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SERIAC 2010

South East Regional Industrial Archaeology Conference 2010

"Wings, Wheels & Water"

Saturday 24 April 2010, hosted by
Surrey Industrial History Group (SIHG)

Chertsey Hall, Heriot Road, Chertsey, Surrey

0930-1000 Registration
1000-1010 Welcome
1010-1055 Brooklands and the World Land Speed Record - Gordon Knowles, SIHG
1055-1115 Coffee
1115-1200 Life on the Thames A Look at How People Earned a Living from the River over the Last 100 Years -
                      Steve Capel-Davies, BIAG
1200-1245 Railways of the Devil's Dyke - Trevor Povey, SIAS
1245-1400 Lunch Break
1400-1445 St Pancras International: From Cathedral of Steam to High Speed Rail -
                      Roderick Shelton, Architect & Historic Buildings Consultant
1445-1530 A Triplane for the 21st Century - Peter Teagle, Roe Heritage Group Chairman
1530-1550 Tea
1550-1635 The Croydon Canal (1809-1836): A View From Croydon - Paul Sowan, Subterranea Britannica
1635-1650 Closing Remarks
1700         Dispersal


Brooklands and the World Land Speed Record
Gordon Knowles, SIHG
The Brooklands racetrack at Weybridge in Surrey had a significant involvement with both the setting of records and building the cars that did so between 1909 and 1939. Three records were set at the track until, in 1922, speeds had risen so much that a straight run, rather than round a track, was essential. The last record on a public road was made by a Brooklands driver in 1924. Records were then broken on Pendine Sands in Wales, and later in the USA, first at Bonneville salt flats and then at Daytona beach.
Brooklands drivers and cars included Hemery and Hornstead in their Benz cars; Guinness and his Sunbeam; Eldridge and his Fiat-engined special; Thomas and 'Babs' with a Liberty engine; Campbell and his succession of Napier- and Rolls-Royce- engined 'Bluebirds'; Eyston and Thunderbolt; and Cobb with the Napier Railton and the Mobil Railton Special. Several of the cars survive to this day, at least two still in running order. Both are based at the Brooklands museum.
Gordon is a former Chairman of the Surrey Industrial History Group and former member of both the AIA and Newcomen Society Councils; he was also a Director of the Roads & Road Transport History Association. In retirement he has regularly lectured to adult education classes and to local and specialised societies on industrial and transport history.
He writes on these subjects and his book 'Surrey and the Motor' was published by SIHG in 2005. He is currently working on 'Surrey and the Aeroplane'.

Life on the Thames: A Look at How People Earned a Living from the River over the Last 100 Years
Steve Capel-Davies, BIAG
The river today is mostly used and visited by people relaxing and enjoying themselves. However, in the past a great many people derived a living either partly or wholly from the river. The talk will look at those who harvested the natural resources such as reeds, rushes, eels and other fish through to those working on and in the river. Construction workers who built locks, weirs and bridges, lock-keepers, ferrymen, millers and dredger operators all derived a living from and on the river.
The rapid increase in leisure use in the middle of the 19th century spawned many boat builders in the upper Thames area (and a good number thrive today) to add to major ship building on the tidal Thames. Contrasts will be drawn between the non-tidal and tidal river - there is a completely different scale of operations and occupations with a great variety that peaked in the first part of the 20th century.
Steve is a civil engineer and was until recently the chairman of Peter Brett Associates, consulting engineers. His career has included designing and constructing works on the River Thames since the 1970s and it was through this, combined with a fascination with the history of the development of the Thames, that he became involved in Industrial Archaeology.

Railways of the Devil's Dyke
Trevor Povey, SIAS
At 711 feet above sea level, the Devil's Dyke in east Sussex has for generations been a popular, if not remote, spot for visitors. Six counties can be seen from this viewpoint, on a clear day.
Owing to the popularity of the Dyke, it was decided to build a railway which would terminate 200 feet from the summit. A spur was taken from the main Brighton to Portsmouth line and in 1883 the first train began service. Many engineering problems had to be overcome due to the steep gradient of the line and the openness of the spectacular surrounding countryside.
This talk will examine the somewhat tortuous route from Brighton to the Dyke and the operation of the line up to its closure in 1938.
The Dyke also boasted an aerial railway and a funicular railway, and we shall examine their location and operation.
Born next to a halt on the Brighton to Portsmouth line, Trevor has had a sustained interest in local and industrial history for as long as he can remember.
With a gasworks, two power stations and a canal on his doorstep, it was inevitable that he would choose engineering as a profession. His secondary profession was teaching, with the history of technology and local and industrial history as his specialist subjects. He is now retired and practises energy conservation and leisure management.

St Pancras International: From Cathedral of Steam to High Speed Rail
Roderick Shelton, Architect & Historic Buildings Consultant
You will be taken on a high speed photographic journey at nearly 200 years per hour through the fascinating history of the development of St Pancras station from a twinkle in the eye of the Midland Railway directors through to its recent reincarnation as the terminus of Britain’s first high speed railway line.
Starting with early photographs of the construction of the original station we shall proceed chronologically through its gradual decline in the 20th century to its near demolition in 1966. Then, after a thirty year period of stagnation, came its remarkable transformation into St Pancras International.
Rod is an architect specialising in the conservation of historic buildings; he also has qualifications in engineering, estate management, business management and project safety.
He spent his early career working for British Rail before being appointed as Chief Architect to the University of Cambridge. In the 1990s he headed the team conserving and refurbishing the Foreign Office in Whitehall for the government. He then set up his own practice and was commissioned by London & Continental Railways as their Heritage Consultant for the redevelopment of St Pancras as the terminus of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

A Triplane for the 21st Century
Peter Teagle, Roe Heritage Group Chair
The career of the aviation pioneer Alliott Verdon-Roe is followed as he developed a viable ‘Flying Machine’. Between 1908 and 1913, that classic aeroplane, the Avro 504, evolved from early motorcycle engine powered craft. The 504 was produced for nearly 20 years, a few being used for Radar calibration in WW2; one or two even fly today.
Five years ago, a Manchester group of aircraft retirees decided to build a replica of Roe's first Triplane to commemorate his successful flights on Hackney Marshes in 1909. With the support of the Roe family and the aid of the Manchester Museum of Science & Industry, the new Triplane was built - with a 1912 V-Twin J.A.P. engine almost identical to the original. This talk outlines the trials & tribulations involved.
Peter was born in Swindon, Wiltshire, in 1931 to a family steeped in the railway business of the GWR. He became fascinated by aircraft after collecting Wills cigarette cards! He was educated at Manchester University, then joined A.V.Roe & Co Ltd as a Technician.
In the Stress Office he worked on Shackleton, Vulcan, 748 and Nimrod aircraft until detached to St Louis, Missouri, to work for two years on the Project Definition phase of the Space Shuttle. After that he returned to UK as Chief Stressman. The next appointment was as Chief Project Engineer of the team evolving the ATP, a modernised and enlarged 748 airliner. He then became Chief Aircraft Design Engineer until retirement in 1994.
He now still spends most of his spare time designing and building aircraft, but without pay!

The Croydon Canal (1809-1836): A View From Croydon
Paul Sowan, Subterranea Britannica
The Croydon Canal, running from the Grand Surrey Canal at Deptford over the foothills of the South London heights, opened to a terminal basin at Croydon in 1809, and later (via its own tramway) to a final terminus at Pitlake (Croydon). The 1811 extension made this canal a potentially useful element in an integrated system comprising also the Surrey Iron Railway (1803 - 1846) and the Croydon, Merstham & Godstone Iron Railway (1805 - 1836) transporting heavy freight between east Surrey and the river Thames. The meagre water supplies at the top of a flight of 26 locks were problematic, as were the water rights claims of mill-owners on the river Wandle . This lecture examines what is known, and what is not yet fully understood, about the southern end of the Canal.
Paul is a retired chemistry teacher who has lived and worked in Croydon all his life. He is a Vice-President and Librarian of the Croydon Natural History and Scientific Society and is a former Chairman of Subterranea Britannica.
He has been investigating the industrial archaeology of mines and quarries in east Surrey for some 40 years. New interests include the civil engineering history and geology of Surrey's canals, railways and roads.
Current researches take in liaison with Historic Royal Palaces in the Reigate Stone Research Project. His contributions to English Heritage's Monuments Protection Programme include the Scheduling of Brockham limeworks and mine and also the lime-kilns at Betchworth, both in 2004.

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