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Saturday, 29 December 2012

Lazonby's little water tower

click image to enlarge  Photo- Alan Atkinson

Photographed in the 1970s, this was the Settle-Carlisle line's smallest water tank house - at Lazonby, between Appleby and Carlisle.   It held just 12,000 gallons of water compared with Settle's 43,000 gallons.   It was made of the local red sandstone and had a chimney, suggesting it may have originally housed a steam pumping engine.   The water source was a beck some 200 yards to the north, beyond what is presently Bells Bakery.   There was a brick built electric pump house by the beck on the up side.   How the water was pumped in pre-electric days is not known.   The building became a railwaymen's mess room, complete with obligatory coal fire.   The windows are smaller than Settle's.  Otherwise the architectural details appear identical.   A water crane from Lazonby still exists and is in use at Appleby to water today's steam engines.   The Lazonby tank supplied two water cranes, one at each end of the station.   This is the northern crane, serving the down line.   Note the brazier alongside it, to prevent freezing in winter. 
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Friday, 28 December 2012

Why aren't you using more water?

Regular followers will know that we installed a rainwater harvesting system at the water tower.   A 1,000 gallon tank (below but sideways on) collects rainwater from the roofs of the tower and of the main outbuilding.   The thrice filtered water is then used for flushing the toilets, the washing machine and outside taps.   This means we use far less mains water.   Yorkshire Water sent two men along to inspect the system, to make sure it had been properly fitted and in particular that there was no risk of the pure water supply being contaminated with rainwater.   They looked upon our system and lo, they were pleased with it.

Whilst we were away over Christmas a lady from Yorkshire Water left a message on our 'phone to tell us that we were not using enough water, according to our self-reading water meter.   Would we therefore ring 0845 1252520 (and pay for the call) to explain ourselves?

Look at Yorkshire Water's website and you will learn that:

Protecting and enhancing Yorkshire's environment is part of our day-to-day business and it's an area in which we excel.

I may be able to help Yorkshire Water with another area in which they could excel.

Pat, in a moment of weakness telephoned them and explained about the rainwater.   They were happy with our explanation.   I remain unhappy with Yorkshire Water who took an age to provide us with a supply.   Here by way or reminder is Bobby the dog waiting, and waiting and waiting back in summer last year.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Restoration Man - definite date - sooner than expected

Have just heard from Assistant Producer Tom Cullum that the second TV programme about our water tower will be transmitted on


9pm  CHANNEL 4

Although ours is a re-visit, it will be the sixth and last programme in a brand new series of restorations, starting next Thursday, 27th December and weekly thereafter.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Heritage Railway

The December issue (#171) of Heritage Railway magazine, out today, carries a two page article by Geoff Courtney about our navvy hut.   See pages 36 and 37  "Newspaper fragment leads to unique railway discovery"

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Navvy Hut Then and Now

This map was published in 1899 and shows our navvy hut in situ at the railway yard at Appleby, more or less dead centre, the lower of the two rectangles alongside the N.E.R. Eden Valley Branch.   Up to now, 1911 was the earliest map we had.

The two photographs which follow were taken in 1972 by Peter W Robinson.   They show the hut was in a pretty iffy state 40 years ago!   
In the picture above, note the varying lengths at the bottoms of the cladding boards on the southern gable.   This, with other evidence like unused bolt holes, suggests that the hut was rebuilt here at Appleby rather than having been a new build in that location.   We can see that skylights have been fitted to both slopes of the roof.   Otherwise the small and few windows would have made the building very dark indeed.   It was these skylights that had eventually failed, letting in the weather and resulting in at least two of the roof trusses rotting.

This final picture is by Network Rail's Ian Ambrose and shows the hut rebuilt at the water tower at Settle.   The red doors are the very doors from the original hut in the black and white picture above. 
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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Restoration Man revisit programme date

It is now looking as though the Restoration Man revisit programme will not be shown as early in 2013 as had been expected.   Things can of course change but the latest transmission date we have is Tuesday 24th September 2013, give or take two weeks.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas Open Day at Settle Station

    Our annual Open Day at Settle Station brought out the stars.   From the left we see Brenda Moss (mince pies, sherry and and general stardom), Althea Christmas (wheelchair bound but into the sherry by 10am) and Settle Voices singing carols on the platform at Settle before moving on to do the same at Hellifield.

And here is the Opera North horn quartet, Brenda and Margaret Moss, the donations basket and finally, the last train home from Settle.

This annual event is appreciated by locals and visitors alike.   Train passengers are delighted to have festive music and one local remarked that it wouldn't be Chritstmas without sherry and mince pies at the station.
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Thursday, 6 December 2012

Warm Words and Snow

Walking into Settle this morning I came across Settle's volunteer paper salvage collectors doing their weekly round.   One of the collectors was kind enough to say how much he appreciated the big shed at the water tower.   "Just right - perfect for the location" he said.   How very reassuring.

Right now it is snowing heavily - those big big flakes of proper snow.   Up in the roof room the snow swirling around, it is a bit like being in a warm car - but without the worry about getting home safely.   This IS home and very cosy it is too.   Pat and I watched the arrival of the evening train from Carlisle, its front white with snow, only a few minutes delayed.  Settle station's heritage lights and the station buildings combined in a Dickensian scene.   Dickens merged with Lowry as the passengers trudged homewards.

What a place this is.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Merry Christmas

  Well, it was either this or a giant inflatable illuminated snowman playing Jingle Bells on the roof.   Nothing tasteless, you understand.
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Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Double Yellows and Females of Doubtful Reputation

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Men came today and repaired the double yellow lines on The Sidings, which should ease the problems faced by HGV drivers who find themselves unable to turn when their sat-navs have misled them.   Other pictures show the progress on the summer house (hereinafter known as T'ut) and the navvy hut (Grumpy's Shed).   Both are looking the bees knees.   The steps in front of T'ut are work in progress but you get the idea.   The rain chain works as, thankfully, do the props.
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Saturday, 10 November 2012

Rules for Grandsons - and Wise Husbands Too

Grandson James (7) has asked for my help in devising a task list for his brother, Grandson Ben (4 yesterday).    This is a calendar style Gruffalo thing whereby tasks for the forthcoming week are written  across the top line above a grid below showing days of the week and spaces for stars for achievement of the named tasks.    Got it?

Faced with a blank chart for week 1 James suggested the following:

1  Do what Mummy tells you
2  Wee in the toilet

Forgive the near total irrelevance to the Settle Station Water Tower but it struck me that those were good enough rules for any four year old - or any male of any age come to that.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Grandstand View

Have a look at
When the train has passed through Settle Station the water tower can be seen.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Just Two Years Ago

Photo courtesy of Mark Bartlett - click to enlarge 
 I came across this picture of the water tower in Autumn 2010 on the Railscot website.   The trees are on the turn and some thinning of the shrubbery on the station drive had been done.   The tower sits there untouched with broken windows and its rusty tank.   To the left it hides behind the trees.   That fence to the right was effective but not elegant!
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A Gadget that Works

This time of year especially the papers are full of adverts for things you don't need but every once in a while something crops up that is very useful and that works.   Here is one - the Karcher window vac.   Our cast iron single glazed window frames suffer from condensation - inevitably.   It just so happens that the suction blade is the perfect fit - see below.

Each morning we give the windows a quick suck and hey presto, we get rid of maybe a pint of condensation and are able to see out of the perfectly clean windows.   It is quite fun actually!
Usual disclaimer - no connection with Karcher.

If only they did a narrow blade for those side bits . . .  
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Saturday, 27 October 2012

What a Location This Is

Sitting in the roof room this evening at 7.05pm, reading the paper I heard the distinctive wail of an A4 Pacific's chime whistle -a distinctive sound from my childhood, unique to the 'streaks'.  The A4s were surely the most beautiful and unquestionably the fastest steam locomotives in the World.

There in the darkness was 'Union of South Africa' (below) racing southbound through Settle on its way home after a day hauling The Hadrian' from York via Newcastle and Carlisle.
LNER  A4 Pacific, No 60009, Union of South Africa
What a privilege to have a grandstand view of such things.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

E-Mail Notifications of new postings

I was under the mistaken impression that 'followers' of this Blog received e-mail notifications of new postings.   Not so.   Looking at my Blog settings I can select up to ten people, 'followers' or not who will get e-mails whenever a new post goes on.

If you have just had an e-mail notification then you are one of the chosen ones, you lucky people.

If you would rather not receive e-mail notifications I shall not be offended and shall re-allocate to another poor sod whose life needs filling.   Please acknowledge receipt of the e-mail then I shall know if you have received it.

Let's see if this works.   Isn't life exciting?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Australian TV Showing

I got a whiff that our programme was going to be shown on TV in Australia.   Looking at the Blog statistics I noticed a huge spike yesterday, referred from

Good to know that there is interest down under!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Glad It's Clad

click collage to enlarge

During a day of October sunshine I was able to treat the cedar cladding of the summer house.   There are still some bits of cladding to finish off but it was too good an opportunity to miss.   The summer house, with its spectacular view of Pen y Ghent looks better by the day and when finished will be a super hide-away.

The varnish looks a bit patchy as it is only part dry.   When dry it will be a matt finish and will look fine.

That Doggie in the Window

Our dog Bess is becoming something of a local celebrity.  She stands in the tower windows which go right down to floor level - ideal for dogs to keep watch.   She seems to be asleep on the job just now though.

We got Bess from the RSPCA about four years ago.   She is a failed sheep dog who worries for Yorkshire, if not England.   Poor thing she is frightened of men in general and men with sticks in particular.   Land Rovers too.   Sad.
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Thursday, 18 October 2012

Settle-Carlisle Railway Boys

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This photo-shopped 'old' picture shows Matt the Camera, David the Sound, Michael the Portillo, George the Clarke and me the me on the platform at Settle Station watching a northbound arrival.

Moments later the southbound train pulled in by which time Michael, me and George were standing in a line watching it slow to a standstill.   We all three observed an elderly couple sitting in window seats opposite one another.   Recognition dawned on the face of the elderly gentleman who pointed at us and shouted to his wife "Look Ethel (or whatever), that's ......... on the platform".

George spoke first.   "Michael, you've been sussed"

"No I haven't, it's you he saw, not me" said Michael

The pair of them debated the issue and got nowhere.   As a compromise they agreed that it must have been me who had been recognised.   Unlikely in the extreme.   One of those odd little moments in life.

Summer House progressing well

Throughout yesterday's filming Wonder of Wood were working on the summer house, fitting the cedar cladding boards.   The building is looking very good indeed.   Several people have commented on how right it looks.   Perfect for the site and its location.   The black painted windows seem to go well with the cedar.
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Portillo Gets Annisoned

Ruth (Never Miss a Trick) Annison button-holes Michael Portillo on a Wensleydale matter during his surprise visit to the water tower yesterday.   (Picture - Bob Swallow)Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


We have had a busy day filming our 'completed' project for the Restoration Man Revisited programme.   Picture shows l to r sound man David, camera man Matt, Pat and presenter George who is playing silly buggers in the lift.

Posted by PicasaWe had a most enjoyable day covering in detail the latest developments with the shed, the summer house, the lift and the thing in general.   We had a suspiciously long and relaxed lunch at The Lion and ambled back to the water tower.   Pat and I were ushered into the kitchen whilst the film crew took general shots.

Then the front door bell rang.   I went to see who was it was and there stood Michael Portillo.   You will have to see the programme to see what I said!   They will have to cut out the expletives.   It is slightly unnerving to answer your front door to find a sombre suited celebrity standing there.   Anyway it was very good of Michael to make time to be here.

The afternoon ended with champagne and kind words of congratulations.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Last Minute Scramble before the telly return

There has been frantic activity today to get the place ready for tomorrow's television.   Top picture shows CSi's finest, Allen and Reinhold, assisted by FoSCL's fittest, Les and Bob,  positioning a huge and heavy piece of toughened glass into the office wall to replace a broken pane.
Meanwhile, below, Wonder of Wood are putting the cedar cladding onto the summer house - eight years late but by heck it looks good.   L to R William, Alec and Neil.

As well as the blokes, designer Lucie Marshall worked magic on the interior of the tower for producers Tiger Aspect.   Besides being a very able designer, Lucie runs The Rosemary Branch a fascinating theatre  pub in Islington, London.   See
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The Garages are Occupied At Last

Gladys Emmanuel the 1914 Ford Model T has settled in nicely to her new home and today, Pat's MX5 took up residence in the car port.
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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Paper Conservation

Meet Stephen Allen - seen here working on the fragile fragments of paper pasted to one of the cladding boards of the navvy hut.
Technology in action.   The camera zooms in on the word Penny.   We are incredibly lucky to have found Stephen whose painstaking skills have been able to identify the title of the publication - and the all important date.

A Delightful Afternoon's Work

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Nephew David plus Barbara and young Tommy visited today, armed with tools and enthusiasm.   In three hours they worked miracles on what should be the very last jobs in the garden.   This team has been an enormous help with the really heavy work of  creating a garden from a wilderness.   Today they created a path (bottom left) and set a railway sleeper in concrete to provide a stable platform for the summer house where it overlaps the edge of the embankment.   Peter Bennett had done a lot of work on this earlier in the week but the rain had turned the area into a mudbath.   Happily today we had glorious autumn sunshine.Posted by Picasa

Friday, 12 October 2012

An Invitation

Channel 4 are coming to the water tower on Wednesday next (17th) to film a re-visit of the project, to be shown in 2013.   This is the final big filming session. 

The producers would like to have a final scene of happy people toasting the saving and success of the S&C and have asked us to muster some relevant and interested people for this at 1545 on Wednesday (when trains from both ends arrive at Settle).   

This is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the S&C's saving very publicly (2 million plus viewers).  

Followers of this Blog are especially welcome.   Just let us know if you plan to be here.   It is an opportunity to see the filming being done, to see the latest developments and to meet Gorgeous George and the team.

I guess our followers in the USA, Russia, Chile and so forth will find this rather short notice and, though most welcome, are excused.

The Big Shed's Final Side is Built

For the past two days I have had much appreciated help from Peter Bennett - seen here being a bit thespian about it.   This is the east gable part way through day 1 of 2.

And here it is at the end of day 2!   Windows still to finish but almost there.   Because this gable had doors and a window originally we did not have full length cladding boards to go right up to the ridge - hence the horizontal boards at the top.

Below is the other gable end with full height cladding.

The site is still to tidy up and some details remain but wow, what a fantastic building has emerged from the components of the old shed below:

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