12th November, 2020 by East Somerset Railway
We are pleased to report that our National Lottery funded project has achieved a few more milestones since the last report back in May. In the former 1858 station building used as a museum the internal refurbishment is nearing completion. Whilst the key “big ticket” items were completed by Wells Roofing and Trotman builders earlier this year – i.e. re-roofing, replacing rotten floors, damp ceilings, insulation and panelling; Derek and the station team of volunteers have been doing a multitude of the finishing tasks associated with plastering, paint/wallpaper stripping, decorating, tiling fireplaces etc. etc. Special mention has to be made of Derek who has learnt lime plastering skills as we were unable to get someone to quote to do the work! The waiting room has now been internally restored to recreate its former atmosphere and is essentially complete. All three rooms have had new floor coverings, and the opportunity has been taken to use the joinery skills of Owen from CTMS to make a few more replacement windows which were found to be in a worse condition than expected. During the laborious task of wallpaper/paint stripping on the old walls the original pastel colours were found and these have been matched in the new decoration to give the period feel of the rooms.
The Waiting Room is complete as can be seen from the photograph, the booking office now has all rotten panelling replaced, and the main museum room is no longer damp with new ceiling, lime plastering, new windows and flooring.
We are justifiably proud at what has been achieved and the whole building has been renovated for future generations of visitors.
Over on the new platform, Jeff from CTMS has been restoring (in his own time) and fitting spear fencing replacing the temporary post and wire fence installed just before the March lockdown, and some traditional enamel signs have been attached to it. The new station nameboard kindly fabricated and donated by a former member of the ESR has been installed as well as the reproduction Victorian cast iron lamps. Following a lot of tidying up and bricklaying at the signal box end by Derek, Lynn and the station team have done some planting of shrubs, trees etc. to tidy up the back edge of the platform.
All in all, the two phases of the lottery projects have achieved one of the key aims to recreate the country station atmosphere and so a big thanks goes to the station team volunteers for all their hard work in 2020.
Our next task is to refit the museum in readiness for the 2021 season – and (COVID19 permitting) running the postponed 2020 events for people living with dementia. To this end Lisa, our education officer is well on with the museum design and we all hope that 2021 will see us being able to fully demonstrate our dementia-friendly capabilities.