The Picnic Saloon Trust

   Registered Charity Nº1024538

Latest News

AUTUMN 2018.

One still to do, and three completed doors.

At long last we now have three doors completed with just one to go (on the left). Frustrating complications have included three screws that snapped off as they were being put back in so new ones were tried and, yes, the second one broke off, too! Currently, the fourth door has been taken apart and is in the process of being stripped of old and very lumpy French polish then sanded in preparation for varnishing at home, where it is warmer. The curious may like to know that there are in 51 screws to undo, clean, maybe replace and refit in each door

Rubber block.
Reassembled vent.

On the inside of a carriage door is a sliding piece of glass (the droplight) which is lifted using a leather strap. To reduce the vertical impact of the droplight against the bottom of the sliding vent there are a pair of rubber blocks. As can be seen in the first photo these needed replacing as they were more dried up and wizened than you would believe possible. (The varnished 'bar' behind is the blind box) In the second you can see the reassembled vent with the empty blind box (we will fit blinds one day...) screwed back on just behind. The whole assembly is seen upside down here.

On the outside of a passenger door and at the top above the droplight is a vent cover, or bonnet, which allows for a modicum of ventilation. On the inside is a sliding wooden vent, often decoratively cut. Between the two is a largeish void through which little insects can enter the carriage and to prevent that the old companies fitted a gauze mesh. Now, as it happens, I have some new gauze mesh and here it is fitted, with a modern staple gun, before it was painted black.

The new gauze.

It's one of those jobs that is important, tedious and the results will never be seen but needs doing. There are six opening windows (known as lifting lights) on the Saloon and they slide in brass runners. Well, all our runners were bent, a bit twisted and some had cracks and all needed attention. Our good friend and Quainton member Brendan very kindly did an excellent job straightening them as hopefully can be seen in these before and after shots. The lifting lights themselves are progressing through the domestic varnishing workshop in between other faster moving jobs.

The bent runners.

The straightened runners.

In between other things thought has been turning to lighting and how to represent the old gas lights without using a naked flame in a wooden coach! Whilst no firm conclusions have been reached other than the question 'Do the lamps need to work if only day time running is planned?' it has been decided to make them look correct and we have some parts to help. Here are the before-and-after of two different rings that we shall use. Both are 10 inch diameter and we need a third and then two at 8 inch. When the weather warms up a bit resin castings will be made.

An 8 inch ring.

An 8 inch and a 10 inch ring.

As a reminder we are still looking for some parts to enable completion of our Saloon.
2 x diaphragm gaiters, 12 inches long, 2.5 inch diameter.
4 x coat hooks. We had 3, a man kindly donated 1 and so we need 4. It's a common style, the Southern Rly used it too.
1 x mirror 15.5 x 27.25 inches. this one is in Quainton's diner but it's the same size....
4 x luggage rack brackets in this style, ideally.

All offers of help gratefully accepted - as it will be good to have a complete vehicle.

Diaphragm gaiter.

Coat hooks.


Luggage rack brackets.

Who built our Saloon?
We know it was built at Wolverton Carriage works in 1894 as part of a batch of a couple of dozen but we don't know the names of the people involved, where it operated from, whether it moved around the system much, how often it was used, etc. We know it was sold out of sevice in 1934 and we know that it suffered some internal fire damage, probably around 1920. We know this date because we have been told that the non original ceiling paper was introduced at... a World Fair in Geneva in 1920. This suggests that the fire which damaged down to the framing (so got going a bit) wasnt severe enough to write the coach off.
Seven different surnames have so far been found in various places. Initial research around only the first name by a professional suggests that the name is better linked to the 1921 census than the 1890s which points to a very extensive overhaul post fire damage although one shouldn't jump to conclusions. Will we have similar results for the other names, possibly pointing to new panelling and doors? Only time will tell.
Do other coach overhauls find as many names?

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