As usual there is plenty happening at Kidderminster Town. I visit at least twice a week and every time there have been new improvements to the building work.
The concourse roof is complete and looks first class. The restaurant building is complete as well, and new lighting in the form of giant hexagonal gas–style lamps has been installed under the concourse roof. Sadly they are not actual gas due to a misunderstanding as to the regulations for gas lighting indoors which was discovered too late to reverse the decision. There is nothing worse (in my opinion) than an obviously electric lamp fitting in a traditional gas lamp housing, but this problem has been neatly overcome by having opaque glass!
A last minute decision to lower the lamps on a long conduit rather than bolt them directly into the apex of the roof has worked wonders for the appearance too. It is possible to stand back and criticise detail here and there but the station has been completely transformed by all this building work. At last the layout looks right and looks finished. The new roof holds the whole design together and the replacement restaurant matches the rest of the buildings to look 'just right'. It seems to me as if it had always been there and it is only when I think hard that I can recall how absolutely awful the temporary building looked and how it ruined our beautiful station.
My dream (and sometimes dreams come true) is to see a canopy running along the platform to keep our passengers dry right up to their compartment door. How fantastic that would look!! A station of this size would always have a canopy along the platform.
But this is by no means all that has happened. The concourse area has been paved and looks first class, and over by the museum a bay platform has sprung up!! This has been built by our resident brickie Martin Wilkins. The original main platform walls were built from concrete but the parcels platform, which is visible from the main platform was built with blue brick walls for a traditional look. This detail has been reproduced on the new bay platform and very nice it is too. I am most gratified that thought (and a little extra cash) is going into these jobs in order to get them right. It is so easy to destroy the period atmosphere with a few cost – cutting jobs which would never get put right later. As Dave says "A proper job continues to look good long after the cost has been forgotten"
I have pointed out before these are not Friends projects but we tend to put our oar in if we suspect something is about to go wrong! Time and again Keith has come up with some constructive criticism which to the great credit to those in charge is discussed and a mutually agreed decision is made. As a result a number of significant improvements have been made to the benefit of all.
The Friends have been inputting all they can within their limited resource of time. More volunteers would help – no special skills needed, but if you have some so much the better. Please help if you possibly can as the workload is a little overwhelming at the moment. Elsewhere in this magazine is news of what we are doing, could you help?
Mick Yarker. October 2006