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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th February 1917 Born today: Phyllis Calvert, London, actress (Man in Grey)
18th February 1901 Born today: Reginald Sheffield, London England, actor (Second Chance)
18th February 1775 Born today: Thomas Girtin, London, artist/watercolorist
Explosive Dryads' Hall
The home and laboratory of explosive inventor Oswald Silberrad.
Location: Woodbury Hill, Loughton, Essex
Description: Set in 3 acres at Woodbury Hill this seven bedroom house Dryads' Hall, on the edge of Epping Forest was home to Dr Oswald Silberrad; the British industrial chemist.
In the aftermath of the Boer War, Dr Silberrad (1878-1960) investigated the failure of British lyddite-filled high explosive shells to detonate properly, and discovered that TNT could be used as a detonator.
During his career he carried out research into dynamites resulting in a new range of powerful explosives and he also developed a new alloy, solving the problem of the erosion of warships bronze propellers.
Local estate agent Stephen White said:
Dr Silberrads son John, who died in 2005, continued to live in the house and until very recently the library was still
lined with his fathers books these are now being sold. Dryads' Hall and its library and laboratory are a fascinating link to the past made perhaps more poignant by the proliferation of weapons and explosives in the modern world. Today, however, it is in need of substantial work and it may well be that a buyer would choose to demolish the existing house and rebuild in this stunning location.