The Weighbridge Project

October 2017

The Project is progressing slowly but steadily. An exciting announcement is expected by the end of this month.

Saturday 9th September 2017

Despite the wet morning a good crowd turned up to see the weighbridge in it`s present condition. Comments were very encouraging.

 

Tuesday 5th September 2017

The working party continued to remove the polystyrene blocks and galvanised sheet cladding in the larger end room which was a cold store. This work revealed severed brick work in the side walls indicating the presence in early years of a dividing wall. This discovery indicates the original building consisted of four small rooms as suspected from two chimneys evident in old photographs. It is now strongly suspected that each room originally had a fireplace.

25th August 2017    Heritage Lottery Fund

We have submitted an online pre application enquiry form and expect to receive a reply within 10 working days. Dependant on the reply we will then know if, how and when to proceed with a full application.

1st STEPS

We have had a meeting with Colin Richards, a conservation specialist, about the feasibility of restoring the Bishop’s Castle Railway weighbridge office. Ransfords, the owners of the timber yard on which the building stands, have cleared some of the material which rather surrounded the building and it was possible to get to the back side of the building where there is a tree extremely adjacent to the building (see photos below).

To summarise the advice we’ve had: the building, although in a poor condition, is suitable for preservation. The cost, in broad terms, would be in the region of £50,000. We would need to seek funding for this though the Society might put some money into the project. For an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to be successful, the project must show a benefit to the community, it should feature volunteers to a significant degree, it should involve the acquisition of skills and have a long term future. If this sounds a bit daunting (which it is) we have been given a few pointers as to how this might be achieved which might include: the involvement of local conservation volunteers, training of local tradesmen in conservation techniques, and the on-site production of hand-made bricks.

We will need the continuing goodwill of Ransfords to achieve anything and I’ll be meeting with Alastair Evans from Ransfords soon to discuss this further.

Probably the next step is to arrange a detailed specification of what needs to be done and how much it will cost.

THE WEIGHBRIDGE

It is interesting to note that the weighbridge bed has a degree of free movement after many years out of use. The weighbridge itself was manufactured by S Parsons & Co Ltd of Bradford. There is a lead seal, that is probably from a Weights and Measures check, with the number 66. This suggests that the weighbridge was not used after 1967. We’ve heard from someone who remembers going with his father to buy coal in about 1965 when it was in use.

All that is visible on the scales is a plate stamped “15 TONS”.  On the steelyard is stamped S Parsons and Co Ltd Bradford. St Georges Iron Works, Bradford became part of Light Castings in 1922 and Allied Iron Founders in 1929.

These websites show similar weighbridges
http://www.fotolibra.com/gallery/1147025/parsons-weighbridge/
Google – parsons weighbridge -fifth down on results – Billingsley and Alveley Weighbridges) PDF. There is a picture of the Alveley weighing machinery on its side and it looks similar to our equipment.

This is an aerial view of the site about 1965ish. The weighbridge is slightly right of lower centre. The round topped building is still there and the lean -to has our plaque on it. The old platform is centre, with wood stacked on it, between the public hall (it had a round roof then)and the large building. The goods shed is beyond centre and the railway ran along the faint line towards the top right.

Ransfords and Alastair Evans have been most helpful and supportive and have given us full access to the site. It is important to say, however, that it is a busy industrial site and so, of course, it is not acceptable for anyone to wander about at will. Someone trespassing had to be chased off last week; there’s no suggestion that he was a Society member but we need be aware of this.