Circles: Walkers Iron Works and
Glengall Iron Works.
The top map shows The Jute Works set
back from a row of houses and shops on West Ferry Road, with an empty
plot further along Glengall Road. A path extended eastwards onto the Millwall
Docks and a Rolling Bridge where a right of way to cross the dockyard
The later map shows the Jute Works
replaced by new buildings, a new side turning, now called Millwall Dock
Road and the Glengall Iron
The South side of Glengall Road was
made up of industrial and municipal sites. At the Western end of
Glengall Road, behind the small row of houses and shops on West Ferry
Road was Walker's Iron Works.
John Walker moved to Millwall c1851
setting up the Walker Iron Works on the South side of Glengall Road. By
1853 the Millwall works employed more than 400 men in the production of
corrugated and galvanized-iron roofing, prefabricated buildings
including houses for settlers in Australia, girders, and Nasmyth's
patent fireproof flooring. The works were sold on behalf of Walker's
creditors in 1858 and remained disused for some time.
The site was later acquired by
George Burney, the Millwall tank manufacturer. Part of the premises,
later known as Carlton Works, flourished briefly in the depressed late
1860s as the Millwall Jute Works, producing tow for the Dundee jute
The cotton shortage caused by the
American Civil War (1861-65) gave a considerable boost to the jute trade. Jute
'cuttings' (root, previously regarded as rubbish) fetched high prices
from spinners desperate for any raw material, but, without weeks of
soaking in oil and water, the cuttings were impossible to heckle and
card. At Millwall a newly devised process reportedly enabled cuttings to
be washed, treated in vats, rolled, and shredded into workable tow in
just four hours.
The old ironworks subsequently
broke up into various factories and yards. Clarence Yard was used at
various times for stabling, farriery, garaging and as a builder's yard.
No. 219 Westferry Road was used by a succession of shipwrights and
engineers, and from the 1890s until the First World War was the
engineering works of the shipwrights, sailmakers and chandlers, Coubro
& Scrutton. No. 221 Westferry Road, an engineering works, was
briefly converted into a cinema.
The Carlton Works (so named by the
short-lived Carlton Engineering Company Ltd, incorporated in 1888)
became the chemical works of Walter Voss & Company (incorporated in
1904), manufacturers of acids, disinfectants, weed-killer, soldering
fluid and lacquer. Part of the works was also used by another firm for
tent making during the First World War. After Voss's departure, in the
1950s and 1960s the partially cleared site was used as a haulage depot.
South of the Carlton Works was a
yard used between 1888 and 1909 by the Patent Indurated Stone Company
Ltd, manufacturers of artificial stone made from crushed granite or
slag. Their contracts included the supply of paving slabs to several
London Borough Councils and architectural work to the London United
Tramways Company and the builders Holloway Brothers.
The name Silex Works was adopted
(after the Latin silex, a flint or pebble) c1907, when the Excavator
Company Ltd took over the old stone-yard. The company, incorporated in
1898 and previously based in Limehouse, worked dredging and excavating
patents taken out by George Fountaine Weare Hope, an inventor and South
Africa merchant. Hope, a close friend of the novelist Joseph Conrad, was
managing director of the concern, which catered principally to the
poultry trade, producing flint grits, shell meal, and water-glass for
preserving eggs, as well as supplying all kinds of bird seed.
Hope's Patent Ltd, silica merchants, ran Silex Works briefly after the
demise of the Excavator Company. Conrad was among the shareholders in
this company, which soon followed the Excavator Company into
liquidation. Silex Works was subsequently used for a few years as a
depot of the London Bottle Company, and was occupied from 1926 until
1977 by William Garner& Sons, for magnesite-grinding and the
manufacture of millstones.
Apart from a small house, the
buildings, erected at various times, were sheds largely constructed of
corrugated iron or asbestos cement. An extension to the main yard,
belonging to the Millwall Docks, was occupied by the various tenants
from the late 1880s, and was used during the Second World War for a
Glengall Iron Works. The site was
used briefly c1870 as the gas engineering works of Fletcher, Speck&
Company. No permanent buildings seem to have been erected until the
mid-1870s, however, when the site was acquired by the Glengall Iron
Works Ltd, newly incorporated by a group of Scottish engineers.
The principal buildings were a tall
top-lit foundry, offices, storage sheds, and a small house which seems
originally to have been intended as a residence for the works' manager.
As the business developed, riverside premises at the Regent Dry Dock and
Millwall Dry Dock were acquired for ship-repairing, while the original
works were also used by a much larger associated concern, the British
Arc Welding Company Ltd. Founded in 1910, this was also associated with
the shipbuilding company R. & H. Green & Silley Weir.
The side turning, Millwall Dock
Road that appears on
the 1894 map between the Walker's Iorn Works and the Glengall Iron works
fits the eastern boundary of the old Jute Works and so would appear to
be a pre-1885 feature. It ran down to the boundary of the Millwall Dock
where there was a small earthwork embankment.
This would seem to indicate the
First Millwall pitch would be to the West of Millwall Dock Road on the site of
the former Jute Works, extending Southwards over the Silex works site up
to the Millwall Dock Boundary where there is a kink a boundary, where
the embankment works stopped.
This would leave a small plot that
was unused except for flytipping which could be cleared and prepared as
a pitch. How small was this pitch?