How exciting it is, to have a nice Sunday spring evening just after the roof slates are complete, awaiting the last arrival, and so the station is clear for a view from platform 2. Across the tracks it is clear to admire what is becoming a very handsome building which will greet passengers on our incoming trains.
The artist’s impressions are coming to reality. They did of course only show the external appearance, so we have no idea what to expect from the inside other than what we can glean from the floor plan.
Welsh Penrhyn slate is steadily adorning the roof and looking wonderful. It’s described as blue with a purple hint and fine grained riven in texture, with the heather blue being enhanced by subtle variations in colour and natural markings that emphasise its true natural beauty.
Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda has a fascinating history to match that of our own Bridgnorth, being owned from the 1780s by the Pennant family. It possessed its own external and internal tramway system and had its own port and ships. The profits enabled the Pennants to construct Penrhyn Castle with its unique slate four poster bed. From 1878 Port Penrhyn on the Menai Straits was linked to the quarry by a steam operated line which closed in 1962, but two of the locos Blanche and Linda now work on the Ffestiniog Railway. It also had a mainline connection to the Chester and Holyhead Railway from 1852. Now the Port is used by fishing and pleasure boats. Its heritage is clear from the slate slabs used to edge the quays, and there are some original buildings on site including the locomotive shed and a now-listed circular toilet!
The extension to the terrace which allows the doubling of the area available to external seating has commenced.
A series of small piles are being driven in the small segment of land that became available when the site was cleared and graded. This area had not previously been identified as being usable but some clever design work has allowed this to be utilised.
The chimneys are completed and really look the part.
The installation of the windows and doors has commenced and it is readily apparent that this will put some soul into the building.
The work on site has unfortunately been set back by the recent return of very cold weather which has delayed again the installation of the zinc roof. This in turn has further delayed the slate roof as this has to follow the zinc roof due to the overlapping arrangement where the two meet. The good news is that the long awaited Penrhyn slates have arrived at the building merchants and can be delivered very quickly to site when required.
All of the sarking felt and battens have been fitted in readiness for the pitch roof which is now expected to commence on the 2nd of April.
Facias have also been fitted to both east and west elevations and indeed some of the cast iron guttering is being mounted in place.
The bespoke hopper heads for the zinc roof are now installed to allow the formation of the rainwater run offs into these.
Internally, the drainage points required for the kitchen floor have been fitted in preparation for the screeding that will be started shortly. The walkway boards in the loft space have been laid which will allow the ceilings to be started.
The extension to the terrace which allows the doubling of the area available to external seating has also commenced. A series of small pile are being driven in the small segment of land that became available when the site was cleared and graded. This area had not previously been identified as being usable but some clever design work has allowed this to be utilised.
Who normally goes about taking pictures of windows? Beautiful, custom-built, hardwood framed, to authentic Great Western design?
Well everyone can now. Even through the scaffolding poles they look wonderful.
They have been lovingly handmade in the workshops of Kidderminster based joinery experts C R Hobby & Son, established over 45 years. In their own words, as they are each carefully fitted, they are ‘adding spirit and style’ to the appearance of our long-awaited new-build.
Today there was sunshine for much of the day, greatly welcomed after the last few days!
The chimneys are completed and really look the part. The installation of the windows and doors has commenced and it is readily apparent that this will put some soul into the building.
The large amount of cast iron guttering required was supplied in natural finish but this has been painted up in a specially installed heated container and is ready for fitting.
The flat roof is just waiting for the weather to improve as the zinc covering requires a rising temperature above 7.5 degrees C to shape around the formers without tearing. The subcontractors are forming as much off site as possible in heated workshops to speed up the installation.
The roofing slates are due for delivery on 8th March with the main pitch roof work starting on the 12th. We are nearing a time where the scaffolding will be dismantled to reveal the true character of the building and early indications are that it will be magnificent.
In the services room located in the adjacent listed building, all the underground ducts are in along with various cables. The exterior approach has been 75% reinstated and the only remaining task is installing a concrete floor and internal block wall which will be carried out by station volunteers.
The current work in progress on site has been concentrating on the rear flat roofs with the completion of the parapet walls that surround the flat roof areas. The brickwork for the buffet chimney is now complete and all chimneys await a visit from Stourport Crane Hire to place the heavy stone caps and pots into position. Inside the building preparation work has been taking place in readiness to the laying of the floor insulation and screeding. Elsewhere, the main power cable has been installed and awaits final connection along with the imminent laying of a new BT cable that will allow the removal of the unsightly overhead arrangements that exist at present.