Sunday 15 June 2014

Save the Swan/Enderby Wharf campaigns

Two local campaigns have recently been launched just across the border in Greenwich which might be of interest to my blog readers.

First is the campaign to save the former Swan Tavern which was more recently known as Millers and is the elegant late-Victorian building on Greenwich High Road which has been slowly sinking into dilapidation over the last decade or so due to neglect.

The building was slated for demolition a few years back as part of the overbearing redevelopment which has sprung up around it along that side of the road, despite having been recommended for conservation in 2009 in a heritage report by the Mayor of London.

A group of local residents is calling for it to be retained, and are asking people to write to the local council in a last-ditch attempt to stop it being knocked down. They have a campaign website with more information here.

The second campaign concerns another ailing building with a particularly significant history - the 'home of the communications revolution' on Enderby Wharf. If you have ever walked or ridden the river path from Greenwich around the peninsula (and if you haven't, you are truly missing out!) you will have passed this sad structure on the west side of the peninsula.

(Photo courtesy Enderby Wharf campaign)

You might find it hard to believe these days, but Enderby Wharf was where the first telegram cables were made, as the campaign's website explains;

From the 1850s to the 1970s, Enderby Wharf in Greenwich is where most of the undersea cables that connect the world’s telegraph, telephone and now internet networks were made. 

More than 160 years after the first cables were made there, a factory behind Enderby Wharf still makes vital equipment for subsea cables to connect the world’s internet services. It was where the world’s first telegraph cables were made in the 1850s, pioneering technologies that for the first time allowed people to send and receive messages in minutes rather than days or weeks. 

Enderby Wharf had a leading role in building the technologies that connected the world — from the 19th century telegraph networks to the international phone networks of the 1970s to the internet today. In its first 100 years the Enderby Wharf factory made 82% of the world’s subsea cables, 713,000 km of cable.

There is a meeting scheduled for 25 June with the PR company working for developer Barratt, which is redeveloping the site, to explain the redevelopment proposals.

(Those from the Deptford area may be underwhelmed to learn that the PR company in question is Hard Hat, also responsible for representing Convoys Wharf developer Hutchison Whampoa. )


Anonymous said...

So what exactly needs saving in Enderby wharf? As I understand the site is already being cleared.

Or is it the usual protest against anything new happening because the Queen might have farted there 50 years ago.

Rupert Murdoch said...

Hello again HardHat employee.I'd have thought you'd be happy, what with your billionaire Hong Kong mate having got the luxury playboy mansion tower at Convoys Wharf approved.So why are you so upset about a little campaign about a teeny little house?

To answer your question, this is what people are talking about:"Without Enderby House, there may well have been no phones, and no internet. It’s a hugely-overlooked piece of local history."(from 853 blog). So even your dismissive typing was made possible because of this building.

Just becuase you don't understand it doesn't mean it's not worth saving. This is an important piece of Greenwich and the world's history and it's not about stopping development there, as you well know. It's just about keeping a tiny house that's of global historical significance. Not so bad is it? Mind you, you seem the sort of person who doesn't understand why people object to a motorway being carved through ana ancient woodland just cos of some stupid birds and trees or something.So perhaps there's no reasoning with you and you're merely trolling.

"Or is it the usual protest against anything new happening because the Queen might have farted there 50 years ago." Yeah! Great argument! Why stop there? Let's demolish the Royal Observatory - it's just some place some royal dude had built and where some astrono-somethings stared at the sky a lot. Let's put some luxury flats there instead. And what's with the Cutty Sark? It's just some stupid boat where weird people carried teabags or something. Let's put a McDonald's there.

Your new, shiny, luxury pad Greenwich is already happening, so I don't know why you're so against a tiny bit of heritage being retained. At Enderby's it's just a house that can be incorporated into your precious development - not too much to ask, is it?

Anonymous said...

Oh hi Rupert

Thank you for answering my question.

It was not clear to me that is was about the little house that is next to the wharf; that is the site that was already being cleared.

Thanks for clearing that up, I'll tell my Hong Kong mate at our next "What heritage can we destroy next" convention.

With love,
Hardhat employee

Alan Burkitt-Gray said...

The site is being cleared, but Enderby House, which is listed and dates back to the 1830s, is surrounded by a fence and, despite its state, is protected. Barratt says it wants to find a long-term secure use for it that acknowledges its role as the home of the communications revolution -- something which, until now, Greenwich hasn't really recognised.

The local group,, is in touch with Hard Hat and with influential people nationally and internationally to try to ensure that there is a long-term viable role for Enderby House that allows local people to take pride in the work that was done there.