SUSSEX INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY STUDY GROUP
As one looks back over the first year, one of the most significant points to develop is the task we have of making people more aware of the claims and interest of industrial archaeology - quite regardless of the fact of our seeking for members. With a public educated to what the subject is all about, organisations such as ours ultimately benefit in hearing of discoveries, and there is the less chance of destruction. We have bad the privilege of demonstrating what the subject is all about at two of the best attended exhibitions in the south this year - Expo Sussex '68 and the international 4th Franco-British Industrial Fair where we had a bilingual stand. Both TV networks have provided coverage as well as the radio, and we are at present supplying information on early brewery equipment and ice houses for an educational television programme. Early next year the first series of lectures specifically on industrial archaeology to be held in Sussex is being arranged to take place in Worthing.
With regard to recording, such has been the accumulation of material that a publisher has kindly offered to help by publishing some of our work in the form of a bulletin. In view of this offer and the plans now being made, the original idea that the Newsletters would contain various feature articles, as announced in the first issue, has been abandoned.
As a result of the response it has so far been possible to organise inaugural
meetings for three of these, although this does not mean to say that work on the
others has been negligible. Members are reminded that they receive information
about the individual surveys as a result of the returned questionnaires sent out
with the application for membership forms, or by making direct contact with the
survey co-ordinators whose names and addresses are given below. Two of the
surveys, for Warehouses and Brighton and Hove, are still without individual
leadership, and any help in this direction would be appreciated by the
Nutley Post Mill, Ashdown Forest (TQ 451291).
Polegate Tower Mill (TQ 582041).
Dunnings Mill, East Grinstead (TQ 369392).
Brighton Corporation has custody of two donkey wheels, at Saddlescombe (TQ 272115) and Stanmer (TQ 336096), and two horse gins, at Preston Manor (TQ 305065) and Stanmer House (TQ 336095). On the basis of reports made by Mr. J. Kenneth Major of Reading, Mr. Sheppard of Brighton Museum is investigating the possibility of certain repair work. Particular attention will be paid to the Stanmer donkey wheel and well house situated on the northern edge of the churchyard. The wheel is in a decayed condition, and the little flint house badly overgrown with ivy. Bearing in mind that this is one of only three now surviving in Sussex, where records indicate there were once a considerable number, it is to the credit of the Corp-oration that something is to be done. Some definite policy needs to be formulated for the gin and well house at Preston Manor, dating from about the mid 19th century, which has escaped much notice up to now. Although in a derelict state it requires to be treated as sympathetically and fully as possible, and being in a public park could then be put on public display. Only five horse gins have been recorded so far as surviving in the whole of the county (see Newsletter No. 1, page 2).
The reference to horse gins in the previous Newsletter prompted some further
enquiries; the derivation is from 'engine'. It is rather curious that although
the term 'horsepower' is part of everyday language, this particular form of
stationary power is not too widely known: Because of the depth of the chalk
Downland wells, many farms and mansions used a horse gin in order to raise their
daily supplies in sufficient quantities. It is interesting to note that the
specimen next to Stanmer House, believed to be of the early 18th century, is
possibly the oldest example of a water-raising horse gin in the country. The one
at Patching, dating from the middle of the 19th century (TQ 088066) is also a
noted example on account of its completeness. In order to give an example of the
sort of machinery that is being looked for, this particular gin Is illustrated
at the end of the Newsletter. The cast iron gin operated a three-throw pump
through a depth of 150 feet, and it was worked by a horse walking round a
circular concrete path. There is much Scope for investigating individual farms
for what might survive, especially on the Downs.
Mr. F. L. Veale, a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical Engineers and a member. of its History of Technology Group, is endeavouring to establish details about the development of electricity supply in Sussex. An initial aim is to determine a chronological sequence of the foundation of the private under takings in order to identify the earlier ones, so that the surviving evidence - machinery and buildings - might be investigated and recorded. It is worth noting that Sussex occupies a most important position in the history of electricity supply in this country. Brighton and Eastbourne were supplied by two of the pioneer power stations in the country in 1882. The Hammond Electric Light Company inaugurated a public supply from plant in Reeds Iron Foundry, Gloucester Road, offering customers lamps at 12/- each per week with current available from dusk until 11 p. m. daily. By 1887 the Company was supplying through mains with a length of 15 miles, extending 3 miles from the generating plant. In terms of power transmission, prior to the introduction of transformers, Brighton was the most successful example of long distance transmission in the world, according to R. H. Parsons, 'The Early Days of the Power Station Industry' (Babcock and Wilcox, 1939).
Mr. Veale writes that as a result of enquiries he has made, it has been possible to interview Mr. A. G. Milne of the South Eastern Electricity Board, and Mr. N. Boydell, Seeboard Manager at Eastbourne. This latter gentleman has in his possession many photographs illustrating early equipment used by Eastbourne Electric Light Company. Contact has also been made with Mr. G. A. Rogers, the Warden of the Seeboard Staff Training College at North Frith, Tonbridge. Further contacts are to be made with area managers.
Mr. Veale, 4 Haystoun Close, Eastbourne, would be grateful to hear of any information relative to this work, or from anyone wishing to assist in the investigations.
Brighton was also the scene of other pioneer electrical experiments by Magnus
Volk. His son, Mr. Conrad Volk, is gathering information for a detailed account
of his life. Of his father he writes:
But apart from these railways, my father's other activities were many and varied. To give a few instances: he installed the first electric lighting in the Brighton Royal Pavilion and Dome; he equipped Brighton's first telephone exchange; in 1887 he built an electric motor car, a picture of which was seen by the Sultan of Turkey, who ordered a similar one - and my father took it out there himself, and demonstrated it in the Palace gardens. This was almost without doubt the first export order for a motor car ever received in the U.K. Since I began collecting information for my book I have heard from many kind friends who remember my father, but there are others yet with whom I still hope to make contact. I should be very grateful for any further help you could give me through the Group,"
Correspondence with Mr. Volk began as a result of our contacting the owner of an early lathe that had been removed from the Volk railway workshop at Paston Place after the last war. It was manufactured by William Astbury of Grantham, whom trade directories indicate was only in business there in 1862. The lathe, in excellent condition, might well have significant associations therefore with the construction of the country's first public electric train. Mr. G. Goldring (1 Natal Road, Brighton), who has given the Group much information on early Brighton and Have, states that this lathe was used for commutator turning, bush making, and general turning work.
Should anyone have information on Magnus Voik. Mr. Conrad Volk's address is,
5 Edenhurst, Oak Hill Road, Sevenoaks, Kent.
Tollhouses and Milestones
Another item acquired by the Museum is the wooden toll-board that came originally from the Northchapel Gate, presented by Haslemere Educational Museum. This is possibly the only toll-board to survive from Sussex, and was on display at this meeting.
The meeting agreed to compile firstly a list of all known surviving tollhouses in the county, to photograph them, and wherever possible, to prepare ground plans to indicate their size, the internal lay-out, and possible building additions that have taken place on so many of those still lived in today. What is essential is to determine what the original house was like. Even where tollhouses have been pulled down, it might still be possible to locate the original foundations, and therefore the probable layout, in some cases. It is also essential to collect early pictures of those houses demolished some years ago, and about which little evidence is available today.
The survey's co-ordinator, Mr. B. Austen B.A., 1 Mercedes Cottages, St. John's Road, Haywards Heath, agreed to prepare a list of tollhouses still surviving so that some definite scheme of work could be arranged.
Concerning milestones, West Sussex County Council removed the stone at Erringham, near Shore-ham, inscribed '54', and it has subsequently been removed to West Dean for eventual display. The finest series to survive in Sussex were erected in the 18th century, known as the Bow-Bell series, indicating the distance to Bow-Bells London. Of cast iron, and, bearing in relief, bells, a bow, the Pelham buckle and the distance to London, each one along the London-Uckfield-Hailsham road (A22) and the Uckfield-Lewes road (A26) is being photographed and recorded. Initial help in this has been given by the Surveyor's Department, East Sussex County Council.
In addition to the literature mentioned in the first Newsletter which might
be useful to those taking part in this survey, the following title is
Fieldwork has started mainly in the towns. Buildings have been located in Hastings, Battle, Hailsham, Seaford and Lewes. Work is shortly to start in Brighton, Worthing, Bognor and Arundel, but there is a need for more help in West Sussex generally, and more particularly in Chichester and Horsham. A county-wide survey of maltings is under way, as a separate exercise.
It is inevitable that most of the buildings that are located will be quite gutted of their brewing machinery etc.. and that they will be used for some other quite different industrial activity. To a large extent, therefore, the survey will be concerned, not with machinery, but with types of buildings. Photographs will form an important part of the record, but will by no means preclude the need for a brief des-cription of the immediate environment of the brewery-disposition or possibility of maltings, stables, cooperage etc., the accessibility of the site to road/river/rail (or in the case of a 'pub' brewery a note on the general and particular disposition of the buildings), and whether, as in the case of the larger units, there is any provision for the housing of the brewer and some of his staff.
Only if the examination of the extant remains is carried out with these points in mind, will it be possible, eventually, to form some picture of the relative importance of the industry.
Finally, there is another more incidental way in which we can add to our 'visual' knowledge of brewing, and this is by collecting labelled bottles, wall plaques, advertising posters and so on. Apart from providing a tangible reminder of firms since defunct, this type of material also gives a good indication of the variety of brewery products."
Mr. White, may be contacted at the Inspectorate of Ancient Monuments, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, S,W.1.
Any records of brick, pottery and lime kilns, should be sent to the co-ordinator of the survey, Mr. A. W. Rule, Mill House, Westbourne, Emsworth, Hants.
Brighton and Have and Shoreham Harbour Surveys.
Other Survey Work
Quite often the only indication is by name - Tannery Farm, Tan Cottage etc. - but these clues are most valuable and often occur in unexpected places. Any information whatsoever would be of great interest."
Miss B. M. Thompson is gathering information on the Wool Staple and Fellmongering business that closed down a few years ago in Tower Street, Chichester. The surviving buildings are eventually to be demolished in a future re-development scheme. Any information would be appreciated. Miss Thompson's address is 1 High Trees, Hunston, Chichester.
Mr. A. Barritt, 98 Westfield Crescent, Brighton, is compiling the history of Ashcombe post mill which was blown down in 1916. This was unusual in its having six sweeps and was one of the noted Sussex windmills.
BIBLIOGRAPHY OF INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY
18th & 19th CENTURY SUSSEX NEWSPAPERS
It should be stated that Mr. H.R.H. Harmer, West Sussex County Reference
Librarian, Chichester, is at present compiling an extensive bibliography of
Sussex newspapers, and their location in libraries all over the world. This will
be volume 1 in a new series to be published by the Reference Librarians' Group
of the Library Association. He would be grateful to hear of any information to
help in this compilation.
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