Saturday, 29 December 2018

Branksome Potteries



By ALAN WILSON courtesy of the IRS

The Bourne river is but a small stream which rises on Highmoor, to the north of Branksome. Flowing generally eastwards it forms part of some attractive public gardens before emptying itself into Poole Bay. The well-known holiday resort which takes its name lies in Hampshire, but the tramway itself was entirely in Dorset.

The pottery is in the centre of the image, several railway vehicles can be seen in the siding that crosses Cromer Road

Sharp, Jones & Company Ltd. established their Bourne Valley Potteries in 1853, and at first worked only the clay in the immediate neighbourhood. In 1886 some additional clay lands were acquired in Bourne Bottom and it was decided to connect these with the “dries” by means of a standard gauge line some 1¼ miles long. Later a connection was made with the London & South Western Railway just east of Branksome station.

     For the first three years the tramway was worked by a stud of thirteen horses pending delivery of the first locomotive. This was supplied new on 28th June 1889 by the makers, Hudswell, Clarke & Company Ltd. of Leeds, works number 336. Named PIONEER, it was an 0‑4‑0 saddle tank with block buffers and a copper firebox. It worked successfully until the advent of the First World War when it was commandeered to work at some sidings adjoining a military depot west of Poole, long since removed. PIONEER was later returned, but in the meantime a second locomotive, ordered in October 1914, had been supplied new in 1915 for £879 by the makers, the Avonside Engine Company Ltd. of Bristol, works number 1701. This was MARS, an 0‑4‑0 side tank with Walschaerts valve gear, and a full cab in contrast to the spartan weatherboard on PIONEER. During the absence of PIONEER, MARS had a boiler overhaul, and a steam crane was hired to do the pottery shunting. Because of the severe gradients, each locomotive was restricted to a load of only one loaded clay truck of about nine tons.
     During the inter-war years, the two locomotives were both in steam working long hours of duty, and in 1938 PIONEER was fitted with a new boiler and steel firebox. During the Second World War traffic fell off, and in 1942 MARS was sold through the agency of the Ministry of Supply to the British Periclase Company Ltd at West Hartlepool. PIONEER continued on after the War unaided, but eventually the clay pits became uneconomical to work and in 1948 the tramway was closed. The work of dismantling the track was completed in August of that year, and in September, PIONEER, which had worked the demolition train, was sold for scrap to Tranters of Bournemouth. The siding connection to the Southern Region line is, however, still in use, and since September 1948 has been shunted exclusively by a “Muir-Hill” road tractor powered by a Fordson petrol engine, which was supplied new in January 1948.

  The tramway began at the “dries” within the main pottery and, running approximately north-eastwards, fell at a gradient of 1 in 22 to the valley floor at Sheringham-road, which it crossed on the level. On the other side, it climbed on a long curve to the rear of what is now a bowling green and recreation ground, and along to Alder-road. Crossing this on the level it continued northwards to a junction. Here, one branch, crossing the Bourne, served the original clay pits near Mount Talbot which closed in the 1920’s; the other ran eastwards following the river to more extensive pits on the east side of Alder-road, which it again crossed on the level.

Most of the route can still be traced as that part to the north of Sheringham-road forms a public footpath and, beyond the first crossing of Alder-road, an access to a mew housing estate. Further on and to the east of the formation, several small factories have sprung up.

Parkstone goods yard plans

These images are all related to the South Western Pottery but until now, I have not uploaded them.

This Edwardian photograph, taken from the roadbridge, shows the goods yard hidden amongst the trees.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Parkstone and the pottery

Here is M7 30104 at the Poole end of Parkstone station on a Brokenhurst via Ringwood local push+pull, note the entrance to the goods yard and the pottery branch.

The large white scar beside the headshunt is a result of the repeated dumping of sludge from water softening plant at Bournemouth MPD. The sludge was transported in a pair of supeannuated exLSWR tenders, unfortunately I do not have a photo of these vehicles.

Parkstone was on a steep climb from almost sea level at Poole up to Branksome, often the downfall of up-excursion trains, Bournemouth depot would allocate an M7 to bank the trains, unfortunately by the start of the 60s, the remaining M7's were almost unable to contribute much in tractive effort.

Bulleid's light Pacific 34041 Wilton on an up exWeymouth train. 

Q 30548 exBournemouth to Salisbury via Fordingbridge entering from the Branksome end.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Other visitors to the branch

This is the B4, 30102 once shedded at Bournemouth during the late 50s and a regular visitor to Parkstone. It would bring empty vans and full coal wagons to Parkstone goods yard, the Peckett would bring vans full of potteryware and empty coal wagons up from the works to exchange. Often the Peckett would stray onto BR metals due to the awkward track layout of the sidings.

Other visitors included Bournemouth's 30086 and 30093 seen at Poole Quay

To be continued.......

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A tale of two Pecketts

Peckett 0-4-0 saddle tank W4 class

‘George Jennings’ of the South West Potteries was a W4 built in 1902 Works Number 920, whilst ‘Henry Cort’ carried Works Number 933 and was delivered new as one of a pair to the Ebbw Vale Steel and Iron Co, South Wales, on 12 January 1903, it been built in Bristol to Peckett & Sons Ltd class W4. 140 locomotives were built by Pecketts to class W4 between 1885 and 1906 and it represents a classic late Victorian four-coupled medium range industrial saddletank. Henry Cort’s twin was called "Musket", works number 934, and together they worked at the Ebbw Vale Steelworks. After 17 years ‘Henry Cort’ was fully overhauled at the company's own workshops, and a further major overhaul followed 17 years later. After 51 years’ service the locomotive was declared redundant at Ebbw Vale, but the works then owners, Richard Thomas & Baldwins, moved ‘Henry Cort’ to their ironstone quarries at Blisworth in 1954. Three years later it moved again, when transferred to Irthlingborough quarries in July 1957.

 When the quarries were closed on 30 September 1965 the owners did not want to see the locomotive scrapped and offered it to the Foxfield Railway, which was just being established. ‘Henry Cort’ was moved to Foxfield in February 1967 and became the first locomotive to move on the line under preservation. A complete overhaul of the motion was carried out but a crack in the firebox tubeplate eventually led to ‘Henry Cort’ being withdrawn from use at the end of the 1974 season.

 Agenoria Models W4

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Locos of the branch


George Jennings South Western Potteries owned two locomotives - both built by Pecketts of Bristol.

The later version was a W4 class built in 1902, works number 920 - it worked all its life on the Parkstone Pottery branch apart from the occasional trip to St. Mary's in Southampton for maintenance. 140 locomotives were built by Pecketts to class W4 between 1885 and 1906 and it represents a classic late Victorian four-coupled medium range industrial saddletank.
Although, no other locomotive was officially used on the line, the Bournemouth B4 would occasionally help whilst the Peckett often assisted the British Railway loco to shunt the very awkward yard at Parkstone.

'George Jennings' was always maintained in immaculate order, a light green with highly polished dome, unfortunately George Jennings has not survive, it was bought when the pottery closed in 1962 by a local small holder with the intention to run on a short length of track. The winter of 1963 proved fatal for both the loco and the small holder, the boiler was not drained and froze, the small holder died.  His window arranged for the loco to be taken away by the local scrap dealer, Charles Trent, with the instruction to cut it into pieces that would fit through a letter box. The works plate now reside in Poole Museum.
At Parkstone -  the Peckett on the incline


In the pottery

Maps of the line

Taken from the Ordanance Survey map of 1954, this shows the line and Parkstone station.

Today, the goods yard is occupied by flats and the route is a mixture of housing and a school.