is carried in two steel syphons under the Colnebrook, after passing which it becomes an open conduit, the sides and bottom being formed of Portland cement concrete made in the proportion of about 41 to 1. The conduit passes under the Great Western and London and South Western Railways in double tunnel and under the Wyrardisbury River through steel syphons, crosses Staines Moor, is syphoned under the River Colne, and runs to the pumping station, situated near the Billet Bridge which carries the London Road over the River Ash.

The pumping machinery will consist of five triple-expansion surface-condensing Worthington pumping-engines (one being a spare engine), each capable of delivering 16 million gallons of water daily into the reservoirs. Steam will be provided by six Babcock and Wilcox boilers (one spare), the working pressure being 150 lbs. per square inch. The water will be delivered into the reservoirs through two riveted steel mains, each 6 feet 4 inches diameter, joining into a steel pipe 7 feet 101 incises internal diameter near the reservoir, from which branch pipes of the same diameter will be taken down through tunnels constructed in the clay, and connected to a water-tower near the corner of each reservoir, where the western and central embankments join. The tunnels and water towers are massive constructions of Portland cement concrete, the former lined, and the latter faced with blue bricks.

The stand-pipes for discharging water from the reservoirs will be of cast-iron, 5 feet internal diameter, having 48 inches and 36 inches sluice valves, with bell-mouth bends fitted to them, to enable the water to be drawn off at any desired level. These valves will be worked from a platform at the top of each of the water-towers, the gearing being enclosed in a suitable building. From the bottom of the stand-pipe of each reservoir a cast-iron pipe 4 feet diameter will convey the water through the tunnel and across the New Stanwell Road to a basin 50 feet diameter, in which a weir will be constructed for the purpose of aeration, and over which the water will be delivered into the conduit, which will rejoin the main conduit a little to the east of the pumping-station. Proper sluices will be provided for regulating the supply into and from the reservoirs.

The reservoirs Nos. 1 and is are about 11 miles long by five-eighths of a mile wide at their northern end, and nearly a mile wide at their southern end. The embankments vary in height from 21 feet to 39 feet, and are formed of material excavated from the interior of the reservoirs, the excavation just balancing the banks to prevent the expense of running material to spoil. The slopes of the embankments are three to one inside, and two to one outside the reservoirs. In the centre of each bank a puddle wall is constructed 6 feet thick at the top, 7 feet at the ground level, and tapering down to 4 feet, where it joins the London clay into which it is securely toothed. This construction, for which this part of the Thames Valley is favourably adapted, will make the reservoirs perfectly water-tight. The inside slopes of the reservoirs are lined with concrete 5 inches thick for a vertical depth of 15 feet, so as to resist any wave action which may take place in so large a sheet of water. The average depth of the water in the reservoirs is about 30 feet, and their content is 3,300 million gallons. The aqueduct and reservoirs will be guarded on all sides by unclimbable wrought-iron fencing, and the embankments will be sown with grass.

After leaving the pumping station, the conduit is reduced in section, and runs through the Billet Bridge by the side of Shortwood Common, under the London and South Western Railway, and across the fields, passes under the Staines and Kingston Road, the line of which it generally follows until it arrives at Sunbury Cross. From this point the aqueduct runs in a north-easterly direction, along the north side of the East London Waterworks at Hanworth, after which it bends to the south, passes under the Thames Valley branch of the London and South Western Railway, and is finally joined to a reservoir of about 30 million gallons capacity, which is constructed to the east of Kempton Park. The New River Company will take its water from the aqueduct between the East London Water Works and the Thames Valley Line. The West Middlesex and Grand Junction Companies will receive their proportion of the water from the Kempton Park reservoir just alluded to. Proper measuring apparatus of special construction will be provided on the aqueduct leading from the Thames to the pumping station, on the smaller aqueduct from Billet Bridge to Hampton, and at the outlet to each of the companies. Venturi meters will be fitted in the 7 feet 10.12- inches pumping mains leading to the reservoir and in the 48-inch mains leading from the reservoir.

Automatic records of the water passing down the aqueducts, of the level of the water in the aqueducts, and of the water passing through the several Venturi and other gauges, will be kept, and in most cases will be repeated in the engine-house. The capital provided under the Staines Reservoirs Acts, 1896 and 1898, is £1,250,000. The works have been designed, and are being carried out for the Joint Committee, by Messrs. Walter Hunter and Reginald E. Middleton, MM. I. Mech. E., of Westminster, the contract being entrusted to Messrs. John Aird and Sons, of Lambeth. Messrs. James Simpson and Co., London, are constructing the pumping engines; Messrs. Thomas Piggott and Co., Birmingham, the steel pipes; and Mr. G. Kent the gauges.

Willans and Robinson

Willans and Robinson

These Works are situated upon a piece of land of about 23 acres, lying upon the south side of the London and North-Western Railway, about half-a-mile to the north-west of Rugby Station. A siding from the railway runs into the erecting shop and the loading shed, and gives access for railway trucks to the foundry. The whole of the railways about the Works (which include lines of ordinary railway gauge; of 3-feet gauge; and of 18-inches gauge) are at the uniform level of 298 feet above Ordnance datum.

The entrance to the Works is by a private approach road, with entrance gates and lodge. The Works proper are entered by gates between the general offices and the testing department, the time office at these gates serving for both the works and the testing department. From the open space in question there is also access to the building yard and workshops, now under construction in the north-east corner of the property.

Although the mess room, where coffee, etc., can be obtained in the early morning, as well as breakfast and dinner, is on the company's premises, yet it is outside the time office, and therefore no question can arise as to loss of time in connection with it. The mess room is in the hands of a refreshment contractor, who, in return for the use of the room and its appliances, together with a small wage and other advantages, is bound to cook and serve, without charge, provisions which are brought in by the men themselves. The hall is able to seat about 240 men; the basement contains bath rooms and lavatories for the use of the workmen. A path round the back of the mess room gives access to a long shed for storing bicycles.

The general offices face the open space referred to. On the ground floor is a large drawing office, lighted by windows on three sides. On the opposite side of the entrance hall are the offices of the accountant. Upstairs are the board room, directors' rooms, and the secretary's and commercial offices. Tho building is partially warmed by hot-water pipes, and is lighted by electricity. Each department has separate communication with the Works by an entrance at the back of the building.

The Works Buildings.— On passing the time office, the general arrangement of the Works will be readily seen. A road, or rather a broad asphalted path with railway lines alongside it, runs across the entire site, nearly parallel with the railway, and the principal buildings front on to this road or path. The space between the buildings and the railway, a strip tapering from above 100 foot in width, is planted as a rough shrubbery and permanent open space. It contains the " lodges " or reservoirs for condensing water, supplied by rain water from the roofs (which, when the present building extensions are completed, will cover nearly five acres) and from a well. There are also a few small detached buildings, such as the weigh-house, and an oil-and-waste store, which latter for fire reasons is kept away from the other buildings.

The principal buildings stand side by side, separated by alleys, some of which are utilised for out-door storage, &c. All the buildings are constructed in bays running north and south, divided in some cases by brick piers and arches, but generally by lattice steel stanchions, which carry traveller-girders. At a higher level the stanchions carry cross-girders, running east and west. These support rolled steel gutters, and light principals, the latter carrying " weaving shed " roofs, the ridges and gutters of which run east and west. The light is from the north. The stanchions or piers are in all cases spaced at 20-feet centres, in their respective north and south lines. Hence all the buildings are covered by a practically uniform system of roofing of 20 feet span, with the principals and other parts interchangeable. The width of the north and south bays, or " traveller bays," is varied according to circumstances. The several buildings are incapable of extension sideways, but they can be readily extended backwards, that is, into the company's " hinterland" to the south, at present used as allotment gardens for the workmen. The machine shop has already been extended in this way.

Entering by the works' gate, between the general offices and the testing department, on the left are the pattern stores, a group of five chambers each about 50 feet by 20 feet, separated from each other by walls which rise through the roof, and lighted from the outside only. The front or north bay has a raised roof, forming a photographic printing room, with arc lights for use in dull weather. The design of this building differs entirely from that of the others. The pattern shop, at present 135 feet by 30 feet, though separated from it by a wall, forms one building with the packing and forwarding shop. The machine and erecting shops will form together (when alterations now in progress are carried out) a single building measuring 500 feet frontage by 240 feet deep - except as to bays 1 and 2, constituting the erecting shop, which will be 320 feet deep. The completed building will cover about 127,500 square feet, or nearly three acres. The erecting shop bays, Nos. 1 and 2, are each at present 40 feet wide; they will be extended southwards by 80 feet, and bay No. 1 will be widened in the new part to 60 feet, and will have a 25-ton traveller with about 12 feet higher lift than the travellers in the existing erecting bays.

The erecting shop is distinct from the machine shop, though in the same building. Bays 3 and 4, each 22 feet wide, are for manufactured stores, that is, standard parts of engines waiting issue under erecting orders. No. 5 is a fitting bay, 22 feet wide, for putting together steam-gland boxes, connecting-rod brasses, and pistons and followers. Bays Nos. 6 to 10 are machine bays, each 22 feet wide. The heaviest of the new tools, for making very large engines, will be in the new back part of bays 13-16. The front of the building is at present devoted, on the ground level, to the tool room, to the works engine and boiler, and to various stores. On the gallery overhead are the offices of the works manager.

The foundry at present covers about 22,000 square feet, but will shortly be enlarged to 57,000 square feet. The various bays, including those in the testing department, are commanded by 38 electrical travelling cranes, varying from 3 to 25 tons, besides a certain number of hand-cranes.

The testing department lies outside the gates of the Works, but is connected, by a 3-foot gauge tramway, with the erecting shop, from which engines are brought for test after completion. The main building of the testing department, unlike the others, fronts to the south, and measures about 110 feet by 100 feet. It has five north and south bays (22-feet centres) commanded by electric travellers. The roof is of the weaving-shed pattern, as elsewhere, with northern light. A part of the building forms the boiler house, in which are four Niclausse boilers of 250 H.P. each, made by the company. Engines aro tested here under steam before going away, and if required they can be tested for steam consumption per I.H.P., per E.H.P., or per B.H.P. One of Froude's water-brakes, made by Messrs. Mather and Platt, is available for testing engines up to 700 H.P. The east bay of the building is devoted to the lighting and power station, from which are run the electric cranes and various motors. An accumulator house, resistance house, coal store, &c., are in annexes to the north of the building. A new and larger power station is contemplated, but the old one will be retained for the testing department and for lighting the offices, &c.

Attention is directed to the system of jointed steam-pipes, to allow of the rapid coupling up of engines brought in for test; to the flexible connections for exhaust; the portable condensers and air- pumps which can be placed quickly in position beside each engine; to the system of tanks and weighing machines for weighing the condensed water from each engine under test, and the arrangements for recording the results; and to the standard instruments for testing and verifying the electrical measurements. Each engine after test is dismantled, partly to see if all is right, and partly to enable the records to be corrected in case the drawing-office instructions have been in any way departed from during construction. The engine is then re-erected, unless of large size, and returned to the packing shop for despatch.

The works at Thames Ditton are still, as regards the machine shop, fully employed upon smaller classes of standard work, including all sizes of trunks or hollow piston-rods. All the work done at Thames Ditton is forwarded to Rugby for inspection. No erecting is done at Thames Ditton.

The Willans Engine.—The principal product of the Works is the well-known Willans central-valve engine, of which, in June 1900, some 340,000 horse-power were installed, or were on order, for electric lighting, electric traction, and other purposes. The largest engines of the typo then under construction were two, to indicate 2,400 H.P. each (3,000 as " emergency load ") for th.) Glasgow Corporation, about 13,000 H.P. being already installed in the lighting stations of this corporation. A third engine of this size is shown in the Paris Exhibition, coupled to a Siemens continuous-current dynamo; the two constitute the most powerful steam-dynamo in the Exhibition. No less than twenty-six engines of 1,200 horse-power have been completed, or remain still under construction, since the beginning of 1899. Of other engines under construction there are eleven of 800 horse-power, eight of 700, sixteen of 550, ten of 450, and thirty-one of 360 horse-power, while the total home-power at present in hand exceeds 80,000.

It may be of interest to add that the business was commenced at Thames Ditton in 1881, for the construction of small steam yachts and launches, and of small marine engines. The central valve- engine was a later development, and its great success led to the reconstruction of the firm in 1888 as a private company. By a later reconstruction in 1893 the present public company was constituted. Mr. Willans, the chairman of the first company, died in 1892, after having, by his experiments and investigations, conferred the greatest benefits upon the science of steam engineering, but without seeing the great results which were to flow from his brilliant invention.

Thames Iron Works, Shipbuilding and Engineering Co

Thames Iron Works, Shipbuilding and Engineering Co

The following is a list of the principal objects of interest to be seen on the occasion of the visit of the members.

Civil Engineering Department.— Girder work for the Gold Coast (Tarkwa Railway); steel cement stock boxes and columns; spans of various sizes for the Norwegian Trunk Railways; 30-feet spans for the East Indian Railway; steel freezing cells for the Atlas Co. of Copenhagen; spans of various sizes for the Burma Railways; spans of various sizes for the Bengal-Nagpur Railway, and roofing and steel constructional work of various descriptions. Tools.—Drilling and milling machines driven by electric power; planing, punching and shearing machines; fitting and turning shops; cold saws; angle-straightening machine; electric traveller; riveting by hydraulic power; hydraulic press, and other tools.

Shipbuilding Department. " Duncan " and H.M.S. " Cornwallis," first-class armoured battleships, in course of construction for H.M. Navy, of the following dimensions:—Length 405 feet, breadth 75 feet 6 inches, draught of water 26 feet 6 inches, displacement 14,000 tons, indicated horse-power 18,000, and speed of 20 knots. The machinery of 18,000 I.H.P. for these vessels, together with a similar set for H.M.S. " Albemarle," is being constructed at the company's engineering works at Greenwich, recently taken over from Messrs. John Penn and Sons. In the boat-building sheds are a number of life-boats for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, with whom the company has a contract for the construction and repair of all their boats. Steel barges are also being constructed for Messrs. W. Cory and Son. There are also two dry docks.

Shops and Tools.—Large rolls in forge, engineers' shops, hydraulic bending or flanging machine, ship-fitters' shop, blacksmiths' shop, light platers' shop, boat shed and lifeboats, MY mills and large 42-inch saw frame, hydraulic band-saw frame, brass finishers' shop, brass foundry, bending slabs, pneumatic tools and caulkers, electric drills, and other modern labour-saving tools.

Electrical Engineering Department.—This department undertakes contracts for electric light and power installations, and carries out the electrical equipment of the ships built by the company and general electrical work. Dynamos, motors, electric fans, portable electrical drilling machines, searchlight projectors, switches, switchboards, &c., are, manufactured in the machine shops facing the river. In conjunction with:the transference of the marine engineering department to the newly-acquired works at Greenwich, the present machine shops will be devoted almost entirely to electrical manufactures, and the resources of this department will bo greatly augmented. The contracts at present in hand include dynamos and electric installations for the Poplar Union, the Borough of West Ham, Barking Electric Tramways, electric pumps for the Central London Railway, &c. A central generating station has been established in the works for supplying current for consumption is the several departments. The installation consists of three locomotive and two gunboat boilers, the latter of the company's manufacture, aggregating 600 I.H.P. There are nine sets of engines and dynamos aggregating 350 kilowatts, three sets being built by the Thames Iron Works. Distribution of current is effected on the three-wire system, the main cables to the distributing centres being of vulcanised indiarubber insulation, laid in cast-iron pipes underground. The electric current generated is chiefly used for lighting purposes, but several motors are employed in the works for driving machinery, and the use of electricity for power purposes is in course of extension. Electro-galvanising of Belleville and other boiler tubes, steam pipes, &c., may be seen at the plant adjoining the boat-building sheds. This galvanising plant is the largest in the kingdom. Current for plating is obtained by transformation from the electric- lighting mains. Portable electric drilling machines are a speciality of the company, and examples of various kinds will be seen at the works. Dry Dock Department.—This department comprises the shear legs capable of lifting 80 tons, and large and a small dry docks in which repairs are carried out for the P. and 0. Steam Navigation Co., the Castle line, and all the principal lines sailing from the Thames.

River Thames - London Bridge to Nore


Old Swan Pier, situated just above London Bridge, is the point of departure for many pleasure steamers. Immediately behind is the Hall belonging to the Fishmongers' Company. Passing under London Bridge, which was opened by William IV in 1831, the steamer enters the " Pool," one of the most characteristic features of the lower Thames. It is divided into the upper and lower Pool, the point of division being the headquarters station of the Thames Police at Wapping. Three hundred yards beyond London Bridge on the left is Billingsgate Fish Market. A market has existed there for many centuries, and it was made a free and open market in 1699 by Act of William III. The present building was completed in 1877. Along the front runs a 'broad floating stage, alongside of which come the smaller craft by which the water-borne fish is brought up the river.

Near Billingsgate, on the north side of the river, is the Custom House, with a river front extending 488 feet. The present building, erected in 1825, is the fourth on the same site. The next object of interest is the Tower Bridge, which was built, at a cost of over a million and a quarter pounds, to relieve the congested traffic of London Bridge, and was opened by the Prince of Wales, in the name of the Queen, in 1894. It consists of three spans, the two side ones being on the suspension principle, while the middle span opens on the bascule principle. Above the bascule, 140 feet above high- water mark, is a permanent footway. The opening and shutting of the bridge, to admit of the passage of large vessels, is carried out by hydraulic motors. Above the bridge on the left is seen the Tower of London. For five centuries it was a residence of the Court, but ceased to be so on the accession of Elizabeth. The most ancient -and complete portion is the quadrangular keep, called the White Tower, 90 feet in height, and one of the oldest portions is the Traitors' Gate, with its round towers at each angle, and the deep stone stairs that led from the water to the prison.

On the Surrey side of the river, after passing London Bridge, the church of St. Olave is seen; then comes Horsleydown, where the parish butts were set up for archery in the days of Henry VIII. Further on are the Commercial Docks, which occupy the trenches cut by Canute in the eleventh century.

On the left beyond the Tower are the St. Katherine's Docks. In order to construct these docks, the entire parish of St. Katherine, with its 1,250 houses, was excavated and carried away—the earth to raise the low ground about Belgrave Square, the college to be rebuilt in Regent's Park. Very near, and below, are the London Docks; and entering Limehouse Reach, the Surrey Commercial Docks are passed on the right, the West India and Millwall Docks being on the left. Deptford, on the right, is next seen. Here Peter the Great lived whilst studying and working at the dockyard. • The present Trinity Brethren owe their origin to Henry VIII, who granted leave to the " shipmen and mariners of England " to found in the parish church at Deptford a guild or brotherhood of the Holy Trinity and St. Clement, with authority to make by-laws among themselves for the advantage and increase of shipping. Opposite Deptford is the Isle of Dogs, where Messrs. Yarrow's torpedo-boat and steam-launch works are situated.

Greenwich, now noted for its hospital, observatory, and park, is full of historic associations. Queen Elizabeth frequently resided there. James I commenced a building at Greenwich for Anne of Denmark, which Henrietta Maria employed Inigo Jones to finish. After the Restoration, Charles II began a new palace and formed the park; but only that part of the palace which now forms a portion of the west wing of the hospital was completed. William III ordered, as a tribute to Queen Mary's memory, plans for an additional building by Sir Christopher Wren, which was opened in 1705. In 1873 it was converted into a Royal Naval College. The observatory was erected in 1675. At Blackwall, on the left are the East India Docks, and further down the river are the Victoria and Albert Docks.

Woolwich Reach is two miles in length. On the north bank are the famous Woolwich Gardens, and on the south are the dockyard, arsenal, and the training-ship " Warspite." The dockyard was formerly used for the construction of ships for the Royal Navy, but was closed in 1869. Erith is a popular yachting station, and a favourite point for starting sailing matches. Passing Purfleet, the next point of interest is Ingress Abbey on the right, which was built from stones originally used in the construction of London Bridge. The training-ships " Exmouth " and " Shaftesbury " are moored off Grays. Rosherville, with its famous gardens, is seen just before reaching Gravesend. On the opposite shore is Tilbury, where Queen Elizabeth in 1588 reviewed her forces soon after the dispersion of the Spanish Armada.

The Tilbury Docks wore opened in 1886, at a cost of £3,000,000, and occupy a space of 100 acres, which can be extended if necessary, the Tidal Basin taking 19 acres. The entrance is 300 feet wide, and the depth at low tide is 26 feet, so that the largest ships can pass at all times. Tho largest of the four docks is 23 acres in extent. Opposite Tilbury is Gravesend, where all outward-bound ships are obliged to take on board pilots, and homeward-bound vessels receive the Custom House officers. The town, which has been incorporated as a municipal borough since the days of Elizabeth, belongs to the Chatham military district; here are the headquarters of the Nore and Now Thames Yacht Clubs. The majority of the chief races of the London Yacht Clubs finish in Gravesend Reach.

Soon after leaving Gravesend, the river widens considerably. At London Bridge at high tide it is 290 yards across, at Black wall it is 380 yards, at Gravesend 800, while ten miles lower at the London Stone — which marks the boundary of the jurisdiction of the City of London — it is nearly four and a half miles across. Passing coastguard stations, batteries, the Mucking and Chapman lights, Southend is reached. Its pier is one mile and a quarter in length, owing to the tide receding for nearly a mile. The structure has cost £100,000, and includes a hall for public performances, a reading-room, and other attractions. The pier is brilliantly illuminated with electric light, and electric cars run throughout its length.

Immediately below Southend is Shoeburyness, where the shore rapidly trends away. On the opposite side, by Sheerness, the River Medway unites with the Thames. Sheerness owes its fame to the battery—which guards the entrance to the Medway—and to its dockyard. Off Sheerness is the Nore Lightship. It is the first sea light to be passed after leaving the port of London, and is the first in seniority of its kind, for at this point the first lightship set afloat on the coast of England was stationed in 1731. The river is six miles wide here.

See Also


Sources of Information