Saturday 24 January 2009

Eastbournes secret lighting museum

In a secluded garden somewhere in Eastbournes suburbs is a shed. This is no ordinary shed as can be seen in these photos...

Caburn chalk pit tramway

Another interesting old tramway can still be seen west of Glynde. It ran from the sidings on the Downside yard to a large chalk pit cut into the eastern side of Mt Caburn. The pit was also known as Brigden pit as Brigden farm was nearby. The line had to pass over Glynde Reach river and no sign of the bridge exists now. It ran on an embankment across the marshland until it started to climb to the pit in a cutting. The line then passed under Ranscombe lane by means of a very low and narrow brick bridge. After that it goes in a straight line past the farm in the form of a steep incline which was worked by cables. The loaded trucks would raise empty ones as they went down. No sign of the winding house remains but you can still see where the storage sidings were on the left at the top.
After carefully studying the map and walking the old track, it appears to me that a siding ran off of the tramway just before it reached the marshland and via another embankment, ran right to the edge of Glynde Reach river. I would imagine this was so barges could be loaded with chalk here because they couldn`t get past the bridge where the tramway crossed the Reach. Also by studying the map I do believe there were two passing places on the tramway, one north of the road bridge and one south. Although I can see how the incline worked, north of the road bridge, it is hard to understand how they could continue to operate trucks on a cable around curves and over the flat marshy section.

Old map from 1873

More detail

Embankments either side of Glynde Reach, bridge has gone


Old sleeper

Old rail pins

The cutting just after the marshy length

Ranscombe Bridge

From the north

Start of the incline

The site of the passing loop

Looking towards the pit at the top of the incline

Friday 16 January 2009

Joe Erwins funeral

I wanted to attend Joes funeral in Armagh and so flew out on 13th Jan` to meet Stewart and stay with him at Joes mums house. Joe was in the front room in the coffin and people would come in and pay their respects. Everyone was lovely and it was clear to see how much he was loved and missed. Much to eveyones amazement, not a drop of drink passed anyones lips in the house that night and he wouldn`t have been happy about that!

Stewart stayed-up with him most of the night and then in the morning we carried him out of the house and out of the Crescent where the house was. I couldn`t believe how heavy the coffin was and six of us struggled with it. It then goes into the hearse and we walked behind it to the chapel. It was amazing to see all cars stopping as we went by, and the shops closing the doors and putting-out the lights. It was a nice service at the chapel and Mary, Joes mum, was at the front. We then walked behind him to the grave yard at the cathedral. We had tea and cakes in a hotel afterwards and myself and Stewart toasted Joe with a single malt. I was dropped back at the airport by Jonathon and my first trip to NI was over. All Joes family were very kind, there`s too many to mention and I wouldn`t be able to spell their names correctly!

Sunday 11 January 2009

More light trails

As I was driving home I thought I`d try to capture the lights as I drove along. The camera was on the dashboard with a 30 second exposure, good fun.

Cooksbridge Station at 04:00hrs

I was investigating a fault near Chiltington and when walking past the Up Road waiting room, I thought how nice it looked with the full moon behind it. Luckily
I had my big lens and managed to get a close-up of the full moon.

Saturday 10 January 2009

Cold spell

I suppose I should mention the cold spell we`ve been enduring for the last two weeks or more. It`s regularly been -7 Centigrade at night and still below freezing during the day. Here are some photos I took today, I walked Mabel from Folkington, over the Long Man and back down via a lovely old wood frequented by badgers. When it warms-up and there`s a full moon I`ll sit above it and hopefully see them snuffling about.

Sunday 4 January 2009

Sunrise near Glynde

Before I explored the tramway mentioned below, I took these photographs. It was at least -7 centigrade and Glynde Reach had frozen solid!

Old clay pit near Glynde station

I`ve always been interested in old tramways and redundant workings and one of the most interesting places near me for this is Glynde.
I became aware of an old tramway arcing away from the east of the station some years ago and walked it with a good friend of mine. There were still sleepers clearly visible and the remains of the bridge crossing Glynde Reach river. We couldn`t get near the old pit then but on Sunday I managed to and took the following photographs.

The clay pit was connected to the sidings at Glynde by means of a Telpherage line opened on Saturday 17 October 1885. This was the first overhead railway of its kind in the world and differs from an aerial ropeway by the individual skips having their own motor and by clever means could not run into each other. Later on, this was replaced with a proper tramway with running rails.

I`ve copied these notes from the internet…

The Glynde telpherage line was built by the Telpherage Company and officially opened on Saturday 17 October 1885. It was said to cost £1200, including the equipment to generate electricity, the trains, and the locomotives. The electricity was generated by a dynamo which was powered by a steam engine. The water for the engine was apparently raised by a windmill at the station end of the line. The line
extended for almost a mile. It was a double line of steel rods 66 feet long and with a 0.75 inch diameter. The rods were elevated 18 feet above the ground on posts. The locomotive and skips were suspended from pulleys that ran on the rods. A train of ten skips could carry a ton of clay.

A clay pit was opened in 1885 north of Glynde Reach, to the east of Decoy Wood.
The pit was to supply Gault clay to the new Sussex Portland Cement works at South Heighton.

Both were on land leased from the Glynde Estate for 99 years.
In the event, the clay pit was only worked for around 30 years
Initially the clay was transported via a telpherage line to Glynde station, latterly (by the late 1890s) via a tramway. Lusted, A.

1899 map of Glynde showing the tramway

Modern aerial view of the tramway.

Remains of the bridge.

The same

View of the trackbed with sleepers

Close up of sleepers, over 110 years old

The trackbed near the clay pit

Remains of an old iron fence at the side of the track

Irish Joe

I had a phone call from my friend Stewart in Hove to say that Joe had died on Saturday. This was awful news as Joe was a dear friend to me and I`d known him and Stewart from 1986 when I moved into my ground floor flat in Lansdowne Street in Hove. I remember the lady I bought the flat off of saying to me to avoid the mad irish man upstairs! I did indeed avoid him for a few weeks as I could hear him wobbling in through the front door and falling against my front room wall. I did eventually ask him in for a drink and a friendship was sealed for life.

He was a one-off, kind, wise and although "steamboats" most of the time, as he put it, he could not be outwitted even when he was at his most inibriated. I locked myself out more than once and Joe came to the rescue wielding a huge breadknife that hacked-off part of the door jam to get to the latch. He would phone a taxi firm, get the driver to go to the off-licence at the bottom of the road, buy him booze and deliver it to Joe so he didn`t have to leave the flat! He once nearly killed the chap in the garden flat below me who was having a barbecue. From upstairs, Joe got a packet of frozen prawns out of his freezer and threw them down to Frank. I think he actually hit him with them but Frank was so nutty he wouldn`t have felt it.
I remember one new years eve when I was upstairs with him and some old ladies from down the street. As the bells rang out, he appeared with a shotgun and started waving it about and was going to fire out the window as they do in Armagh. We all made a quick exit. He was very careful with his money but would always help a friend out. He made his own slippers out of a blanket and some cardboard once, they looked quite good too. He would knock on my door, stagger in dressed in his best three piece suit and out of his jacket pocket would produce a crystal glass and a bottle of Scotch! Then he would proceed to talk without pausing for a couple of hours until I managed to get him upstairs. His glasses would be halfway down his nose and his gait would be unsteady but that was Joe. At night when he was pickled, he`d ring the White House, the Kremlin or the Pope and torture the poor person on the switchboard for hours! I`ll never forget the sight of him sucking the bones out of two boiled pigs trotters in his front room - ugh!