|Timber handling in the |
Surrey Commercial Docks, 1930s
The building of Lady Dock had to accommodate Commercial Dock Road (now Redriff Road), which passed over the cut between Norway Dock and Lady Dock. The other cuts were crossed by foot bridges. See the maps of 1876 and 1914 at the bottom of the page.
|Lavender Lock was truncated and the pumphouse was|
built behind it, but hte remains of the lock are
clearly visible where it opens out onto the Thames
|The Lavender Pumphouse, facing into the remains|
of Lavender Pond, now a nature reserve.
The Lavender Dock Pumphouse was built over the infilled inland end of the sealed off lock (SE16 5DZ), and was separted from the Thames-side section of the lock that remained by a draw bridge that allowed traffic to cross Rotherhithe Street. It was made of the ubiquitous yellow brick known as "London stock" and was provided with a round ornamental oculus window in the tympanium at one end, the PLA logo in the circular window frame at the other end, and big rectangular windows with gauged arches inset into rectuanguar recesses. The sills beneath the window recesses were made of a charcoal-coloured brick that was much-used in this area. It was an impounding pump station, a design that had already been tried and tested in other docks in London, as early as 1828. Its pumps were driven by electricity.
By 1932 Acorn and Lavender Ponds had been deepened to serve as docks and were provided with timber sheds. The increasing popularity of plywood over deal boards meant that new storage facilities were requried. Plywood is an artificially assembled composite made of thin sheets of wood veneer that were glued together; they would have delaminated if exposed to water.
|Priming Pump from Surrey Docks, now|
at the Brunel Museum.
Photograph by Mike Peel
In 1988 the Pumphouse became a museum, the Lavender Dock Pumpuhouse Education Museum. The museum was divided into three parts, with one section dedicated to local history, the Rotherhithe Heritage Museum. Although it was awarded a Southwark Civic Award for its work in both 2002 and 2003, the museum was closed by Southwark Council in 2011. There is a post by councillor Lisa Rajan on her blog about the closure. The Pumphouse Educational Trust was was awarded a Blue Plaque in 2011, which was unveiled on June 12th of that year. It has since been used as a storage facility by a local business. It is a charming building, unique to Rotherhithe, which fortuitously survived the Second World War bombings that destroyed so much of Rotherhithe's heritage.
was classified as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) in 2005, and is on Public Open Land, the Lavender Pumphouse is worryingly not listed, and must therefore considered to be under potential threat from development. The terms of the land as a Local Nature Reserve does not preserve either the building or the land from planning projects, as this statement from a Southwark Council website makes clear: "A LNR does not enjoy immunity from possible future development or planning ‘applications’. However, as the Lavender Pond site is Council owned, it is unlikely that there will be any applications forthcoming for alternative uses in the foreseeable future. The site is already designated as Metropolitan Open Land, under the new Unitary Development Plan. Should there be any planning applications in the Future; and the LNR designation agreed. Members would have to take into account the LNR designation as a material factor."
|1876 and 1914. Lavender Pond is at the very top of Rotherhithe. The 1976 map clearly shows|
where the lock entered Lavender Pond from the Thames, crossed by Rotherhithe Street.