We are fortunate in having a total of fifteen GWR style fire buckets around the station. About 20 years ago I restored some with a coat of red paint and re-lettered them GWR FIRE in the correct style. Sadly the effects of time and a certain amount of misuse have taken their toll on these buckets so I decided to have a second bash. After all these years rust was beginning to take hold on some and others had sadly rusted through so I chose the four best ones, knocked out the dents and sent them off to a local company for re-galvanising. They removed all the old paint and gunge, pickled them in acid to remove rust and the old galvanising and then hand dipped them in molten zinc to produce a brand new galvanised finish. The next operation was to paint them with etch primer to key to the zinc finish. Ordinary paint does not stick onto zinc at all well. They were then finished in red and black as originally painted and lettered using an original GWR bucket to trace the lettering from. The only departure from the original finish is a coat of light grey paint inside to give the buckets a 'head start' when filled with water.
Let' hope they give another 20 years of service without further attention. Sadly many of the fire buckets on the SVR have been destroyed by allowing them to freeze in cold weather. They should be stored empty during frost or they burst at the seams. Another killer is using them for cement – why do people do such things? Cement destroys the galvanising and bashing the rim on the ground to knock out the wet cement splits the beaded edge and finishes the job. All SVR staff reading this please note.
It has proved impossible to find a manufacturer to replicate the buckets. They are unusually tall and were made to special order. Nobody is prepared to make a small batch – in any case nobody makes riveted buckets with hand-forged handles these days. We need to take care of those we have left.
Cast Iron Guttering
The guttering yet to be fitted to the new Porters' Cabin and the Henley Building is being paid for by funds from the Coalyard Miniature Railway. The guttering at the front (only) of the Porters' Cabin was paid for by the Friends and installed by Keith some months ago. Unfortunately we did not have the finance to complete the job at the time.
We have used genuine cast iron guttering. When the company installed this building we reached an agreement to fit iron rather than plastic on condition that we raised the funds. This saved the company the value of the plastic guttering and ensured that the traditional material would be used. We wish to give our thanks to the C.M.R. for their donation which will allow us to proceed with this project. Getting the gutters in place is important as they protect the wooden buildings as well as keeping drips off anyone usings the buildings!
Mick Yarker. October 2006