Museum working party 11th Jan 2024

After a relaxing Christmas break the team reconvened in the warmth of the museum for the first working party of the New Year. Allan Black, Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, Pete Thomas, Max Birchenough and John Olsen got the tools out and began by removing the cast iron points and sleepers from the third of the grey plinths and putting it up on its end for work to begin.

Allan and Andy teamed up to make the bottom plywood supports for the new castors and rubber feet and to fit them. While they worked on the plinth the rest of the team erected the two metal trestles and lifted the ‘Can you power William?’ interactive up onto them. Max and Charles then proceeded to remove the unwanted wooden feet in preparation for the new castors. That left Pete and John to go upstairs to take down the Christmas lights that had been illuminating Dot and carefully pack them away in the storeroom.

Returning to the ground floor they then moved the Oakeley coal wagon to its westernmost limit of the track so that they could erect the scaffold tower in the corner. The Cambrian Railways sign was an obstacle and so was removed, whereupon the tower base was lifted over the edging and the brakes deployed before adding the necessary sides and cross braces. The tower will allow the cleaning of the brasses in situ from next week onwards.

The cafe was closed for business but the connecting door was open so we could have our coffee inside once we had brewed it in the Guards Room. Our ruminations were not enlivened by any guests this morning.

Returning to the museum we took up our tasks once more, locating the brass cleaning materials and then returning the ‘Can you power William?’ interactive to its position beside the stairs and re-securing it with a stout cable tie. Pete was tasked with designing a clamping mechanism that will allow us to secure the interactive using a padlock so that future access to the understairs area will not require a pair of side cutters every time!

With the end of the morning the grey plinth was ready to have its exhibits re-attached and then wheeled into its correct position before locking the castors. Henry the hoover swept up the sawdust generated to keep the space tidy, and the tools were returned to their respective storage places, so we can find them next week.

Photos by John Olsen