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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Rains and Drains and Chains

click collage to enlarge
The magnificent shed now has drains which go to a manhole by the front steps thence to the rainwater harvesting tank.   The building never had gutters and drainpipes so we decided to use inconspicuous black gutters and abandon any idea of down-pipes in favour of rain chains.   We first saw this idea in Canada on log cabins with overhanging roofs.   Less obtrusive than downpipes with lots of bends.   We had chunky chains on site so have used them instead.   Fun too.
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Friday, 28 September 2012

Spot the difference

One very obvious difference is the sunshine complicating things in the lower picture but what I am driving at is the door frame in the lower picture.   Painted maroon it is in fact a false frame, serving no purpose other than to deceive the viewer into thinking that these doors are real.   In fact their hinges are much further out - and can just be seen, though painted matt black.

The true doors are 96" wide whereas the false doors are 66" - far too narrow for a modern garage.

Don't tell a soul.
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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Garage block north side painted

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The garage / workshop block is really starting to look the business.   Yesterday a chap from Long Preston called by to commend what he thought was a splendid building.   It turned out he was an architect so his kind words were all the more welcome.

It is amazing what a lick of paint will do!   Both sets of double doors have now been painted, the surrounding woodwork blacked and the oak roof supports oiled with Liberon decking oil, courtesy of Manor Coating Systems.   The pictures speak for themselves.   The Midland Railway fire bucket hooks and backing board were a welcome  find among the components of the Appleby hut.   The bottom right picture shows how the garage block compares with the industrial unit next door - not much smaller and nicely in proportion with that unit and with the tower.   The barge boards painted black tone well with the creosoted vertical boards of the gable end wall.

The wood stacked up in the car port bay will form the eastern gable wall and the infills under the overhanging eaves.

The green and cream double doors came from Kirkby Stephen station when it was renovated in 2004/5.   They have been stored under the platform end at Settle station for the past seven years.   They are good as new.   Why they were not kept at Kirkby Stephen station is a mystery.   Anyway, they have found a good use on the Settle-Carlisle Line so have been saved.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Baa Baa Black Shed

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Today it has rained, and rained and rained - to the the extent that the Settle-Carlisle line was closed for some hours this morning because of flooding and landslips at Taitlands tunnel and at Smardale.

In the dry because of the generous overhang to the shed roof I was able to crack on with finishing the northern wall's door and woodwork (top left).   Three walls done, just one to go.   The intense black colour on the north wall is Manor's acrylic  barn-black primer.   I have done both sets of garage doors with this splendid stuff - water based and quick drying.   Just for now the north side looks v-e-r-y black - but not for long as I shall be painting the workshop doors in LMS Burgundy and the garage doors in the colours of the water tank and water crane.   This should make it look a little less like a row of identical garages.

As mentioned in earlier posts, Manor Coating Systems have donated a large amount of paint to the project in general and to this phase in particular.   The Manor banner on the station driveway credits Manor's generous help in kind.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Grumpy's Shed is really coming on

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Top centre, shows the workshop doors in place.   These were the doors fitted to the hut when it was at Appleby.
Top right, the west end in the evening sunshine.   This end has been creosoted - and very fine it looks - and smells.
Bottom right, the centre bay garage doors.   The red doors are not wide enough for a car so the black bits at the sides are in fact part of the opening doors.
Bottom centre, looking along the garage block covered walkway from inside what will be the workshop.   
Bottom left, looking up to the cut-off boarding of the west gable.   Just look at the thickness of those boards - nine inches wide by 3 inches thick pitch pine.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Having just installed the gutters along the shed roof I cannot wait for it to rain.   Hey, what AM I saying?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Garsdale water tower lamented

During Heritage Open Days we had a visit from Peter Brown and his elderly mother Sheila.   Peter is one of two FoSCL stalwarts who look after Garsdale station - probably the remotest outpost of England's railway network.

Sheila was thrilled to see the Settle Water Tower now restored and it brought back memories of Garsdale's almost identical tower that was demolished in 1971.   The picture below is from an earlier Blog posting and shows it in process of being demolished.

What infuriates me is that the Yorkshire Dales Nation Park allowed this to happen.   The Garsdale water tower was special.   Besides being a fine building it was the local community's village hall.   Sheila Brown told me that she had had her 21st birthday party and her wedding reception there.   "They tore the heart out of our community when they knocked it down" she said.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Foreign Visitors to the Blog

Besides the visitors from the UK this
week's Blog statistics are:

United States

So, it's Hiya, nei ho, hi cobber, howdee, hola,
Salaam Alekum, नमस्तेnamaste and おはよう(ございます)ohayoou
to you all *

*I need to acknowledge help from
and to apologise to anybody offended if I have chosen the wrong version.   That would be like
saying everybody in the UK says shwmae** for hello

** Welsh

Monday, 10 September 2012

Heritage Open Days a great success

Now we have had a chance to gather our wits, we discover that an estimated 1,500 people visited the water tower over the four days - evidenced by the visitors books.   There was no entry charge but we did make available a bowl for donations to the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line which resulted in donations of just over £1,100 * - including one donation of £50 specifically for the Settle-Carlisle Railway charitable Trust.

There were visitors from places as far afield as Germany, Holland, New York, New Zealand, Georgia USA,  Australia and Giggleswick.

*  Several attempts by us to count it have resulted in different figures ranging from £1,100 to £1,400.   On the basis of 'stick to what you're good at' we shall lug it to the bank and let them count it!**

**  Having lugged, the official tally banked at Barclay's in Settle is £1,327-52p - plus £50 to the S&C Trust = £1,377-52p

Dating evidence for the shed

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These rather confusing pictures show what might turn out to be a really important find among the cladding boards from Network Rail's Appleby shed, which we think may be a former navvy hut.

Top left shows a board with limewash on it.   On closer inspection the layers of limewash cover what appears to be a newspaper or other printed material - perhaps used as windproofing wallpaper or maybe displayed inside the shed.   We are in touch with conservators to see if we can remove and restore the printed paper in the hope it will yield dating clues.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Phew, that's over

We are relaxing after four full days of Heritage Open Days.   We reckon we had 1,500 people through our home.   It is VERY hard work being welcoming and polite to strangers for four days on the trot but we met some delightful visitors and everybody seemed to appreciate the restoration and the opportunity to see it.

People were particularly interested in the rainwater harvesting system and the heat recovery ventilation.   Most of all they were in awe of the restoration of a vulnerable old building and the craftsmanship of its building work.   Many people said they would like to live here.   It was obvious that a high proportion of visitors had seen it on Restoration Man - many having recorded the programme and kept it.

We were graced by a visit from the 23 year old Mayor of Settle who declared it to be a 'nice pad'.   Bless.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Heritage Open Days

Here are images from day 3 (out of 4) of our opening to the public for Heritage Open Days.

HUNDREDS of people came to visit the tower and they left HUNDREDS of £s in donations for the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line.

People were very generous in their praise for the restoration.   Some visitors had to be moored to the buffers while their people did boring things.

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Friday, 7 September 2012

Grumpy's Shed

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Four views of Grumpy's shed after two full days of help from Peter Bennett.   Peter and I slaved through the first two of the four Heritage Open Days to finish the back wall of the shed and to clad its western wall (lower right).   Each of those vertical boards is a two-man lift, being 3" thick pitch pine.

The eastern gable well is supposed to be of similar construction but we shall have nowhere near enough of this magnificent timber to do it with long enough boards.   To make sense of what we have got, the obvious solution is to insert some windows into the eastern wall (on the blind side from public view).   Besides providing light for the workbench in the workshop windows will enable us to make full use of the shorter lengths of timber.

Top right are the shed plans and a picture of the shed as it was at Appleby.
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Thursday, 6 September 2012

Settle Down

I told you I had ordered a sign for the restored platform bench.   Couldn't resist the very obvious play on words.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Round the back

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We had a visit today from Stephen Garnett, the Craven Herald's multi award winning photographer.   He thought there might be some pretty pictures round the back of the tower - and how right he was.   These three pictures, in late afternoon sunshine, show how the embankment has been transformed into a very pleasing lawn leading down to what is now a very neat pathway covered in limestone chippings.

Less obvious, and deliberately so, is the two storey annex at the back of the tower.   Architect Stuart Green went to a very great deal of trouble to make this modern extension as unobtrusive yet stylish as possible.   It has worked.

What's this?

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Tony Beckwith of Ribblehead kindly wheeled this along to the water tower today to add to the ambience.   As you see it is a North Eastern Railway item.   Tony liberated it from York Carriage works, where he used to work.    It was one of a pair.   It is precisely 2 feet in diameter and is very heavy.   Unlikely therefore that it was a wheel from a platform hand cart.   There is no key-way inside the hub so it was meant to rotate freely on a shaft.   I wonder if  the pair of wheels and their axle were for internal use at the carriage works for moving heavy components around the place.

Anybody have other ideas?

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Seen in South Africa

Had a brief visit today from a couple of cyclists from South Africa.   I don't think they had cycled here from South Africa but they had seen Restoration Man IN South Africa back in February and they were visiting Settle on account of it!   Fortunately they will be here next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday so will be visiting during Heritage Open Days.

We have heard of people seeing the programme in Spain and the Canary Islands but this is the first time South Africa has cropped up.

They were kind enough to say how amazing they thought our project was - to the extent that they had come all this way.

Most encouraging.

It's the wrong colour

Settle-Carlisle stalwart Tom Algie very kindly donated a set of Midland Railway cast iron bench ends to the project.   These are nowadays as rare as hens teeth and we were very grateful for them.  In preparation for the Heritage Open Days I built up the bench and have painted it Brunswick green to match the tank's background colour and that of the water crane.

As I was applying the final brush load a voice boomed out from the station drive.   "It's the wrong colour!   Midland Railway benches were blue."   Not a lot of people (me included) know that.   Brunswick green it is and Brunswick green it stays until somebody with the motivation and the correct paint wants to pick up a paint brush.   I shall require proof mind.

In case you are wondering, there will be a sign on the back-rest in the next few days.   Watch this space.