Cuffley Industrial Heritage Society

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1This view is around 1952


1698 Thomas Savery, a Devon man, was the first to combine the force of steam and the pressure of the atmosphere. He was granted a patent in 1698 for "Raising water by the impellent force of fire". Savery's "engine" comprised a boiler and a receiver. Steam from the boiler filled the receiver. Cold water poured over the receiver condensed the steam causing a vacuum. Atmospheric pressure forced water up a suction pipe connected to the receiver, which became full of water. Steam from the boiler at pressure blew the water out of the receiver up a delivery pipe and also refilled the receiver with steam. The cycle was then repeated. Valves were fitted in pipes to control the steam and to prevent the water, which was being raised, from going the wrong way. In time the boiler became empty. To refill it with water meant drawing the fire and relieving the boiler of its pressure.

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Barcley Corsets


This story relates to Barcley Corsets of Welwyn Garden City. The original factory was a very nice 1930's style building with a central rotunda.  The factory closed and lay slowly decomposing. Then in 1998 a local company, Lineside Engineering expanded and took over the building. Everyone thought we would have a restored building. No one was too concerned and, mistakenly, assuming the garden city ethos would mean the council would only allow a restoration is keeping with the original building. Wrong, we ended up with metal cladding and Upvc double glazing in the rotunda..

This view is around 2000

Unfortunately Lineside extended beyond their means and had to sell the building. It was sold to Diamond LandRover who wanted a new building. This time troops were rallied, but to no avail. Attempts to have the building listed failed as the cladding and Upvc windows had 'destroyed the character of the building'. Even a last ditch suggestion to allow the building to go but keep the rotunda as part of the new building failed.  It is very ironic that the very changes the planner had approved previously was the excuse to demolish the building!


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