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Barnham Signal Box Update Sept 2011



I have just come across this web site and viewed with interest the many blogs concerning the Barnham Signal Box and the fire back in November 2010.

As the Chariman of the restoration group I thought i would take this opportunity to update everyone on our progress.

Since the fire, which destroyed somewhere in the region of 40+% of the box, work has progressed well. Our first task, once the insurers had paid out (this was no small task as they delayed payment for four months) was to bring in a professional structural engineering company who were well versed in timber structures. McCurdy and Co Ltd fitted the bill having previously been responsible for the erection of the Globe Theatre in London. they were thoroughly professional and although expensive we all thought they justified the expense. They virtually rebuilt one side and one end of the structure including replacing almost 2/3rds of one of the main corner posts. The accuracy of the joinery was a wonder to behold. they were also not adverse to taking on a number of other tasks outside of their remit whilst they were on site.

Once McCurdy's had left we were able to progress using a number of local retired carpenters, the youngest of which was 74. and a small but dedicated team of volunteers.

Since we started the second re-build in April this year we have now replaced or repaired all the external cladding, including the soffits and facias where they had been damaged by the fire. All the lower ground floor windows have been remade with the exception of one which was at the carpenters being repaired when the fire took hold. These have now been repositioned and glazed. Just this past week has seen the last of the upper windows, all 30 of them, returned from the glaziers, now with toughened glass in the lower panes to comply with Bldg Regs. The whole of the exterior has been undercoated x 3, a massive task. (We all now have a real appeciation of what it means to be a painter), and today the first top coat was applied to the facias and soffits.

Inbetween the above tasks those involved have also dug out French drains around the structure, dug in a soak away, erected the first stages of a bank, fenced off the site, removed all the old iron and electrical fittings from inside the structure and laid a new internal first floor.

Our immediate aim is to complete all the external painting on the upper floor so that the guttering can be installed. Once this has been completed we will then be in a position to lower the scaffolding and replace the main windows which will hopefully make the structure weather tight for the approaching winter.


Work takes place almost every Saturday morning (we took time off for the Rugby World Cup) and generally one of us is on site most weekdays, weather permitting. Such a project does take its toll on those willing souls who volunteer so we are always on the lookout for fresh hands-anyone who can weild a paint brush is welcome- and i notice several of your members are local to us so please don't be shy just come along and hopefully you'll get a free breakfast into the bargain.- one of our band regularly supplies us with tea and bacon and sausage rolls of a Saturday as his contribution to the work.


We do have a web site unfortunately its not up and running as yet as we lack a computor genius to take this on for us-any volunteers?, hence my joining your site to update everyone. There are however numerous sites with photos attached. The four of us who run the project do have a number of photos should anyone want any, we also have a small number of DVDs of the box in use, before the move, and the day of the move from Barnham to its current resting place at Olivers Meadow in Westergate.


We are not currently seeking any financial donations, although these would always be welcome, as i stated above what we need at the moment are pairs of willing hands


Mike Burton


Barnham Signal Box Trust


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