Posts Tagged ‘River Crane’

It is hard to envision as you walk today in the beauty and serenity of Crane Park in Hounslow that this was the site of Europe’s largest gunpowder mill.

River Crane in Crane Park

River Crane in Crane Park

DSCN2501a

The mill opened in 1766 and produced gunpowder for both the army and the navy, It was shipped from Hounslow to the military depots by cart or later by barge from Isleworth, They were known as incorporating mills as they mixed together gunpowder from sulphur, saltpetre and charcoal. At its peak it employed over 300 people and there are records of over 50 major explosions at the works.

 

Picture depicting the effects of an explosion at the Gunpowder MIll

Picture depicting the effects of an explosion at the Gunpowder MIll

 

Little is visible of the mills today although there are some signs of the industrial works that once stood there.

Weir

Weir

 

DSCN2510a

Site of waterwheel

Site of waterwheel

 

One building that does remain is the shot tower. This was built in 1823 for the purpose of making lead shot. Molten lead was melted on the ground floor and then carried up to the top floor where it was poured into a copper sheath which ran down the tower and as it fell it formed into small round pellets which were cooled and hardened when they fall into a brick water tank located at the bottom of the tower. The tower is 83 feet tall and this means that it could only produce small shot as the distance of the fall determines the size of the shot. The biggest towers were  up to 120 feet tall.

??????????

The tower only produced shot on a Sunday when there was no work at the nearby explosives factory. Other safety measures included a ban on the possession of matches on site and workers having to wear special felt shoes whilst in the factory.

Spring Flowers (2)

Posted: May 28, 2014 in Natural History
Tags:

Some more photos of the wonderful spring flowers I encountered on my recent River Crane walk

DSCN2508a

DSCN2509a

DSCN2512a

DSCN2513a

DSCN2514a

DSCN2524a

Spring Flowers (1)

Posted: May 23, 2014 in Natural History
Tags:

On my recent River Crane walk there were a wide variety of spring flowers to enjoy

DSCN2431a

DSCN2432a

DSCN2485a

DSCN2486a

DSCN2490a

DSCN2492a

Snails

Posted: May 20, 2014 in Natural History
Tags: ,

One of the most fascinating aspect of the recent River Crane walk was the variety of snails seen

DSCN2429a

DSCN2452a

DSCN2453a

DSCN2456a

DSCN2462a

Some pictures of the River Crane taken on Saturday’s walk. The River has unfortunately been the scene of a couple of serious pollution events over recent years, which have affected the life in the river. Volunteers and government agencies are working hard to restore this beautiful river to its original condition.

DSCN2466a

DSCN2477a

DSCN2494a

DSCN2499a

DSCN2501a

DSCN2527a

Yeaterday I went on a walk organised by the London Natural History Society along the River Crane starting from Whitton and finishing at Crane Island Local Nature Reserve.

River Crane

River Crane

River Crane

River Crane

The focus of the walk was insects although all aspects of natural history were noted.

Among the highlights of the day were a good number of Banded Demoiselle, which was the most numerous of 4 species of damselfly seen

Male Banded Demoiselle

Male Banded Demoiselle

Male Banded Demoiselle

Male Banded Demoiselle

Female Banded Demiselle

Female Banded Demiselle

Azure Damselfly

Azure Damselfly


A first sighting for me was the Tree Bumblebee which was found in good numbers along the river

Tree Bumblebee

Tree Bumblebee

Among other insects were spiders, beetles, flies and ladybirds

Harlequin Ladybirds

Harlequin Ladybirds

DSCN2459a

There were also some interesting birds including this sighting of a young Nuthatch examining the outside world.

Young Nuthatch

Young Nuthatch

Thanks to Ian who lead the walk and to the other members for their help with indentification of beetles, spiders and other insects. A very good day.

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

Banded Demoiselle (Calopteryx splendens)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Small Red Damselfly (Ceriagrion tenellum)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)