Our Patch July 2015 - Page 17

Our Patch July 2015 LOOKING BACK Workers at Gwynnes Engineering Company in Hammersmith in the early 1900s GWYNNES T he hole in the ground where Riverside Studios is currently being rebuilt in Crisp Road once played a key part in Hammersmith’s industrial past. The firm of Gwynnes was founded in 1849 for the manufacture of centrifugal pumps. In 1867 two members of the Gwynne family started the separate business of Hammersmith Iron Works at Chancellors Wharf in Queen’s Road (later renamed Crisp Road). A merger in 1903 saw the whole operation centralised in Hammersmith. H A M M ERS M IT H By the beginning of the 20th Century, Gwynnes had won national and international recognition for its ‘Invincible’ centrifugal pumping machinery. In 1914 Gwynnes was commissioned by the Admiralty to manufacture rotary aero engines for the Royal Naval Air Service. The Crisp Road site was fully occupied in making pumps so the company opened another works at Church Wharf, Chiswick, formerly the site of Thorneycroft shipbuilders. After the First World War the Chiswick works concentrated on motor car manufacture and during the 1920s produced a series of touring and racing cars as well as fire engines. This site, which had been empty for a number of years, was destroyed by bombs in the Second World War. Thanks to crippling labour strikes, the company went into liquidation in 1925. The site was taken over by Hammersmith Borough Council, which used the southern section as a depot. The large factory building to the north opened as a film studio in 1935. This became the BBC television studi