The Hatcham Iron Works
Of all the sites to choose for a locomotive works, Pomeroy Street, London, SE seems to be one of the most unlikely...
...for although there was (and still is) a railway about half a mile to the east, and another about a quarter of a mile to the west, there was no physical connection between the works and the line, and all locomotives built at Hatcham Iron Works had to be carted by road, most probably to Bricklayers Arms, although new Cross cannot be entirely ruled out. A partial explanation of this not unique stae of affairs in the nineteenth century can be found in the fact that England started out in general engineeering and only built locomotives later on.
The late EL Ahrons, in his article on George England, published in The Engineer of 15th July 1921, states that the works started about 1843. This date always struck me as being somewhat too late, and this is confirmed by Mr Craven's finding, in the minutes of the London & Southampton Railway, dated 30th April 1839, an entry for a payment to George England for tools. Further, England took out a patent on 7th May 1839, No.8058 for a screw jack, and another on 2nd March 1841, No.8860 for a woolen weaving machine. A search of the Post Office Directories of the period reveals nothing until the 1846 edition, where we find; "England, George & Co. engineers and patent screw jack manufacturers, Hatcham Inn (sic) Works, Old Kent Road." I then had recourse to the Town Clerk of Deptford, Me E Field, who most obligingly instituted a search of the rate books of the time, and this shows that George first paid rates on the property in July, 1840.
The name "Geo England" is scribbled in pencil against premises that had been empty for about a year. The property, listed as a House and Manufactury belonging to Henry Duxford, had been occupied by a William Morgan for at least six years. A search of the 1839 rate book does not show England as occupying any premises in Deptford. One Henry England, owned land in Peckham Lane, a short distance from where Pomeroy Street joins it, and also land and a house in Kender Street, which backs on to Pomeroy Street. Both plots of land seem to have been purchased around 1832 and it does not seem to be stretching conjecture too far , if we assume that this Henry England was a relative.
As for Henry Duxbury, he was in he laether trade. The Post Office Directory of 1823 says that he was a wter-proof leather-dresser and leather-hat maker, with premises on the corner of Lomond Street, Gravel Lane, Southwark. In 1827 he had moved to Chatham Place, Old Kent Road, and by 1832 the entry reads "Duxbury, H., Patentee for Splitting Hides and Skins, Pomeroy (sic), Old Kent Street (sic). I have not been able to find out what William Morgan did with the premises, but if he did not carry on in the same trade, he must have spent some time getting the smell out of the place."
CH Dickon SLS Journal 1961 p138
"The conditions of employment for apprentices was quoted:they were articled to the firm for seven years, the first three without pay, boys receving however, one shilling per week for good conduct"
The Kentish Mercury 8th Nov 1858 quoted by CH Rickon
At New Cross there once existed a siding, to the west of the shed but at a lower level, which terminated, without permanent buffer stops , at the end of Five Bells Lane (later Hatcham Park Road). It was to this siding that some of the locomotives built by George England were brought from his Hatcham Iron Works in Pomeroy street, off the Old Kent Road, to start the journey to their purchaser, and collected whe returning for repairs.
"The transport was managed by means of a heavy lorry mounted on four strong wheels, with very broad traed. Rails were alid on the lorry, and an inclined plane with rails upon it secured to to the back so as to make a connection with rails upon the ground...The engine, to be taken away was hauled onto the wagon by means of eight horses pulling on the fall of a block and tackle."
AR Rosling "Locomotive building in London" The Railway Magazine Nov 1907.
Tagged as: Hatcham Iron Works
Share this post: