Mark Ryan has completed the restoration of the G.W.R Drop Dial Clock situated in the King and Castle bar at Kidderminster. This is the clock that faces you as you enter the building from the forecourt.
It is a genuine original G.W.R Fusee clock dating back to the 1870's or 1880's and hasn't been serviced since B.R days. The clock had begun to stop after a day or two, a sure sign that all was not well. A full winding should make the clock run for 8 days.
Mark dismantled the clock and saw immediately that the spring, which is in the form of a thin flat strip coiled up in its brass barrel, had become weak with age and constant winding. When taken out of its barrel it sprung open only a little, but should have opened up into a spiral about 3ft diameter. A replacement spring was ordered (yes, they are still made) and meanwhile he set about restoring and polishing the case, removing a thick layer of dirt (from cigarettes) and some paint splashes - many years of accumulation.
The brass bezel was re-polished and the sight ring inside re-silvered. This set off the dial nicely against the polished mahogany case. To complete the look the hands were stripped of several layers of black paint, and the steel polished and blued to restore the lovely 'gun barrel' finish they once had.
The movement was also dismantled and all parts cleaned and polished. Wear had taken place where the arbors had turned under load many thousands of times over the decades, causing the holes in the plates to wear oval and off centre. This was corrected and the holes bushed to give the proper fit with the arbors once again. One set of bushes, fitted by a clock repairer years ago had not been correctly positioned and this had to be corrected to get the teeth of the wheels ('gears' to us ordinary folks) to mesh properly. This fault was probably part of the reason the clock was stopping prematurely. The new strong spring, when fitted, made sure that all was well, and after correctly lubricating the movement and two weeks of testing the clock was reinstated in the bar ready for more years of faithful service.
It is worth noting that Mark does not just repair a clock to get it running (a minimum job), he spends lots of extra time fully cleaning, servicing and restoring the clock so that it ends up very close to 'as new' condition. With the work he has already done on several other clocks on the station, including our Pulsynetic slave clock and the clockwork gas lamp time switches, his skill and high standard of work has been a great asset to us.
The former Bridgnorth Bus Garage
We have done a certain amount of preliminary work on the steelwork for the proposed reconstruction of the G.W.R Bus Garage, formerly at Bridgnorth. This is to prevent deterioration of the steelwork and timber frame much of which can be reused. As we still do not have final planning approval for the building we are not intending to spend money on it at this stage, so attention is upon de-rusting and minor repairs to the steelwork using material already in stock from previous jobs. The one exception has been to obtain 16 heavy duty 3½" angle iron brackets cut to size from material at my works, which was due for disposal, and at just £18 was an opportunity too good to miss. These will replace brackets which are lost or corroded and of no further use.
The bottoms of the main uprights were cut off and new sections welded on taking great care to get full penetration on the weld so that the join is just as strong as the original metal. But just to make sure, the uprights have been turned upside down so that the new piece is now at the top where it will only carry the dead load of the roof rather than the weight of the whole building. This is really a case of over egging the cake, because compared to the modern structural members of our (larger) storage shed these uprights are absolutely massive! The completed steelwork is fully de-rusted using a rotary wire brush and then painted with red oxide primer, undercoated and finished in Light Stone colour and put aside for further use one day.
Once the main frame of the building has been attended to, we will turn our attention to the massive heavy corrugated iron clad doors. New corner gussets have been cut ready for fitting as the lower ones are corroded and weak. The doors were originally of riveted construction, but we intend to dismantle them for repair so will rebuild them bolted together. This will have the advantage that we can assemble them in position rather than be faced with lifting huge unwieldy half ton chunks of ironwork onto their hinges.