Friday, 30 October 2015

On Vassall Road ............with a water trough, the Union and a butter factory

Vassall Road trough, 2015
Now I have Ros to thank for these fine pictures of the water trough at Vassall Road and as ever there is a story which unites the trough, the Union and a butter factory.

Vassall Road was outside my comfort zone when I was growing up in Lausanne because it was just a tad too far to walk looking for adventures.

Back then adventures started with a walk except on those rare occasions when we spent our pocket money on a train trip from Queens Road or bought a Red Rover.

Neither of which ever took me down towards Camberwell New Road.

So Ross’s water trough was new to me and unlike so many it has been preserved and in the absence of passing horses and other livestock has been filled with flowers.

But the inscription exhorting kindness “to your animals” can still be read even if one of the stone emplacements which would have protected the trough from wheel hubs of passing wagons has been lost.

And intrigued by its survival I went looking for it on the old maps and there it was just where Ros left it yesterday.

And in 1953
Sometimes these troughs were moved from the centre of a crossroads as part of road widening schemes or just because they were getting in the way of the growing amount of traffic, but ours seems to have been sited on Vassall Road by the early 1950s and while it doesn’t show up on earlier maps I am guessing this is where it has always been.

Close enough to the old Union public house for the odd carter to leave his wagon in charge of his assistant and while his horse drank from the tough nipped in to the pub for a quick pint.

And having chatted to Mr Cook the landlord of the Union our carter might have gone off to deliver to one of the many small factories in the area.

The trough, the Union and the Butter factory, 1953
Now Mr Cook was pulling pints at the pub in 1914 and not long before there had been a smithy just across the way on Farmer Road and later still a Butter Factory and Kenoval House (Roller Shutter Factory).

Today there are still some industrial units along the road opposite the Academy and bits of them may date back to our butter factory roller shutter factory but the set of streets which included Warrior Road, Westhall Road and Elfin Road have gone.

And even the Union has undergone change with part of it becoming Bar Lenuccia which makes the survival of the water trough something to marvel over.

Pictures; the water trough on Vassall Road, courtesy of Ros Parks, and detail of Vassall Road and Farmer’s Road, 1953, historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at Historical map extract courtesy of Southwark Council at http://maps.southwark.gov.uk/connect/southwark.jsp?mapcfg=Historical_Selection&style=historical&banner=historical.
 with mapping provided by Landmark Information Group

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