Speartop Fencing and Gates
We have been very fortunate in being given a (nominal) 6ft wide speartop gate formerly at Highley station. This gate was made redundant upon the remodelling of the area leading up to the new footbridge at the south end of the platform. Our thanks go once again to John Ash and Nick Ralls for their assistance.
The gate is to be used across the pathway from the concourse to the museum (and thence to the car park) with the intention of being able to close off this route for security reasons at night when the King and Castle customers spill out onto the concourse. Just the one gate will not do, so we have made a second replica gate and will hang the pair - one on the existing end screen post, the other on a new cast iron post up against the station building. The exact arrangement depends on what we find below ground when we dig the hole for the gate post. At this point there are gas, electricity, water services and drains below round, not to mention a massive concrete block to reinforce the wall behind the buffers.
The end result will be totally compatible with the gates we have already erected to close off the adjacent bay platform as well as those at the opposite side of the concourse which lead out onto the Network Rail car park. The speartop fencing which we have been labouring long and hard upon matches too, of course.
This is another case of ticking all the boxes. We have saved another ex-GWR artefact for use on the station, and one which is of local origin too. We are very pleased to see that the 'official' stance of the S.V.R is building upon the original atmosphere of the railway. At Highley we have a new footbridge designed to look very much like a Great Western structure, together with brand new speartop fencing which blends in very well with the originals elsewhere on the station. At Bridgnorth, superb replica cast iron lamp posts surmounted by very accurate gas tops (lit by electricity, unfortunately) have sprung up to replace the life-expired 1930's concrete posts. In each case it would have been less effort and probably a little cheaper to throw up some modern replacements but the result would have ruined the very fragile atmosphere of the area. Those who took the trouble to 'do it right' are to be highly commended!
In the last magazine there was a reprint of an advertisement for Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss fencing, taken from the G.W.R staff magazine. I supposed that the joggled point fencing to be seen at Highley was manufactured by them, as it seemed identical. This theory has been strengthened by the discovery of an oval plate on some of the 'speartop' we are resuscitating for use at Kidderminster, bearing the legend "Bayliss Ltd London EC".
I took a look at the internet and discovered that the Bayliss works opened in Cable Street Wolverhampton in 1826. When partners Jones and Bayliss joined the company in 1859 it was given its full name. At the same time Jones ran the office in Cannon Street, London EC, so we can deduce that some of our fencing dates from around then.
The company expanded over the years producing fishplate bolts and chair screws for the railway industry as part of a vast range of products including iron castings and heavy machine tools for the metal forming industry.
G.K.N took over the company in 1922, but the name remained until closure in the late 1980's.
We have replaced the fence end rail that the maker's plate was on but have transferred the plate to the new rail. This panel has gone in alongside the path where the maker's plate is visible to eagle-eyed visitors. We have been erecting the panels two at a time and are well beyond the point where the miniature railway begins, so have achieved our first objective – making the side of the path safe. At last we have removed the modern temporary fencing which has spoilt the look of the area in front of the museum and cut and laid the diamond blue paviors to finish the path.
Apart from a break in the proceedings to attend to gates we have been soldiering on with our fence project and with 14 out of a total of 32 panels are pretty close to the half-way mark. Your editor is aware that the story of months of re-making fencing does not make for interesting reading in the magazine, but hopes that you will be patient with us for a while as we press on with this time consuming but worthwhile project.