Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ever busy

If it's been quiet on the blog it normally means we have been really busy! And that is probably an understatement.

I will use this post as an opportunity to sum up our main annual event Steam on the Levels which is where most of our time and effort has been concentrated these last couple of months.

The event couldn't have had better weather, we were so lucky and it had to have paid a major role in the success of the weekend. To put it briefly the event over doubled its takings on last years event and saw around 1000 people on site over the weekend. It's a record for the museums 35+ year history and we hope to continue building the event as sustainably as possible. 

We had many more exhibitors and a great range of different things from the usual classic cars, tractors etc to model railways, visiting locos on the 2ft narrow gauge railway, bee keepers, pole lathe turning and much more. The event has become a fantastic family day out that really is worth coming to look at. The money raised goes into a project fund pot which is only spent on achieving on site work (no boring administration costs such as insurance etc) and is presently supporting the much needed facilities extension to provide extended tea room, visitor and volunteer toilets and a mess room for volunteers to be able work from. Once this project is completed the money will be used to look at other large scale projects involving the housing of stored steam engines and restoration of the listed buildings.

Please take a look at our gallery on the website under 'extras' and see the video here... http://youtu.be/LDl1ZS07cMk

For all those that visited, exhibited or volunteered thank you for all your support.

Jason Keswick
Steam on the Levels Coordinator

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Continuing progress

Both the fence and the extension have continued. The fence is now completed and as Chris has proved his skills we might convince him to get a couple of other fencing jobs underway! 

The extension is on going but good progress is being made. The two windows have been fitted in the openings. Unlike the way they were fitted in the original building where they were finished flush to the external facade we have set these in to allow shutters to also be inset. The next stage will be for our builder to complete reclaimed brick cills to the underside and then render the extension. This will allow us to fit shutters over the glass elements and paint the outside.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014


The poster says it all, if you would like more information on us, visit our website or pick up the phone. Always happy to talk to those interested!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring Progress

As the weather shows some signs of improving so does the work around the museum site. Now the roof has been completed on the new extension, work is underway to complete the doors and windows. As ever the Trust has limited funds and so will be 'up cycling' where ever possible. This includes a mess room door and tea room French doors all sourced from people who were replacing them with upvc. Physically nothing is wrong with either sets so with a good sand and paint they will serve us well for many years to come. 

The fence along to the engine house however was a bit rotten and as many visitors lean against it, it was decided it should be replaced! Chris has spent a couple of days taking out the old and putting up the new which is now looking great.

On the engineering front Bill has been busy working on line shafting to drive the two lister deep well pumps and the lee howl pump from Kelways in Langport. Most of the work is being done by him at home, however he has made a start putting up the main support brackets. Not a job for the feint hearted! 

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Tea Room Heater, from Water to Air...

On other boiler related items, this one purchased by your scribe a few years ago is not fit for returning to steam... so if its no good for producing hot water, it can at least  produce hot air! Therefore it has been fitted back together as a wood burner for the museum tea room to replace the problematic tortoise stove. It has had its fittings returned so will look like a steam boiler and fit in well with the surrounding equipment.

Roofing Completed

The builder has now completed the roof, all the connection details to the existing building have been completed and the wood work has been painted in Buckingham Green. The end gable was rendered to a bell cast and this has also been painted. The scaffolding was then removed. Work will now progress with windows and doors to get a fully water tight shell. A good site clear up will also be needed before we get back into steam in two weeks time. 

A start was also made on repairs to the bell tower on the existing exhibition hall roof. The steel frame was clad with bedroom cupboard louvers and these had rotted out years ago. The sides had then been clad in rough bits of plywood which had also rotted. All these bits have been stripped back, a new frame screwed to the steel frame and tanalised feather edge cladding fixed to that. Corner detailing was added and given a coat of primer. A new plywood roof clad in galvanised flat steel sheet will be completed in time and the wood work painted in Buckingham green.

Monday, 10 March 2014


Things have progressed well with the facilities extension in the last week. Having purchased all the materials it was decided our volunteers lacked the time or physical strength to get the job done so the builder who put the block work up for us has been contracted to carry out the roofing. The pictures below show what three and half days of labour gets you! We had enough spare tiles for one side and had to purchase new tiles for the other. The three rooflights provide natural light and ventilation to the three toilets below, two public and one volunteer. Work left to do includes the flashings to the existing roof, finish ridge tiles, render the end gable. Our volunteers are going to carry out all the painting required before the scafold is removed in two weeks time. Guttering will then be put up, down pipes will be temporary until rendering is carried out later in the year.