Mystery plaque dumped in Hornchurch, Essex

Discussion in 'War Cemeteries & War Memorial Research' started by Mike L, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Mike,

    I spent a little while on multimap, using the various adresses, and I have a suggestion that I am working on.

    The Tottenham Gas Works are on the other side of Willoughby Lane (just in Edmonton). They had a social club - The Tottenham GAS Club. This was formed prior to WW1, and occupied the land to the the east of, and at the top of, Willoughby Lane. It had approx 1300 members and had several football pitches.

    In 1924 the Club erected a Memorial Hall at the sports fields.

    The Gas Works were demolished in 1974, but the Memorial Hall remained....but on Multimap it has now clearly been replaced by a newer building.

    I will speak to the Fred Knight Sports Centre today, and see if anyone there knows when it was built (and if they have a plaque missing!), there is also a Tottenham Civic Society who I can contact at the Haringey Museum at Bruce Castle, failing these simple options, Transco hold the club records still, together with their management minutes - including a list of staff who returned to the club after demobilisation.

    I may be wrong - it was a heavily industrial area, but the demolished club house is calling to me.......

    Pete
     
  2. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    That's a good shout Pete. I plan to investigate churches that have been demolished in the area in the last 50 or so years - but I like this GAS club idea...on the surface it seems to fit nicely.


    EDIT: Also the records for the Tottenham gas company are available at the London Metropolitan Archives too, for the years 1916-1948
     
  3. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Pete, Chris, Great ideas.
    The finder of the plaque has always thought this might be a sports club Memorial (but to be honest I thought it was a long shot). As already said I favour the Church theory but am happy to be proven wrong!
    Just had a call from reporter for local paper(s) and they will be covering this in articles this week. Main one (in Havering) is Romfod Recorder published Fridays. She has been looking at this thread and I hope she will give major credit to WW2talk.
    Jane - please note if you are visiting!
    No harm in a bit of publicity for this great site!
    Will try to arrange a picture of the plaque with interested people before stop press time.
    For anyone that has helped/been interested in this thread I am sure Hornchurch Legion would host a 'get together' and a few beers for anyone who could get there ONCE we have solved the riddle!

    Mike
     
  4. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    edit:

    Having looked at the sports ground, I initially didn't think the building looked that modern - but then I found this:

    The acquisition of the former British Gas Sports ground by the charity in December 1996
    has made a major impact on the organisation. The first few years were taken up with the
    financial and administration of the acquisition and the reinstatement of the ground so that it
    could be used. We had to consolidate our efforts in 2002/3 in line with our financial
    resources. It meant that our resources were restricted, so maintenance and general upkeep
    of the ground was made our priority. We were at long last beginning to identify the overall
    cost of running of the ground without the very high costs we accrued to build the Pavilion.
    It has been identified that the cost of ninning and maintaining the outdoor grass area will
    always place a heavy financial burden on the Charity. We have to continue to pay close
    attention to the effect this has on the overall running of the facility and how it impacts on
    the other activities of the organisation.


    Frederick Knight Sports Ground
    "The Cottage"
    703 High Road
    Tottenham
    London N17 8AD
     
  5. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Here's where I am with this....

    Spoke to Malcolm at the Sports Centre, this is a newer building which the sports charity took over from british gas about 15 years ago.

    The original Tottenham Gas Club memorial sports hall is now used as their pavilion, so its still there.......but guess what isnt?

    When they took over they spent some time cleaning up the pavilion and the memorials, and were pretty cheesed off when they disappeared, we believe three memorials and a bench.

    This was 15 years ago...

    There are no photo's though, and it is also possible that British gas took their memorials with them to their new sports ground off Whitewebbs Lane, but it gets more interesting.....Tottenham Hotspur recently bought that training ground, and Malcolm thinks its being redeveloped.

    Next stage - Malcolm is going to measure the gaps to make sure our memorial fits ('our' memorial!). If that is established, I will try and speak to someone at either Centrica or THFC to see if the memorials were ever at Whitewebbs, and if they were, have they disappeared from their.

    Will keep you updated with any progress.

    Pete.
     
  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    I am really impressed with all the detective work carried out by those involved and I wish you all the luck in the world to get a "Result".

    You all deserve it.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  7. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    I'm confused, the quote I posted, taken from their accounts of 2008 implied that they (the charity) built the current pavilion - unless they mean perhaps they just extended it or something?


    I would imgine THFC would be fairly receptive to any contact regarding this - they appear to do quite a lot for the local community.

    While you're at it, can you see about getting me some tickets?? (just kidding!)
     
  8. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Pete, great work mate.:D
    Smudger Jnr - agree totally, I would still be floundering about in CWGC records but for the guys who have put in so much time.

    Not been in long and found an email waiting from the Memorials dept at IWM:

    Hi Michael,

    Just a little bit about the inscription for you. Doesn't really help identify the memorial in anyway but interesting none-the-less. It's part of a poem by Canon H. D. Rawnsley. The whole section for 'Our Soldiers' is thus:

    "He died in War that we at Peace might live,
    He gave his best, so we our best should give
    Not for himself - for Justice, Freedom, Right,
    He fought and bids us forward to the Fight"

    There's also a piece for Our Sailors and Our Airmen.

    Found an article in The Times by H. D. Rawnsley, seems to be a bit of self promotion. I've attached it to this email.

    Regards,

    Annette.

    So that's where the dedication comes from. As you know I am having uploading probs but if anyone wants to see the Times letter pm me your email address and I will send it. There's not much in it to be honest but if you are interested......
    The letter is dated 1919 by the way.

    I will try to summarise latest findings and update 'the file' this evening.

    Cheers all, I get the feeling we are nearly there (or have I just kyboshed us all?)

    Mike
     
  9. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    tmm,

    Quite correct, they refer to their new building as 'The Pavilion', whereas the old memorial hall is just 'the pavilion'. Thats not confusing is it!

    British Gas leased the land at the new site from Enfield Council, when they gave up the lease about 10 years ago it was taken up by Whitewebbs FC, they in turn were superceded by THFC in 2007, and the buildings were demolished in June / July 2009.

    By tomorrow I will have a phone no. for the old groundsman, who is the most likely to remember if there was a memorial plaque (or 3). If there were not I then need to speak to Transco (not Centrica, my mistake), but I'm hoping he will give me the right answer.

    Whilst this is looking very promising, it is all based on guesswork, so it may lead nowhere, or even if it is the right guess, its possible no-one can actually identify the memorial !

    I should certainly have an answer by this time tomorrow night.

    I tried THFC but I think its been put in the 'too difficult' pile, to be honest I think I sounded like a lunatic so I'm not too surprised, I will try the PR Company dealing with the development of the new training ground if I get any further.

    Pete

    The National Archives | Access to Archives
     
  10. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Edward Wellman
    SDGW adds no further info, From Dorset, was mounted MP

    However, found a James Edward Wellman
    Born Clapton
    Lived Mill Hill
    Enlisted Edmonton
    DoW 25 Apr 1918
    G/22166 1/7th Middlesex

    No other matches for anyone with a name containing Edward and Wellman



    I wonder if this is more likely than the MP from Dorset. It was quite common for forenames to be swapped around, or even completely different!

    Name: WELLMAN, JAMES EDWARD
    Initials: J E
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Private
    Regiment/Service: Middlesex Regiment
    Unit Text: 1st/7th Bn.
    Age: 21
    Date of Death: 25/04/1918
    Service No: 22166
    Additional information: Son of John Ambrose Wellman and Louisa Wellman, of 17, Rays Avenue, Montague Rd., Upper Edmonton, London.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. A. 13.
    Cemetery: AUBIGNY COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION
     
  11. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    Out of interest, I looked up James Edward Wellman's father on the 1901 census - His occupation is Gas Meter Tester
     
  12. Buteman

    Buteman 336/102 LAA Regiment (7 Lincolns), RA

    I hope that this investigation comes to a successful conclusion as the effort put in has been incredible. Well done to all those involved.

    It has been a lesson in how to conduct an in depth research and I for one have learned a lot from following this brilliant thread.

    Cheers - Rob
     
  13. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Out of interest, I looked up James Edward Wellman's father on the 1901 census - His occupation is Gas Meter Tester

    Nice result.

    Our first photo, perhaps? From de Ruvigny's Roll:

    (Just noticed his brother in the next entry.....)
     

    Attached Files:

  14. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    John Robert Wellman
     

    Attached Files:

  15. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Also found our putative Edward Windsor - and HIS BROTHER....
    Where are they?
     

    Attached Files:

  16. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    Oh yes, I did spot his entry on the roll yesterday (James Wellman) and had planned to post it up but forgot - I didn't notice his brother next to him though.
     
    Buteman likes this.
  17. Mike L

    Mike L Very Senior Member

    Geoff, Chris, brilliant stuff, think you have cracked those.
    The annoying thing is I spotted the JAMES EDWARD WELLMAN early on but discounted it! Just goes to show you can't always rely on the information you have or the source you are searching.

    Ramacal - you might have witnessed one of the last pieces of this great jigsaw puzzle fall into place.

    Reason for saying that is that Met Police have finally acted and the original finder had a (friendly) visit from our local Bobby this aftrnoon. Probably in response to the CAD (computer aided dispatch) note I asked the 'non-emergency enquiries' office to forward to Hornchurch nick.
    The Bobby seems to know a fair bit about something but is not saying too much yet, apparently he just said 'I know who to speak to about this'.

    I must say I hope we can come up with our own answer before plod does!

    Might I make a suggestion?
    Whether our investigation or the Police resolves the original location of the Memorial who fancies carrying on and completing the list?
    I know we have tied up the 'easy' ones (didn't seem all that easy at times) so the toughest ones are left but why not carry on and identify all the names?
    If the plaque goes back to wherever it came from it would be nice I think to put some history to the names. Could well be that there are few if any in the area that remember those listed, especially the WW1 guys. Maybe we could do it to show our respect for their sacrifice?

    Just a thought, what do you reckon?

    Many thanks all

    Mike
     
    Buteman likes this.
  18. Pete Keane

    Pete Keane Senior Member

    Geoff

    I hope thats the guy, it certainly fits my theory..... Rays Avenue is several hundred yards away from the Gas Works !

    Pete
     
    Buteman likes this.
  19. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter 1940 Obsessive

    Mike, I thoroughly agree with your sentiments regarding the creation of a virtual roll of honour. Regardless of where the original goes back to, it will always be vulnerable to dodgy contractors and short memories.

    Although WW1 research is not my thing, I'm thoroughly enjoying following the detective story. Maybe we could have a new thread based on guessing the location of undocumented memorials. I could start the ball rolling with some Belgian village monuments. There's no equivalent of Geoff's to find those names on !:)
     
  20. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Might I make a suggestion?
    Whether our investigation or the Police resolves the original location of the Memorial who fancies carrying on and completing the list?
    I know we have tied up the 'easy' ones (didn't seem all that easy at times) so the toughest ones are left but why not carry on and identify all the names?
    If the plaque goes back to wherever it came from it would be nice I think to put some history to the names. Could well be that there are few if any in the area that remember those listed, especially the WW1 guys. Maybe we could do it to show our respect for their sacrifice?

    Just a thought, what do you reckon?

    Many thanks all

    Mike

    You bet!
    I think the two missing brothers supports Pete's theory and rules out a church or community hall.
     

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