Tag Archives: Bridgtown

The Friends of Hednesford Park – Maypole Throne Making Course

The Friends of Hednesford Park

Maypole Throne Making Course

Maypole practise Hednesford - 1945-1955

Maypole practise Hednesford – 1945-1955

The Friends of Hednesford Park are reviving the Hednesford Maypole Event on Saturday 10th May. If you would like to take part in the Throne Making Course provided by ‘The Forest of Mercia’ in Hednesford Park at 10am THIS Saturday, 5th April, please ring 07896 239717 to book a place. All welcome, no restrictions.
We request you wear SENSIBLE clothes and bring a packed lunch. Refreshments will be provided.
Course at Hednesford Park Pavilion 10am – 3pm
We will be making the May King and Queen thrones for the event and also making Old Fashioned Games.

Greenwood Craft

Greenwood Craft

The Forest of Mercia are coming to Hednesford Park to show us to how to make the Maypole Thrones for our Maypole Event.
Saturday 5th April 10am – 3pm at Hednesford Park Pavilion.
ALL WELCOME, NO restrictions, please wear sensible clothes and bring a packed lunch. Refreshments supplied!


197 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Winter 1996 – Part 2

197 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Winter 1996 – Part 2

From the Board Room

David Bathurst – Chairman

Despite the fact that the festive season is getting ever nearer and the 1996 operating season has drawn to a close, there is no holiday period for the Board. Indeed, the Board has already agreed the pattern of train operations for 1997 to enable publicity leaflets, posters, etc. to be prepared.  Moreover, it has been agreed that the 1996 fare structure be retained, as the current ticket prices seem to have been pitched at just (perhaps exactly) the right levels and have been accepted by the travelling public.  It is pleasing indeed to watch prospective passengers, particularly those with family groups, buying tickets without feeling the need to complain about fares, how different from the days when many (maybe a majority) took one look at the fares and left the station without more ado.

With the help of our Publicity Officer, we aim to raise public awareness in 1997.  Indeed every member – whether a working member or otherwise – is a potential publicity officer in his/her own right.  We need to preach the Railway’s gospel, or at least ensure that its leaflets and publicity materials enjoy maximum exposure!

The Board has recently considered a variety of matters concerning the Railway, and some of these are outlined briefly below.

The ex LNWR ‘Paddy’

Following discussions with relevant members, the Board has formally acknowledged that the proper (or even partial) restoration of this vehicle is beyond the current or anticipated resources of the Railway, both in financial and manpower terms.  In its present condition, the vehicle is dangerous and a liability to the Railway.  Accordingly, the Board has agreed to try to find a more suitable home for the vehicle, which is to be advertised in the railway press for disposal.  Any such disposal would be on the basis of a commitment to restoration by the recipient.  Obviously, the Board would prefer to see it go to an organisation enjoying the necessary resources and expertise to bring it back into use.


The board is examining in considerable detail the income/expenditure profit/loss profile of the rallies held in recent years.  There is much work associated with the organisation of our rallies, a lot of it out of view of the membership or the public.  The burden now being felt by a small minority of key members (who already have their own responsibilities for operation of the Railway) is becoming unacceptable.  For these members, the rallies are no longer an enjoyable challenge.  They have become more of a nightmare.  I am not prepared to allow this situation to continue.  I am not prepared to see our members and colleagues reaching a state of despair, which has happened on a number of occasions during 1996.  With Lichfield DC seeking for the first time to impose charges for hire of Chasewater Park for rallies in 1997, the Board is taking the opportunity of looking afresh at the Railway’s policies and options regarding future rallies.  The Rallies Organiser has been so successful in generating participant interest in our rallies that we have become vulnerable through a shortage of members prepared to make a direct contribution to rally organisation.  We have become a victim of, and hostage to, our own success.  If the Board’s aspirations come to fruition, we will have vastly increased public support for the rallies, but without the hassle experienced over recent times.  Our aim is to return to a situation where our rallies are enjoyed by the public, by the participants, and – more particularly – by our own members.

Invalid Toilet

The Railway’s Policy Statement includes a commitment to the provision for the disabled and our stations, buffet and trains are all accessible to people with mobility difficulties.  The one remaining omission is the provision of a disabled toilet and the Board has noted with pleasure that this will be available in good time for the Santa Specials in December.  The opportunity is being taken to ‘repair’ some defects in the plumbing system, hopefully with an improvement for the olfactory senses.

New Shop / Bric-a-Brac

The Board has given its support for a scheme whereby the recently adapted portacabin immediately next to the buffet at Brownhills West will become the new, enlarged, shop.  Shop sales, and children’s toys in particular, have increased markedly during 1996 thanks to the introduction of an enhanced commercial policy.  Consideration is being given to the use of other accommodation as a bric-a-brac shop.

Traction Inspector

The Board has formally endorsed the appointment of David Walker as the Railway’s Traction Inspector, although this is without prejudice to the Railway maintaining a relationship with other competent persons who have been prepared to assist in the past.  A driver and two firemen have already received their ‘ticket’ and further assessments are to be made in 1997.

Lichfield District Council

A lengthy letter has been received from Lichfield District Council in relation to the many matters which have been the subject of representations from the Railway since the Council became our landlords in 1993.  The Board’s preliminary impression is that the Council has failed to recognise or appreciate our concerns and that response is wholly unsatisfactory.  The Railway’s views will be communicated to the Council at an early date.

Christmas: Santa Specials

We are hoping for our most successful Christmas programme ever, providing the icing on the cake to complete a highly encouraging year.  Santa Specials will run on Sundays 15th and 22nd December, providing an opportunity for our ‘absentee members’ to visit the Railway and to judge for themselves what changes have taken place since their last visit.

P Way News

Arthur Edwards

In the autumn/winter plans for the P Way gang over the 1996/97 period is the laying of the sidings by the bottom compound.  This is expected to take up most of the winter months.  Some work has already commenced on laying out the first two roads with the first set of points going in after the Santa Specials.  The time scale for laying in the point work is expected to be around three months so that they should be up and running for the start of the next running season.  As the 1997 season will be starting early – the last week in March – and going through to the end of October, the P Way gang has a shorter period to get more things accomplished, therefore as our membership grows hopefully more volunteers will boost the numbers in the gang.  During this period it is also planned to lay 4 x 60ft lengths of rail on the extension so that the sleepers which are already in place can be keyed up and not tossed into the lake.  If the number of bodies available gets to a sufficient number, the causeway bank can be relaid with 60 ft lengths so if any able bodied volunteers are out there you can always find us on either a Saturday or Sunday, so don’t feel shy.

The weedkilling planned for the end of summer has had to be postponed due to the weather conditions not being suitable for it.  As the weedkiller has been purchased we should be able to spread it at the beginning or middle of March prior to the commencement of the new season.  This should be followed by a second application approximately half way through the running season so as to keep on top of the perennial problem of weed encroachment onto the track.  There are signs that some of the hedging planted several years ago is starting to take hold so that it should provide a permanent barrier along some of the more exposed fence line.  Further plantings should gradually fill out any gaps so making trespass onto the line more difficult.  I’d like to thank all the volunteers who have helped us during 1996 and look forward to seeing you in 1997.


Forthcoming Events – Cannock Chase & Brownhills Area

Coming Soon in Cannock Chase & Brownhills

196 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces From Chasewater News – Winter 1996 – Part 1

196 – Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces

From Chasewater News – Winter 1996 – Part 1

From the Editorial

In putting the Winter edition of the Chasewater News together I am wondering where to start this Editorial.  As this is the anniversary of my first full year as Editor of our members’ mag I have seen the number of articles which have been submitted grow along with the distribution of the Chasewater News.  To the members who have contributed articles not yet published I would like to say a big thank you for your efforts, and that I still have them ready to put into the magazine.  To all the members who have old memories of the Railway in its formative years and who have thought about putting pen to paper, please do so.  Part of the Editor’s role is to take submitted articles in whatever form that they arrive in and see that they are in a presentable form for publication, and as you have probably seen in the odd edition that even with a spell-checker I have still dropped the odd clanger or two when it comes to spelling.

On membership matters we now have a total of 305 members with a newsletter distribution of over 150 copies to individual households.  This must be the highest number that we have had for many a year.  I would like to welcome all new members who have joined since the last newsletter and hope that you will enjoy being a member of the Railway.  I am looking forward to our newsletter reaching the 250 distribution mark.  As the readership increases I can start to look at the possibility of things such as colour front covers and possibly some colour prints inside the magazine instead of the current black on white format.  This of course is only possible as the quantity published grows and the scales of quantity come into effect.

The past years have seen a major turn around in the fortunes of the Chasewater Railway, from languishing in the doldrums for a number of years in the late 70s and early 80s we now have a railway which gives pleasure to hundreds of visitors every years.  Many comments have been passed by the visiting public on ‘how friendly the people are at Chasewater’, and ‘how it reminds tem of railway preservation in the old days’.  This I feel is due to the positive efforts of all the working members and also the membership at large who have helped to push the message that the Railway is alive and well and growing!

In looking forward to 1997 we have put in place possibly our most ambitious programme of steaming days yet.  With more work being carried out on the restoration of the locomotives, both steam and diesel, the Railway can look forward to being able to run different locomotives throughout the running season, and let Asbestos have a well earned rest for maintenance and repairs.  Chris Chivers.

Loco Shed News

With the completion of the shed heating it is hoped that life will be much easier for the locomotive volunteers, and there are mutterings from Andy Mould that the forge will finally be put back into working order.  Personally I think he’s just looking for somewhere to cook his bacon and keep his tea hot!  Also  during the recent shunt round, the North Eastern brake is now residing in the shed road and has been dubiously named the ‘917 and Neilson support coach’ and during the recent bad weather it has seen rather more bodies using it for a mobile rest-room than usual!

Steam Locomotives

No.4 Asbestos – Still the mainstay of the Railway for steam haulage and at the moment only requires the usual maintenance necessary for any steam locomotive.  She is expected to be in traffic during the Santa Specials.

No.5 Sentinel – With the arrival of the replacement links the repairs to the chain are well under way, and it is hoped to have Sentinel steam tested before Christmas.

No.11 Alfred Paget – The restoration of this engine continues at a pace.  The ¾” steel plate for the repairs to the front steam chest and boiler saddle has been acquired and cut to the required profile.  The broken pieces of the steam chest have been removed and sections have been cut away ready for the welding in of the new sections.  The boiler has been fully painted in primer and all the protruding studs on the firebox have either been removed awaiting replacements, or have been given a thick coat of grease as a rust preventative measure.  The locomotive is due to be moved into the shed before Christmas so that work can continue under cover over the winter months.  Further fund raising is being actively pursued by Janet Whittaker as the members on site can testify; ‘I’ve even been ‘mugged’ myself by the lady in question!

S100 – The work continues at a steady pace with new pins for the brake hanger assemblies being manufactured on-site.  The wheels should be back under the frames in their correct order before Christmas so that space can be made for the Neilson.

Diesel Locomotives

L&Y No.1 – Nearly all the new bearings for the gear box have now been acquired and the magneto and carburettor are nearing completion ready to be mounted on the engine.  The main body has been partially stripped down to be needle gunned and primed n red oxide.  The brake assembly and sand boxes have been moved to the shed to receive attention during the winter.  Once the engine is completed it is the intention to mount it in No.21 for a period of test running.

No.21 – An attempt to start the engine running on No.21 was made during the autumn without success.  There are still some problems with the cylinder heads and it seems that two new head gaskets will have to be found, as well as having the heads trimmed.  It is a possibility that the 4J0 engine nearing completion at Dormans will be brought to Chasewater for testing in No.21; this has still to be confirmed.

DMU Set – The DMU set has been partially painted in BR green and this is expected to be completed as soon as the weather improves.  The Company’s power car received a donation of £380 from the will of the late Geoff Young, with many thanks to his widow Brenda.

Carriage & Wagon Notes

Tony Wheeler

It has been some time since I have done anything from the carriage and wagon front for the Chasewater News, so here is a brief report on the ongoing restoration projects in hand at the present time.

Manchester, Sheffield & Lincoln Coach – The restoration of this coach is still ongoing.  Work is now being done on the underside of the frames with cleaning and painting taking place.  A broken panel on the guard’s door and two broken drop windows and frames have been replaced.  These were caused by vandals at various times during the autumn.  Due to the relatively minor damage caused we have still been able to concentrate on the braking gear and continued applying several coats of paint to the body as and when the weather has permitted.

Midland Brake Van – Work has re-started on this vehicle with the replacement of the missing roof boards.  This was followed up by the roof being re-covered to keep out the worst of the weather.  The missing end panels were replaced, along with some of the side panels being cleaned and undercoated.  The membership had a whip-round and £66 was raised towards the cost of the roofing for this vehicle, with the balance of the expenditure, £39.75, being made up by the Company.  The cost was as follows:  Roof felt – £73.32,  Screws – £6.96,  Paint – £19.47.  With many thanks to all who donated.


News – Local History Forum, 9-10-2012

Local History Forum

 Hosted by Chasewater Railway Museum 9-10-2012

It was the Chasewater Railway Museum’s turn to host the Local History Forum on this occasion.  There was an excellent turn-out of the local societies, including the Museum of Cannock Chase, the Friends of the Museum of Cannock Chase, and the local history Societies of Bridgtown, Cheslyn Hay, Great Wyrley and Norton Canes, Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society, plus of course, Chasewater Railway Museum.  If I have not mentioned any organisation, please let me know and I apologise.

If any local Society would like any event mentioned on this blog, please drop me an e mail at:  chasewaterstuff@gmail.com

The two hour meeting began with a brief talk by David Bathurst on the history of the Chasewater Railway, followed by tea and biscuits and general chat amongst the societies.  Many of those present took advantage of a tour of the Heritage Centre and Museum led by our man Godfrey, whose help was also invaluable when it was time to wash up!!

Joe came in to work on one of his Meccano models, which attracted quite a lot of interest, and in front of Joe can be seen one of our latest exhibits, a 7-lever signal frame from Hemyock on the former Culm Valley line

Thanks to the members of the Museum staff who helped with the refreshments and the setting up and putting away of everything used during the morning, especially Joan for help with the refreshments and Barry and Adrian for a lot of fetching and carrying.

Finally, special thanks to Yvonne Cooper from the Museum of Cannock Chase for organising the event and getting the societies together.

Below are lists of events for the next few months from two of the societies:

NB – the first one of the Friends of the Museum is tomorrow (Wednesday) evening 10-10-2012.

Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society Diary Dates For 2012

Cannock Chase Mining Historical Society

Diary Dates For 2012

Monday 6th FebruaryAGM at the Museum of Cannock Chase, commencing at 11.00am prompt.

Quarterley Meetings for 2012

Wednesday 7th March – Sinking of Lea Hall – Speaker – Alan Dean

Wednesday 16th May – Licensed Mines – Speaker – Brian Rollins

Wednesday 4th July – History of Bridgtown

Wednesday 3rd October – Life and Times of Robert Smillie

All talks will be held at the Museum of Cannock Chase, Valley Road, Hednesford, WS12 1TD,  starting at 3.00pm and are open to the general public – admission free.

Special Date

Saturday 28th April 2012

The Dedication Ceremony of the extension to the original Miners’ Monument in Hednesford Town Centre, will take place.

The Bishop of Manchester, the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch will officiate and music will be provided by the Rugeley Power Station Band and the Cannock Chase Orpheus Male Voice Choir.