BHO

Shot Tower and Lead Works, No. 63 Belvedere Road

Page 47

Survey of London: Volume 23, Lambeth: South Bank and Vauxhall. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1951.

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Table of contents

CHAPTER 9 - THE SHOT TOWER AND LEAD WORKS, No.63 BELVEDERE ROAD

The shot tower stands on part of Float Mead, of which Henry Warburton, M.P., obtained a building lease commencing from 1824. (fn. 2) The tower was built in 1826 to the design of David Riddal Roper for Thomas Maltby & Co. It was taken over in 1839 (fn. 1) by Walkers, Parker & Co., the firm which was operating the square shot tower east of Waterloo Bridge, and it continued in their hands as a going concern until 1949. It is the only one of the old buildings to be left on the Festival site.

Architectural Description

[See plates 29 and 30.]

The tower is built in stock brick, it tapers slightly, being 30 feet in diameter at the base, where the wall is 3 feet thick, and 20 feet in diameter at the gallery, where the wall is 18 inches thick. The gallery is 163 feet from the ground and is reached by a spiral staircase cantilevered from the inside face of the wall. There was a floor at half-way level where lead was formerly melted and dropped to make small shot. At gallery level was a chamber from which lead was dropped for large shot. The chamber was surmounted by a parapet and cornice. The continuity of the open parapet was broken by four solid piers on each of which was bedded a capping stone.

The gallery has an iron balustrade supported by iron console brackets. Below these the tower is ringed by a stone band carried on small corbels, while at various stages there are small segmental headed windows.

In 1950 the gallery chamber was demolished and a steel-framed superstructure erected to serve as a radio beacon for the Festival of Britain.

Footnotes

  • 1. P.O. and other London Directories.,
  • 2. Church Commissioners: Deeds 86901.