Museum working party 18th Nov 2021

The Tywyn weather mojo may have been stuck in dull mode but it was anything but for the team as they assembled in Wharf Yard. Andy Sheffield, Charles Benedetto, David Broadbent and John Olsen were about to put Humpty Dumpty, aka the covered wagon no. 146, back together again!

But first David joined Keith in the museum to assess the stamp and first day covers section of Sarah Eade’s bequest. With the chassis of no 146 standing on the wagon turntable the four iron ribs were attached paying attention to the orientation of the wagon, which was facing 180 degrees from its normal direction in order to fit the brake lever within the tight limits of the Gunpowder Store. The ribs all had identifying tags on and were erected in short order, just pinching up the new stainless steel nuts and bolts (purchased to alleviate the rusting problems suffered by our stock so near to the sea) to allow easier fitting of the timber panels. The panels all came with identifying text and numbers on them, so we started with S5, as shown in John’s photos of June 2018 (!) when the van was disassembled for fettling. All seemed well until S2 and S1 were added and too many holes just didn’t align properly; a re-assessment of the last rib to be bolted in place came to the conclusion that it was 180 degrees out of synch with its kin (even tags can be misleading). Once turned around the top pair of boards could be secured much more easily and the top roof spar, that linked the ribs, fitted in place.

Ann McCanna and daughter Wendy turned up to provide our morning refreshments and as a treat they bought us real coffees and flapjacks too; we were being spoiled! We were joined at our platform table by David and Keith, Charles’ wife Sue and friend and last, but definitely not least, Mike Green. As Ann and Wendy had been sorting through Winston’s study they brought some offerings to give to us, Charles particularly liked the Roald Dahl book of rail safety; at least as sane as any HSE document. Our chatter took in the results of Davids examination of Sarah Eade’s philately, which was not only extensive but contained many rarities, and her idiosyncratic history of Tywyn volumes, including the fabled volume 3, of which no trace has yet been found.

Much refreshed by our coffee, chat and, yes, chocolate biscuits too, we returned to no 146 and began to attach the panels on the north side, the door side, and noticed that we had mislaid a hole! One panel lacked a hole due to it having split as it was removed and during the repair the hole was completely filled to make a stronger job of it, but the hole needed to be drilled out anew; with time marching on we opted to leave that job for another day. The final job of the morning was to bolt the bottom door hinge plate in place using M10 fittings just to confuse everyone who had hitherto been using M12 nuts and bolts. Having cleared up the work site we rolled wagon no. 146 back into the Gunpowder Store for safe keeping until the next working party.

By the close of play fifteen panels had been re-attached to four steel ribs to the satisfaction of one and all.

Photos by John Olsen