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Peter Murray

 

London Society members were fortunate to be given a ‘hard hat’ tour of the redevelopment work at the Broadgate complex in the City. Roger Cline reports on the visit.

It was an early start for an intrepid band of Society members who assembled at 3 Broadgate Square, the marketing suite for the Broadgate re-development. The original buildings were erected in 1981-1999 on the site of Broad Street Station and in the air space over part of Liverpool Street station and were all office block fortresses with security permit entry only. Business practice has changed in the meantime and the blocks are being refurbished to replace the large trading floors by flexible office space close to windows with an emphasis on wellbeing of employees and ‘smart’ operation whereby their mobile telephones will pick up instructions as they enter as to which desk they will use for the day and providing temperature and illumination suitable for the work they will be doing. The wellbeing of employees and public alike will be catered for with extensive retail premises on ground and sometimes several other floors, as well as leisure centres and catering. The security gates will only be located inwards of the office reception area, so the public can enjoy facilities such as meeting areas, coffee shops and wi-fi outside the gates. The whole area is private land with high but unobtrusive security (60-80 security personnel on duty at any time, day and night) so any misuse of the facilities can be dealt with (and may cause them to be restricted). The area is kept clean with the ground floor paving being regularly washed.

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Peter Murray

 

The Society’s 2019 ‘engineering’ theme of events kicked off with Alistair Lenczner of Expedition Engineering  with a review of the Railway system in and around London, of schemes in the pipeline and what could be done to set up a better infrastructure for London in the future. Roger Cline reports.

The Industrial Revolution started outside London and early canals and railways were designed for goods transport. In London a passenger line opened in 1836 from Spa Road to Deptford (soon extended from London Bridge to Greenwich) and the London to Birmingham Railway opened in 1837 to Euston where some effort to provide impressive architecture was made to re-assure passengers that the undertaking was reliable. Railway termini were banned from the central area south of the Euston Road so there was little through north-south traffic (except via Ludgate Hill or Willesden/Clapham Junction). Passengers arriving at mainline termini were carried on the sub-surface Metropolitan and District lines until the first decades of the twentieth century when deep-level tube lines were provided across the central area. Goods traffic had its own termini and was mainly destined for the docks. Canal access to the docks was provided by the branch of the Grand Union canal to Paddington and then along the Regents Canal to Limehouse in 1820. The railways followed suit in 1851 with the North London line to West India Docks and further connections to Tilbury and eventually the container port near Canvey Island.

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Peter Murray

 

Eric Reynolds, the Founding Director of Urban Space Management spoke to the Society about one of his early projects – the development of Camden Lock market. Roger Cline reports.

Your reviewer lived close to Camden Lock for 30 years up to the Millennium and since then regularly has to weave his way through the crowds wandering between the tube station and the market. In fact the lock by Camden High Street is Hampstead Road Lock and the adjoining one to the east is Hawley Road Lock. From there the canal descends through many locks to the Thames at Limehouse. To the west there is a long level stretch through the Regents Park to Little Venice and beyond.

Camden Town was the centre of the piano-making industry and Dingwalls Timber Merchants specialised in making packing cases for pianos, leasing a site by the canal to receive their wood and possibly to send away the packed pianos. To have a piano in one’s front room was no longer an essential feature of households with aspirations, so Dingwall’s ceased trading around 1970.

Our speaker, Eric Reynolds, was one of three partners who took over the Dingwall’s lease from British Waterways. He is managing Director of Urban Space Management ,but has other interests in structures made of Shipping Containers, interim use of land and many charitable organisations. Running the market was really a sideline for all three partners, Eric was a boat-builder so the dock just upstream of the lock was put to good use, another partner was a doctor and the third was a surveyor. In the seventies the alternative lifestyles of young people created a market for non-essential items which could be made at home and sold at a stall on a Saturday.

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