Abstracts of Volume XXII 2000

Issue No 1, Spring 2000

Housing Quality in Rural Textile Colonies, c.1800 – c.1850: The Ashworth Settlements revisited
by Geoffrey Timmins

The Ashworth Brothers, well-known cotton spinners and manufacturers of Egerton and Bank Top, near Bolton, have been accorded a high reputation for the quality of the housing they provided for their employees. This article argues that their reputation in this respect has been overstated, a combination of field and documentary evidence revealing that the housing they owned varied markedly in quality. That they offered a range of accommodation standards was partly a response to differing demands made by their employees, but it also arose from a paternalistic desire to ensure that their employees provided separate sleeping arrangements for boys and girls. Further evidence is adduced to suggest that cultural constraints prevented this desire from being fully realised.

The Development of Malthouses around the Hertfordshire-Essex border
by Tony Crosby

Malthouses have been in the process of development for the past three centuries. This article sets out to identify this process by means of a regional case study and also identify the factors which shaped it: the agricultural context, changes in the brewing industry, developments in transport and the availability of building materials, equipment and fuel. Specific phases in the development of malthouses will be identified providing a model of development which can be tested elsewhere. Finally it adds to the existing typology for malthouses by broadening the parameters and hence including a wider variety of structures.

Excavation of post-medieval wharfside buildings, Dunbar Wharf, Narrow Street, Limehouse 1996
by David Divers

An archaeological excavation was undertaken by Pre-Construct Archaeology at Dunbar Wharf, Limehouse, in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, prior to the redevelopment of the site. The site was located between Limekiln Dock and Narrow Street, a road reputed to follow the line of the medieval river embankment. Excavation revealed a sequence of post-medieval wharfside buildings, the earliest remains of which dated to the 16th century origins of the wharf. The buildings, which were presumably utilised as warehouses, were shown to have undergone a series of modifications and rebuilds throughout the post-medieval period until demolition in the late 19th and 20th century.

The Rolt Memorial Lecture 1998: Swindon – Brunels Ugly Duckling
by Keith Falconer

The title – Brunels Ugly Duckling – suggests a transformation from the plain to the beautiful and this paper shows firstly that much of the surviving railway estate in Swindon should be attributed to Brunel and should be regarded as yet further proof of his wide-ranging genius. And secondly that these buildings in Swindon, in the context of the finest surviving early mainline railway in the country, are indeed worthy of recognition at the highest level – as part of the proposed World Heritage Site encompassing the Great Western Railway line from Paddington to Bristol.

Issue No 2, Autumn 2000

Early water turbines in the British Isles
by Alan Crocker

Following a personal introduction and a brief general account of water turbines, information is provided about selected turbines in the British Isles, including the Republic of Ireland. Those chosen date mainly from the third quarter of the ]9th century, and survive in a more-or-less complete state. They are all believed to have been manufactured in the British Isles, are considered to be important and deserve as much protection as is feasible. The presentation is divided into sections, corresponding to the type of turbine, and in each case a summary of the history and an explanation of the operation of the turbine is provided. In practice there is an emphasis on outward-flow Fourneyron-type turbines, as it was the discovery of an example of one of these which prompted this study. Finally a summary is provided of significant later developments of the water turbine and some conclusions are reached.

The Thornton Archive and the production of sawpierced silverware in Sheffield
by N. A. Cavanagh

This paper discusses the results of recent research into the Thornton Archive at the Hawley Tools Collection Trust, Sheffield. The archive contains thousands of documents and artefacts relating to the silversmithing technique of sawpiercing which were donated to the Trust by Billy Thornton, latterly the sole owner of the sawpiercing firm of Taylor Sawtell & Co. By utilising the artefacts within the archive as a primary database, it has been possible to reconstruct and follow through the sawpiercing process from the original sketched designs to the creation of a finished pierced product. Sawpiercing is one of a series of production stages involved in the creation of silver artefacts and its relationship to these other production processes is therefore explained and clarified. The paper concludes that the extraordinary survival of the Thornton Archive has provided a unique opportunity to study and document this little-known technique.

Lock and Dam Number 7 on the Monongahela River
by Jonathan Gill

The Monongahela River remains a major industrial highway which has historically been the main route by which coal has been transported from the Pennsylvanian coal-fields to the steel mills around Pittsburgh. Three generations of lock and dams have been built and replaced along its length which create pools of water sufficiently deep to allow passage of coal barges. This study is based on work undertaken in 1994 by an Historic American Engineering Record team to record a second generation dam, built in the 1920s, prior to its demolition and replacement by a modern structure.

Departed Glory: the archaeology of the Leeds tanning industry 1780 to 1914
by Helen M. Gomersall

The tanning industry, once one of the most prolific manufactures in Great Britain, has now virtually vanished. This paper examines the surviving remains in Leeds, once a national centre of leather production, and illustrates how detailed survey of this site type may be able to increase our understanding of an almost forgotten manufacture.