Black Country Bugle
Going with the flow – all controlled by a bit of Black Country iron
BACK in our June 1 edition, we took a look at some of the mighty cast iron structures that were produced by the Oldbury firm of Ham Baker & Co.
Though registered as a London company, and with ‘Westminster’ stamped on their products, Ham Baker only had their offices in the capital – the real work was done at Langley Green, where penstocks, huge iron doors used to control flow of water, were made.
These pictures are taken from a catalogue, dating we think from the 1920s or ’30s, which has been loaned to us by former employee
Shown at the top of the page is Weymouth Embankment, with a series of Ham Baker flaps (the round ones, two each side) and penstocks (in the centre, raisable by turning the wheels above them.) Flow of water could thus be very precisely controlled.
At left are two tidal flaps with multiple doors to control flow at varying rates, and a man and woman pictured next to each to give an idea of just how large they were.
And on the right are three enormous penstock valves in situ in Isleworth, London, where they controlled the flow into the main sewerage works for West Middlesex.