The South Staffordshire Line

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LNWR Hut Mystery

Posted by southstaffsrail on May 17, 2014 at 4:10 PM

The Garden Hut Mystery – The Story so far -  May 2014

 The “Hammerwich Garden shed” being dismantled for its journey to Chasewater.  The Green base colour was subsequently discovered to be hiding the original LMS/BR “burgundy” Red paintwork.   The lower section of the glazing is strengthened on the inside, possibly suggesting the need for extra security?   


  original LMS/BR “burgundy” Red paintwork.                                          

The hut is a 8ft x 8ft LNW Webb Standard hut which could be used for many tasks including Ground Frames, PW huts, Mess Rooms.  Extended variations could form Waiting Rooms, Booking Halls, etc:-

The hut was originally thought to have arrived from Hammerwich Station, but on close examination of the similar huts at Hammerwich, it appears that not only were these huts none “Standard” in size, being 7 ft x 7ft, but their use was different, and they were windowless.  They appear to have been used as “Goods huts”  for the storage of goods to and from the guards’ vans on passenger trains.  The 1930 rating plan for the station confirms this.  The station did have a Booking Hall on the Up platform and this was in use until the station became “Unmanned” in its later days, from around 1959 when a porter/signalman carried out ticketing duties.

Below are both Plans and photographs of the Up Platforms at Cannock and Wryley & Cheslyn Hay Stations.  The relevant of these stations to the story is that the “Ticket hut” is believed to have been acquired by Mr. Cyril Chilton.  Initially, it was understood that he was the Station Master at Hammerwich, and, Brownhills.  Having never seen or heard of his involvement at these stations, it has now been confirmed by Mike Shaw that Cyril, unkindly known as “Chutter” , due to him stuttering badly when excited,  was actually the Station Master of both the below stations, based at Cannock, in the late 50’s and early 60’s.   Incidentally, a Coal Merchant was based at Cannock, not far from the Booking Hall on the Up Platform (see left-hand side of the photograph).   

Cannock Station Plan c.1915.                         

Booking Office on Up Platform denoted as BO.  Sadly, this is NOT the one we are looking for as the panelling in the photograph is horizontal, and not vertical.  However, it does show the relationship between the Booking Hall and the platform.


Cannock Station 13-5-63 looking south                               Peter Shoesmith

Wyrley & Cheslyn Hay Station c. 1915. Booking Hall combined with Ladies Waiting Room.  Is it possible that this was cut down to form the shed from two “Standards”?

Wyrley & Cheslyn Hay Station c. 1930’s.    Museum of Cannock Chase  The Ladies Waiting/Booking Hall is the second building on the right. 

Extract from 6th June 1968 Redundant Assets – Wyrley & Cheslyn Hay Station  LMR, BR.

Clearly, the mystery of where the hut came from remains, although one is becoming increasingly aware of the versatility of the “Standard 8 ft x 8ft hut” in railway operations.  It may well be that our hut was not a “Ticket hut” at all, but was used for payroll, weighbridge, or other purposes.  The fact that this hut became a garden shed, and hopefully will become a “Ground Frame” for Church Street on the Chasewater Railway, demonstrates that these everyday structures were rugged, adaptable and durable.

Thanks are due to Mike Shaw, Richard Foster, Rob Taylor – South Staffs Rails, for their assistance and help in compiling this article.                

Photos of Garden Shed courtesy – South Staffs Rails.

The Garden Shed Mystery                                                             

   Ian Pell   May 2014

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