Work continues at a good pace at Kidderminster Town Station. The big event in October was the official opening of the improved station by H. R. H. The Duke of Gloucester, and needless to say there was a big rush to do all we could to make the station look its very best for the occasion.
The concourse was carefully swept and all inappropriate "mess" put well out of sight. The clean-up alone added immeasurably to the look of the place. Out went all the nasties like the stinky old bins, tatty modern barrows, shopping trolleys etc etc. It makes me wonder whether we should aim to keep the place like this all the time. It hadn't really occurred to me before, but the amount of stuff littered about which is totally unsuitable to be left on view is amazing. This applies to the whole railway. I am sure others have also gradually "gone blind" and not really noticed the clutter.
Keith has asked us to do something about the big clock on the wall under the concourse roof. It is a genuine railway one from Birmingham Snow Hill but somehow looks all wrong. It looks as if it has been hung on a nail any–old–how. It is not even on the centre–line of the canopy. Also it has been in the open since the station was built and as a result the paint on the dial has crazed and is flaking off. We are trying to decide how best to utilise this clock.
On the subject of clocks, our 'resident' clock restorer, Mark Ryan, went to a clock fair at the Motor Cycle Museum and picked out a nice 12" 1880's fusee dial clock in need of restoration for use in the restaurant. Sadly we have now reached a stage where it is no longer justifiable to spend money on a genuine GWR clock as they now change hands (no pun intended) for £1300 plus! The clock he found was only £245. (Paid for by the SVR). He has done his usual comprehensive restoration of the movement, while I have had a bash at restoring the case and dial. The wooden bezel had to be French polished as the original finish was very poor, and the dial needed painting and rewriting because the original had deteriorated very badly and been overlaid with paper.
On 'ebay' there are lots of fake railway clocks being sold. They are old fusee clocks with the dial painted with the initials of any convenient railway company. They look pretty convincing too. They are easy to spot at the moment because they all come from the same source but annoyingly these fakes will definitely get passed off for the real thing in years to come, just as the nasty Indian candle lamps with GWR on (made in the 1970's) now are.
'ebay' does turn up some nice relics which are of use to us, though. One such item was a wooden cash bowl used by ticket office staff and marked GWR. This was snapped up for the princely sum of £5.95 including postage and now resides in the ticket office.
Elsewhere on the station plenty of work is going ahead. Read on...
Mick Yarker. March 2007