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7th January 2014 - the Chairman's note

Work continues. The stage of what might be regarded as "finishing touches" has been reached although these are substantial.

On letterheads, the Barnham Signal Box Trust has in the past portrayed the Barnham Signal Box with a photograph of it sited on the platform at Barnham Station however I believe the restoration has now reached a stage where we are able to display it as it stands today, hence the picture above. Whilst the restoration is not yet complete I feel that we are at last on the homeward stretch. I am extremely proud of what everyone has so far achieved and believe the picture above truly justifies this belief. .

It is now January 2014 and this project has been running over four years. Much has been achieved, despite the arson attack that severely damaged the structure in November 2010; thank goodness that is now all behind us. The recently erected balcony and stairs at long last provide access to the upper level and once a few more coats of paint are added, together with some banister supports, this particular task will be complete. Externally there remains only the erection of the ‘Window Cleaner’s’ balcony and a bit more ‘touching-up’ and painting, but this will have to wait for the warmer weather of Spring.

Internally the timber for the floor, cut from the original baulks that supported the lever framework, has been delivered. We are currently in the process of straightening edges and laying them. Other tasks that lay before us include finishing off the internal stairwell, completing the cladding of the internal walls on the lower floor. Doesn’t sound like much but it will keep our volunteer force busy, without whom none of the restoration work would have been possible.

In addition, thanks to financial assistance from The SITA Trust and West Sussex County Council, many additional tasks have also been completed. The completion of these tasks has helped to ensure the future financial security of the signal box. Moneys provided have enabled us to install an Air Source Heat Pump to provide effective and efficient heating and hot water, not only for the Signal Box but also for the adjacent Barn and under floor heating in the Signal Box to provide us with a practicable heating system. Providing heating for the building has meant, when it is complete, it can be offered for hire throughout the year to community groups thus ensuring a steady income. Of equal importance has been the installation of Solar Panels, mounted on the roof of the barn, providing us with an income to off-set against our electrical usage. (Whilst not strictly to do with the Signal Box it should be mentioned that the financial assistance from the SITA Trust also enabled the external cladding of the barn and its insulation so that it now stands adjacent to the Signal Box in the same livery. A great improvement on the original grey concrete block construction)

Despite the recent wind and rain the last few weeks of 2013 gave us some mild and yes sunny weather. The unseasonable warmth allowed the grass seed, sown on the berm in October, to germinate so much so that we are in danger of having to ‘cut the grass’ before the end of this first month of 2014.

All the hard work, in reaching a point where we can say ‘…the restoration is complete….’, is not all visible to the eye. Throughout the last four years there has been considerable work behind the scenes. Planning applications, endless letters seeking support, endless letters keeping others informed of what we have been doing and in some cases why. It has not been plain sailing. On occasions, through our own ignorance of procedure or incorrect advice, we have wasted time effort, and on a few occasions money, attempting to sort things out. However with only a few exceptions I believe we have received the support of all that we have come into contact with. I would therefore like to thank everyone who has taken the time and effort to support us in bringing this project to fruition.

‘Thank you all’.

I would also like to take a moment to especially thank my fellow Trustees, John Penfold, John Wakeman and Dave Ives for all the hard work and time they have given to the project as well as a special mention to Cliff South and Dennis Cooke and the other members of the Bognor Regis Model Railway Club (BRMRC) who have worked tirelessly towards restoring this magnificent structure. My special thanks go to our carpenter Richard Medlock without his skill, knowledge, guidance and unflagging optimism we would be far from finishing.

When completed, the Barnham Signal Box will become home to the BRMRC, providing them with much needed accommodation, and will be available for community use.

Mike Burton

Chairman, Barnham Signal Box Trust


Posted by admin, 13 Aug 2015
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