Alston: Hunslet 0-4-0 DMF

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Outside the Hub Heritage and Transport Museum in Alston is the above Hunslet 0-4-0 DMF. It is an example of the standard Hunslet loco of the period which was supplied to various collieries around the coalfields as part of the mechanisation of collieries undertaken by the National Coal Board in the 1950’s.

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The Hunslet left the Leeds works on 29th September 1952 and was delivered to Chiltern Colliery. It hauled coal from underground at Chiltern Colliery to the Dean & Chapter Colliery shaft where it was brought to the surface. In 1956 the Hunslet was allocated National Coal Board Number 2403/51. This was a unique identification and was painted on the locomotive. The number was broken down as follows: 2=NCB No.2 Division, which was Durham; 4=No.4 Area within the Durham Division and 03 which was Chiltern Colliery within No.4 Area – the collieries being numbered from 01 alphabetically.

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 Exhaust gases are channelled through an exhaust conditioner where the noxious fumes are reduced to acceptable levels. To make the locomotive safe for mine working, further improvements were made to make the engine completely flameproof. This was to meet the stringent safety requirements to work in an environment where explosive gases were present. This was successfully achieved in 1939 when Hunslet No. 2008 went to Rossington Colliery near Doncaster. The underground locomotives had pipes pointing down towards the wheels which were designed to blow sand on to the tracks to aid traction when the vehicle was pulling heavy loads or going up gradients. The Hunslet is a fine example of our industrial heritage.

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Tebay: St James Church

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Until the middle of the 19th century, Tebay was a hamlet which formed part of the parish of Orton. The railway came in 1846 and with the steady increase in the population, it was recognized that Tebay needed its own church. With an initiative from the Bishop of Carlisle and funds from the London & North Western Railway Company, a separate ecclesiastical parish was created. The building was completed in 1880 and was the design of architect C J Ferguson who was a pupil of the English Gothic Revival architect George Gilbert Scott.

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Consecrated on 20th July 1880 by Reverend Harvey Goodwin (Lord Bishop of Carlisle), the church is dedicated to Saint James – the fisherman of Galilee. The building is constructed of rock faced snecked granite blocks (Shap granite) and features a west baptistry in the form of a big apse. Next to the western baptistry is a three stage round bell turret with conical spire.

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March 1896 saw the arrival of Reverend A E Palin who had previously been curate in Workington, Scotby and Maryport. The heating system and organ were in urgent need of repairs at this time and by July of the same year, a considerable amount of funds had been raised in order to begin work. Following rebuilding work the organ was reopened on 22nd June 1898, celebrated with a Parish Supper, costing more than the original value of the instrument.

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The interior of the church is brick-faced, yellow with red bands and the north plank porch door (above) sits within a pointed surround. Referred to as a true railway church, the inside is built with railway bricks and features pews akin to those found in a railway waiting room.

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After the Reverend Arthur Aird left in 1977, Tebay was combined with Orton and was no longer a separate parish. Under Canon Norman Scott, Ravenstonedale with Newbiggin on Lune was added to the parish in 1981. Shap and Bampton have since been combined and the new five parish unit is called High Westmorland.

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Shap granite was also used for the font (above) which is surmounted by a railway engine wheel cover.

The Church of St James is Grade II Listed.

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Beningbrough Hall: Victorian Laundry

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The Dry Room

On the west side of the Hall, and next to the West Formal Garden, is the Victorian Laundry. The early 19th century building is constructed of brick consisting of two storeys and features twenty four pane sash windows to the ground floor. As it was in Victorian times, the ground floor is separated into Wet and Dry Rooms both having stone flag floors.

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The Dry Room has two drying racks which hang from the ceiling. A laundry maid would bring wet clothes into the Dry Room to be dried, starting with the rollers of the iron-framed mangle to squeeze out water. This would also be used for pressing dry clothes. The Dry Room has a big box mangle in the centre of the room which was used to press large damp sheets or tablecloths.

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The Wet Room

The Wet Room features a wooden sink range with brass taps and two set pots with grates beneath on the rear wall. Large bowls were used to boil clothes with smaller bowls used for general washing. Both would have been heated from below by fires. The dolly would have been twisted strenuously through clothes in soapy water and heavily stained clothing would have been scrubbed vigorously against a washing board.

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The work of the laundry maid would have been exhausting and they were not expected only to do the dirty washing of Beningbrough. It was a common belief that washing dried in country air was healthier than that dried in a town so the family would have sent their laundry up to Beningbrough from their London and Brighton houses.

The Laundry Rooms are Grade II Listed.

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Laundry Courtyard