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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

How does it look?

Click to enlarge, this collage shows the roof room in situ. It is still unfinished externally. From some viewpoints, notably Station Road, The Sidings and close up to the tower it is invisible - and that was the idea. From other viewpoints it can be seen but its ethereal elegance, Mies van der Rohe inspired, is evident. People will have to make their own minds up but today's consensus was overwhelmingly favourable. It will be seen at its best from the north, west and southern aspects. The windows on the eastern aspect have to be non-see-through, to preserve a neighbouring garden's privacy, before the tower is occupied, which may create more of a Portakabin look on that side.
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The really big lift

These pictures, courtesy of Bob Swallow and Dougie Little, give an idea of the lift of the 13.7 tonne roof room into the tank. Click on the image to enlarge it. The 90 tonne crane had come from Jardines of Lancaster. The method statement worked. It took four hours to prepare for and lift the load, which fitted millimeter perfectly into the prepared landing pad within the tank. On the stroke of noon we had a modest topping out ceremony attended by almost everybody who had worked on the project.

CSi had really pulled out the stops to get the room ready in time - it arrived fitted out and first fix wired. The lift attracted quite a crowd and could be seen from all over Settle. It must have been a text book lift - all credit to Jardines (crane driver Alan in particular) and to CSi, whose planning and execution has been immaculate throughout.

It needs to be put on record that in two separate lifts the roof room cleared the Orange cellphone mast and our BT cable - most impressive.
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A wide, wide, load

Our roof room travelled from Hull to Settle yesterday, courtesy of Finnies of Lockerbie, causing traffic mayhem as it went. It left Hull at 11 am and got to Settle at 8pm. It was escorted by two 'wide load' vehicles. With its roof overhang it had to travel down the middle of roads so traffic had to step aside. Nothing could overtake.

We were able to follow its progress via the AA traffic reports website. . . .

When it got to Hellifield it came to a grinding halt - because of a police car parked in its way!! All was well though, it was one of Settle's finest - who knew it was expected. Steve, the officer concerned, appreciated that there would be trouble ahead and how right he was. Blue lights flashing, he escorted the convoy along the Settle by-pass (railway bridges meant it had to go that way, then down Buck Haw Brow). At Church Street, with its traffic islands and parked vehicles it got well and truly stuck, unable to go forwards or backwards.

A freezing TV crew was at Settle Market Place to see it go through the narrows by the Royal Oak. Three cars were, perfectly legally, parked in its way. Steve's PNC enquiries quickly revealed the addresses of the registered owners and, mercifully, they were all at home.

On to the Royal Oak narrows and the load was skilfully navigated through the forest of road signs, overhead wires and Christmas trees. Spectacular isn't the word. You need to see the TV programme to appreciate it.

These pictures, the following morning, show the lorry and its load on The Sidings. The first shows the splendid lorry, in which driver Paul slept the night. The second well illustrates the width of its load. The four holes in the roof are for the lifting strops, which go right through the roof, to fastenings on the subframe. The load weighed 13.7 tonnes.
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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Topping Out the tower

The roof room is due to arrive at the water tower on Monday, mid to late afternoon.   It will have been brought from CSi at Hull as an escorted abnormal load and will stay on its low loader at the water tower site overnight.

On Tuesday, providing the wind speed is less than 21 mph, it will be craned onto the top of the tank, probably around 10am but maybe sooner.

At noon there will be an informal Topping Out ceremony including mulled wine and mince pies.   Dress code:  hard hats, fluorescent jackets and festive..

Any follower of this Blog is most welcome to come along, see the lift and join the Topping Out.   Please make yourself known as a Blog follower.

There is no need to climb the hairy scary ladder - there will be staircase access inside the tower.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Grease Monkey

Still recovering from life threatening injuries, Steve 'Scouse' Roberts has been back at the water tower, getting well and truly stuck in to cleaning the place up and making it look more like a home. He is giving it a thorough 'builders clean'. Steve spent weeks in Intensive Care during 2011 but, to everybody's relief, he is back in the land of the living - with his sense of humour intact, as can be seen. His medicine of choice is now tomato juice - with Worcester sauce, naturally.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, he did not fall off the water tower!
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thick strong glass

CSi contractors hairy Dan and smooth Peter have been installing the toughened glass ballustrades inside the tower in the area of the main staircase. This involves bedding serious sheets of glass into steel channels built into the staircase and the edge of the first floor. The glass is 15mm thick and the individual sheets are totally separate from each other, with no handrails, creating a very open and airy feel.

Dan became a daddy earlier in the week (girl, Amelia) so is commuting between Settle and his home in Hull.
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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Weather station on line

This is John Livesley of MyLocalWeather tuning up the Water Tower computer so that the weather station's readings can be viewed on-line and on mobile 'phones. Go to to see what it's doing here right now.
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Friday, 9 December 2011


I hope this collage gives an impression of how the water tower is looking - mighty impressive, neat and tidy!
Clicking on the collage should enlarge it.
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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Happy landings

Stan Jordan stonemasons Nick (with hammer) and Peter (in mid air) apply tried and tested methods to make fine adjustments to the inside stone landing. Each of these stones has been cut and ground to perfection to make an elegant platform inside the front door.

A poor photograph, taken in storm force winds and heavy rain but you just begin to get an impression of how the area between the station drive and the tower is looking now that it has been leveled and covered in stone chippings.   The sky looks blue but it wasn't.   It was almost as black as night and the image has been lightened to compensate for the flash reflected from the hi-vis clothes.
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Stig's Volvo

This is surely a milestone.   The top surface of the parking area is being laid.   20mm black limestone chippings.
This is Richard (The Stig) Kilburn shattering his image as a speedster.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

We visit CSi at Hull to see the roof room under construction

These pictures, with captions, can be seen at
They show the roof room, its makers, and some views of the magnificent Hull Paragon station, now resplendent with a fine bronze statue of local poet Philip Larkin.

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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Progress 24th November 2011

Click onto the link below to see self explanatory (ish) pictures.

If clicking on the link does not take you straight there, select the link, copy it and paste it into your search engine. Hey, nobody said this was going to be easy!

Filming at Keighley

Google seems to be having worldwide problems with it Blogger system, hence the paucity of recent postings with unviewable pictures.

In an effort to get round this I have put pictures onto a web album which should be viewable by clicking the monstrous link below. Do give it a try.

On Monday Pat and I went to the Worth Valley Railway at Keighley to be filmed talking about how railway water towers worked. See some pictures at:

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Cranes and stones and planes

Today was a day of big lifting. Here is Brian Thornton with Settle Coal's big Hiab crane lifting four of the tank base plates. These will become the bridge out onto the embankment.
But the main business of the day was the erection of not one but two giant water cranes - one by the water tower and one by Settle signal box. This picture shows the component parts of both cranes. The main column of the water tower crane has been set in position. The equivalent part of the signal box crane is on the back of the lorry as the cross beam of that crane is swung in alongside it. The cross beam of the water tower crane is still on the ground. This is the final stage of an operation that has involved Network Rail (who brought the cranes to Settle), Kilburn and Johnson (who cast the plinths and located the fixing bolts with total accuracy) and blacksmith David Clements who worked miracles on the mechanism of the water tower crane.
And here is the water tower crane in position. Pat was whelmed with it on seeing it. To quote her verbatim when asked what she thought of it, she said "It's big".
Bedroom fitter Arun has done a fine job, which matched the craftsmanship of Strachan's furniture makers.
Electic Ollie is not short of wires at the data hub of the building. The wiring is complete and is to be tested tomorrow
Stan Jordan's stonemasons have been hard at it. Rugby playing man-mountain Nick Cook (right) makes final adjustments to a stone that will form part of the main entrance.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Trouble at t'Blog

I am sorry that there have been few postings of late - and those that have reached cyberspace have been without the intended pictures.

Each time I try to do a posting I get the following message:

Input error: Memcache value is null for FormRestoration 

Well, that may mean something to somebody but it means sweet f.a. to me.   Does anybody out there know what I can do, or have access to a child maybe?

This is such a shame because so much is happening:

The ground floor flagstones are laid.
We have dug a great big hole for the water crane.
The kitchen has been tiled.
The scaffolding is down, revealing the annex.
Lots of bits and pieces have been finished off.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

The water cranes have landed in Settle

This is conservation in action. Way back when the line was under threat of closure and steam had ended British Rail preserved these two water cranes. Theya have lain in Network Rail's yard at Appleby ever since - see earlier posting on this Blog. Today, they were delivered to Settle for restoration, reconstruction and display - one at the water tower and one by the signal box.

Network Rail's Tony Taylor remotely operates the crane as the upper arm of one of the cranes is lowered to the ground.

and here is one of the uprights in mid air. Both cranes have been offloaded by the water tower because the lorry could not get access at the signal box. We can now set about constructing the concrete bases for both cranes,

A delightful detail at the top of each column is MR Co - Midland Railway Company.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Fitted furniture

Yesterday we had a fascinating visit to Stachan's in Leeds to see our bedroom and office furniture being made. Stachan's are a long established family firm who make high quality fitted furniture. Being in Leeds they tick our box about trying to use local suppliers wherever we can. We toured the factory and saw all the processes from trees to furniture. Ours was at the finishing stage and we met Dean Thorpe who was polishing the wood - a process that lasts several days. Dean is one of a team of polishers but the same man does all the polishing on any one set of furniture. It was strange to see our furniture in bits under construction but with our name on it - and our plans lying on the work benches.

'Our' project manager Paul Alder hosted us and we met David Strachan, nowadays the senior Strachan actively involved in this dynastic firm. Located right by Bramley railway station we were able to get there and back by train.

Our furniture will be fitted from 16th November onwards.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Watching paint dry

We are decorating inside the tower so I shall not inflict a picture of that on you!

The ground outside the tower has been cleared, levelled and is about to get its top dressing of stone.   The pavement around the outside is complete, as is the Sidings entrance.   Almost all the interior doors have been hung and super they look too.

I shall wait a bit before posting photographs but all bar a few minor things the building work is now finished.

I bumped into a fencing contractor in Settle today who told me that he had regretted not having the opportunity to do the fences at the water tower.   However, having seen the job Les Brewer has made of the fences he was glad.   "I could never have done such a good job as that", he said.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Station approach entrance and doors

This is the drive into the Water Tower from the station approach road - and splendid it looks too.   The granite setts have been supplied to us by Network Rail and came from Paddington in London.   They were left over from work at Garsdale station and have found a home here at Settle.   They have been painstakingly laid by our builders Kilburn and Johnson.     Passers by have stopped in their tracks to admire this work being done.

Network Rail have been hugely supportive of this project, recognising that it will contribute visually to the ambience of Settle station and the heritage value.   Allowing us to re-open the access between the water tower and the station approach is just one example of ongoing cooperation.
Meanwhile, inside the tower joiner Dave Richardson fits a door.   Dave is renowned as one of the best joiners in the Yorkshire Dales.

Monday, 31 October 2011


The buffers are beginning to look the part. We have deliberately placed them over a couple of manhole covers that needed protecting from possible damage by heavy vehicles. The letters L and R prevented any assembly hitches. They will be covered by the buffer cross beam eventually.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

Tank repainted in 1959

I met a man in Settle yesterday who remembers the tank being re-painted grey in 1959.   He cannot remember what colour it had been but from photographs it was probably already grey.   At that time he worked in the coal yard by the water tower.   He says that a British Railways (or possibly British Road Services?) lorry that did railway deliveries was garaged inside the tower in 1959.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Reactions to the view

Now that the internal staircase is there it becomes possible for people to enter the tank and appreciate the views.   Today, daughter Lorna - intelligent, beautiful, sophisticated London solicitor - saw the view for the first time and her precise words were "Bloody Nora".

In stark contrast, six year old grandson James - boy, conversant with modern phraseology, cool dude - came out with "Astonishing".

Our parenting skills were lacking somewhere.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Concrete progress

Near the centre of the picture can be seen the reinforcement mesh rectangle that will be the garage block base awaiting two lorry loads of concrete.

And here is the first one - able to drive right onto the site thanks to the newly widened entry gates from The Sidings. A plastic manhole, placed just yesterday for the sewer works right in the middle of the entrance way at the insistence of United Utilities collapsed under the load - inevitably.

The figure on the right is Bob the Builder wearing the very latest in fashion footwear. Read Bob's exciting concrete adventure in the posting below.
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