There has been a bit of an interruption to blog posts lately – the site is to be migrated to a new server and so currently exists in two places while this work is carried out – it is being done by a someone on a voluntary basis, to whom I am extremely grateful, and so must fit around their other priorities.
Below: It has begun… The official first ‘cut’ has taken place (on the site of what will be Spainsfield farm) and elsewhere the foundations for the Quilter’s cottage have also been dug and cast, with the first courses of stone due to commence very shortly. A four year programme is in place and the building/construction teams (which are a separate entity within the museum) are being developed. Meanwhile, the research, planning and design continue apace…
Below: Within a week of the ceremony the contractors moved onto site and are now busily clearing the site of the 1950s Town area, formerly an open store and scrubland. The progress and change in shape to this once familiar landscape is pretty astonishing! The first photograph shows the new road being driven from Foulbridge towards the 1950s area. This will serve Spainsfield Farm (due to start next spring) and also act as a haul road for the contractors and staff working on the 50s area buildings, to reduce traffic on the perimeter road to a minimum.
Below: The rest of these views show the main area of the 1950s site – wit surface clearance well advanced.
Below: The plans for a trolleybus route around the site are well known. This is more accurately to be described as a 1950s bus route, as motor and trolley buses will operate over it. We already have Newcastle 501 in the collection, and are in advanced talks with the owner of Teesside 11 (Latterly T291 Reg VRD 186) with a view to this bus joining the collection at Beamish. He has recently completed an extensive programme of restoration and overhaul on the vehicle, which made its operational debut, complete with new paintwork (having previously run with the ‘Last Trolleybus’ scheme) at the East Anglia Transport Museum’s Trolleybus event over the 23/24 September.
It was built for Reading Corporation, and features a Sunbeam F4A chassis with a Burlingham forward entrance 68 seat body. Built in 1961, they were sold second-hand to Teesside Municipal Transport in 1969, where they gave, intermittently, a further two years service. No.9 and No.11 survived, with 11 wearing a commemorative livery from then until very recently when it was repainted in anticipation of eventually operating at Beamish. Whilst it post-dates the 1950s date of our development, it is entirely appropriate for locality of operation (and there are very few options in this regard in any case) and also this chassis design was in production from 1952.
We still have to conclude arrangements, and more will be revealed in due course. But with the owner keen to make public 11’s future, I thought we would also include this work in progress here…
Photos courtesy of David Williams, with our thanks.
Below: The RHEC is busy on a number of projects, whilst waiting for the timber to arrive for Joe the Quilters roof trusses, which will be manufactured here. In the meantime, the chance has been taken to carry out a number of maintenance jobs, some conservation (including a table for the quilter’s) and also this… Tony has carved this number, but what is it for?! All will be revealed in due course – so I offer this as a taster/teaser!
Below: Routine work, such as storage boxes for the school have also been a feature. A pair of these have been built and painted and await collection by their new owners…
Below: The Model T Tourer is now a runner, though there are numerous areas to concentrate on still.. You’ll have to take my word for it, but it was running when I took this photo!
Below: The FR coal waggon… A chance to re-board this was seized and it is now in the paintshop being finished off… There is a plan for next April’s steam fair to run waggons based here, rather than brought in (so we can focus some of the budget elsewhere). Once complete, the waggon will be put into store until the spring… Also seen is the brakevan body, which is also progressing when gaps in time allow… Largely as light relief from the 36 gallopers horses that Rebecca is painting!
Below: Tony and Matt B have also progressed the new doors for Gateshead 10. Some original material has been re-used, but new frames have been manufactured – the sequence being shown here. They will be stained then varnished.
Below: Readers may recall the discovery of the wooden Willington Waggonway a few years back… (see link above). The conservation of the wooden rails, sleepers and revetments is ongoing and the first results were presented recently in the Regional Museum Store at Beamish (within the Tyne & Wear section) to a number of historians, curators and interested parties. I’ll post more links to the site for this in due course, meanwhile here are some images showing the timbers as they are now (this being only part of the collection). You can read more on the plans for it here: https://stephensonrailwaymuseum.org.uk/about-us/the-willington-waggonway
Below: Some tidying work has been underway behind the Sinkers Bait Cabin in the Colliery, to improve the view in this area and increase visible access to the collections (standard and narrow gauge) when they are in operation. In due course the mound of spoil will also be relocated and some additional track laid for both operational and aesthetic purposes.
Below: Last weekend’s Power from the Past event (essentially enhanced transport engagement, on the roads around the Museum), provided an opportunity for the Friends team of volunteers who restored R025 to show the completed roller. It hasn’t appeared in its finished guise on here yet – so here it is… Hopefully it will find employment rolling the cricket pitch next year!
Also in operation was a 1949 Crossley single deck coach owned by Wright Bros. of Nenthead near Alston. Terry Pinnegar took some photographs, with the coach alongside our own Rotherham 220 during the event.