We now have a full set of newspaper headline posters installed on the W. H. Smith's Kiosk. All these are copies of genuine 1935 posters some of which were hand rendered and others produced on the computer with much input from my wife, using an ancient edition of 'Coreldraw' on our computer. As luck would have it she had already downloaded numerous different fonts some of which are suitable for period signs like these. It is surprising how font styles and letter shapes have altered since the 1930's, the main detail difference being the way the vertical and diagonal strokes of a letter come together.
I had to trot round to several printers to find somebody who could scan my large hand rendered versions or who could download Corel images. The Big Print Shop in Kidderminster lived up to their name and produced paper prints of the artwork. I think you will agree that they add quite a bit extra to the look of the WHS Kiosk. Our thanks go to the Kidderminster Station Fund who kindly agreed to sponsor the project.
Sadly we have had two thefts on the station in recent weeks. Firstly, the 813 Fund donations box was taken, along with a chair that it was chained to. Then, all the railway DVDs on sale on the Tobacconists kiosk sales stand were taken.
Paddy Goss of the 813 Fund asked if we had a suitable box so that he could continue collecting. We hadn't, but I said we could make up something. Geoff Smith kindly let us take one of the most care-worn milk churns to modify it into a donation box. It is now filled with concrete and weighs a ton. It is also chained to a barrow in such a way as the wheels do not rotate so will be difficult to move.
Even if I do say so myself it looks rather smart and more in keeping with the station environment than a regular donation box and display board. As an added precaution I have agreed to empty it daily along with our own box so no cash accumulates in it.
Bob and I have been working on the pub sign boards for the King and Castle bar. The frames are made from hard wood and the boards themselves from marine ply. As usual the mitred corners of the frames were glued and dowelled for strength and the boards given numerous coats of paint as they will be out in the elements.
The artwork needs to be to a professional standard and we are most grateful to Alan Reade for agreeing to do this free of charge. Alan is well known for his range of postcards promoting the Severn Valley Railway, and for his calendars. His artwork is very much of the 1930's 'Art Deco' style - well suited to the period of our station. These signs should be commercially beneficial for the bar, as at present the signage is ambiguous and not at all eye-catching.
The signs will mount flat on the wall rather than swing from a bracket for three reasons. Due to the low roof line any signs on a bracket would be so low that it would be within easy reach for those wishing to jump up and swing them. Also, the road-side sign would be side-on to the Station Approach road and Comberton Hill and would be almost invisible. Finally, our artist would have to produce two sides to each sign.
As usual we have been carrying out some winter maintenance to station fittings. Charlie is in the process of de-rusting and painting the portable wheelchair access ramps. These will be painted in 'Factory Brown' again and lettered 'KIDDERMINSTER' in the same style as the station barrows so as not to look too modern and obtrusive on the platform. They were originally bright yellow.
All the G.W.R fire buckets are getting a refresh too, and we are experimenting with different paint inside to see which stands up to water the best.
Readers may remember that way back in June 2011, I mentioned that we erected new replica G.W.R gate posts at the car park end of the footpath to the station, alongside the miniature railway. I subsequently failed to follow this up with a report that we made up a nice replica speartop gate to go with them (using original parts). However, the nasty and rather forbidding modern galvanised palisade fencing remained from our nice gate and posts to the boundary with the museum land.
This high security fencing was original erected to form a border with the coal yard (now our car park) in order to keep the site secure. Once additional land for the car park was secured a palisade fence was erected along the new boundary but the remaining original fence then served no purpose apart from making a barrier along the edge of the path to the station. We decided that a fence was necessary as there was a drop of about a foot between the level of the car park and the path to the station. To set the heritage scene speartop fencing is a far better introduction to the station than the remaining length of rather intimidating security fencing. This had more the image of an alley through an industrial estate.
The Coalyard Miniature Railway kindly sponsored the steel required for repairing the fencing, some of which came from Trowbridge and some was already on site. In all cases the upright steel posts at the ends of each panel were missing.
The 'Friends' contribution is labour and about £100 worth of 'Postcrete' to concrete them in.
Work installing panels began as soon after the Christmas running as possible while the railway was closed so as not to inconvenience passengers. We may be able to finish prior to half term when trains run again but failing that we will not work on this project at weekends afterwards. At the time of writing we have six panels in and four to go! The fence will terminate where it joins end-on with the museum's replica G.W.R post-and- wire fencing.