May I take this opportunity on behalf of the the organisation of welcoming you and of thanking you for your donation/standing order. You will no doubt have had the chance to read our standing order forms and, therefore, will know something of our aims and aspirations.
Some ten years ago, the SVR set-out to achieve what had been their ultimate goal since their formation twenty five years ago. With the extension to Kidderminster a station would be required not only to meet the needs of our travelling passengers and also to capture the very spirit of the Great Western Railway which had been inherited at the other stations along the line
Fortunately, within the ranks of volunteers, we have a wide and varied selection of personnel with equally wide and varied backgrounds, and consequently, it is hardly surprising that people such as structural engineers and architects are lurking away in dark corners concealed by greasy overalls.
We are particularly lucky in so far as two such people have manifested themselves in the form of Bob Marrow who designed the station buildings and Mr Alan Davies who did the design work on the Signal Box. Again it is not that unusual to find architects and the like within an organisation that has a membership of between fourteen and fifteen thousand members but it is unusual to find someone with the depth of knowledge to genuinely recreate a building that would have been standing over a hundred years ago.
On one occasion, some four or fives years ago, I was standing on the platform at Kidderminster before the track was laid in Platform 2 and happened to hear some passengers say 'wont it be good once they put the track back into platform 2'. Obviously, these people were totally unaware that what had been achieved had indeed been created from nothing within the space of the previous five to six years. That, I feel, is the greatest compliment the SVR are ever to receive.
We really do seem to have got it just about right but we do have a building which we are still proud of which is still obviously incomplete. We have a group of people who formed the Friends who have the depth of knowledge for creating what does feel right and, hopefully with the passage of time and your continued support, we can ensure that we end up with an authentic railway complex at Kidderminster which captures the spirit in every single aspect of what would have been the Great Western scene in bygone days.
More specifically, the months ahead will see the great steel bracketing to form the Porte Cochere which should be bolted to the front of the building during the summer months. The brackets will be constructed from the authentic size of steel angle section - 3" x 3/8" with a 1/4" thick fillet and packing pieces all riveted together. Consequently, providing that we get adequate support, this should ensure that the Port Cochere is completed in 1994.
Following the completion of the Porte Cochere, there are so many additional items which are required - it is quite difficult to know where to start. However, within the forefront of our minds we are aware that the building, although elegant when viewed from the front, obviously lacks the very ornate crestings which should be located on each of the two towers. These crestings are purely ornamental but have the effect of giving additional height and proper proportions to the building - the facets of the scene I remember so well at Stourbridge Town Station.
In addition, as some of you may be aware, we have a growing collection of railway road vehicles which are equally as important as the very engines and coaches which run along our railway systems in so far as they once formed an integral part of the complete railway scene for over one hundred years, zipping through the streets and lanes of our towns and villages, delivering parcels and goods items from the local goods sheds to the man in the street. It is, therefore, our intention to see these vehicles properly housed in dry accommodation which, in its own right, will be part of the Great Western scene as it would have been in the 1930's: an authentic structure containing our vintage GWR and LMS drays together with our Mechanical Horse, Great Western Thorneycroft Nippy, and miscellaneous trailers for the Mechanical Horse. It is not necessarily always the big things that make a scene right - it is sometimes interesting to have a look at old photographs and to talk to people who remember the scene as it used to be and to gain an insight to the small bits and pieces which were an everyday part of life as it was fifty or sixty years ago.
On a recent visit to Bristol, a GWR granite horse trough could be seen in a dark corner of Temple Meads Station and lying on the ground not very far away was a cast-iron bollard protecting the corner of a former entrance thus ensuring that the building was protected from passing drays and mechanical road vehicles. All of these items used to be an every-day sight and are now so easily forgotten about but need to be sought out to complete our picture of what life used to be like in an earlier and more aesthetically pleasing age.
DAVID REDFERN - CHAIRMAN - 1993