Stories about Technology

The Fire-Proof House
Ever set a house on fire deliberately? How about while the king and queen were inside, eating breakfast? One Putney Heath resident did just this, in 1774 - not out of any republican fervour, but as a...
The Gas Lamp
In the years before electricity was widespread, Wandsworth was filled with gas lamps - and not just on the streets and in the home; Falk's Veritas gas mantle works, for example, was situated on...
The Secret Spy Garage
St John's Road, near Clapham Junction, is a cheerful busy shopping street - much as it was in the 1970s. In the 70s, however, it was also home to a spy garage. MI5 agents from Section 4 of 'A'...
The Semaphore Line
Putney Heath! Vital communication link between London and Portsmouth! Or at least, it was in the early nineteenth century. It wasn't easy to send a fast message in the early 1800s; no telephones, no...
The Telescope
In 1852, Wandsworth Common was home to "a singular-looking structure, consisting of a plain tower with a long tube slung by its side, surrounded by a wooden-hoarding to keep off intruders"...
The Waterworks
The Southwark and Vauxhall Waterworks Company was formed in 1845 by the amalgamation of two earlier water companies; after competing against each other for years, they eventually decided that laying...
The Tooting Destructor
In the early twentieth century, a lot of councils, including Wandsworth, got rid of their local rubbish with Dust Destructors: giant incinerators to which huge cartfuls of burnable rubbish could be...