In the Restoration Volunteers' Workshop.
We are presently involved in restoring the past for the future in our workshops and invite you to visit the Friends' volunteers working behind the scenes here at at Beamish. This section of the Website shows you restoration projects, both past and present, that The Friends have carried out for the Museum.
Keeping up momentum is proving quite difficult at the moment due to the rearrangement of workshop facilities and the recent very wintry weather which caused even our hardy bunch of workshop volunteers to stay at home over a couple of Saturdays.
As we continue to move our equipment and supplies out of our existing workshop area, soon to become the Machine Shop for the Regional Heritage Engineering Centre, we have inevitably slowed down the process of taking on new jobs. This is not to say that there aren’t jobs identified for us to tackle or that work has stopped altogether. Indeed several jobs have reached conclusion since I last penned a Projects’ Report and I am sure the patience and flexibility of the team will see us through this transition.
Hen & Chickens Pentacycle – This replica machine has had a thorough overhaul removing the wear previously found in the bearings and linkages which abound on this cycle. The result of all this work has been a transformation in the ride-ability of the Pentacycle, which is excellent news as it is a very popular sight with the Museum visitors. The design proved just right for a special mission when Beamish was asked by Durham County Council to help at the switching on ceremony for Chester le Street Christmas lights. The baskets of the Pentacycle were filled with presents and, suitably garlanded for the occasion, it provided the man in the red suit with an alternative to his usual sleigh and reindeers.
Hermaphrodite Sleigh - This is an object which the Friends’ team worked on some time ago. The hermaphrodite sleigh, so named because originally it could be used with wheels on hard ground and converted for use on snow sitting on a set of runners, was given some conservation work several years ago. At the same time a frame with a set of small wheels was made which attaches to the runners to make use on dry land possible. The original wheels were not with the sleigh when it came to the museum collection and possibly explains its survival in to preservation. The seasonal weather of recent weeks enabled the Rural Life time to give the sleigh a limited work out on the snow and it looked very fine indeed.
Horse Drawn Harrows – Having completed the woodwork, the team has been working on the remaining metalwork needed to complete this project which will soon grace the Georgian landscape around Pockerley. We are all keen to see how this will work in the deep soils of this fertile valley as the harrows don’t appear to have means of limiting the depth. They are not fitted with a depth wheel and may have been used on stony land where the penetration was physically limited by the terrain. It will make for interesting trials!
Men Down – No you haven’t entered the American military world, the men in this case are the two wooden characters normally to be found on the side of the railway cutting between Rowley Station and the Town. The Hall’s Distemper sign unfortunately succumbed to the high winds just after Christmas. The sign was a reproduction and the team is working on a replacement. We hope the men will be back with their board and paint in the near future.
Dene and Sidecar – The Mills and Fulford sidecar rebuild is progressing steadily with much woodwork taking place at the moment to renew the rotten areas of the bodywork before painting and upholstery take place. The Sidecar is fitted with an Eastings screen and I thought these two illustrations might be of interest. They are both from “The Motor Cycle” magazine September 1924. One shows an advert for Eastings’ Screens and the other a Mills and Fulford sidecar with two gentlemen in a potentially expensive discussion with an officer of the law. They may have been asking directions!
Estates Work – We are carrying out some coppicing and clearing work in the wooded areas alongside the tramway between the Visitor Centre and Foulbridge, so please say hello to him as you pass. Who knows, he might even persuade you to join him in this activity which was once such an important part of the rural economy.
Maintenance – This round the year activity continues and sometimes we engage in an age old hobby as seen here where three people offer advice and encouragement to the one working member of the team!
Autumn 2012 SOS Bus – The SOS is becoming a star of the printed page. By the time you read this, its story will have graced the pages of Old Glory magazine and it has also had attention from Bus and Coach Preservation magazine for inclusion in a forthcoming issue. The bus has been well praised by all who have inspected it. Most are particularly impressed when shown the “before” photographs showing just a derelict chassis.
The only disadvantage of doing a photo shoot at Beamish is the number of distractions on offer for the visiting photographers. It is easy for Beamish people, with our regular exposure to the Museum, to forget how spectacular it actually is. On a recent session with the SOS the reporter was fascinated with the trams also sharing the Town Street. I believe it was the first time he had been forced to arrange shots around the need to keep a working tramway free from obstructions!
For many years we have used a Northern publicity photograph, advertising their Doorstep to Destination services, as inspiration to complete the work on our SOS. The photograph shows a slightly later SOS QL with the conductor pointing to the Destination Board. The background of this advertising photograph had been removed from the negative by the Northern leaving no clues to its location. Recently, I was looking through a large collection of bus photographs which were for sale and one caught my attention. I recognised the bus and the conductor as the one in the publicity picture but this photograph showed the background. I bought the photograph and set about trying to find the location. Four of us spent an hour or so in the Friends’ Office and with the help of Google Earth we managed to locate the site to the Lambton Bridge over the River Wear on the A183 Chester Road.
Avon Power Saw – Work has commenced on this item THE ‘AVON’ POWER SAW manufactured by Canavon Partners Avonmouth Bristol and fitted with a Bradford engine. The saw is nothing like the power saws of today, consisting of a large blade much like a manual crosscut saw but, in this case, the reciprocating movement is provided by a small barn engine attached to a set of dual purpose stilts. The stilts aid moving the saw about and provide a fixing when the saw is in operation.
The saw worked at the Museum in the past but it had become rather tired. Much wear and tear needs removing although the combined workshop talent has already repaired the worn big end bearing at no cost. Some new materials are required and we are having a petrol tank made to replace the modern one presently fitted. Once again, this will be a wonderful exhibit to watch as it slowly saws its way through a large tree trunk.
Woodwork - The mobile catering stall is making great progress despite the fact that it is too big to assemble in the space the team have available! The fairground fencing is accompanying the Gallopers to Santa’s Grotto for the Christmas Event season and a wheelbarrow has been constructed to replace one which had been worn out at Home Farm.
Horse Drawn Harrows - The tines and flitch plates are fitted and painting will soon commence.
Estates Work – This work continues all year round and will increase in years to come as the Museum strives to become less reliant on external energy sources. If you are interested please contact Sarah Jarman the Volunteer Officer.
Cycle Maintenance – This continues, and in fact forms a large part of the workshop hours. The increased number of machines and their regular use has greatly enlarged the input needed to keeping everyone running smoothly. We also need to complete some planned works on the Excelsior Tricycle over the winter as a previous repair has given way recently. I hope that by the time you read this article the ‘Hen and Chickens’ (Pentacycle) will have played a major part in a local event involving a man in a red suit. More on this later!
Dene and Sidecar – Following on from the Dene workers’ reunion the restoration of the Mills and Fulford sidecar has leapt forward. The sidecar chassis has been trial fitted to the V Twin Dene and the necessary attachments made, or adjusted to fit. It was good to meet the ex employees and hear their stories and also attending was Beamish’s own Ossie Byers who restored the V Twin and campaigned it for many years in the Beamish Trophy Trial.
Happy Days Charabanc – Although this is now complete Chris Thompson has found an illustration of the rear of the vehicle during its working life at Morecambe. This clearly shows two boards carrying the proprietors name and journey destinations fitted below the rear seat bases. These boards would also double as modesty panels so we intend to make and refit them as shown in the archive pictures.
Events: We were out scaring people (no comments on that being normal) for the Halloween Events. During the last evening we were helped by some very vocal members of the Beamish Youth Group. The three evenings were well attended and the visitors seemed to be having a wonderful time in the spooky world of Beamish the Un-Living Museum. The Friends will be helping at the Christmas Evening Events and helping to entertain the crowds during the weekends leading up to the Christmas.
Hodbarrow Tipper Waggon - The tipper waggon made its debut at Power from the Past. This would not have been possible without the team pulling out all of the stops and you could smell the fresh paint which was applied in the days before the event.
Fencing - The already completed fence panels being made for use at the Fairground have seen temporary use at the Friends' display at Foulbridge. These panels are quite time consuming to produce and paint but look attractive and provide a more effective barrier than rope.
Chaff Cutter - The Bamford "Clipper Safety Chaff Cutter" was also completed, just in time, for the Beamish Agricultural Fair. Our thanks go to Phil Anderson who applied the finishing touches to the elaborate paint work in the days just before the event. It was demonstrated at Home Farm along with a Corn Mill. Power was supplied by the Ruston Hornsby Barn engine, the Case tractor and by volunteer muscle!!
Adams Patent Elevator - This is now complete and awaits positioning in its final setting. I am sure this unusual item will enhance display possibilities and will always remind the workshop volunteers of Ray Mankin as it was his last project with us.
Woodwork - The woodwork team is continuing work on the mobile catering stand which has required much more extensive work than was anticipated at first. They have also produced all manner of bits and pieces for the other restoration projects ongoing. These include the feed tray for the chaff cutter, a set of wheel scotches for the SOS and, as mentioned in the last issue an air raid warning sign for use in evacuation experiences.
Wooden Harrows - New tines have been made by a local blacksmith to replace the missing ones. These are made in wrought iron and look exactly the same as the originals. All the flitch plating is being fitted and the tines fitted to the frame. The stilts and supports can then be added, and this will be another project to roll (or be dragged) out of the workshop.
Rowley Seat - The last replacement bench is almost complete and will soon take its place on the platform at Rowley Station.
Dene & Sidecar - During the re-commissioning of the two Dene motorcycles we had thought how good it would be to see the V Twin attached to a sidecar. The power of these large capacity machines, with their long wheelbases, was normally used to enable a whole family, or goods, to be transported. Following discussions with the Museum's Transport Curator the decision was taken to find a suitable sidecar and chassis. Preliminary feelers were put out to find a suitable "chair". During a conversation between the Dene re-commissioning team and another enthusiast the subject of the sidecar search came up and remarkably this enthusiast had a suitable sidecar and chassis which he no longer required. This sidecar could not be more suitable as it was manufactured by Mills and Fulford and the Dene Motor Co. were agents for Mills and Fulford sidecars. I am happy to report that the sidecar has now been purchased and awaits restoration and fitting to the V Twin.
Happy Days Charabanc - The repaint of the horse drawn charabanc has now also reached completion and the vehicle can once again join the working collection. A spare set of cushions is also being made keeping our volunteer upholsterer busy.
Cycle Collection - As a result of the Workshop restructuring, we have been tackling some of the smaller jobs which have not been possible when larger jobs have occupied floor space.
One such job is the replica Pentacycle (Hen and Chickens), purchased many years ago, this item has always been difficult to ride. It is undergoing a thorough overhaul to reduce its waywardness and we hope this will make it suitable for greater use around site.
The replica is a faithful reproduction of the pentacycles used by the staff of Horsham Post office c.1882. The regular maintenance of cycles continues thus keeping the staff and volunteers mobile and visitors entertained.
Events - The Friends have been heavily involved in the Festival of Agriculture in particular Power from the Past and the Show of Agriculture. We were able to assist with the displays, encouraged exhibitors to bring their vehicles to add to the fantastic range of items in use on site. We were also able to help with the recent visit by the Steam Car Club of Great Britain and hope they are able to repeat their visit in the near future.
Future Jobs - The Anzani Iron Horse is still to start and the restoration of the N.E.R. Birdcage brakevan will be a largely Friends' project. Additionally we have started on the Racksaw and we have a tandem to attach the Sandum sidecar to.
Every so often a succession of projects comes to completion and this is one of those times. The SOS bus is not the only item approaching completion.
Water Cart - the Cart was in use at the Great North Steam Fair appearing alongside the SOS.
Hodbarrow Side Tipper - At the time of writing the rebuilt body awaits painting. The Friends' team have been very busy with the chassis and now re-wheeled it needs couplings and fittings made to attach the body.
Adams Patent Elevator - Final assembly has commenced and this wonderfully Heath Robinson device will soon be ready for (light) use and display. It has put up a fight from the start but has finally submitted to the TLC administered in the Friends' Workshop. It awaits cables for winching vehicles up its ramps and a top coat of paint.
Cannon Base - This too is largely complete with just the final positioning of the barrel to be done. This sounds easy but the barrel is a considerable weight!
Fair Ground Additions - The Joinery Team have been busy making fence panels for the Fairground area and will be starting on the repair of the Mobile Catering stand. They will then be able to measure up the Hall of Mirrors so we can carry out repairs to its frame also.
Trilox "Invalid Carriage" - This is proving a very interesting project not least because it has fired the imagination of the people of Trowbridge in Wiltshire, its place of manufacture. Thanks to this interest we have been able to gather much information relating to the company including some early advertisements.
Upholstery - Our volunteer upholsterer is busy catching up on the repairs needed to the working collections and will be seen hard at work on both horse drawn and self-powered vehicles across the site.
Bicycles – The five bicycles purchased jointly with the Museum are now on site and will enter service shortly. They are all of Raleigh manufacture two being Gents frames and three ladies. The bicycles have been fully restored and should give relatively trouble free service.
Re-Commissioning - It has long been the intention within the Museum to bring some of the long resting exhibits back to life. This process started with the re-commissioning of the single cylinder Dene motorcycle, which is normally on display in the Garage Showroom. One of the re-commissioning volunteers is the son of the machine's restorer and the same team have now got the other Dene motorcycle running aswell. Both machines were on display and in use over the four days of the Beamish Great North Steam Fair. It was wonderful for the Museum's visitors to catch a glimpse of these items working.
Beamish has started having extra transport activity on the first weekend of every month and despite the less than friendly weather so far, the Friends have picked up the baton and been seen operating a variety of transport modes on these weekends.
Organ - You may have missed our Street Organ over the last couple of months. The organ has beenhaving a general service and re-tune. The organ specialist examined the organ and it only required a clean and re-tune. The organ is back in full voice now and can be heard regularly. entertaining us soon.
Future Projects - We have several projects planned for the future including an early set of harrows for the Georgian area, a Chaff Cutter for Home Farm and an Anzani Iron Horse (which is a self-propelled cultivator). There are also several larger projects planned to commence once the workshop changes have taken place. The workshop alterations will also involve an element of relocation for everybody, but we hope to keep the disruption to a minimum and maintain our level of output. Regular meetings take place with Museum staff to ensure projects fit within the scope of the Museum’s plans, present and future, and to ensure everyone is up to date with progress.
Events - Great North Steam Fair - The event was very well attended with over 15,000 people visiting over the four days. The quality of exhibits was second to none and a big thanks must go to all those involved.
Winter 2011/Spring 2012
Hodbarrow side tipper: Work continues on the chassis. All of the original fixing bolts and tie bars had to be remade and this has been laboriously executed to exactly match the original fittings. The metal work which was salvageable has been shot blasted and is now painted. The Museum's Transport Curator has been closely involved as the chassis has been subjected to many alterations and patching to keep the waggon in service during its working life. It will be necessary to repair and remake most of the coupling equipment and to repair the latches which prevent the body tipping of its own accord. As the wheels are now repaired they will require painting before they can be reunited with the chassis. When completed the waggon will provide an extra attraction at the colliery acting as a useful receptacle for the ashes created by the fires of Pithill. The ashes can then be tipped along the tracks recreating the ash ballast much loved by collieries and indeed by the North Eastern Railway.
Adams Patent Elevator: The large pile of rotten metal, rust and broken castings which has occupied a corner of our workshop for over a year now has gone! Don't worry, before you all get worried we haven't thrown it all away. The pile of bits still exists but it now consists of repaired castings, the rust has been removed and much new metal work is on display. All of the bearing surfaces have had to be reclaimed or remade and the wear caused by the original seizure has been made good. The team will shortly drill the ramps and start attaching the myriad of fittings. This item will hopefully grace the Town garage in the near future.
Cobble Rammer: We are often asked to produced strange items in the Friends' workshop, but this is certainly one of the most unusual. The device, as its name suggests, is used to assist the laying of cobbles and will be used by the volunteers whose work graces the entrance to Rowley station from the level crossing. It consists of a large piece of elm bound by metal bands and fitted with a very stout handle. An air hammer has also been cleaned and painted for display at the colliery.
Coal Box: I mentioned last time that work was about to commence on a coal container for the gallopers. This has been completed and is having its final lettering added. It has been finished in the livery of the Tyne Tees Shipping Co to match the previous container, which is used as a spares and oil store.
Rowley Station: The last of the repaired benches is ready to be returned which will allow us to repaint the other serpent seat. The doors which allow access to the "business end "of the earth closets have also been refitted.
Duke of Sutherland's Carriage: Work has started on the remaking of the lower footboards.
Fairground Attractions: Recent arrivals outside the workshop doors are several items of Fairground equipment which require repair. When complete they will make up a mobile catering stall and a Hall of Mirrors. Due to the scale of these projects they will take some time to complete and we are also manufacturing fencing to act as period barriers at the Fairground.
Trilox "Invalid Carriage": Manufactured by Trilox of Trowbridge the Deluxe No 1 dates from circa World War 2 and is powered by the occupant's arms and steered by their back. It has a coaster hub in the left hand wheel combining a free-wheel and a brake. When descending hills the left hand crank does not revolve and the brake can be applied by a gentle backward movement with the handle. An additional brake is fitted. Research is on-going at the moment to enable restoration.
Street Watering Cart: The cart manufactured by H. Bushell & Sons, York has now been completely dismantled and the tank will be repaired by an external contractor as it is in a poor condition. The rest of the vehicle will be overhauled in house, which will include the repair of the cast foot board. If you know anything about this maker please let us know.
Signs: The sign writing of the warning signs is on going and has recommenced now that the Christmas Events are over.
Workshop Restructuring: The Museum are in the process of rearranging the workshop facilities at Foulbridge and this will of course include the Friends' facilities. The aim is to improve the utilisation of workshop space and increase the throughput of work to cope with the increased work load caused by greater visitor numbers and more restoration projects.
Events: The Friends have been active at the Halloween and Christmas events and we also had our own very enjoyable Chair's Christmas Treat. We enjoyed seasonal refreshments following entertainment provided by a wind quintet of the Cobweb Orchestra .
Future Projects: Lined up for the future are an Iron Horse, a rack saw, a wooden harrow and the repair of a straw chopper along with the rebuild of a Telephone and an RAC box.
SOS Bus - Almost There! The overhauled
magneto returned in time for the Power
from the Past event but didn’t give us a
chance to fine tune settings. However,
despite a reluctance to start easily on the
handle, once going it ran very well and
allowed us to make several trips around the
site over the event weekend. Everyone commented on how stunning it looked and this was justly deserved praise for the amount of effort the Friends’ team has put into this mammoth project. It only remains to get the timing spot on, double check the chassis and put the final finishing touches to the interior paintwork by adding the numerous warning notices.
Rowley Station - The repaired and repainted serpent seat looks fantastic and it complements the other refurbished bench on the platform. We have one more station bench in the workshop at the moment and hope to complete this shortly.
Coal Box - The work of building a coal storage box for the Gallopers is about to commence following the arrival of materials.
Horse Drawn Sweeper - The brush for
the sweep arrived the day before Power
from the Past (spot the none deliberate
theme appearing) but the workshop team
once more rose to the challenge and had it
fitted by mid-morning on day one of the
event. The staff from the Town stables,
who were as keen as us to see it operate,
came as soon as horse power was available
and it made a successful first sweep (excuse the pun) of the Museum with Lion happily
harnessed between the shafts. The trail of dust following in its wake demonstrated how well it was working.
Child’s Pram - The pram has been completed and has had its first outing with the Youth Group and proved very popular. We also exhibited it with the Friends’ display throughout the PftP event where
once again it became a talking point with the visitors.
Adams Elevator - Painting and reassembly is under way.
Scuffler - The Scuffler made by Teasdale Bros Ltd of Darlington is complete and was on display at the Beamish Agricultural Show before being put to work keeping the weeds at bay.
Tipper Waggon - The oak frame is complete with much of its new metal work fitted and the Museum have commenced the work of repairing the wheels and tipping body.
Bench Seats - These general use benches are now finished and await distribution to their final locations around site.
Happy Days Charabanc - Work continues, albeit slowly and subject to other commitments but steady progress is taking place.
Slate Sorting - A small, but hardy, team have spent several days sorting and stacking slates which will be used on the roof of the rebuilt Eston church. The Museum staff have expressed their gratitude for this vital work which will enable the use of these reclaimed slates and thereby
reduce the cost of the reconstruction.
Events - The Reliability Run was a success with the Museum entrants winning a trophy. Power from the Past was at the beginning of September and the Friends had a large input helping the Museum put on a spectacular show (not our words but those of visitors). We were also able to make and fit two Circular Tour boards which were used to adorn Blackpool 31 during the PftP tram procession and provided period costumed volunteers to help at the evening photo shoot. The Agricultural Event was next and as usual we operated the threshing demonstration and had volunteer cyclists adding to the atmosphere around the Show field. This year we were also able to help with the Industry classes.
Next was Halloween and we are looking forward to the Christmas events. Without the work of many volunteers, the Friends’ would not be able to contribute to these events and they deserve our thanks.
Future Projects -
The water cart which
matches the road
sweeper is waiting to
come into the
workshop and we have been asked to repair the footboard brackets for the Duke of Sutherland’s railway carriage and to assist in the restoration of the N.E.R. birdcage brake van.
SOS Bus - As mentioned previously work continues on the reproduction of the numerous transfers which were fitted to the bus body. The bus exterior is now fully lined out and proudly carries its Northern trademarks. Unfortunately, the bus was unable to make an appearance at The Great North Steam Fair due to a problem with its magneto - no sparks! The original specification magneto has now been dispatched for a rebuild. Work still continues on the final finishing. We are hoping to produce the internal transfers ourselves and wish to thank the Museum for assistance in this task.
Ruston Hornsby Barn Engine - The engine ran successfully during the GNSF and we hope to demonstrate it again at both Power From The Past and the Agricultural Event.
Rowley Station - The damaged running in board and warning sign in the goods yard were repaired and re-erected ready for the start of the Season. The work of repairing and repainting the station platform furniture continues. We are removing and repairing one seat at a time having repaired a spare so seating capacity remains constant for visitors. The N.E.R serpent seats are very difficult to repaint, but the finished product is well worth the effort made by the dedicated volunteers in the workshop. We have been asked to repair the night soil doors at the rear of the station as they are suffering from the effects of age and weather.
Coal Box - To compliment the container box Paul Jarman has asked us to produce a smaller container to act as a coal bunker for the Gallopers. This is being made from a drawing supplied by Paul. The other container is now full of the equipment used to maintain the ride.
Horse Drawn Sweeper - The sweeper is now resplendent in Blue and Red. We are awaiting delivery of the brush and the chain drive has been repaired. Each individual chain link has been built up with weld and then dressed back to shape.
Child’s Pram - Ray Mankin has made a new set of wheels and a complete under frame for this small but interesting item. The pram had lost its “works” before getting to Beamish so after discussion with the curatorial team it was decided to repair the pram as though it was a hand-me-down rescued by a pitman for his daughter. It looks splendid being exercised by a member of the Beamish Youth Group.
Adams Elevator - Work has commenced on painting and re-assembly.
Scuffler - The Scuffler made by Teasdale Bros Ltd of Darlington (named by the makers as a Steel Scruffler) is almost complete with final adjustments being made and the green paint work (matched to the remains found on dismantling) looks very smart.
Solid Tyred Safety Bicycle - Now complete and back in action.
Tipper Waggon - The oak frame is almost finished and the tedious and difficult work of making the new fixing bolts is well advanced.
Cannon Base - Re-construction is now advanced with the oak cut ready for the new metalwork. The original fittings have wasted from being in contact with wood and water for many years.
Chippers - These have been refurbished and are now fitted in the Chip Shop and we have cleaned and repaired two toilet cisterns for use in the building.
Bench Seats - In addition to the benches for Rowley Station the workshop has remade five bench seats for general use around the site.
Happy Days Charabanc - The repainting is proceeding steadily.
Road Signs - We have produced six trestles to act as road works markers and have another six to produce. We are also making five “road closed” signs to go with the trestles. These items will have a practical use as barriers whilst maintaining the correct visual appearance of the period areas.
Events - The Great North Steam Fair was very successful thanks to the large number of people who gave freely of their time and the many exhibitors that joined us for four very sunny days. An evening photo shoot was a new departure for Beamish. This took place on the Saturday evening and proved very popular. We hope to be able to support the forthcoming events in a similar manner. Having assisted with the Reliability Run, we are committed to the Power from the Past Event, the Agricultural Event and as usual will join in the fun at Halloween and Christmas.
Future Projects - The water cart which matches the road sweeper is waiting to come into the workshop as soon as space becomes available. We are also about to make a false floor to protect the load space on the Morris Commercial truck recently donated to the Museum.
New Volunteering Opportunities - Two new volunteer groups have now been established. These are based on Rowley Station and the allotments and Engine Wright’s shed at the rear of Francis Street. The groups will adopt these areas and bring an extra sparkle to the already highly evocative surroundings. It is hoped this will widen the volunteering opportunities on offer and involve more new faces.
SOS Bus - A full set of working lights now flank the elegant radiator. We are presently looking at ways to reproduce the numerous transfers which were fitted to the bus body. Along with the Northern logos there are various notices and numbers to be applied.
Ruston Hornsby Barn Engine - The engine has had a successful test run and will hopefully take part in this year's coming events, it has already entertained the visitors to the Great North Steam Fair.
Trollies - Two railway trollies have been rebuilt for use at the Beamish Engine Works. These will be used for moving things around on rails easing the transport of heavy items.
Rowley Station - Unfortunately, the high winds of February damaged the Station name board and one of the warning signs in the goods yard. These items are being repaired and repainted and we have been asked to give the station platform furniture a general clean and spruce up ready for the main season starting.
Container Box - The container box doors had swollen due to the wet weather so we have adjusted them to allow the container to continue its work as a mobile coal bunker for the Gallopers.
Horse Drawn Sweeper - Work continues steadily and the sweeper is now back on its own wheels. The lifting shaft and brush shaft have now been repaired and the ratchet drive in the wheels (which allows the sweeper to turn corners) now revolves with a satisfying clunk. The new shafts are made which will allow the mechanism to be fitted in its final position. We are at present awaiting delivery of a suitable brush and the chain drive requires some attention.
Adams Elevator - The Adams car elevator has seen a lot of work preparing the many broken castings for welding. Each one has required a jig to be made to ensure that everything ends up in the right place. The ball races which allow the castor feet to swivel freely have been remade as the originals had corroded so badly they had eaten into the parent metal. The castor locking mechanism has also been repaired.
Scuffler - We have commenced the rebuilding of a horse drawn scuffler. This was made by Teasdale Bros Ltd of Darlington (named by the makers as a Steel Scruffler) and will be used on site when completed. Once again the team have to repair broken castings along with straightening the frames, rebushing the wheels and making a new set of handles.
Solid Tyred Safety Bicycle - This bicycle, which serves as a reminder of Tommy Thompson a much missed volunteer, has been undergoing a thorough overhaul including the re-nickeling of all its bright work in the correct dull nickel finish. The frame and forks have had a full repaint in the manner of the period of manufacture 1885-1887 and it should be back being demonstrated shortly.
Tipper Waggon - Much energy has been expended on the dismantling of the metal work for the wagon as decades of corrosion are overcome. Virtually all of the fixings will require new nuts and bolts to be made. We will soon have the oak timber required for the remaking of the chassis and work will commence on re-assembly.
Cannon Base - Oak will also be needed for the base of an "ornamental" cannon being readied for display at Pockerley. Careful dismantling has given us details of the original construction and we will follow this in the rebuild.
Events - The Friends have been asked to help with this year's special events on site and we are more than happy to be able to add to the wonderful displays planned for this coming year.
Chippers - Our latest job is underway now and involves the cleaning and refurbishing of some hand chip making machines for use in the Chip Shop.
SOS Bus - Painting continues on the body
and the chassis will also receive a check
over to repair any damage sustained during
the fitting of the body.
The body is now having the beading fitted
that covers the edges of the wooden panelling. This had been removed to allow it and the body panels to be painted. The destination boards are being signwritten and we will have boards to
cover all of the routes originally served by UP 551. The refurbished horn has also been finally fitted making the entry and exit from the cab an even more intricate operation!
Horse Drawn Road Sweeper - Work continues on the main frame and works. The worm and wheel arrangement which allows the brush to be raised and lowered has now been repaired and functions very smoothly. Soon we will order wood to make a new pair of shafts which will be fitted to the restored chassis frame.
Ruston Hornsby “Barn Engine” - The
Friends have for many years operated
several stationary engines for the
entertainment and education of the
museum’s visitors. Unfortunately, one of
these has been sidelined for some time as it was thought to have sprung a leak in its water jacket. One of our latest recruits took on the task of dismantling the engine so that we could inspect the damage. The problem turned out to be no more than a corroded oil pipe which runs from the glass oil reservoir through the water space and into the cylinder bore lubricating the piston and rings. This has now been replaced and the engine has received attention to its valvegear as well. Once it is up and running again we hope to demonstrate it driving a suitable piece of agricultural machinery.
Adams Patent Elevator - We have taken delivery of the new ramps and jigs have been made to hold the broken castings in the correct position for welding. New bearing tracks are being made to allow the castor feet to swivel in the correct manner.
Bicycles - The bicycles for use as staff
transport are gradually being serviced and
prepared for use. This has involved
checking brakes, bearings, new saddles,
tyres and tubes where necessary and fitting
items such as skirt guards to keep
Edwardian dresses out of the spokes.
Wood work - The woodwork team is
busy with many jobs at the moment. A
cycle rack has been made to hold the staff
transport bicycles to be held at the
Regional Resource Centre. There are
several maintenance jobs on farm carts and two railway maintenance trolleys are being repaired. We have a selection of bench ends to clean and paint and these will require new bases and backs to be fitted. On top of these previously mentioned jobs the rebuilding of the side tipper waggon
chassis will commence as soon as the oak timber has arrived.
Events - The Friends have taken part in the Halloween Events at the end of October and in the Christmas Evening openings which took place during a very cold December.
SOS bus - The SOS has a horn fitted now and the window seals are almost complete. The lights are being assembled ready for fitting. The seat cushions are also almost all complete and work has commenced on the preparation work prior to the final paint finish being applied. This will be a slow and tedious process, but the end result will be worth it. Minor adjustments are being made to the fuel system and we are also checking the engine timing following a change of magneto.
Container Box - The shot blasting of the metal strapping and lifting attachments is now complete and these are now being painted ready for fitting. The roof covering will then be finished and the box will be ready to to take on its new role acting as a coal bunker and store for the newly refurbished gallopers.
Horse Drawn Roadsweeper - The Horse Drawn Roadsweeper is now being rebuilt. A new main shaft has been acquired and the various gears and bearings have been carefully reamed, by hand, to ensure a perfect fit.
Adams Patent Elevator - The Adams
Patent Elevator is awaiting welding on
some broken castings and we are investigating suppliers to replace the main ramps which are very badly corroded. Samples of the original ramps will be retained for future reference.
Solid Tyred Safety - The solid tyred safety
bicycle has been reassembled to make sure
everything fits before we have the bright
parts re-nickled and complete the painting
and lining. Everything does fit, so we will be
able to have the plating done as soon as we
have polished it. There are several items
from the newly acquired cycles which also require plating at the same time.
Street Furniture - The workshop team are continuing to clean and repaint the road signs and seats at the front of the Friends' workshop. We are also rebuilding a bench which has been out of use for some time due to the wooden seat rails giving way.
Wheel barrows - The joinery shop team have made two wheelbarrows for the Beamish Engine Works and they have also repaired one of the barrows which was made several years ago for use at Pockerley.
Future Work - We are working in partnership with the full time staff on the rebuilding of a railway tipper waggon. This waggon, thought to date from the 1880s, was one of a fleet of 100 identical waggons used to take ore from
the mines at Hodbarrow in Cumbria to the shipping point at Crab Marsh Quay on the River Duddon. The jetty here closed c1940 leaving the fleet redundant, however, at least 20 waggons survived and were employed to carry scrap wood, ballast and stone for concrete making. Only six remained in use by the 1960s including number 96, our example. The waggon will require extensive work partly carried out at Beamish and partly by external contractors and will hopefully feature at next year’s Power from the Past Event.
Events - The Friends put on a display of bicycles, motorcycles and cars for the
Beamish Great North Steam Fair and we also helped with the Agricultural Event in September. Once again the Case tractor earned its keep providing power for the threshing demonstration and driving the Corn Mill. Both the Case and the “Little Grey Fergie” were kept very busy over the four days and helped to show the visitors how a crop was processed in the days before combine harvesters.
SOS Bus - The SOS bus now has all its seat frames installed and the protective wooden floor treads have been fitted. The window seals are in the process of being fitted and we have recently taken delivery of a full set of lamps (head and side lights) to complete the lighting at the front of the bus.
lamps are being painted and readied for
fitting of reflectors and bulb holders. The
work of completing the cab grab handles
and the mirror supports is also nearly
complete. Shortly, we will start the final
paint work and the sourcing of the correct
transfer lettering. Once again the Friends’
membership came to the rescue following
our appeal for a suitable bulb horn and this
will also be fitted in the near future.
Container Boxes - The first Container Box is nearing completion and we understand that this first box will be used to hide the electric generator used to power the lights in the fairground which is being laid out next to Rowley Station. We can then use the completed box as a pattern to make some more to be used as a period load for transportation around the museum site.
Horse Drawn Sweeper - The difficult job of dismantling the Horse Drawn Road sweeper is now complete and the work has begun replacing and repairing the many components which make up the mechanics of this fascinating machine.
During its previous working life it had been converted to be drawn by a tractor and the workshop team will also have to construct a set of shafts to allow the original power source to be used.
Adams Patent Elevator - The Adams Patent Elevator is proceeding slowly with the painstaking work required to repair/replace the numerous castings which are in very poor condition.
Solid Tyred Safety Cycle - The solid tyred safety bicycle is also progressing well. We hope to carry out a trial assembly soon which will allow us to make sure everything fits before we have the bright parts re-nickled and complete the painting and lining.
Working Cycle collection - The museum staff are keen to use the cleanest, greenest mode of transport in their everyday travels around the Beamish site. This happens to be the bicycle and we are assisting the curatorial team in the aim of having several period bicycles for use on site. We hope to commission/help to source several “mounts” for this purpose and hopefully we can help to maintain this transport asset in the future....
Workshop - If you have visited the
Friends’ Workshop recently you will have
noticed the newly painted road signs which
once again grace the walls at the entrance
and we are repainting the road sign next to
the AA box as well. Please remember to call and see us if you are visiting Beamish on
Photograph: A job to be done. Using a stencil to paint the name and logo on a set pot.
With alternative description for non graphics or blind users.
Select a Project.
- Horse Drawn Ambulance.
- 1900 Humber Quadricycle.
- Motorcycles at Beamish.
- The J21 Locomotive.
- 1928 SOS 'QL' Type Bus.
- Hand Milk Churn.
- The Newcastle Cart.
- Horse Drawn Charabanc Happy Days.
- Sunderland Tram Number 16.
- The SHEW Car.
Why are Online Project Reports So Valuable?
All reports used here may have been printed in previous versions of the Friends' Newsletter. Taking advantage of the Internet it is hoped to add value to these by enabling us to:
- Compile a simple chronologically record of work online for each project.
- Add historical notes and Internet links.
- Create feedback of valuable information and comments about specific projects from visitors to the website.
This is a wonderful way of showing the full extent of the restoration work carried out by the Friends at the Museum. This should be of interest to many of our visitors whether members of not.
The Friends have many restoration projects in hand and are always looking for volunteers who come from all walks of life and experience. Traditional techniques are encouraged in all the work and volunteers benefit by getting away from the stress of modern day life and enjoying the spirit and fellowship of the skilled craftsmen of the past.
End of page.
Screen Reader version for people who cannot see the image for what ever reason.
Photograph: Painting the Set Pots.
The photograph shows a man sat of the floor of a workshop. He is wearing blue overalls and a large light brown cap that hides his face as he looks downwards. There are three large set pots on the floor which has brown wooden floorboards. A 'set pot' or 'copper' is a hemispheric steel bowl about two to three feet across, which would be set into a concrete bench with a small fireplace underneath. Once upon a time most households would have one in the scullery or washhouse for heating water and to boil the sheets in the weekly wash.
The man is painting onto one of the set pots using a yellow stencil. Another set pot lies at the forefront of the picture. There are indistinguishable words and a logo painted in white on this set pot. A third lies partly hidden behind the man on the right. The background is of an old workshop with many shapes of machines and pieces of timber without much detail. TEXT.