It is great to report that we are, mostly, out of ground and able to see real signs of progress. Foundations for all the new buildings have now been laid and the basic timber frame structure is up for the new small store next to the Brass Foundry. The new theme is scaffolding.
No’s 1 & 2 Boston Lodge has been scaffolded and the asbestos soffits have been safely removed. The old render has been removed and the stonework is being repaired. The building will be re-rendered in breathable lime render.
Scaffolding is also now up around the previous electrician’s workshop, the previous Den location and the future Den to enable the extension of the building which has started with the masonry work to build up the walls and which will recreate the old gable end facing the main yard.
Scaffolding is also up around the new Training and Research building extension from the Blacksmiths, ready for the rest of the new structure to go up. A vent that matches those on the Blacksmiths is being built in the carriage works to be installed on the roof of this building.
Heritage projects always throw up surprises and whilst we have had a few minor ones we have come across a more complex one. The rock face above the new Waggon Repair Shed building in the top yard has given us cause for concern; in clearing the vegetation some very deep and wide cracks were found. After expert geotechnical advice, we are scaling back the weathered and friable rock to get to a more stable surface to build against and we are likely to need to do some pinning, this is still under investigation. The initial scaling work (by hand) has shown just how fragile the weathered rock at the top is – it came down very easily.
We had already removed some of the top wall as it had a worrying outward lean, but we tried to keep some of it initially. The need to scale back the rock has mean that, sadly, the whole wall has had to be removed. It is always a concern to lose historic fabric, but a wall perched on top of an unstable cliff face above a new slate roof is untenable.
On a non-scaffolding note in this area, the new walls and piers for the Waggon Repair Shed are being built out of local stone and lime mortar. They will very soon look like they’ve been here for many years. The slate retaining wall (by the ramp into the Top Yard) has had the top metre rebuilt to improve stability.
The Small Loco Shed continues to make excellent progress with the main shed contractor largely finishing off their work at the end of July. This is reported separately by Ian Hartill but of course it remains a key part of the NLHF project.
Tours and Workshops
A range of tours and workshops are now being set up to further engage with people and involve them practically in our railways, please visit https://nlhfproject.festrail.co.uk/workshops/ for dates and more information.
We held our first workshop on lime mortar skills recently letting people try their hand on real walls under the watchful tuition and supervision of Tom Goodey of the Snowdonian Lime Company. We are thinking of building a group of volunteers to be trained over a longer period in doing lime mortar repairs as there are plenty of buildings across the railway estate that would benefit. If you would be interested in getting involved please let us know by emailing email@example.com.
The project continues to host volunteers who undertake jobs that otherwise might not get done. Duke of Edinburgh volunteers have been busy recently tidying the edges of Boston Lodge and helping Parks and Gardens.
As work on the development of the physical signs is largely complete (installation early 2024), the interpretation side of the project is now moving on to developing the tours of Boston Lodge and we are always looking for volunteers. Full training will be provided over the coming winter and the tours are intended to begin in April 2024. If you are interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.