As part of a post-Christmas declutter plan the Tuesday Club felt it necessary to completely empty the weighbridge room, clean it out and re-lay the raised floor to a better standard to enable safe storage of items that would benefit from being kept in a dry environment. What an exercise this led to and what surprises were uncovered!
The team quickly emptied the room with many items that originally were viewed as “that might come in one day” being despatched to the bin! We found 3 A4 document boxes that contained more interesting documents such as newspaper clippings, reports and photographs of some historical value – these were added to the significant archive that has amassed over the years and recently researched by Amblecote History Society. Under a pile of debris emerged a large enamelled jug, adorned with traditional Castle & Roses style painting – it’s now in need of a minor paint re-touch and also a nice Stoke pottery wash bowl which we will give a thorough wash and then decide what to do with it – sell for funds at an auction or display in the Boardroom to showcase our heritage?
These were the more interesting ‘little things’ we uncovered but underneath piles of boxes, old display screens and more pieces of timber which “may be useful one day” emerged the internal workings of the Avery weighbridge which probably goes unnoticed by the regular pedestrian footfall in Canal Street – it’s quite a piece of engineering and we felt it well worth dusting off and discussing how it worked and what it was used for. It was a good and probably ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’ now to take a few photographs as inevitably when the room was returned to its storage status it would not be as accessible nor as photogenic.
The other heavy duty item which had an equally evocative impact for those who like to look back and imagine how this room looked and felt when operational in its heyday was a coal-fired range, still flued up ready to go and believe me I’d would have loved to have given it a fire up to see how effective it was and reflect on the workers making their brews and frying bacon on a somewhat industrial appliance – that must have been un unforgettable atmosphere. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending which way you look at it) with time being of the essence to complete the assigned task we were unable to give the range a good clean and traditional blackening!
The artefact which for me glues all this together, making it come to life at a personal level however, is the Avery weighbridge log book which was uncovered on a previous forage – it’s amazing to see the neat handwriting showing the dates, cargo, traders, weights and values recorded in this book which truly has all the physical signs of being used in a harsh industrial environment but clearly gives a fine representation of what the canal boats were carrying not so long ago.
If you have any further insight or photographs of the weighbridge, its activities and the people who may have worked there we would be delighted to hear from you.
The photographs in the small gallery below show the weighbridge book, the internal side of the weighbridge and the coal fired range.