Thursday, 23 December 2010

Christmas 2010 (Part 2)

Father Christmas in his grotto
Having left my tripod behind on Sunday, another visit was in order to get some photographs before everything gets packed away for next year. Being a weekday it also affords the opportunity to catch up with some of the behind the scenes activity such as horse repairs and locomotive rebuilds.

Waveney Valley carriages

Cutting out rot
First port of call is John in the carpentry workshop. He is busy attending to one of the 15″ Waveney carriages. Built in 1937 by Waggon-Fabrik AG of Uerdingen in West Germany, these carriages are constructed primarily of wood which eventually falls victim to the wet weather. With all of the seats stripped out, the body is attended to and any sections of rot are cut out and replaced.

New timber fitted
When the body repairs have been done the slatted seats are inspected and repaired where necessary before everything is painted, varnished and fitted back together. At 73 years old these carriages are holding up well, and this maintenance should keep them running for many more years. With three more months until the new season, John has plenty to keep him busy.

Merlin & Roger

Detail on Merlin
In the Horses' Beauty Parlour Brian shows me two more horses that are nearly finished, Merlin and Roger.

It is Merlin that fascinates me — it's unusual as it has a carved serpent which is wrapping itself around the horse's legs and appears to be trying to slow it down to attack it. To the rescue is a carved bird which has swooped in and has hold of the serpent's body in its beak. Brian tells me that he hasn't seen this type of design on any other horse before. There must be so much history behind the inspiration and design of these horses, it would be fascinating to research it.

Merlin under attack

Roger nearly ready to go


Alan Bloom in the workshop
The Bressingham built Garden Line locomotive Alan Bloom is in the workshop undergoing some routine maintenance to replace the slide bars — these sit under the pistons and support the moving parts. Once Alan Bloom is finished, the next major project is the complete overhaul of No. 994 Bill Harvey, a Hunslett 0-4-0 'Large Quarry' class locomotive. Originally called George Sholto it was renamed Bill Harvey in honour of a Norwich Shedmaster who supported setting Bressingham up in the early days.

Various parts on the bench

In the locomotive shed I am told there is the new boiler for Bill Harvey plus two sheets of steel which have been pre-formed by rolling and will be used to fabricate the saddle tank. Outside the workshop the old tank has already been removed.

New boiler for Bill Harvey (George Sholto)

Just looking at the two sheets of steel you can see how it's going to form the new tank. All the welding and fabrication will be done in Bressingham's workshop.

Old tank already removed

These will form the new tank

Statfold gets polished
Outside, today's crew are cleaning and polishing Statfold ready for duty on the Nursery Line this afternoon. This is part of the driver's usual duty and is done every day that the locomotive is used.

Inside the Exhibition Hall

Brio train set in the children's play area
A recent addition to the children's play area is a large Brio train set which should provide endless hours of fun for youngsters. I certainly know someone who will literally be glued to it when we come next year.

In the main Exhibition Hall the Travelling Post Office has been put to good use as the Christmas Post Train where children can climb aboard and see how all of the letters to Santa are sorted by his elves as well as write their own. There is also a post box where they can post their own letters.

This way to the Post Train

Sorting letters for Santa

Traction engine, Christmas trees and lights

Fire engine used in a Dad's Army episode

With plenty of indoor photographs taken I turn my attention to outside and with the falling light go for some artistic long exposures.

Statfold letting off steam (5 seconds)

Light trails on the dodgems (82 seconds)

Long exposure on the Gallopers (1.3 seconds)

Bressingham's 50th Anniversary

2011 will be Bressingham's fiftieth anniversary and to celebrate there are several projects and initiatives in the pipeline as well as special events planned.

One of these projects is to create a large poster entitled 50 Years of Volunteering at Bressingham that will be displayed in the vicinity of the Gallopers. Its purpose is to demonstrate the work that volunteers do and will display a range of photographs showing volunteers doing a variety of jobs. It will also hopefully encourage new volunteers to join.

I have been asked to provide a selection of contemporary photographs to accompany those from the archives, so whilst out and about with my camera I will have this remit in the forefront of my mind more than usual. I already have a few suitable candidates and will be looking to add to them over the coming months.

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous set of pictures, makes me wish I was near enough for a visit. Love the post office carriage.


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