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Home News History Diary Dates & Events Location Membership

Website Update 14th April 2016

I was reminded by our Webmaster, John Rutter, that it was time for another update to the site. I will be honest and say that I had not noticed that nearly 6 weeks has gone past, so here goes.

Since the last report I can say that we are rapidly nearing completion of the site work. The track is now laid on both the platform and loop, and looks as though it has always been there. Once again, we found the original sleeper indentations on the loop line as with the platform line, so we know they are in the right place. We have now run out of sleepers although we still have some rail left. However to put more track down we need three sets of 50lb/yd points. They do not need to be in good condition; scrap ones would be fine!

So, after completing the tracks we moved on to the wall parallel to them. After removing three courses of concrete kerbing blocks we then had to provide suitable shuttering to form a tapered concrete cap. Two tons of sand, ten bags of cement and a lot of hard work later we had this completed. Of course, someone has to come and say why did you not use ready-mix? The answer is cost. We need our limited funds to pay for essential things like fire equipment and insurance for the site. So Peter, Simon, Mal and I had a couple of weeks exercise.  Malcolm now has a new nickname as he had to put the stone grit on the wet concrete. He is now known as “Mr Sprinkle.” Once the shuttering came off the result looked great.

Whilst this work was going on, I had a new patio built in order to retain domestic harmony! As a result of this, an eight cubic yard skip was in my drive for a week, so, not wanting to waste an opportunity, a ton bag of rubbish was cleared from site and went into this skip.

We had a visit arranged for 16 retired railway personnel and their families to look around the site. Mike, their group organiser, had been to see us last year. I did warn them that we were not open officially and did not have much in the way of exhibits for them to see, however with help from Simon, Linda and Riv, we put something together for them. Also Linda opened the Institute. They arrived on the regular bus service with GHA specially providing a bigger bus. Having seen the site and shed and been shown round by myself and Linda, they visited the Institute and rounded off their visit with tea, coffee and cakes in Christian Centre with some having the excellent breakfast cooked by the Spar. They seemed to enjoy the visit, made a generous donation and took quite a lot of membership forms with them. Thus we have involved three other village groups in the visit and helped to sustain the local bus service.

So, when we are open, this would seem to be the way forward.

Chris Pendlebury 14th April 2016

Obituary for Mrs Rhona Bates

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Rhona Bates, who passed away peacefully at her home in the village of Glyn Ceiriog following a period of illness.

Rhona was born and spent her whole life in the Glyn Ceiriog district. She grew up and spent most of her life on Plas Lleucu and Chwarel Farms, both of which bordered on the Cambrian Slate Quarries. I remember her describing to me in great detail, the noise of blasting and the cloud of slate dust which hung over the village afterwards.

She was a hard-working member of the Village Community for many years, holding the post of Clerk of the Parish Council as well as being a committee member and subsequently chairman of the Ceiriog Memorial Institute. She was a contributor to, and a distributor of the ‘Glyn News’ as well as being the local news contributor to the ‘Oswestry Advertiser’ newspaper. In addition to this she was a member of the Friends of Chirk Hospital and a very active member of Saron Baptist Chapel in Nantyr.

With so much involvement and dedication to local activities, it is no surprise that she found out about the GVT Group and became involved sometime around 1980. Subsequently she became a much-valued member of the committee with local knowledge that can only be described as phenomenal. Combined with this was a very accurate memory for detail. She loved to know what happened in GVT meetings right up to the end of her life.

With Rhona’s passing, the village has lost a true pillar of the community whose like we are not likely to see again and the GVT one of its most dedicated and loyal supporters.

I am sure that people reading this will join us in expressing their deepest sympathies to her three sons and their families in the valley who continue to work the two farms.

Chris Pendlebury 1st May 2016

Terry Waite has most generously agreed to become the President of the NGVT&IHT and we were delighted to welcome him to the valley on 3rd July 2016. Terry really enjoyed his visit, particularly the afternoon tea provided for all those attending by the Christian Centre a few yards up the road from the Engine Shed.

The special presentation copy of the two volume definitive history of the GVT was generously donated by it’s authors, John Milner and Beryl Williams. These were presented to Terry by Gwilym Hughes, Vice President of the NGVT&IHT

Sadly, John Milner and Beryl Williams were unable to attend the presentation due to illness.

Terry Waite Visits the NGVT&IHT

Gwilym Hughes about to present the two volumes of the definitive history of the GVT to Terry Waite.

Terry Waite accepting the gift

Photos - John & Deb Rutter

All the attendees, including the wonderful ladies of the Christian Centre who provided the afternoon tea, pose for a group photo with Terry Waite

Big improvements to the appearance of the back of the shed this spring. What a difference that splash of yellow makes!

Pictures Eunice Roberts

Sadly, I must start with some bad news. Our acting chairman, Richard Andrews, died suddenly at home shortly before the 2016 AGM. I’m sure followers of this site will join me in offering condolences to Joan and the family at this difficult time. I felt it would be best to write a separate obituary and would like to leave you with a happy memory of Richard.

Some six months ago, his car broke down so he had to drive all the way from Sussex in his beloved Morgan. The smile on his face would have shamed a Cheshire Cat and remained in place all day.

Turning now to other matters, we have now completed the remaining jobs on the loco shed and yard. The last job was the surface. This was done using Mr Owen’s JCB and much shovelling and raking by Simon, Riv and myself. To keep the use of weedkiller down, the track area has had a plastic membrane put down which seems to be working. I realise that putting gravel down is not authentic but is a compromise as we have to comply with regulations for trip hazards in public areas. Also, it is readily moved in the future should we need to.

With this completed, we were able to have the Planning inspection passed, together with Fire and Health & Safety. With this paperwork in place, we are now able to open the site to the public. The formal opening, by invitation only, will take place in mid-November at the request of our grant-providers, WREN, who were very pleased with the project on their inspection and have been great to work with.

We are looking to have an informal members and public opening in the spring when the weather is better.

So, moving on to look at the AGM and other activities, we had our regular meeting on 16th September, which was difficult due to Richard’s death and Joan, the Secretary, not being available. Richard filled many roles in the group and we had to sort out cover for these. Keith Roberts has agreed to become acting Chairman. It was very much ‘in at the deep end’ as he had to run the AGM the next day.

Joan has agreed to stay on as Secretary, with assistance from David, Norman and Linda Hughes for cover when she can’t get to meetings. The Press and Publicity is divided between Mal Draper, who hosts the Facebook Page, Simon Newton, who has been heavily involved with our project and yours-truly, who is a declared computer-phobe, who thinks a mouse should eat cheese and an email should have a stamp on it! (And don’t I know it –JR)

The big day of 17th dawned with Eunice, Pauline, Linda and Keith hosting a sales stand and raffle in the Institute. Meanwhile, yours-truly aided and abetted by Simon and Edwin showed a constant stream of members around the shed. Or, in my case, bored them senseless with my own personal theory of why the track-gauge was 2ft 4 ½ ins!

After an enjoyable morning chatting to and sometimes scaring off members, we locked up the shed and moved up to the Institute for the AGM, where according to John Milner’s empirical work, the original GVT company held its AGMs. As we include the original company within the group, is this unusual, if not unique, in preservation.

The meeting went on somewhat longer than usual as there was much to discuss and debate. After closure, we then had to prepare for the concert. At this point and explanation is called for.

In the summer, my good friend Billy and his brother in law, Andrew, helped move the slate wagon back to the museum. At the time, Billy offered to bring his band over to do a concert for us to raise funds. I though that this was a great idea but did not get round to doing anything about it. The following week, Billy contacted me and said his friend had a band, had been to look at the Institute, and wanted to join in. At this point a couple of my few remaining grey cells fired so I suggested a concert on the evening of the AGM as we had the use of the Institute all day.

Time was short and we did not realise that we clashed with the Gardening Society’s Annual Show at the Caernarfon Centre. Not a problem – but gardening is a very popular pastime in the valley so we were in competition with titanic tomatoes, mighty marrows and prodigious potatoes. (Are these all competing bands? – JR)

The result was that by the evening, many local people had been out all day and did not come. We are very grateful to those who did. The general feedback was how good the bands were and, had we known, we would have got our friends and relatives to come – and please don’t let it clash with anything else.

Billy and his friends enjoyed it very much and are itching to do another one, so we are thinking of a dance and buffet, planned well in advance.

Another comment was: We need a drink! This is a little tricky as the Institute was established by a Temperance League, so a bar is out! But, the Glyn Valley Hotel is just down the hill and the Oak is a few doors up, so we want to support these two institutions.

The money raised has gone to pay Certification Fees for the Engine Shed.

You may be aware that we have now been loaned the contents of the Wynn Quarry Museum, which closed in 1990. This loan has been made by the executors of the late Angela James, with the condition that they remain in the village and can be displayed in the shed or the Institute. After 25 years storage in a damp building, the condition of the artefacts has deteriorated.

Having had three months storage in an insulated container, they have dried out. Following the meeting on Friday, we moved a selection and have been carefully cleaning and treating them with a thin coat of oil, which is the recommended conservation technique. I will look at these in more detail in my next report.

I would like to conclude by welcoming Pauline and Edwin to the Board, both of whom live in the village. Edwin has been a member for over 30 years and is well known in preservation circles having illustrated over 200 railway books.

Pauline is now Eunice’s local representative and is learning the finer points of selling hiking boots to angels, etc.

I would like to finish by thanking all the regular group for their hard work, dedication and great sense of humour. Please join us as we have many great things just around the corner, which will appear in my next report.

Chris Pendlebury 11th October 2016

Engine Shed, Platform and trackbed prepared ready for opening.

Photo Keith Roberts

News Update  11th October 2016 - Chris Pendlebury