Northamptonshire Industrial Archaeological Group
On Sunday May 27th the Chasewater Railway Museum played host to a visit from the Northamptonshire Industrial Archaeological Group. This was always intended to be a Museum rather than a Railway visit as the group was more interested in what was around the Chasewater area before the Chasewater Railway, but they were interested to see the various items of rolling stock in the Heritage Centre and in the yard.
After coffee on arrival, the group was given a brief talk about Chasewater Railway and the reasons for its being here. Next, a guided tour of the Heritage Centre, including the workshop, then out into the yard, where several items took their interest, including the steam crane and the boiler from S100.
Moving on, the group next visited the engine shed to see the operational locomotives, and then back to the Sidings Café for lunch, in plenty of time to catch the 13.30 train to Chasetown Church Street.
From Church Street, it was on foot down to the wharf, where originally trains, boats and coal came together, and with the help of various items such as coal chutes, old brickwork and old photographs (a number of which came from Ron Bradbury of the Burntwood Chase Heritage Group – thanks Ron) it was possible to piece together the movement of coal from the pit to the canal boat and later to the railway (with more pictures, this time from Laurence Hodgkinson’s collection).
Along the canal tow-path, we were soon back at Chasewater, at the foot of the dam and up the only slope of the walk – fortunately, given the heat of the day – to see the much more modern works at Chasewater Reservoir. Back then along the edge of the Reservoir and back to the Railway for a much-needed cup of tea.
This was the first time that the Chasewater Railway Museum has done anything quite like this. The Group had asked for a ‘Museum’ visit rather than ‘Railway’ and this added another dimension to it from the Museum’s point of view, and very enjoyable it was too. It is a pity that the walk is quite as far as it is, but without going to the wharf the visit would not have been worth while. (But it’s not always that hot!).
I think that it is safe to say that we would love to do it again with any other interested groups.
A big thank you to the Northamptonshire Industrial Archaeological Group for being such good company and making our jobs as guides for the day so pleasurable
Finally, a day such as this would not be possible without someone to man the Museum; so many thanks go to Mick Doman (He also had the kettle on when we returned – what a star!).
An e mail received from Terry Waterfield, Hon. Treasurer of the Northamptonshire Industrial Archaeological Group.
Dear David & John
Very many thanks for an interesting visit today. Although one or two
arrived back from the walk a little tired, we all very much enjoyed our ride
and walk. It was a very good idea, John, to bring along the photos so that
we could relate ‘then’ and ‘now’. An interesting comment that every one
made was ‘we didn’t know this place existed!’. Perhaps you’ll have to dig
out some stories from the archives to attract some of the industrial
heritage groups rather than the pure railway buffs or colliery ‘anoraks’.
Please pass on our grateful thanks to Godfrey – another very knowledgeable
It would be very interesting to see the line extended to the canal then you
really would have an integrated heritage site. Pity about the Rugby Club
being in the way, though!
Once again very many thanks for a very interesting day.