Local Names for Local Buildings
Kew Water Works Commemorated in names
I was interested to see that apartment blocks in the North Brentford Quarter are being named after businesses that flourished at one time along the Great West Road. At one time this was known as The Golden Mile due to the value of the business that was carried on. Up to now we have apartment blocks named Trico, Beecham and Firestone House.
This echoes the naming of the Haverfield development in the 1970s.
The Grand Junction Water Co had started in Paddington early in the 19th century, moved to Chelsea and then to Brentford pumping water from the Thames around London until it became too polluted. Filter beds were built in 1845 and the business was in operation for over 100years. It became redundant in the 1960s and the six 24 storey blocks were built on the filter beds and named after water works connections.
BOULTON House is named after Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) who, with his partner James Watt developed the use of the steam engines for pumping. One of the first engines at the Kew works was a Boulton and Watt that was moved from the original works at Chelsea.
Engines used at the water works were developed from those used for many years in CORNISH mines.
Alexander FRASER designed the tower at Kew. It was built in 1867 to protect the stand pipe after it had been damaged by a severe frost.
HARVEY and Co of Hayle in Cornwall built two engines for the Kew Works in 1859 and 1871. These were brought by sea and along the Thames to Kew.
Henry MAUDSLAY (1771-1831) was an early mechanical engineer whose company supplied the first engine to the Kew Works in 1838.
Thomas WICKSTEED (1806-1871) realised the efficiency of the Cornish engines used to drain the mines there and introduced them to Kew. He also designed the 90’’ engine that was built for Kew in 1845 by the Copperhouse Foundry of Hayle.
The original buildings are now, of course the Kew Bridge Steam Museum where you can discover the history of London’s water supply from Roman times and can sometimes catch the ‘Giants of Steam’ in operation.
June 4, 2010