Plumtree Court

"I was the Assistant Resident Engineer on the construction of Fleet Building on Farringdon Street in the late 1950's. At that time it was a major new development in the City of London and as a government building for Post Office telecommunications, it was designed and built by the Ministry of Works.

The basement construction entailed deep excavations with mass concrete retaining walls of between 6ft and 9ft thickness built in timber supported trenchworks. The concrete having 20% pulverised fuel ash PFA replacing an equivalent amont of cement to lower the temperature of hydration during curing, to reduce the risk of cracking, as the basement had no external waterproofing protection. During that construction phase, we exposed two mass burial pits of unknown origin in the central ares of the site and some of the original Fleet River wharfside brick built storage buildings with brick barrel vaulted roofs, alongside Farringdon Street on the SE side of the site. They were just clear of the new works and were left as found.

Ernest Marples, the Post Office Minister laid the foundation stone in the reception area on Farringdon Street in either 1958 or 1959. I was present. A large sealed tube was built in immediately under the foundation stone. It had examples of the telephone equipment in use at that time along with other artifacts and I think a newspaper. The building progressed to higher levels and I left the site in late 1959.

The Resident Engineer was a civil engineer Mr White, who had previously been engaged on the building of the experimental Ship Tank at Feltham. From memory, I think the contractor was Turriff."

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