News – Hednesford Signal Box & Harper’s Buses
Hednesford’s No.1 signal box will be transformed into a classroom by college students.
The box was moved to Hednesford Park earlier this year and will be restored by construction students from South Staffordshire College before being put to use as a community hub.
The group, aged 16 to 19, will be painting, decorating, repairing and guttering the box as well as removing its windows and replacing them with wooden frames.
The work will be undertaken in partnership with Cannock Chase Council, the Friends of Hednesford Park and local residents.
The work is due to start in September and teacher David Dew will oversee the restoration.
Aston Manor Road Transport Museum (AMRTM)
For years they had been left to rot in an old barn hundreds of miles away, but now a pair of vintage buses manufactured in the Black Country have returned home to be restored to their former glory.
The coaches came off the production line at Guy Motors Ltd. factory in Fallings Park, Wolverhampton in 1959 and were bought by the Heath Hayes firm Harper Brothers to carry passengers on day trips to the coast. After eleven years of service they were sold to a scout group in Northern Ireland in 1971 and re-deployed to ship youngsters from their headquarters in Limerick to scout camps across the country.
Three years ago it emerged that the 52-seat coaches were stranded in a barn on the outskirts of Dublin in a dreadful condition, their once gleaming distinctive green and yellow paintwork peeled away and tarnished by rust, polished interiors now sullied and engines dead to the world.
But thanks to the generosity of their former owner and an un-named benefactor the buses are back on home soil, having arrived at the Aston Manor Road Transport Museum in Aldridge, after being loaded onto large flat-bed lorries and transported across the Irish Sea.
Three AMRTM Guy Arab LUF vehicles together at last. L to R, the former 1292RE, former 1291RE (ex-Harper’s 58/57, both Willowbrook Viking bodies), LJW336, the ex-Guy demonstrator with SARO body. Having got both the Harpers home, we’ll be appealing again for funds to allow the museum to start restoration of one, at least – and calling in past promises. Let’s see how popular our formal local operator really is!
From the Cannock Chronicle: http://yourchronicle.com/
Posted in Hednesford, News
Tagged Aldridge, AMRTM, Aston Manor Road Transport Museum, Cannock Chase Council, Friends of Hednesford Park, Guy Motors Ltd., Harper Bros, Hednesford, Hednesford No.1 Signal Box, Hednesford Park, Northern Ireland, Staffordshire
We had an interesting meeting before Christmas in the Museum on the subject of Accreditation. Our documentation seems to be all complete and updated as required, and the systems for the recording of Museum artefacts are also in place. There is still plenty of marking and cataloguing to do, but now the guidelines are there it should all be straightforward to make more progress on our current collection and keep on top of any new items.
During the last couple of weeks we have been asked for our help in answering one or two questions. One referred to the loco and gentleman in the picture:The gentleman in the photo is Thomas Longstaff, one time undermanager at Cannock Wood Colliery and it was thought that the pic was taken at that colliery, but we could not recognise the engine as being local – no 0-4-2 tender engine being used in the collieries of Cannock Chase. I put the pic on flickr ‘Industrial Railways’ group and they came up with the following answer
A reply from a contact see below.
More from Allan Baker – not what you might have been expecting though…
> I wonder if our friend Longstaff ever visited Ireland; he may have had relations there?
> Waterford & Central Ireland Railway 10 and 11 were Avonside 965 and 966 of 1873, 0-4-2 tender, inside cylinders 16x24inch and 5ft 3inch driving wheel diameter. They became Great Southen & Western Rly 258 and 259 on take-over in September 1900. With such large drivers these were passenger engines and would have been vacuum braked following the 1889 Regs of Railways Act which at that time covered Ireland: indeed it was the Armagh accident that was partly the reason for the Act. The locomotive would appear to have driving wheels of about 5ft diameter judging by the men.
> I have scoured the country and cannot find anything to fit this side of the Irish sea!
On the plates of the loco can be seen the words ‘Bristol’ and the number 11 and ‘Railway’. I have been told since that Thomas Longstaff’s brother-in-law was probably in Ireland from 1863 til 1892, so it is possible that Thomas saw the loco while on a visit. It would be nice to think so!
Our other query cocerned Lady Hanbury of the Coppice Colliery and a possible connection with Harper Bros. bus company. We’ve answered half of the question and are waiting for more information on the other half, concerning Harpers.