My main source for the colours was 'Midland Style' and scholarly advice from Roy Burrows of the Midland Railway Trust. Dr John Disney even went to the British Library to research the colours. We are pretty sure we got it right but the puzzle was to decide where the red, green and cream went on the various parts of the tank plates and the water cranes. We only had black and white photographs to go on.
But we did have the evidence of the old paint on the tank itself - sufficiently convincing for the Conservation Officer - himself a railway buff. Here is one of the hundreds of pictures I took before work started:
click to enlarge
Green, red and cream it certainly was - before it was all covered in grey sometime. Happily the grey wore off sufficiently to reveal the colours below. The clearly visible letters L. and R. are a mystery. Left and Right are obvious possibilities but other panels had other letters on them - one was a Q I remember. The fact that the R. is upside down suggests it was painted before that panel was put in place.
Could it have been a re-used tank from another railway whose colours were green, red and cream? If so, which railway? Indeed, was it another railway? These Braithwaite tanks were used in other industries too.
Anyway, if anybody wants to paint it the correct colours they are welcome to have a go. I still have the gondola, the climbing gear and the hard hat! The hairy-scary ladder is still there. The job took about six months of almost constant work, admittedly including a lot of surface preparation. The six months were interrupted when the wind got strong enough to blow the paint from the brush! I reckoned that was God telling me to go and do something else for the day.
The colour combination is very pleasing indeed - but it may not be Midland Railway colours. I did learn that water towers were part of the locomotive department. The towers plans are signed off by Samuel Waite Johnson - the MR's locomotive superintendent.
Anybody else have views on the colour scheme?