Tools for Working Wood

 Joel's Blog at Tools for Working Wood

Where the Factory Was  

01/11/2011

Most of the time the makers names on old tools are just that - names in abstract. But when you think of it at one time all these companies existed, had a factory or two, people went to work there, and there was a surrounding neighborhood. Now with the aid of Street View and Google Maps we can easily save the air fare and take a trip to the old factory site and see if anything remains. With street view on google even if the building no longer survives in many cases you can look across the street, go up the block, and see contemporary buildings that give a flavor of what the area was once like.

Spiers was on 10 Rivers Street in Ayr, Scotland for most of its existence. Unlike the other places visited, amazingly, the building still survives. It's the white building on the right with the Bed Shed store. The building is mostly unchanged since the 19th century. A picture exists of Steward Spiers and his staff standing outside the building. The factory was on the second floor and maybe third floor, a second floor row of windows has since been sealed up. There was a sign saying "Spiers Iron Plane Maker" hanging on the left side of the building between the second and third floor row of windows. If you wander around the neighborhood you can see that most of the buildings would have familiar to Mr. Spiers and maybe he even visited the Harvest Bar which is around the corner. Take a look for yourself, save the air fair and stroll with Google street view maps.


View Larger Map

Alex Mathieson and Son, the giant Glasgow firm that made everything including a fine line of infill planes was for most of their existence (1854 - 1966) at 11 & 13 East Campbell Street in Glasgow. Nothing remains, although I am pretty sure the newish block of flats replaced the factory site. A walk around the neighborhood shows lots of traces that this used to be an industrial area which has now fallen on hard times.

View Larger Map

Holtzapffel, the ornamental turning lathe makers had a factory here a 11A Sharpleshall Street in London from 1898 - 1914. The buildings across the street are probably contemporary but the factory building has been replaced with modern residential flats. Their earlier factory at 127 Long Acre Street, is a main shopping street now - with a Body Shop at that location. What you see here is the remains of a pretty common mix of industry on a small scale and residences. Up until WW2 most people had to live within pretty easy walking distance to their jobs - and this was especially true in London where manufacturing was just one more activity in a bustling city. The original factory was probably a bunch of fairly old, low density workshops and at some point the new flats were build completing the transformation of the block to pure residential. If you go around the corner there is a row of stores that are probably contemporary.


View Larger Map


There are hundreds more places to visit and it's kind of fun. And not just tools sites. I might do another tour at some point if I find something special. Just for fun I leave you with a view of one of the more interesting and older building sites in Britain - Stonehenge.


View Larger Map


Tags:Historical Subjects
Comments: 4
01/11/2011brian 
I would love to see a Brooklyn based list of these sometime.. and I'm sure you have it at your fingertips. Anything to make driving around to worksites slightly more interesting.
01/11/2011r francis 
Longacre not Long Acre street: see http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=long+acre&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8#q=long+acre&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&prmd=ivns&tbs=tl:1&tbo=u&ei=eWwsTbSDCYT58AbmnNCcCg&sa=X&oi=timeline_result&ct=title&resnum=11&ved=0CH4Q5wIwCg&fp=6db204469b4cb2b1 for a history.
01/11/2011joel http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com
There are lots of variations in spelling but in London where the street is it is known by two words Long Acre (search in google maps for Long Acre Street London).
01/12/2011Konrad Sauer 
10 Rivers St. is on my bucket list Joel. Thanks for this post.

Cheers,
Konrad
Comments are closed.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
Subscribe
 Joel's Blog
 Ben's Blog
 Work Magazine
Recent Blogs:
Diamond Sharpening - Introduction-12/11/2014
Professional Status-12/03/2014
Cyber Monday - Actually Starts On Sunday Night!-11/26/2014
American Field Show At Industry City Nov 22 - 23, 2014-11/16/2014
PayPal, Festool, and Cyber Monday-11/12/2014
Colen Clenton - A Man and His Shed-10/29/2014
Designing a Moxon Vise-10/15/2014
The Modern Split-10/01/2014
This Weekend: Maker Faire AND The Saturday Market Project at The London Design Festival-09/19/2014
The English Arts & Crafts Movement-09/17/2014
Maker Faire 2014 - Sept 20-21, NYC - My presentation-09/10/2014
Woodwork On The Streets - And Other News-09/03/2014
Ken Hawley, MBE 1927-2014-08/21/2014
King Lear and the Common-07/30/2014
Summer Reading: Factory Man-07/16/2014
The Hand and Eye Blog and some FYI's-06/19/2014
Relentless Self Promotion (and a Small Freebie)-06/11/2014
Lettercarving In Wood and Chris Pye's Free Offer. -05/28/2014
Handworks May 2015, Amana IA - Probably a Bad Idea-05/21/2014
NYC Design Show at Industry City-05/14/2014
Older Entries...
Some Interesting Woodworking Blogs
Adam Cherubini
Tom Fidgen
Full Chisel Blog
Heartwood
Hock Tools - The Sharpening Blog
Norse Woodsmith
Jeff Peachy (book conservation)
Pegs and 'Tails
The Produce Savant
Konrad Sauer
Another Chris Schwarz Blog
Robin Wood Woodcraft
Rude Mechanicals Press(Megan Fitzpatrick)
UnpluggedShop.com - Hand Tool News
The Woodshop Bug
Chris Schwarz
Some Woodworking Forums
Family Woodworking
Knots
Saw Mill Creek
Wood Central
WoodNet
Woodwork Forums (Australia)
UK Workshop