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Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A Water Tower House? in Kent

I am grateful to Ferrers Young of the British Water Tower Appreciation Society (a self confessed water tower nerd) for alerting us to this splendid water tower in Faversham, Kent:

It looks like a former railway tower but it is in a suburban location right alongside a road.   A good deal smaller than ours it seems to have been built on two floors from the outset.   I wonder if it is a dwelling and what the tank space is used for?   The TV aerials and the front door indicate habitation perhaps.   Again thanks to Ferrers this is what its Grade 2 Listing says:

STATION ROAD 1. 5282 (Faversham Station) Water Tower TR 0160 SP/748 II 0/748

2. Railway Water Tower. C1858 for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway, probably by their engineer Crampton. Classical style rectangular structure of 2 storeys, 3 windows built of stock brick with red dressings, riveted iron water tank above and iron framed windows. Road elevation has 1st floor blank round-headed openings in arcading and 3 ground floor round headed openings with fixed iron glazing, all with rubbed red brick arches. Rear elevation similar but entirely of blank arcading. Left side round headed doorcase with fanlight and blank above. Moulded brick eaves cornice. Above is riveted iron water tank reached by fixed iron ladder. Included for rarity of survival of railway water towers.

Listing NGR: TR0168160905

And he found this one in Lyly, Finland:

TV aerials too but not much in the way of daylight maybe.   The words accompanying the picture describe it as a summer house.


Our twin flagpoles give rise to a lot of queries especially when American son-in-law is in town and we fly the Stars and Stripes.  

How about these for discussion:

 The Scottish saltire to the north is meant to remind the curious of the northern destination of the railway line and St George, now sadly devalued by 'the Wonderful Game' represents England of course.   Let's see if anybody notices.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Thirsty Engine

When BWTAS visited yesterday they were treated to the sight, sound and smell of one of Britain's most powerful passenger engines tearing uphill through Settle.   Pure and happy coincidence.   The engine was the Duchess of Sutherland - a former London Midland and Scottish locomotive which would certainly have come through Settle from time to time when in LMS service.

Here is The Duchess taking on water at the Appleby water tower on an earlier occasion:

click to enlarge

The Appleby water tower is a minnow alongside Settle - the same length (five panels) as ours is wide but it has one advantage over ours - it serves its intended purpose.   It was built in 1991 after steam had returned to the line and the railway discovered it had demolished seven of these splendid towers - and sold ours off!

When we got to Carlisle there was The Duchess again, posing in Citadel Station.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Visit from the British Water Tower Appreciation Society

BWTAS for short, the British Water Tower Appreciation Society must be towards the outermost reaches of fringe interests.   Not mainstream anyway.  

When we first bought the water tower we Googled the water tower scene and happened upon BWTAS.   Not only did they make us feel welcome they offered us free membership as water tower owners and they kindly included this Blog on theirs as one of the 'sites we like'.   Then of course our restoration appeared on TV so we became known.

Mainly based in the east of England (flat lands where municipal water towers abound) the BWTAS do in fact get around a bit and some months ago they asked if they could come and see our tower.

Well this weekend it was and twelve BWTAS members visited not just us but Maj and Carol Nadry's tower at Pannal, nr Harrogate - also a Restoration Man project.   We were second and today they inspected our tower (I think we passed), saw a steam train roar through Settle hauled by Duchess of Sutherland and went to the Settle signal box.   Then I accompanied them on the train to Carlisle, commentating on the journey.

Here are half of the group, complete with one camera shy dog on their return from Carlisle.   Lovely people.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Tower's Water Supply

This dramatic image from the Britain from Above website shows the Langcliffe lime works in 1938

Britain from above - Langcliffe

The rectangular feature immediately to the left of the northern end of the Hoffman kiln is the slate water tank which supplied both the kiln and Settle station water tower.

Here is a close-up:

Friday, 10 July 2015

St Pancras

It is a little bit humbling to reflect that the stupendous London St Pancras station was the southern terminus of our railway line
click to enlarge
The building of St Pancras nearly broke the Midland Railway yet they pushed on to build the Settle-Carlisle line as their very own route to Scotland.   We are the lucky inheritors of that magnificent achievement.

Tube Strike Reflections

Just spent a couple of days in London to learn about the Railway's Future.  Coincided with a London Tube strike which ruined things rather ironically.   Also a strike on Great Western.

Some reflections -

1. Still chuckling about the automaton on-train announcements to packed beyond capacity tube trains as the strike was due to begin (6pm Wednesday) addressing  victims as 'customers'.

2. The rail unions might reflect on the use of the strike weapon in essential 'services' under a Tory government.

3.  Walking (Marylebone to Kings Cross) can be enjoyable.   Especially when the road traffic is so bad you are the fastest thing out there.   I held station with a packed 205 bus until it dived into the depressing concrete depths of Euston station and never came out again.   That put a spring in my step.

4.  People on mobile phones are a menace when walking and must be regarded as killers when driving.

5.   Marks and Spencers vans should have their horns disconnected.   What's so urgent about knickers and sandwiches ffs?

6.  Seeing close up the Which? head office at 2 Marylebone Road reminds me to cancel my overpriced subscription.

7.  And as for the Unison building on Euston Road . . .

8.  I'll settle for Settle.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Steps in the Right Direction

The stairway that gave access to Settle signal box had to be replaced because of localised rot in their newel posts.   The steps themselves were replaced at the same time and were due for firewood so I asked if they may come out in one piece - in which case we could make good use of them.   Sure enough they held together and here are the two results :

click to enlarge

A short flight of three steps gives access to the path atop the retaining wall of the embankment, saving quite a detour.

The remaining six steps now give safe access to the coal truck whose bottom hinged side door drops down to make a landing platform at the top of the stairs.   The loading deck of a coal truck is higher than you think.

Rather pleased with these bits of useful recycling.

Saturday, 4 July 2015


There has been a steady stream of interested visitors today - they are a constant source of delight and encouragement.

An interesting comment today in the visitors book:

"Beat this Kevin McCloud"