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Tuesday, 27 March 2012


The first two pictures show what a lift looks like when being unloaded from a lorry.   In next to no time the shaft was in.   Click picture to enlarge.
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Happy Birthday Mies

I have bored you to death about Mies van der Rohe - the 1920's German modernist architect whose work is still inspiring some great buildings - and our roof room.

Switching on Google today (try it) the word Google is made of letters in van der Rohe style, to mark the 126th anniversary of his birth.   Not sure if they get Channel 4 in Heaven but if he was watching Restoration Man he will have seen due recognition and praise for his work.

The roof room's design has attracted great praise from people here in Settle - including from some initial sceptics and hostile critics.   The ethereal approach would not work everywhere and it nearly didn't even happen here.

Full marks to the planner and conservation officer who had the vision to support it and extra full marks to architect Stuart Green for suggesting it, designing it and building it.

Happy Birthday Mies van der Rohe

Monday, 26 March 2012

Warmer out than in

It is March and it feels like June.   The temperature on the tank's weather station is reading 21.8 degrees C.   The 'feels like' temperature is an astonishing 26 C - a calculation that takes account of temperature and relative humidity.    Notice the still leafless trees in the picture on the left.   

The rather curious picture on the right is taken from the ground floor looking up the lift shaft.
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An artist's view

Local artist Paul Clegg called by today and gave me two of his prints.

His covering note said "I've been inspired to paint the water tower and would like you to accept these prints - thanks for saving the tower and giving Settle an iconic building".

Paul went on to tell me, "I never thought that roof room would work - but it bloody does!"

Thank you Paul.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Tasmanian visitor

It is still March yet the UK is sitting under a high pressure area which is giving us temperatures higher than those in the Sahara Desert.

Pat and I took our first real opportunity to enjoy the sunshine on our rooftop deck.   I do hope the planners are not reading this because until we get their approval we are not allowed to 'use' the water tower, which we had hoped would by now be our home.

We have invited loads of people to inspect the tower and they have contributed generously to the funds of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.   We do hope this does not constitute 'use'.

Two delightful ladies who like many others had journeyed to Settle just to see the water tower visited this afternoon.   They were kind enough to sign our visitors book.   One, all the way from Tasmania, wrote words of Antipodean wisdom about the UK's antediluvian and glacial planning system.

More constructively, our lift installation starts, and perhaps finishes, during the coming week.   Perhaps we shall one day be allowed to 'use' it.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Tha's doin' a good job

Working on the water crane's valve today, alongside the station drive, many people have stopped to chat.   The temporary status of TV personality was beginning to wear a bit thin when an obvious Yorkshire Dales man strolled past.   Without breaking his gentle pace he said,

"Tha's doin' a good job".

With as much modesty as I could muster I thanked him.

"That's all reet lad.   I don't know what tha's doin' or why tha's doin' it but tha's doin' a good job".

That was me told - by gum.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Recognised by a London Train Driver

Today grandson James and I went by train to Aylesbury to collect what turned out to be a phenomenally heavy piece of Midland Railwayana, bought on E-Bay.   At Aylesbury, where the train terminated, the driver came chasing after us and, peering at my S&C sweat shirt, declared "You are the man from Settle water tower aren't you?"   Admitting to being guilty as charged, I told him of our errand.   He came with us to the car park where we met  vendor Nigel Lyons who had not only brought the heavy item to the station but had brought a trolley and helped us load it on the return train.

Grandson James was quietly impressed that grandpa was famous.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Little Knowledge

Enjoying a few days with our grandchildren James (6) and Ben (3), Pat thought she would show off her immense knowledge of railway engines - surely a requirement for anybody who owns a railway water tower.

Picking up a Thomas diesel engine she said,
"Look Ben, this is a Class 37"
Ben - "No it isn't.   It's a D199"

That's you told Granny.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Roof room's skirt is lifted

 Ever since the roof room was so spectacularly craned into place the gap between the room and the tank roof below it has been covered with a temporary waterproof fabric skirt.   Two things have prevented us from making good that gap permanently with timber, plastic mouldings and glass fibre:
1.   the winter - we needed dry weather and at least 4 degrees C to do the job
2.   ongoing planning problems.   A wellwisher had complained that the roof room was higher than its approved planning height.   Checking by planners established that the roof room's height was OK.   Double checking by CSi who made the roof room established that its roof is actually 50mm BELOW its planned height!   If we felt petty and vindictive we could have jacked it UP by a couple of inches!

Pictures (click to enlarge) show the plastic skirt around the base of the roof room and Bob the Builder (front) and James the Roofer pretending to apply the first piece of the miles of fibreglass bandage to seal it all up.   A proper pair of tankers.
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Friday, 9 March 2012

Water crane now painted

Still work in progress but you get the idea.   The former Skipton Station north water crane is being painted in what we think was a probable Midland Railway colour scheme.   'We think' because there was no standard colour scheme for these majestic items.   We have studied dozens of black and white photographs of the period and concluded that this is a credible and quite pleasing colour scheme that toned well with the accurately known colours of the tank.

Note that the cross arm, or swan neck, is painted cream.   Several photographs show the lighter colour on the cross arm - perhaps to make it more visible to train crews in the event of a crane swinging out over the track. Later in the Midland era they painted the water cranes white or red.   White indicated a plentiful and reliable water supply.   Red was a water supply of last resort - because of limited water supply, poor quality water or some other local problem.

Note also the now fitted 'elephant's trunk' water delivery hose, or bag.

One thing is for sure, water cranes did not stay newly painted in appearance for long - especially in winter when they were heated by a coal brazier to stop them freezing.Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Becoming a tourist attraction?

Today I saw a lady having her photograph taken in front of the water tower.    Well I never.

The tart with the cart

David Sampson popped in today.   David is in charge of the splendid team of trolley staff on the Settle-Carlisle trains who make the long journey to and from Carlisle so enjoyable, whatever the weather.   He has a mischievous sense of humour and calls himself  'The Tart with the Cart' - and signed our visitors book as such.

David doesn't just sell things from his trolley - he engages passengers in banter and conversation so gets a very good idea about why people are on the train.   Ever since the Restoration Man programme was shown David has met a 'tremendous' number of people on his trains who have come on the line 'to see the water tower at Settle'.

That is a result.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

tackling the water crane

A spell of spring weather lifts the spirits and prompts me to face up to renovating the water crane.    It needs painting and most importantly it needs a delivery hose, or bag.   That was the 'elephant's trunk' that delivered the water into the locomotive tenders.   These were made of leather or rubberised canvas.   Oddly enough, the Yorkshire Dales is a bit of a hot-spot for such hoses.   In Settle we have Hosetech - maintainers and repairers of fire hoses to fire brigades and just along the road at Bentham is Angus Fire who manufacture fire hoses.   Through the good offices of both of these firms we now have 5 metres of enormous diameter hose - sufficient to equip the water tower and the signal box water cranes.  Pictures later.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Descendant of one of the stonemasons on the note

This morning I had a visit from a lovely lady named Joyce Ridd. Joyce had seen the Restoration Man programme and had caught a glimpse of the note that had been left by the workers who built the stables inside the tower in May 1939. Replaying a recording of the programme and using the freeze frame facility she saw listed among the five names was G. Ridd. Joyce's grandfather was George Edward Ridd. He died before Joyce was born but family folklore has it that George Ridd worked as a stonemason on the Settle-Carlisle railway. It is highly likely that the G. Ridd on the note in the time capsule was Joyce's grandfather George. The picture shows Joyce holding a photograph of the note, alongside the very wall where the note was found.

Here is a photograph of the note. The original is at this minute in London with Tiger Aspect but will be back in Settle in a week or so.
Joyce plans to return later in the year to see it. Maybe there is a photograph of George Ridd in the family records?
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