This week I’ve mixed news with some archive material that I thought readers might enjoy. We also look at the formal launch of the accessible bus in its new colours, complete with period and modern companions…
Incidentally, with the Festival of the 50s on all weekend, there is ample opportunity to ride Rotherham 220 which is in operation throughout the event, including some ‘unusual’ route mileage.
Below: On Wednesday morning the access bus, now branded ‘Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle’ in line with current nomenclature, was formally launched into service in its new livery. It as accompanied by a 1963 Leyland Leopard (a genuine Venture vehicle) and a 2013 Optare Solo, which is part of the Venture styled brand operated by Go North East around the Consett area. The access bus was painted at Go North East’s workshops, being branded and detailed upon return to Beamish. Now ten years old it is a stalwart of the fleet, accumulating a huge mileage, usually in first or second gear, and providing an essential service for visitors who require it’s adaptations and features. This punishing operation means it is quite an intensively maintained vehicle and at present it awaits a new/refurbished gearbox (all those miles in low gears…) though is still in operation. It is also planned to upgrade and refurbish the interior at some point. It will be recalled that we have a second accessible vehicle which is 75% restored, but the resources needed to complete this are, at present, not available and so the RHEC staff are concentrating on improving the existing bus.
Below: Should I avoid the usual comments about waiting for one, then three turn up…???!!!
Below: Matt B has been assembling timbers into a large block in order to profile the wooden tipper supports for the FR side tipping granite waggon which is very nearly complete. Another evening’s work by Matt and I saw the stanchions and associated brackets assembled to the floor. The body (completed) is nearly ready to be placed upon its chassis, leaving paintwork, signwriting and assembly of the brakegear to complete.
Below: Rebecca is now fully engaged in the preparation of the gallopers horses. These are being stripped back to bare wood, repaired then primed, undercoated (twice) before the base coats of colour are built up – the aim being lots of depth to the paint to ensure a level of durability. A different style of paintwork is being applied – taking the appearance back to its Edwardian guise. Replacement eyes and tails are fitted where necessary and the steps are also to receive attention as these have deteriorated on most of the horses.
Below: I a spare few moments Tony has aluminium primed the brakevan – the painting of this will be slow, as it will be up to me! I anticipate that the chassis may well be completed before I get this done!!!
Below: The signwriting of the Cub KG2 is progressing well. Meanwhile the radiator is away for overhaul (making one good from two) and the surround will be re-chromed if we can fit that in as well. Not shown here, but the S&N van is now receiving its blue paint in the paintshop, with the middle of next week the target for its completion and return to the fitters for reassembly. Work on the Morris Commercial will then re-commence, with the cab to spray and the body to paint, before the two are united and then the body doors etc. fitted and final paintwork and lettering completed.
Below: Dave Young has completed the axles for the brakevan and he and Matt E pressed the wheels on during the week. I’ve also shown a photo with the completed pedestal in situ to show how the inside bearings relate to the work carried out.
Below: Here is the pedestal resting on the journal. The wheels obviously need some tidying up and painting. They are ex Broughton Moor, and were acquired loose, rather than attached to any vehicle. A few more of these would be very handy if anyone has any lying about?!
Monday will see Shaun and his team (still working as part of the RHEC for now before moving on to building projects once the construction team start the Remaking Beamish programme in bricks and mortar plan in earnest) start a ‘quick’ but interesting project that combines transport with period food… More on this next time, but it will see the creation of a Georgian food outlet to upgrade the present ‘cart’ near Pockerley Old Hall – but with a twist. It should be interesting and is very much the product of a ‘fag packet’ sketch process!
There is a national trend within the heritage sector to use social media to cover the behind the scenes workshop activities – Beamish being no exception as readers who also follow the Museum’s Facebook page will know. There have been some very nice films produced in association with these features, as you may recall from the Model T example. Here is another interesting film (by David Watchman, from the communications team here), starring Ian Bean, Projects Director of the Friends of Beamish, discussing the SOS bus, its restoration and history…
From the archives…
Jonathan has been putting together a display that you can see as part of the Festival of the Fifties event this Thursday to Sunday. In rummaging around in the extensive archives of trade catalogues we hold, he came across an undated bound catalogue from Joseph Cook, Sons7 Company in Washington, Co Durham. The company is still in existence, in an indirect way, having amalgamated with the Grange Iron Company in 1926 and then, I would guess, been subject to numerous mergers and absorptions. I’d be interested to learn more if anyone has studied this firm.
Contained within 192 pages are many images of the products produced in Washington, ranging from colliery headgear, plant, washing equipment to rolling stock, castings, forgings and tipplers.
I’ve scanned a few pages that I thought might be of particular interest here, illustrating some wonderful waggons and tubs that Cooks manufactured. I particularly like the iron bodies side tipper and the oil tank waggon – a smaller version of each would look very well in our Colliery, the latter making a good ‘long-range’ tender for Samson…!!!