TOMORROW EVENING - NOVEMBER 9th at 6.30PM
* GWR Camping Coach Holidays *
by Mike Fenton.
Mike makes a welcome return with his detailed study of the very popular network of camping coaches which provided inexpensive holidays beside the railway for thousands of families.
We are also promised another musical interlude provided by Mike and his wife, Rachel, playing the autoharp.
For details of our venue please click here
The 1930s saw the start of an era of providing mains water and mains electricity to villages and hamlets in the countryside. Interrupted by the Second World War the programme resumed in the late 1940s and continued through the 1950s and 1960s. The provision of water to towns also needed beefing up with additional sources of supply as the population started using more and more of it. For the town of Kingsbridge and the surrounding villages the source of additional water was obvious as Dartmoor was due north on higher ground. The new pipeline would be just over 10 miles long and would follow the River Avon and the Kingsbridge branch railway line to a new service reservoir on high ground to the north east of Kingsbridge. The pipe chosen for the new trunk main was spun iron which would be made at two factories in the East Midlands. The majority of the pipes were 15-inch (380mm) and 18-inch (457mm) internal diameter, and there were more than 3,500 pipes in total.
The pipes were transported by rail to Brent Station on the mainline from where they were taken to various station goods yards on the Kingsbridge Branch, including Avonwick and Loddiswell, for unloading. Because of shortages and long delivery times the pipes were ordered well in advance of construction by the Consulting Engineers for the scheme on behalf of the client which was the Kingsbridge & Salcombe Water Board. When the pipes started to arrive in 1949 the contractor for the scheme had not been appointed so British Railways were contracted to transport them from the railway goods yards to various stock piles along the route of the water main. This would have been very labour intensive in view of the weight and number of pipes to be delivered, and went on for many months. It appears that most of the railway wagons used to transport the pipes contained just 4 pipes.
Brent goods yard was so congested with wagons at times that some were sent two miles away to Wrangaton for stabling until needed. The pipes were eventually laid by Richard Costain whose history dates back to 1865 and are happily still with us and working on HS2. The first wagon label in my collection is dated 8 November 1949 and was retrieved from Avonwick Station. The pipes were made at the Staveley Works, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield while others were made at the Stanton Ironworks at Stanton Gate, Ilkeston. The two companies were merged in 1960 to become Stanton & Staveley. You can spot S&S manhole covers in the road surface in almost every town in Britain.
Mike - Many thanks for your very extensive and detailed research a fascinating article
Whilst out sanding in East Cornwall I popped into the recent vegetation clearance near Dobwalls. In a complete fluke the slightly late running 1S49 booked for a HST on a Thursday was passed by a Castle set on the down.
The timing was perfect. Cheers for now. Craig
As you say perfect timing - good fortune - great photograph.