Abstracts of Volume XXIII 2001

Issue No 1, Spring 2001

Coalmining in Upper Silesia 1880-1939: some surviving surface installations
by Ray Riley

A main thrust of industrial policy in communist Poland was the exploitation of the large coal reserves in Upper Silesia. To achieve this much old plant, some dating back to the 1880s, was retained or modified, and not until the arrival of the market economy in 1989 did rationalisation begin. A rich industrial archaeological legacy was thus in place. A survey of the surface installations of the mines working in 1939 was undertaken in 1996/7 by the Upper Silesian Cultural Heritage Centre in Katowice; this paper is based on the initiative. An insight is presented into German coal mine engineering and architecture between 1880 and 1939, thereby facilitating international comparisons.

An introduction to the archaeology and conservation of football stadia
by Jonathan Smith

This paper raises a concern for the limited conservation strategies applied to the mass of ‘low status’ 19th and 20th century structures. These concerns are presented in reference to one such building type, football stadia. Unlike other ‘low status’ building types, football stadia also face a unique threat (the Taylor Report’s drive towards all-seater stadia). This paper is a condensed and updated version of a dissertation produced as part of an MA degree in the Archaeology of Buildings at York University in 1995 and presents a case study of Bolton Wanderers’ stadium at Burnden Park.

The Identification, Recording and Management of the More Recent Archaeological and Architectural Heritage of Essex
by Shane Gould

This paper presents the results of an on-going survey into the standing and buried remains of the more recent archaeological and architectural heritage of Essex. Initiated by the County Council Archaeology Section it comprises both extensive and intensive survey, the latter taking place within the framework set out by Central Government Planning Policy Guidance Notes. Having briefly outlined the purpose of the project, the methodologies are described together with appropriate case studies; this is followed by an examination of the way in which recent theoretical models can be implemented within the planning process in order to examine broader social issues on use of space, surveillance and hierarchy.

The Embassy Cinema, Braintree, Essex
by Anne Upson & Shaun Richardson with contributions by Shane Gould

A programme of historic building recording took place at the Embassy Cinema, Fairfield Road/Victoria Street, Braintree, Essex (NGR TL 7589 2292), in advance of its refurbishment and conversion to a public house. Although the cinema building is not listed, it is considered to be the best surviving example of a Shipman and King cinema in the country. The recording work was carried out by AOC Archaeology to a specification produced by Essex County Council Archaeological Advisory Group. The requirement for the work was in accordance with the advice given in PPG 16: Archaeology and Planning. The article describes the cinema and places it in its historic, technological and social context. The historic building recording undertaken at the Embassy Cinema, together with another report submitted by AOC Archaeology, was the joint winner of the AIA 1999 Fieldwork and Recording Award.

Issue 2 Autumn 2001

Copperas: an account of the Whitstable copperas works and the first major chemical industry in England
Tim Allen, Mike Cotterill & Geoffrey Pike

In 1995 an extraordinary array of timber posts set in mortar was exposed by marine erosion on the foreshore of Tankerton Bay, Whitstable, on the North Kent coast. Consequently, Canterbury Archaeological Trust, assisted by English Heritage and Canterbury City Council, began an investigation to discover what the remains were and what they could tell us about the history of Whitstable. Eventually some were identified as part of a copperas works; evidence of the first major inorganic chemical industry to be established in England. Further research showed that the copperas industry had played a previously unsuspected role in the industrialisation of the national economy from the late 16th to the late 18th centuries, and that a comprehensive history of the industry had yet to be compiled. Nor had the industry’s role as the precursor of the modern chemical industry received sufficient recognition.

Structuration theory and 19th century corn milling in Portsmouth
Ray Riley & Tony Yoward

The paper argues that too often industrial archaeology tends to focus upon artefacts, ignoring the wider environment which gave rise to them. With corn milling in 19th century Portsmouth as a case study, structuration theory is employed to bring together the various influences acting upon millers, so placing industrial archaeological matters within a wider context. The first section is concerned with top-down political, social, economic and physical influences; the second with the reaction by millers with regard to market opportunities, capital available, insurance, the selection of production technology, diversification and family control. The reaction by dockyard men who established their own mill is also considered.

The development of all-metal water towers
Michael H. Gould

This paper discusses the development in Britain and Ireland of all-metal water towers as used for water supply. Although concentrating on those provided for bulk public water supplies, an outline is given of parallel developments, especially in railway engineering, during the 19th century. After 1900, panel tanks formed of steel flanged plates generally supplanted earlier forms of tank construction found on water towers and it was not until the 1950s that other, more pleasing, styles came to be erected, although these found little favour in the water industry and few were ever built. The aesthetic and long-term maintenance problems associated with all-metal water towers are also considered. The data contained in this paper is part of a larger study into the development of all forms of water tower being undertaken by ICE’s Panel for Historical Engineering Works.

Nitro-glycerine washing house, South Site, Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Factory, Essex
by Stuart Foreman

This article presents the results of an archaeological survey of the late 19th century Quinton Hill nitro-glycerine washing house at Waltham Abbey Royal Gunpowder Factory, carried out in 1996 in advance of the redevelopment of RGPF South Site. The building is remarkably well-preserved, retaining many internal fixtures and fittings from the turn of the century. As part of the first government cordite factory, and as the only standing example of its type in the country, the washing house is a monument of national importance.