A conversation about the old gunpowder mills, now Crane Park, with 87 year old Mrs Margery Pfeffer produced the photocopy, right, of a painting made in 1929 by Margery’s childhood friend, 12 year old Doris Brannan, showing the gate keeper’s house.

It was 1926 when the firm of Curtis and Harvey sold the gunpowder works that Margery and her family moved into the Gate House.

She remembers her father telling her that the tower was never used to manufacture lead shot, as many believe, but was a water tower that had something to do with supplying water to King Manoel’s Estate at Fulwell.

There was a huge fuss at one time about poor pressure. Indeed, it transpires that an “hydraulic accumulator” was installed in the tower in 1888 to provide a water supply to local estates and to power a “local pelleting mill”, but the tower’s original purpose remains unclear.

In a strange quirk of fate, Doris Brannan, as Mrs Thoms, came to live on the site of the keeper’s house, 706 Hanworth Road.

Some time in the past her painting was reproduced in a local newspaper together with the story of how she and Margery would explore the old tower, going right to the top by what remained of a rusted spiral staircase.

When the mill site was due for development in 1933, the gatekeeper’s house was earmarked for demolition and so Doris captured the scene in watercolour from her bedroom window opposite.

During the war years one of her brothers salvaged the picture from the dustbin, urging her to “keep it. One day it will be history for you”. And so it has become.

The Twickenham Museum is very keen to contact Mrs Thoms, or her family, with a view to obtaining a better copy of the painting for the archive.

Information would be gratefully received by Ed Harris on 8894 5136 or e.harris510@btinternet.com