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Nine Elms Warehouse, site of
St George Wharf, Nine Elms, Wandsworth, London, UK
associated engineer
Oscar Faber
George Ellson
date  20th November 1936
era  Modern  |  category  Building  |  reference  TQ301780
This warehouse was built for Southern Railway at its Nine Elms depot, and was used mainly for storing grain and other foodstuffs. It was designed by Oscar Faber and the railway’s chief engineer George Ellson. The warehouse was demolished after the depot closed in 1967 and the site has been redeveloped.
The seven storey rectangular warehouse was sandwiched lengthwise between the River Thames to the north west and the main line Southern Railway to the south east. It was floodlit at night, and there was a suite of offices and an electrical sub-station adjacent.
The warehouse was 94.5m long and 24.4m wide. It was founded on reinforced concrete piles driven into the underlying blue clay, each pile carrying a load of 61 tonnes. The floors were designed for goods loading of 1,640kg per sq m, in addition to their self weight.
The building had six main floors, with a conveyor floor above these and three 30.5m tall elevator (lift) towers on its roof. Each lift could carry 2 tonnes and travelled at 0.5m/s. Railway tracks ran through the ground floor of the building, which was level with the floor of the train trucks to enable easy loading and unloading of goods.
Both ground and first floors were reinforced concrete, and the first floor had a granolithic finish suitable for perishable goods. The upper floors comprised reinforced concrete beams with 100mm thick Columbian pine planks overlaid with 25mm of maple flooring. To maximise both storage space and lighting, all windows had their sills 1.5m above floor level and continued up to the ceiling.
The warehouse provided a total storage area of 12,500 sq m and could accommodate some 12,200 tonnes of merchandise. The ground floor was used for machinery, the first and second floors for various goods and the remaining floors for sacks of grain.
There were three cranes on the river side of the warehouse, which could unload two lines of barges moored at the wharf. Goods in sacks were transported mechanically to the top of the elevator towers, whence they could be delivered by spiral chutes and conveyor bands to any of the floors. Other goods were transported in the three freight lifts.
Vehicular goods movements from the warehouse were effected at a loading bay on the river side where more chutes discharged directly into the trucks. A reinforced concrete canopy carried on cantilever beams covered the bay, projecting 6.1m out from the building just below the first floor windows.
The warehouse opened on 20th November 1936. It was demolished after the depot closed in 1967. St George Wharf, a residential development of five mixed-use buildings, was completed on the site in 2008. St George Wharf Tower, located west of these buildings, is one of Europe's tallest residential structures.
Structural engineer: K. Montgomery-Smith
M&E engineer: J.R. Kell
Research: ECPK
bibliography
"Grain Storage at Nine Elms: New Warehouse with Seven Floors"
in The Times, 21st November 1936
"Some Recent Industrial Buildings" by Oscar Faber, in The Structural Engineer, London, pp.466-481, November 1937
"Oscar Faber, his work, his firm & afterwards" by John Faber, Quiller Press, London 1989
www.stgeorgeplc.com
Location

Nine Elms Warehouse, site of