Now Meet Our People…..
Let’s introduce you to our working Members, especially those who come from far and wide to make the restoration work happen – at times against some ticklish attitudes and aggravating road traffic.
Pat Sumner and Tony Keeble have won very many well deserved accolades for leading the long term restoration of the MS&L 6 wheeler, bringing Bob Hanson with them from Cambridgeshire, no mean journey in itself. And the big pluses are the combination of their engineering knowledge, the wood working capability and the deep-seated railway experience. Read Tony’s & Pat’s memoirs here: I was there
On site and more local is Clyde Pennington, applying the glue that puts the coordination effort into enabling it all to happen, with the maintaining of a treasure-trove of expanding archive material. But much more than that, Clyde is actively involved in the realities of conservation. His installing of a dummy gas lighting supply run for compartment lighting in no.946 is quite excellent, but he is constantly out and about the exposed vehicles in the yard attempting to prevent or slow the decay together with Andrew Horrocks-Taylor (who also leads the GCR 567 Locomotive Group) canvas sheeting over the wooden bodies to protect from vandalism and theft.
We are concerned for Doug Atkins at this time as, not only the mainstay of the woodworking team, he has been house moving. He has been a regular on site and with Clyde very much the face of the restoration effort, who works in concert with Company Secretary Mike Firth who has transformed our accounting and governance needs. Yes, it is a small band, and we are delighted to be joined by Mick Charlesworth, a Ruddington-based local “chippy”, and multi-skilled Andrew Coalwood but it is the developing skills in restoration, project management and delivery which are entirely self-evident and to be envied. Still we would really enjoy more joining us.
Aiding Pat in particular on the mechanicals – wheels, springs, drawbar, buffers – are Melvyn Rowthorne (former BR carriage and wagon inspector) who too has been suffering the surgeon’s knife, and his pal Wilf Ankers. We very much missed our budding author in heritage rail matters, Andrew David, who spent hours on his flat out on the concrete scraping ancient layers of bitumen and detritus from the wood/metal Mansell wheels. Andrew is now an essential link between Ruddington and the Buckingham Railway Centre at Quainton Road and a potent GCR promoter as a heritage rail writing specialist.
Joining in the research and recording for the major tasks confronted by the four Barnum carriages, translating of original GCR works drawings is engineer Keith Stimpson who has come to our aid in a big way, using his skills to transfer to electronic record all our technical engineering drawings – the original elevations and plans of GCR rolling stock and those created by the North Yorks Barnum Group’s set as directed by Mark Lloyd. Keith is at the heart of the Barnum research group being led by Trustee Roger Penson. Keith has already extracted from the engineering records to enable some fine proof model making, on a 1:4 scale Barnum seat and table set. He is also engaged in the setting out of the restoration plans for the Barnum saloons with spread sheet and flow charts.
Our GCR history guru and eminent model maker of GCR originals is Trustee John Quick who, as an analytical chemist, researched the not just the colour but also the paint composition to produce as near an authentic livery of French Grey and Dark Oak for no.946, including the tracing a reproducing of the identifiers, He is following up now with similar work on the brass numerals and identifiers for the Barnums.
Meanwhile in the land of the softer more genteel arts of seating our future passengers comfortably, is Roger Penson. As a specialist in all aspects of upholstery, Roger has already proved a crucial and invaluable member of the MS&L no.946 6-wheeler restoration team, having completed the transformation of the interior voids into fully furnished passenger compartments with the able assistance of the woodworking team.
Peter Wilson, a former Trustee, who is an invaluable source of practical advice and support, as well as the king pin in the construction of many key features on the Heritage Centre site, including the infill Building no.4 in which the Trust has made useful grants against occupation by the Trust’s vehicles.
Mike Lang is currently working on the Barnum with Peter Wilson. He joined the trust in 2018 from GCR Plc, where he spent 40 plus years in the Carriage & Wagon department. He is a invaluable ace in preservation of Gresley and earlier Robinson designed carriage stock. He is also a Trustee/Director at Railway Vehicle Preservation Ltd at Rothley.
Andrew Coalwood is delving into the conversion of the GCR Suburban no.799, in cahoots with Clyde Pennington, Francis Bailey and Doug Atkins. The quartet have started by extracting the BR or Hull Docks modifications which had enabled the carriage to be utilised as a works welfare van. New floor timber, revised partitions and doors, will soon be accompanied by stainless steel shelving. We have so many items needing a tidy home. The exterior is to be galvanised steel sheeted to complete the vehicle.
Miranda Maton-Jenner is aiding and abetting the Barnum seating project, creating exquisite manikins to match the quarter-inch scale model of the Barnum seats built by Keith Stimpson, to be used to help the estimating of material quantities for the padding and coverings as well as the construction and assembly of the structures.
John Rodmel of Big Tops fame is a quite excellent occasional support, especially in supplying and placing weatherproof materials over the otherwise unprotected carriages in open storage.
Kate Tilley joined the team from Great Central Railway, Loughborough, where she fulfilled a very exacting sales, marketing and PR function for GCR PLC. She is now engaged in the sorting the PR and marketing of the Trust. Her PR company is called Dream Big Marketing (website coming when she gets a chance!).
Phil Hetherington supports the Trust with the recording and updating of the historical records of all surviving GCR relics.