FORGOTTEN CORNERS

User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

You may have noticed that I keep a keen eye on the weather. This goes back to working outside and all those years on the road driving, particularly in the early hours of the morning before the world was taking notice. One thing that strikes me about modern drivers is that they are so well protected from the weather and cocooned in their 'womb with a view' that many seem to have forgotten about weather. We had to take notice in order to survive!
In olden days with no heaters, no power steering and lousy headlights and screen wipers we were in much closer contact with the outside world. I could feel exactly what the road surface was like from the way the wagon reacted to steering inputs. If you knew it was going to be bad you set off early and travelled more slowly. Local knowledge of your routes meant that you knew when fog in the Vale of York was going to put half an hour on your three hour journey to Lincoln. You also knew that the weather on top of Shap Fell was always much worse than down in Penrith or Kendal. You even knew the places where frost flowing down a gulley froze on particular bend on Shap when the rest of the hill was frost free. All this was self-preservation and it seems to me that it is very thin on the ground these days.
I could go on for hours about different experiences But I'll just mention two of the most striking, sitting on the side of the road at Long Preston watching ball lightning striking near me in the valley on a dry day. I told a man who had spent his life researching lightning about it and he said he envied me, he had never seen it in the raw. It was a fascinating display but when it started to move closer to the road I left!
The other is what I saw one morning as I went North over Shap early on a dry winter morning. It started hailing very hard and the hail was bouncing on the dry road in front of me in the headlights. It was so heavy I had to stop because I couldn't see the road! It was just a swirling jumble of hailstones dancing and blowing completely obscuring my view of the ground or even the fences either side. Only one thing to do. Stop and wait a couple of minutes until it passed. After that it was as clear as a bell. Very strange.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Have a look at this snowstorm time-lapse video: LINK
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

I once saw a wall of snow like that when I was on the cattle wagon. I was leaving Hughie Anderson's Clinchyard Farm near Strathaven with a full load of cattle in the wagon and trailer. Here's the relevant bit from me memoirs....

I was at Clinchyard sometime in late 1972 with the wagon and trailer to fill up with heifers from Hughie and I had a full load. We were just having a cup of tea and a bun when I noticed that the sky to the North had turned black, not dark but jet black! I asked Hughie if it was what I thought it was, snow, and he said I was right and the sooner I got away the better. It started snowing heavily as I left Clinchyard and by the time I got to Cross-roads and turned south down the A76 it was gathering on the road. As I got to Mauchline, six miles down the road, it was almost a foot deep, I’ve never seen snow fall so heavily. There is a steep hill down through Mauchline and of course the gritting wagons had been taken by surprise. I got to the top of the hill which is in the village itself and, getting into second gear, started creeping down, there was a van in front of me but he was moving as fast as me so I had no problem. Just then I saw an artic coming over the bridge at the bottom of the hill, he was fully loaded and came storming up the hill at about the same speed as I was going down, I watched him come and thought how well he was doing, this is often the case on fresh snow, you can actually get a grip on the snow itself.
Everything was going well until the van pulled into the kerb in order to make a bread delivery! This simple act entirely changed the situation, I knew that if I tried to brake, 60 feet of wagon and trailer was going to slide down the road and jack-knife and there wasn’t room for the steel wagon to avoid either hitting me or being hit. All I could do was gently apply the trailer brake to put some drag on the outfit. The driver of the steel wagon had seen what was going on but by this time he was too close to the van to stop, there wouldn’t have been enough room for me to get through if he had. All he could do was keep his foot down and clear the van as fast as possible. It was the correct decision but at the time I couldn’t see how I was going to miss him. The van driver had got out with his bread basket and I decided that if I was going to hit anything it would be the van. A gap opened just as I got to the van and I took a bit off the back corner of it as I went through. It happened so slowly that both the other driver and myself had time to open the window, reach out and pull our mirrors in to the cab to stop them clashing. He grinned at me when we passed about two inches apart, I suspect my eyes were looking like saucers! Neither of us stopped, we couldn’t and I suppose the van driver wrote his minor damage off to experience!
When I got to New Cumnock the police had closed the road. I pulled up at their road block and pointed out that I had a bit of a problem as I was loaded with cattle, there wasn’t room to turn round and I couldn’t possibly back a wagon and trailer half a mile back up the road in a blizzard! (We’ll get round to the difficulties of reversing a wagon and four wheeled trailer later) Common sense prevailed and the bobby let me through and said he would radio to Sanquar that I was coming and ask them to send the plough up to meet me. This isn’t as surprising as it sounds, remember that all these blokes came from farming stock and understood the problems. It’s about fifteen miles from New Cumnock to Sanquar and I set out to enjoy myself! It might surprise you to hear me say this but I had seen plenty of snow on milk pick up for Harrisons and we could never allow ourselves to be stopped by it. I had ideal conditions actually, the road was closed and there was very little likelihood of local traffic so I had a clear run over fresh snow, the best sort. Away I went.
The first thing to say is that a wagon and trailer is the best combination you can have in snow. The trailer is running in the wheel tracks of the wagon and so it doesn’t know there is any problem and if the combination is set up right with the trailer towbar sloping up to the hitch, the harder you pull the trailer, the more weight is transferred to the driving wheels of the wagon. I’d designed the outfit so the hitch was right! By now the snow was drifting but all that means is that you occasionally hit four feet of snow beyond which there was a clear or lightly covered stretch of road so as long as you have enough momentum to burst through the drift you are OK. It must have been an impressive sight if there had been anybody about to see me. Every time I hit a drift the dry snow burst out like an explosion and blinded me for a fraction of a second. My only worry was that I might come across a car abandoned in the middle of the road. There were a couple but being Scots they had got them well in to the side. In England, especially nowadays, I would never have got through because bad drivers would have blocked the road by carelessly abandoning their vehicles. I came down into Sanquar and met the plough at the fireworks factory so I pulled in and had a word with the driver and he decided not to go out until morning when I told him how bad it was. He told me that the ploughs had gone down towards Dumfries about half an hour before so I should have a clear run. He was right and the funny thing was that my overall time back home was about ten minutes better than usual!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

I have always said that I experienced the glory days of driving. When I started in the 1950s we had very little traffic and the first real improvements in wagons were starting to come through, like better brakes, more power and even some concessions to driver comfort. Gone were the days when giving a driver a windscreen and 6" blade single wiper or a padded seat were regarded as feather-bedding! True, we hadn't reached the standards that are common today but at least my last wagon had wonderful three line air brakes that haven't been bettered even now.
It was possible, in the early hours of the morning to drive for many miles without seeing another vehicle. Even when the M1 opened I have seen nights when there wasn't another vehicle in sight in front or behind. Modern drivers will have difficulty believing that.
There were bottle necks of course, you've all seen my pic of wagons on Shap during the day when speed was limited to that of the slowest because of the single carriage way roads. These were a fact of life and you always knew that in a couple of miles this would all have change as you came on to a road wide enough for the traffic to sort itself out.
There was another advantage which we took for granted then. All the other vehicles were being driven by drivers who, like you, were in intimate contact with conditions and were generally alert and driving intelligently. You could read the traffic and rely on others actions which made it safer. The change today is that so many drivers, lulled by the comfort in their vehicle and distracted by modern electronics including so called 'driving aids' have never had to develop the basic skills of driving. This was what persuaded me to give up driving entirely, not to put too fine a point on it, other drivers frightened me. I watched a driver back into a lamp post while reversing only yesterday and it was seen as a normal occurrence.
So that's my old man's view of today's forgotten corner. But I enjoyed my driving right up to the 70s, I always looked forward to climbing into the cab every morning and I am grateful I had that experience. I doubt if many could say that today.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Bodger
Senior Member
Posts: 1243
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:30
Location: Ireland

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Bodger »

Did you have the likes of me in days gone by ? a cyclist hanging on to the tail of your truck when climbing hills, some drivers didn't mind others would try to get rid of you
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

It happened Bodge but not often and there was nothing you could do about it anyway.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
plaques
Donor
Posts: 5296
Joined: 23 May 2013, 22:09

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by plaques »

Part of the fun was to get a free tow up Buck Haw Brow, Settle, Better still was then to overtake them on the last rise just to rub their noses in it.
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

You've triggered a memory P!

"Another disadvantage we had was simple gearboxes, the majority of wagons had four forward and one reverse gear. Later I had the luxury of six gears and then twelve and this on much better roads. The first part of the M1 was opened in 1961 and the Preston by-pass shortly before but the majority of long distance traffic was still using roads which apart from better surfaces and being a bit wider, hadn’t changed since the days of the stage-coach. For instance, the road north out of Settle climbed Buckhaw Brow. The last nip at the top was the steepest piece of road between Barlick and Scotland, if you could climb that you were OK the rest of the way. I was going up there early one morning with a load of asbestos sheets on and I knew I wasn’t going to make it, I reckon I had close to 12 tons on the flat, almost twice as much as the designers intended! I had slowed right down at the bottom of the nip and got into bottom gear in plenty of time but I could feel the engine dying on me as I slogged up the hill. Just as things were looking really serious, the engine suddenly picked up and I sailed over the top. I had seen a wagon behind me and pulled into the side of the road at the lay-by just past the summit. It was one of P&S Contracts Mack artics which they had imported specially from the States to carry steel from Glasgow to Warrington and back in one shift of eleven hours. When they first started the Traffic Commissioners followed them for a week but they were running legal, they were as fast up hills as they were down! They had a huge bumper on the front with ‘King of the Road’ painted on it. The driver had seen my predicament and nosed his bumper up against the back of the flat and given me just enough help to get over the top. The ironic thing about this load was that we never got paid for it, the clearing house ignored our invoices and it wasn’t worth pursuing the claim. We didn’t often get caught like this but the practice was widespread and you had to make some pretty quick assessments when you went into a strange hauliers for a load. One thing is certain, Universal Asbestos of Tolpits Lane Watford never got to see me again!
Another time I had loaded a concrete building in Ware, Hertfordshire and was taking it to a farm near Wirksworth in Derbyshire. All went well until I turned off the main road and got to within half a mile of the farm, I might as we’ll have been a hundred miles away because I was faced with a hill so steep I couldn’t climb it. I even turned round and tried in reverse but had no joy. I looked at the map and worked out another route which was about ten miles further but which would bring me into the farm from the opposite direction. Off I went and managed all right. I got to the farm gate just as an AEC Matador with a 9.6 litre engine and a crane mounted on the back came growling up the hill I couldn’t climb. He was the bloke who was going to erect the barn, if he’d got up a bit earlier he could have saved me a lot of trouble!"
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Image

Ian's picture of the trash screen at Clough Mill Site in 2015. This weather brings to mind the Flood of July 1932. It's a largely forgotten corner now but I do keep jogging people's memory about it.

Image

Mixman's image of Ouzledale reminds us that the cause of the damage was blocked culverts largely caused by Skeps and weft boxes washing down and blocking them. At the time Bancroft was blamed but this was a canard, they didn't store any such material outside. The original source was what was then Wild Transport's yard on Gillians Lane above Bancroft Shed where material like this was kept in the open.
This is a reminder that this danger, rubbish choking culverts, is still the danger. Time for investment in a good clean up of water courses?
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Big Kev
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 4517
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 20:15
Location: Barlick

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Big Kev »

The works on the culvert, following the 2015 flooding, is being reported as a success.
1581841160900.jpg
This is on Skipton Road and the RR football field.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Kev

A Resigned Observer
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Good! Is that the one that runs under the houses to the canal?
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Big Kev
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 4517
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 20:15
Location: Barlick

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Big Kev »

Stanley wrote: 16 Feb 2020, 08:53 Good! Is that the one that runs under the houses to the canal?
It is. The locals were kicking off about the road closures while the works were ongoing, small price to pay I think.
Kev

A Resigned Observer
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Stanley wrote: 16 Feb 2020, 04:48 This is a reminder that this danger, rubbish choking culverts, is still the danger. Time for investment in a good clean up of water courses?
A village here was unexpectedly flooded some time ago when a few farmer's hay bales slipped into the stream, were rolled by the water down to the bridge, jammed under it and created a dam, diverting the water into the village.
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Exactly what happened in Barlick in 1932 but different debris Tiz.
Insecure ridge tiles mentioned in another topic. Not surprising as most modern ridge tiles are useless. In the days of stone roofs they were carved out of solid stone and could be up to 4ft long, no danger of them shifting! Then with slate roofs we got the blue terracotta tiles, heavy and very durable.
When the council did the big refurb on our houses (using EU funding....) we all had complete re-roofs and modern ridge tiles. After about 4 years I noticed that mine were de-laminating so I got my men in. The modern version of the old blue terracotta tile is made of a strange plastic/ filler/ glass fibre amalgam which is not durable, frost breaks them up and they de-laminate. My men couldn't get old-fashioned blue terracotta and so used coloured concrete tiles. They seem to be holding up well.
At one time the brick industry spawned the terracotta revolution in chimney pots, sewer pipes and shaped clay products. They were all very durable and in some cases produced really striking results.

Image

Here's a finial typical of those produced by the Accrington Brick and Tile Company. Whole façades were built using the material an if you are ever in Blackpool take note, the majority of the houses built in the mid 20th century are Accrington Brick and terracotta.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Coming from Blackburn and its terraces in hard, shiny red brick I still remember my first visit to London. I was on the coach and as it entered the London suburbs what struck me most was the weird yellow bricks used in the houses! :smile:
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Kent Brick Tiz. There was one house on Heaton Moor built with it, always looked out of place.

Image

The shambles in Butts below the buildings on Commercial Street. At one time local butchers used these as slaughter houses and all the waste went into the beck, very handy for them.
I have a reference to there being a tallow refinery in Butts and strongly suspect this was where it would be. Even in those days the smell from such establishments was a problem and when researching Calf Hall Shed I found that the conveyance prohibited using the land for such a purpose or any other 'noxious trade'. This rather surprised me because I didn't think that such matters were as important in those days but evidently at least one landowner thought it was.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

The advent of steam power and widespread burning of coal had an affect on the building industry. From 1850 onwards the ubiquitous putty lime and sand mortar gave way to the cheaper and easier ash/lime mortar made by grinding clinker and lime together with water in mortar mills.

Image

This one at Cherwell in 1898 is driven by a portable steam engine but in Barlick there was an easier solution, mills like Bancroft had an extension of the main shaft poking through the wall at the back of the shed to drive a mill from a pulley. Local builders would rent use of the mill and grind mortar as they needed it, power and raw materials were on site, all they needed to supply was lime. If you look at the Calf Hall Shed Company's minute books on the site you will find lots of detail about income from renting the mills and selling clinker. The Council were the best customers. The clinker was also used as ballast for foundations and paths, being rough and angular it bonded well when compacted. The same was true of the fly ash, the finer ash from the flues, it was the ideal material for bedding stone flags on as it never moved once compacted.

Image

Dr Arthur Morrison scavenging ashes from Bancroft in 1978. We never had to pay for ash and clinker to be removed, there was a constant stream of people coming for the material, largely for paths in allotments and pens.
If you want to see a road made of clinker and in this case slag, look at Longfield Lane outside Ouzledale. The road was made in the days when it was a foundry and you can find lumps of metal in it.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Is cinder the same as clinker?
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Cinder is the generic name for partially burned coal that still has free carbon in it that is unburnt. Coke is a form of intentional cinder, Clinker is fused ash that has reached temperatures high enough to melt it. All the carbon and volatiles are gone.
Another way of looking at it is that clinker is composed of all the impurities in coal that won't burn. The better the coal the longer you could run without ashing out. The converse was true with bad coal and the worst I ever came across was the brown lease-lend coal we got from America after the end of WW2. Here's some first hand evidence from my book on Brown and Pickles. The mill Newton is talking about is Clogh.

"In 1946 Newton and Harry Crabtree ran the engine and boiler for about six months. There was no mechanical fault but they were up against another problem, here’s Newton’s version of the story. “Oh well, there weren’t such a thing as coal, it were just slutch and muck. It’d be 1946, coal were out of existence, it were muck they were fetching us from America by sea. (It was brown coal, strip mined and very poor quality.) When they tipped the wagon up into your boiler house you just stood well back because it didn’t shutter to t’front it just went swish! It were all slutch and you wanted wellies on in’t engine house, it went up to t’tube bottoms, you couldn’t see the mud hole at the bottom of the boiler. Then you got it back into the bunker as well as you could and left it to drain into the flue bottoms overnight. Anyway we went on like this for many a month and one afternoon, me father was getting a bit bothered because you know he wanted me back. He came up one afternoon, we were just cleaning out were me and Crabby, and I can see him now, he just stood in the boiler house door, shoved his hat back on the back of his head and says now then, what are you doing? He just took one look, the barrow wasn’t in the boiler house you know, you couldn’t get the barrow under the tubes because it were too low, you had to pull the ashes out on to the floor and then shovel it into the barrow. Well you know what the sulphur fumes are like when you’re doing that. He just turns round to me and says eh Newton, I know what I’d do if I were here. I says what? He says I’d floor one fire, one shovel up the bloody fire hole and take the bugger up to Arthur Berridge. He were t’manager. I says oh, we aren’t going to do that. Well he says, tha looks busy, I’ll leave thee.

Well anyway we’d a blooming big wagon landed with a twenty ton load of coal on. We only used to get it in a little box cart from the station you know, a little wagon that Mitchell the carter had then in them days. This bloody great wagon came I’ve never seen anything like it wi’ the coal piled up to the top. The wagon driver says is this Clough? I says aye. He says I’ve brought thee this. I says I haven’t ordered that, all my coal comes from somewhere sea side way by t’look of it, I don’t bother wi’t stuff, I just goes into the office and tells ‘em I have none. Well, he says, tha’s to have this. I says Where’s that frae? Well, he says, I’ve brought it from Doncaster but I’ve been to a mill down the road, they call it Crow Nest I think, there’s a silly old bugger down there and he saw me come down the yard with it, he were out at t’top o’t steps and he just took one look at it over the top sides and he says take that bloody rubbish away from here, I’m not burning that in my boilers, get it away from here. The driver says so I get back in me cab and then he shouts Oi! just a minute lad, don’t take it back where it came from, I’ll tell thee what to do with it, take it to a mill up the road, they call it Clough, anybody’ll tell you where it is, there’s two silly buggers up there that’ll burn owt. That were Arthur Dobson, engineer at Crow Nest. We burned it, we’d not had coal like that for six month, we never had stuff like that. I said what the heck, we got cleaned out as soon as there were some of that going in. Crabby says this is good coal Newton! I says aye, let’s get the damper regulator working again. We were all right, we could sit on our arses with this stuff we were made up. I mean we never had us breakfast for two months till nearly dinnertime. We used to go at five o’clock, starting time were six but it were winter and I’ve seen us go at four in the morning to put steam in the mill and clean out sixteen times afore starting time and that’s as true as I sit here. It was a job to get steam anywhere over 100psi to get us going. The under manager came down to me one morning, I’d just set on, it were just after six o’clock because we started at six then you know, they didn’t work at Saturday morning. He says Newton, will you go up into t’winding room there’s some lights gone out there must be a fuse gone. I says I’ll go up there as soon as I’ve cleaned out and getten steam up. He says I don’t want messing about, I want it doing now, them folk up there’s sat about doing nowt. I says thee wait a minute while I stop the bloody engine, he never come down no more wanting fuses mending.”

In a later conversation about this episode Newton told me that the coal was so bad they had to burn old motor tyres with it to get enough heat up to make it combust. There must have been some horrible smoke coming out of that chimney but I suppose it was a question of smoking or stopping and ‘Britain’s Bread Hung By Lancashire’s Thread’! During the miner’s strike in the 1970s I had to burn all the stock at Bancroft and when I got to the back of the pile I found some strange red rusty-looking stuff. It was some of the Lease-Lend coal and I found out just how bad it was. Funnily enough a wagon turned up one day with a load of coal and instead of being the usual six-wheeler it was an eight-wheeler. We had a job getting him into the yard but managed and got him tipped. It was Sutton Manor washed singles, just about the best engine coal you could get and a big change from the rubbish we were burning. When I signed his note I saw that the destination on it was not Bancroft but Bankfield, Rolls Royce. I didn’t say anything but just took the ticket up into the office and never heard anything more about it. I’ve often wondered who paid for that coal, it was lovely stuff and burned like candle ends so we used it with the red muck and it made the job a lot easier. I told Newton about it and we agreed that there must be a providence that looks after drunken men and firebeaters on bad coal."
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Thanks for all that! :good:
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

In all the discussion and 'decisions' about phasing out fossil fuels there are some notable absences, shipping, railway locomotives, heavy commercial transport and steam boilers. It seems certain that my old trades burning large quantities of soon to be forbidden coal in boilers and diesel fuel in wagons will soon be Forgotten Corners so it might be as well to record something about them here. From what I can gather, firing boilers with wood or vegetable matter might be allowed to continue. The first example of that which springs to mind at the moment is heritage sites making steam by burning wood waste like old pallets but that is only a small proportion of non-fossil fuel use.
See the colonial sugar refineries processing cane which use immense amounts of steam and at one time fired their boilers with 'Bagasse' which is the residue of sugar cane after pulping to extract the sugar. (LINK Properly used it can supply all the energy needed to run the process and a surplus which can be used to generate electricity for exporting to the public supply.
Another circular process like this used to be the manufacture of portable steam boilers for driving threshing machinery that had larger boiler tubes and were fired with the straw that was a residue of the process.

Image

John Ingoe's Paxman straw burner portable engine.

Many colonial railways (including the US) used wood burning locomotives as motive power but as demands on the hauling poser of the engines increased and locally available wood became more expensive the locomotives were all converted to coal burning and eventually in the last days of steam, to oil-burners.

Image

At one point in the 1970s burning waste wood that had been ground into chips was used for commercial steam making. This was economical and efficient if specially designed boilers were used but when I was working for REW on boiler maintenance we soon found ourselves at the sharp end of the problems with this technology. After operating for a while it was realised that there was a big problem, erosion of the primary combustion chamber caused by the continual bombardment of the furnace walls by the wood ships which, in order to get good combustion, were blown into the furnace using the combustion air. The only cure was to remove the old combustion chamber completely and replace it with a thicker new one and this was a massive and expensive job. In the end I think this killed off these boilers which were largely used for large district heating schemes.
There was another class of non-fossil fuel burning boilers used to generate electricity and district heating. These were the incinerators used by local authorities to burn domestic waste instead of sending it all to land fill. Very often sited in town centres, they were at first seen as the answer to the problem but it was soon realised they were generating problems of their own. This was that due to the nature of the fuel, unless the furnace temperature was kept very high by working 24X7 at maximum capacity very toxic chemicals produced by burning plastic were emitted from the flues. The remaining incinerators that are still running are assuring us that they are safe and emit no such poisons but this is largely treated with a big dose of scepticism. I would not like to live downwind of one of them.
Then we come to the elephant in the room. All these non-fossil fuels have one big drawback, they produce pollutants like Carbon Dioxide or even worse. Eventually this simple fact of chemistry might make all these technologies Forgotten Corners. I shall be out of a job!
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Big Kev
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 4517
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 20:15
Location: Barlick

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Big Kev »

They're banning the fuel for your solid fuel stove next year
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/amp/uk-51581817
Kev

A Resigned Observer
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Not for mine, I only use smokeless fuel. Haven't lit the stove this winter actually and must do so the dry the flue out.
What it does mean is the final demise of the open coal fire in an old fashioned hearth. Since man first mastered fire it has been the heart of the house and some of my strongest childhood memories are of sitting with my mother in front of the fire as night fell listening to Children's Hour. We never turned the light on, just had the flickering flames of the coal and the result was magic. It's all gone now. :sad:
Question is, what else becomes a forgotten corner? How long will it be legal to sell a washing machine capable of a hot wash? Is ironing really necessary? Why not ban that as well. As for cooking, who can tell...
There are going to be far more forgotten corners very soon, think of the impact of zero carbon on family trips in the car, it is easy to see a scenario where such fripperies are going to be prohibited. I can see no end to it.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Stanley
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 62571
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 12:01
Location: Barnoldswick. Nearer to Heaven than Gloria.

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Stanley »

Image

300 tons of coal in stock in the yard at Bancroft Shed in 1978. All mills kept a stock to ensure continuity if bad weather or coal strikes interrupted supply. We were independent of the National Grid once the engine was running and during the power cuts in the 70s many people watched with envy when the town was blacked out and all the lights were on at Bancroft. That's a forgotten corner now.

Image

This alternator, driven by the steam engine, gave us power at half the price charged for the mains. Hindsight is 20/20 vision of course. What was then a brilliant technology that fuelled development world wide is now seen as the root of the biggest threat to human existence which threatens us now. It has to go!
But... Looking back at what it gave us in those more simple days, old climate vandals like me can't help but have regrets. What is going to build all those houses and fill the brides' bottom drawers now. This forgotten corner is a major puzzle.
Stanley Challenger Graham
Stanley's View
scg1936 at talktalk.net

"Beware of certitude" (Jimmy Reid)
The floggings will continue until morale improves!
User avatar
Tizer
Global Moderator
Global Moderator
Posts: 14145
Joined: 23 Jan 2012, 19:46
Location: Somerset, UK

Re: FORGOTTEN CORNERS

Post by Tizer »

Stanley wrote: 22 Feb 2020, 04:01 What it does mean is the final demise of the open coal fire in an old fashioned hearth.
But you'll still be able to burn dried logs and smokeless fuel in an open fire, won't you? Or have they banned open fires?
Nullius in verba: On the word of no one (Motto of the Royal Society)
Post Reply

Return to “Local History Topics”