We look at a couple of projects in a reasonable amount of depth in this post, in order to give them coverage they had otherwise missed but also to ring the changes following the steam fair.
We also have Samson running this weekend on the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway – so look out for us there. A full report on this will follow in due course…
Fordson Thames Van – Restoration Retrospective
Below: Some of these views have appeared previously here, but I thought a recap into the restoration of the Thames van/pickup might be of interest, given that it is now back in service around the Museum. The first views show the new sills, manufactured to replace the very badly corroded originals. The work on the cab/body structure followed a not inconsiderable amount of work on the chassis and rear cross-member. With Alan and Chris leading on this project, Chris had to form some quite complex components from scratch and first principles – the images below illustrating how much work goes into replacing items that are very much not ‘stock’ parts available off the shelf (or even off Ebay!).
Below: The rear cab pillars were also badly corroded, in turn masking the rot within the wooden cab structure.
Below: Patches were also let in to replace corroded panels on the roof, with the new guttering also being shown in this view.
Below: The radiator grill (like the doors) does not appear to originate with this particular vehicle, and required considerable work to rebuild and make it fit correctly. The previous ‘restoration’ would appear to have largely been cosmetic, but with the need to regularly open the bonnet for this quite high-mileage vehicle, these parts needed to be secure and fit properly – the bonnet has since been further worked upon to achieve a better-still fit.
Below: Even during reassembly following painting there were a number of jobs to be carried out – including making new brackets to mount the front bumper, which had been mounted onto the wings (but which would have caused a lot of damage to these should it have ever been used in ‘anger’). Chris made brackets to connect the bumper to the chassis directly in order to overcome this potential problem and make for a more secure attachment to the van. The headlights also needed chamfered mountings to set them level and there were numerous other small jobs carried out by Alan and Chris at this stage. The tilt was only fitted at the last minute in order to protect it from damage.
Below: The finished job… Sue Appleby is the van’s regular driver, whence her name being carried on the headboard.
Horse Drawn Hearse
Below: Shaun, Dan and Ben have been busy since completing the body for the Morris Commercial. They have completed a programme of conservation work on an 1828 hearse, long held in the collections at Beamish and finally released for display in the hearse house at St Helens Church in the 1820s landscape. We start with a view of the cradle/trestle and legs that will secure this fragile and important relic from unwanted movement.
Below: Shaun poses proudly with the completed project. The new timber has not been painted, and will remain untreated to show what is new and what is original. The original finish has been cleaned but will not be further touched at this stage. This way the hearse is clearly represented as an original artefact, but with new material to both stabilise its condition but also enable its shape and role to be fully understood.
Below: These views show how carefully new material has been blended with old, to retain as much of the original as possible but still give some structural stability to the hearse which will, after all, be on daily display within the hearse house. The wheels will also be slightly elevated when displayed and the condition of the hearse will be monitored against any deterioration or damage it may suffer – in deference to its age, condition and rarity.
Below: Dan is seen polishing the new (old!) counter that will be installed into the W H Smiths kiosk within the Town tram shelter – more on this in due course…
Below: Whilst there are no immediate plans to progress the stone engine shed that is intended to house Samson (and be open as a new period space for interpreting this area of the Colliery), the opportunity to complete the floor has been taken, with stone flags being laid to ensure a rather better working space than was the case previously. We make a lot of use of the pit, both for maintenance and also carrying out fitness to run examinations on visiting locomotives and rolling stock, so completing this area to this stage forms a useful milestone.
Below: The team have been busy on a number of fronts, including the Duke of Sutherland saloon. Some of the straps for the droplights are leather, whilst some are this very fancy design – one of which is seen here awaiting repair.
Below: The Georgian swing boat has also been moved into the workshop for restoration. Some work has already been carried out on the ironwork, including Non Destructive Testing (NDT). When we purchased this, we were told it dated from the 1840s, though if this is true it has had quite a quantity of new material since then!
Below: One of the items on the wish-list for Rowley Station were a number of additional oil lamps for the path to the station. Volunteer Peter put his mind to the task and has built these replicas from scratch, to a very high standard. They are awaiting painting and glazing, whilst Peter is now making the oil vessels for the lamps themselves. This is a superb contribution to the work of the RHEC and the attention to detail out on site.
Below: We’ll see more of Samson’s new tender next week, as it is now packed away for its trip to Wales tonight where it will join Samson for the first time. Dave has pulled out the stops to have it ready, with Chris and Matt also working on the details to ensure it is ready. It will be tested for the first time this Thursday!