Taken from the Mercian June 1965 Vol.4 No.3
There are some changes to the format and content in this and future issues of the Mercian, those that relate to the Midlands Area I shall reproduce – others I probably shall not. The Editorial explains the changes.
Since I took over the Editorship of Mercian last September, I have made a series of major alterations in format, the primary result being the last issue but one, and concerning long term policy, the last issue being the first of its type.
Mercian will now be composed of three sheets – as it has been in the last few issues; the extra two pages being devoted to a series of articles of general interest, for example:
Steam Locomotives of a Leisurely Era by Casey Jones.
Renowned Branch Lines by Tre Pol and Pen.
In the planning stage at present is a series called ‘ARPS round-up’, which will take a look at the background and work of the various societies and companies in the RPS. This will be unique in that the series will be a joint effort between the Midlands area and the London RPS.
Perhaps my most difficult task is trying to cater for all tastes, as each series is not going to appeal to all members. Whereas say, Mr. Gibson’s articles will satisfy all those interested in the evolution of railways, they do not meet the requirements of those who will find most interest in Casey Jones’ articles and vice versa.
One of the aspects not covered yet is that ‘Oh! so neglected’ subject, Carriages and Wagons. Is there anyone amongst our readers who would care to write a series for us?
I hope that you will appreciate the changes, and the authors and myself would like to hear your views on these articles.
Members will be pleased to hear that we expect to take delivery of another locomotive later this year thanks to the generosity of one of our members, Dr. P.G.Plummer who has offered to purchase it for us. Although Dr. Plummer is one of our furthest-flung members, spending most of his time in Germany, he does not let his distance from the depot dampen his enthusiasm.
The locomotive is a Hudswell-Clarke 0-6-0ST built for the Sheepbridge Coal and Iron Company in 1895 (Works No. 431). It was transferred to its present location, Desborough Warren Quarry, Northamptonshire, in March 1951 and was due for withdrawal in July when the quarry closes. It is believed to be the oldest Hudswell-Clarke locomotive still in working order and once carried the number 15. Now it has no number or name, although known as “Sheepbridge No.25”.
Painted in apple green it should be a valuable addition to stock already acquired, and will be of considerable use when we move to Chasewater.
As it will probably have to be delivered by road transport, costs may be quite high and we would welcome any donations to help in this matter.
I am sure that all our members will join us in thanking Dr. Plummer for his generous contribution to our Society.
And Another and Another.
To take this good news still further, we have been donated two other locomotives by the Whitecross Company of Warrington. They are Peckett 0-4-0STs of 1900 and 1904 vintage respectively.
Both locomotives were withdrawn from service by the company in 1961, being replaced by two most handsome Fowler diesel locomotives. They carried names up to withdrawal, the older being ‘Baden-Powell’ and the younger ‘Lancet’ – the nameplates of the latter being transferred to the diesel No.1 and those of the former being acquired by local enthusiasts. Alas! Only the ‘Lancet’ will be able to run again, but we hope to exhibit ‘Baden-Powell’ as a static display.
As parts are common to both locomotives, we should be able to exchange those necessary between ’Lancet’ and ‘Baden-Powell’ to render the former serviceable. The company has also given us all the spares they possess, and have offered to give ‘Lancet’ a boiler test, provided that we pay for the presence of an inspector. In fact the test should be carried out whilst this issue of ‘Mercian’ is in the post.
We will have to pay for transport, so please send any donations to the treasurer.
Sadly the Hudswell Clarke, although we still have the loco, has never steamed here. The two Pecketts fared even worse. The ‘Lance’ (not Lancet) 1038/1906 was scrapped in March 1972, and another Peckett – 1823/1931 was also scrapped at the same time. The Loco ‘Baden Powell’ was in too bad a condition to be moved. The other loco was an 0-4-0F a fireless Andrew Barclay locomotive 1562/1917 – scrapped in March 1973.
North Stafford Wagon
We are hoping to buy a North Stafford wagon from the Shelton Iron & Steel Company of Stoke-on-Trent for £15. The matter is now one of some little urgency, and the fund has been opened with a donation of £2 by the Secretary and myself. Any donations for this interesting wagon should be sent to the ‘Carriage & Wagon Fund’ c/o Hon. Treasurer.
Work is now underway after a rather unprofitable winter, the main setback being the lack of numbers in working parties.
Greatest progress has been made upon the Royal Saloon; the primer of red oxide paint being almost complete. This has to be rubbed down and undercoats applied. With this coach being so large, the process of rubbing down will be no mean task, and anyone skilled in the use of ‘wet and dry’ will be greeted with open arms!
Brian Kinder and Maurice Harper are lavishing their attentions on the E1 ‘Cannock Wood’, and will shortly be giving her another coat of green oxide underpaint, whilst Mike Lewis is giving the GWR Merryweather steam pump a thorough overhaul.
Amongst the freight stock, the L. & Y.R. van is in the middle of a repaint, and is at present receiving an undercoat of red oxide. Robert Ives is doing the same on the Midland Railway crane, which sadly needed this care.
According to information sent in by Mr. Plyer of the Great Eastern Railway Group, our brake coach was numbered 44, and built at Stratford works in 1885. The GER Group own a similar brake to ours, and we offer our thanks to Mr. Plyer who has worked to furnish us with this information. We are wondering whether any of our members could do the same on the M. & C. R. coach which will be structurally complete on the building and fitting of another door.
Our final piece of news is from Roger Bell who says that he hopes to STEAM the ‘Princess Elizabeth’ on June 5th at Dowty’s. On behalf of the Society may I convey to Roger and his wife – who in no small way has contributed to the successful preservation of this locomotive – our heartiest congratulations!
I am pleased to report that due to the appeal in my last report several lapsed members have now renewed their subscriptions, plus a few donations.
A new rule to be proposed at the AGM is that all members not renewing their subscription over a period of three months will not receive Mercian or Forum and as such will be deemed lapsed members. The Society just cannot afford to subsidise these people, especially with increased postal costs.
The committee are now awaiting quotations for buildings suitable for use at Chasewater. We hope to go ahead with plans for the building after the final permission from Brownhills UDC has been granted.
We should welcome help from members who feel they can assist with organisation of the Chasewater project.
Sir Alfred Owen has kindly offered the services of Mr. P. Srear, Director of Research at Rubery Owen to help us in this sphere.
D.A.Ives. Hon. Secretary.
Many people think that when a carriage is successfully purchased all worry automatically ceases. In fact, it is quite the reverse. Apart from the labour required to restore a vehicle there is quite often the question of purchasing the materials required.
I do not intend to bore our readers with details of restoration costs since most people are aware of the price of paint, timber and the like. I would, however, for example, ask just how far a gallon of paint goes in restoring a railway carriage. The answer is, of course, that it does not go very far at all.
So far I have only mentioned common-place materials. Rolling stock consists of many specialised parts which are most expensive to replace if they are worn out. Consequently, in many cases, it costs as much to restore a vehicle as it does to purchase it.
You can help, however, if not by donating money but by donating materials. If you have the odd tin of paint or spare pane of glass we can put it to good use and you will have played an important part in restoring these relics.
F.J.Harvey. Hon. Treasurer