Tuesday, 31 August 2021

The Waggonway in the Woods

Another day near Causey Arch, clearing the route for a reconstruction of a waggonway for our 2025 tercentenary:
Ian loading the digger at Andrews House

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Hudswell Clarke 38 Today

Kyle sanding HC 38's frames .....
(photo courtesy of Oliver Humphries)

1752 was a Short Year

I'm interested in the eighteenth century because our part of the Tanfield Waggonway was laid down in 1725.   Reading a book about Charles Avison, I came across the statement that in England & Wales until 1752, New Years Day was on Lady Day, ie 25 March.   

Along with the change from the Julian to Gregorian calendar, parliament changed New Year's Day to 1 January from 1753 (in Scotland this change had been made in 1600).   So 1752 was a short year, from 25 March until 31 December; 11 days were also skipped in September.   A hangover from this change is the UK tax year, which starts on 5 April.

All dates in January, February & up to 24 March were recorded with the year number that had been in use during the previous 25 March until 31 December.   So we have to be careful when reading historical dates pre 1752.   For example, there is a story of a riot in October 1750 after which a rioter was arrested & awaited trial in January 1750!

All formal dates from 1155 until 1752 would be recorded on the Julian calendar.   If a date of, say, 12 February 1726 is recorded, we have to understand that this is 12 February 1727 relative to our current Gregorian calendar.   Nowadays, you may see someone's date of birth recorded as 3 March 1652/3 - so that's 1652 Julian which is 1653 Gregorian.

And just in case you get the hang of this, remember that on Tyneside we would have a fair few Scots who would change their year number on 1 January, and common people may well have followed this from 1600 (& have 2 New Year's Days until 1752).

Friday, 27 August 2021


Rothbury station closed in 1952 (see Disused Stations), although extant well into the 1960s.   Interestingly, the platform line led straight onto a turntable for access to the run round line or shed.   I've been to Rothbury several times in recent years, but was disappointed that the station site had been obliterated by a small industrial estate, so thought there was nothing to see & no access to the old trackbed.   That is, until I stumbled upon Walks With the Wife which showed access & impressive remnants.
Extract from 1890s OS 25" from National Library of Scotland

An industrial estate is on the site of the entire terminus, a fire station instead of the station building, but there is a good footpath along the track bed immediately beyond, where the River Coquet bends at Thrum Mill.

Thursday, 26 August 2021

Today's Photos

The photos below are courtesy of Angela Pickering:
Ian taking delivery of newly-cast firebars

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Work Continuing

Cameron adjusting a glazing bar .....
(photo courtesy of Geoff Lowe)

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Yesterday & Today

The photos below are courtesy of Ian Cowan:
Mick milling a tool

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Some from Sunday

Luke & I setting the scene for the 296th anniversary of our Tanfield Railway .....
(photo courtesy of Angela Pickering)

Saturday, 21 August 2021

296th Birthday

Tomorrow, at 12.30 pm in Marley Hill engine shed, all volunteers are invited to celebrate 296 years since our railway was founded as the Tanfield Waggonway to Causey, heading for Tanfield Moor.   

In Durham Records Office, there are documents recording the Grand Allies establishing themselves to consolidate & enable extension of the Waggonway over Causey Arch: 

The Grand Allies, Later Lord Ravensworth and Partners (Ref: D/St/B1/6)
Partnership Agreement, 27 June 1726 
(1) The Hon. Sydney Wortley of Wortley, Yorkshire, esq., and Edward Wortley, esq., his son and heir apparent, and Thomas Ord of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, gent. 
(2) Sir Henry Liddell of Ravensworth Castle, bart., an infant of nearly 18 years, and George Liddell of Ravensworth Castle, esq., for himself and as guardian of Sir Henry 
(3) George Bowes of Gibside, esq. 
(4) William Cotesworth of Gateshead Park, esq. 
Copy agreement for partnership for 99 years for purchasing and working collieries and for sale of coal; all collieries above Newcastle Bridge to be divided into 3 equal parts, except family collieries of the Liddells in Ravensworth, Lamesley and Eighten and Kibblesworth, and collieries of George Bowes at Gibside, Parkhead, etc.

Geoff's Views

The photos below are courtesy of Geoff Lowe:
Susan arranging her cakes ready for afternoon teas

Friday, 20 August 2021

Last Saturday

The photos below, taken on Saturday 14 August, are courtesy of Angela Pickering:
Sophie & Callum preparing No.49

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Tuesday, 17 August 2021

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Sunday on 49

Logan cleaning 49 outside MH carriage shed this morning

Friday, 13 August 2021

National Library of Scotland Online Digital Resources

You may have realized that I appreciate the resources made available by the National Library of Scotland, especially on line, and in particular OS & other maps.   

NLS recently emailed me regarding their digital resources, following which I found connections to Middlesbrough.

Recovered girder section of the Tay Bridge, by Hopkins, Gilkes & Co, Middlesbrough 1877
(in National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh)

Thursday, 12 August 2021

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Monday, 9 August 2021

Sunday, 8 August 2021

Sunday Stuff

George oiling No.2 outside Marley Hill carriage shed ......
(photo courtesy of Angela Pickering)

Friday, 6 August 2021

Both Waldridge Inclines

Tom Hartley recently sent me photos of railway artefacts which he'd spotted while walking his dog at Waldridge (which is immediately SW of Chester-le-Street).   This sent me searching for history & connections with Tanfield Railway.
Pulley wheels in the Cong Burn, 80' below the Waldridge Waggonway
(photo courtesy of Tom Hartley)

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Work Continues

Jim boring out a spring adjuster, ready for sleeving to take up wear

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Monday, 2 August 2021

Some of Today's Work

The photos below are courtesy of Angela Pickering:
Ian tacking window bars in place in a frame

Sunday, 1 August 2021