Thursday, August 15, 2013

Surrey Docks Farm heritage project starts up

I went up to the Surrey Docks Farm earlier today to attend the kick-off meeting for the heritage project, the purpose of which is the investigation of the heritage of the site, known at different times as Wells Shipyard, Barnards Wharf, Acorn Wharf and South Wharf.  

Quite a lot is known about the site when it was run by the Wells and Barnard families, but, perhaps surprisingly, less is known about the period from 1888 until the establishment of the Farm in 1986.  In the early 1880s the Metropolitan Asylums Board purchased the site to set up a river ambulance station, established to diagnose and ship out smallpox cases to isolation hospitals downriver.  However, there are some large gaps in the history of the site, particularly in the post war years, and one of the aims of the project is to find out more about the site during the periods when data is not readily available.  

Looking down at the foreshore at low tide with the fieldwork team, prior to the actual survey work, it is remarkable how much survives in the mud, and what can be gleaned from the surviving remains.  

The organizers have already done some excellent research, pulling together documents, images, maps and aerial photographs of the site, all of which help to chart its changes and pinpoint different uses. I am chuffed to bits to be involved in the project, and am really looking forward to contributing to the group's research and finding out more about what remains in the ground.  Everyone is so keen, and there are lots of different skills being brought to bear on the task.

If you grew up around here or worked here and have knowledge about the site, it would be most welcome.  See the above poster for information and contact details.

The Wells yard 1816

The site in 1843

Ordnance Survey Map 1868

Ordnance Survey Map 1894
Ordnance Survey Map 1914

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