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. (ref. 104) The
tower was built in 1826 to the design of David Riddal Roper for Thomas
Maltby & Co. It was taken over in 1839 (ref. 48) 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.
[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.
||P.O. and other London Directories.,
||Church Commissioners: Deeds 86901.