WIAS Archives


WIAS Meeting December 14th 2017. Most of the weekends heavy snow has now gone from the school premises so our December meeting will go ahead as normal. December 2017

Kenilworth Station – Update. Although virtually finished the planned opening date of the 10th December 2018 has been moved back, yet again, to February 2018. The government department responsible and Warwickshire County Council are blaming each other for this new delay. The reason? There are no trains or drivers available until February 2018 presumably after London Midland ceases to exist and the new franchisee West Midlands Trains is up and running. Click here for more from the BBC. December 2017

WIAS November Meeting. Thanks to all those who were able to attend last night’s meeting. In the midst of all the ironwork material, I failed to mention that the evening raised £45 for the Poppy Appeal organised by Janet Coulls.  Thank you for your support.

Thanks also to Robert Caldicott for his display of the Milestones Project (photo above), and to Ian Colls for his Flavel material. Martin Green, Chairman, WIAS. November 2017

Help to Restore a Steam Roller! Full details of this project co-ordinated by Anthony Coulls is on our ‘can you help page?’ Click here. November 2017

WIAS Visits. On the 30th October 2017 several WIAS members visited the Birmingham Museum Collections Centre at Dollman Street, Nechells in Birmingham. This was a fascinating look at just what Birmingham Museums have in store and not on general display. Our chairman Martin Green is pictured below with our host for the visit, Paulette who describes the collection as ‘……..India Jones meets Ikea!’ . Click here to see photos of some of the exhibits that are in store. Keep an eye on the ‘Visits’ page in the main menu for future outings! November 2017

Kenilworth Station. Work continues apace at the site of the new station in Priory Road, Kenilworth. As the line currently remains single track it has been ‘slewed’ to right, when looking towards Leamington Spa, to align with the new platform face. The opening date has been set for the 10th December 2017 with an initial hourly service in each direction to Leamington Spa and Coventry operated by London Midland. The public footbridge between Priory Rd and Farmer Ward Rd has now re-opened after renovation and provides good views! Some photos from this week appear below. November 2017

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WIAS November 2017 Meeting. Don’t miss this one!

Photos. WIAS member Derek Billings has very kindly shared some more of his wonderful photo collection. The latest photos are of the steam boat ‘President’ in Warwick, Leamington and Birmingham in the 1970’s and 80’s. Click here to view. October 2017

WIAS Newsletter No. 61. The latest edition of the newsletter is now available on the website, click on the link in the main menu. This is an excellent edition, thanks to our editor Mike Hurn, with a wealth of detailed information documenting speakers presentations at WIAS meetings. October 2017

WIAS Photo Gallery. Our photo gallery currently contains over 1200 photos and videos and contributions are always welcome. If you haven’t visited it recently click on the gallery link in the main menu.  In addition there are another 360 plus photos in the WIAS database. October 2017

Rowington Records. At the latest WIAS meeting our guest speaker, Nick Holmes, mentioned that there were approximately 5000 photos on his website ‘Rowington Records’. To view the site click here. October 2017

Maps! Kenilworth Family History Society told me of this map website. These maps are national including Belgium Trench maps. Its the National Library of Scotland ordnance survey. The maps are viewable on line though they suggest you purchase them. See this one as an example of Warwick Members will already know of this one from Warwickshire County Council but this only covers Warwickshire.
Roger Cleal, October 2017

First Meeting of WIAS 2017/18 Season – Follow Up. It was good to start the WIAS programme and to see members and visitors at last night’s meeting. Thanks for the support. I did not quite finish my presentation and I attach some details that might be of interest.
Latest Barrie Trinder publication – link here.
Talks by the Nuneaton Local History Group – link here.
Hope they will be of interest.
Martin Green, Chairman WIAS, September 2017

First Meeting of WIAS 2017/18 Season. The first meeting on Thursday 14th September provides the ideal opportunity for the renewal of membership of WIAS! Subscription rates are unchanged – £16 for individual and £20 for joint membership. All income received is used to fund the running of the society and its monthly meetings, as well as contributing to the other aims of WIAS e.g. the support of local projects associated with the industrial heritage. I feel sure our membership secretary, Sue Hammon, would appreciate the exact money from each of us to speed the process of renewal and reduce the pressure on her to have the correct change available.
Many thanks.
Martin Green, Chairman, WIAS, September 2017

National Memorial Arboretum. We have an event coming up, that as a society or group interested in local history, we felt would be of interest. By receiving this email it does not mean you are on our mailing list. To sign up for this please see our website This September, the National Memorial Arboretum will hold a two-day symposium to coincide with our on-going World War I centenary events and activities. The diverse programme of seminars, interactive workshops and site tours, perfect for academics, students and historians, will examine the social changes wrought by the conflict, helping to create a greater understanding of how these changes came about. As well as examining the changing role of women during the conflict, – focussing on the care of the wounded on both the Western and Home fronts, themes will consider the Home Front at a more local level. Topics to be explored by a wealth of speakers include the female vote, food crises, attitudes towards conscientious objectors, the changing role of the country estate house as convalescent homes, and the development of female labour in traditionally male roles. The programme will also offer opportunities to explore our galleries and to participate in workshops and guided tours of the 150-acre Arboretum site. The Arboretum is the UK’s year-round centre of Remembrance and home to over 300 symbolic memorials and around 30,000 trees. Centrally located, it is easily accessible from the M42, M1, M6 toll, A38 and A50. The site is well-noted for bringing to life the stories of military and civilian sacrifice in a meaningful and thought-provoking way, and its diverse range of WWI centenary events makes this the perfect venue to examine and discuss this fascinating subject.  Click here for more details. September 2017

Birmingham Museum Collection Centre. The Museums Collection Centre is a 1.5 hectare site that holds 80 per cent of Birmingham Museums’ stored collections under one roof. Among the thousands of objects stored here are steam engines, sculptures, an entire collection of Austin, Rover and MG motor cars and even a red phone box. The centre, located in Nechells, has been described as ‘Indiana Jones meets Ikea!’ You will get the impression from the photo below! Many of the objects once on display at the B’ham Museum of Science and Industry in Newhall Street are now stored here including the steam road vehicles and much more. There are items of local interest from Willans, Guys Cliffe House, Warwick and GEC Rugby. For full details and information on how to visit the centre follow the link here. Some photos of the collection have been added to the WIAS photo gallery. Click here. September 2017

Broad Gauge in Warwick. Derek Billings has kindly supplied some photos from 1980 featuring old broad gauge railway coaches which were located off Myton Road, Warwick. As was often the case at that time nobody seemed very interested in them and they were destroyed. To see all the photos visit the Derek Billings page in the WIAS photo gallery by clicking here. September 2017

Cromwell & ‘Royal’ Leamington Spa! Not such a bad combination when it is  70013 Britannia Class ‘Oliver Cromwell’, the last steam loco to officially haul a train on British Railways. Thursday 31st August 2017, a glorious late summer morning with ‘Oliver Cromwell’ at Leamington Spa for a 30 mins signal check whilst heading south from Tyseley to Old Oak Common.  A few familiar WIAS faces were in attendance!  Short HD Video of departure below, best viewed in full screen. August 2017


Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Bubbenhall Project. Hi, I’m Faye Irvine, Wildlife Engagement Officer at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. As you may be aware, the Trust purchased Bubbenhall Wood and what was part of Wood Farm, just outside the village of Bubbenhall. As part of a larger project to engage local people and open up the site to our members we are conducting an Oral History project to capture people’s memories and photos of the site and how it has changed in living memory. I wondered if anyone in your organisation may have knowledge of the wood, lived near the wood as a child, or have recent memories of the wood as it went through it’s quarrying phase. Likewise, do let me know if you have further questions. Click here to view the Information Sheet.

Kindest Regards,
Faye Irvine

WIAS 2017/2018. It will soon be time to start the brand new season and WIAS looks forward to welcoming everyone to its first meeting on Thursday September 14th, 7.30pm in the Pyne Room, Warwick School. As usual the evening commences with the AGM, (your chance to get more involved), followed by refreshments and then a series of short illustrated talks on local topics of interest. The ‘welcome letter’ from the Chairman, Martin Green, is available here on the the web site together with the brand new programme of speakers for 2017/2018 put together by the committee. Put the date in your diary now! August 2017

WIAS June 2017 – David Hulse. The final meeting of the 2016/2017 season was a talk by engineer David Hulse from Stone in Staffordshire. It was truly amazing and inspiring! If you were not able to get to the meeting, which opened with a 10 mins video about David, you can watch it here. Highly recommended viewing! Visit David’s excellent web site for much more information  – click hereJune 2017

WIAS Visit to GE Rugby. On Monday 12th April 2017 members visited GE, Rugby (current occupants of the BT-H site), followed by lunch at Brownsover Hall, former Wartime Headquarters of Power Jets Ltd., to commemorate the the 80th Anniversary of the world’s first operational run of a gas turbine turbojet engine by Frank Whittle at the British Thomson-Houston Works, Rugby. The society is grateful to Alain Foote for orgnising this event and to John Willock who prepared and excellent booklet detailing the event. This booklet is now available on the website – click here to view. June 2017

Stoneleigh Abbey, Stoneleigh. Each year, as funds become available, restoration work is being carried out mainly within the abbey grounds. Over the winter months there has been considerable work on the sluice gate mechanisms so they function properly on the flow of the river through the parkland. Most impressively, the derelict pump house together with all its equipment has been beautifully restored and hopefully the interior will be on full view to the public in the near future. The water wheel and all the ancillary equipment which was used to pump water from the river to Ashow village looks magnificent having been sent off to a specialist in Worcestershire for restoration. The building itself had no roof and large trees grew from the interior. It now boasts a new roof, restored stonework and a smart green entrance door. I am reliably informed that at some stage in the future there are plans to restore the ice house, which collapsed in on itself, to its former glory. April 2017[wowslider id=”20″]

From Warwickshire Libraries. I would be grateful if you could pass the following information to your members about a recent purchase made by Warwickshire Library and Information Service of the on-line version of the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. This is really a very useful resource, particularly the comparison between the numbers of people with a surname on 1881 census and those with the same name today.  Hard copies of the 4 volume title are also available at Leamington, Nuneaton and Rugby (temporarily until Stratford re-opens in Henley Street). Accessing the on-line resource can be done at home if a library member. Go to the referenceandlearning  pages and scroll down to the local and family history heading and click on the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland. Members will be asked for a library card number, please type WARKS before this as in the example WARKS12345678. If any of your members live or work in Warwickshire (or an adjoining county) and are not library members they may join the library by completing the form on-line join and a membership card will be posted out to them or they can visit any Warwickshire County Council library with ID (name and address) and join. Members may also be interested to see the other on-line resources we have including Which? Groves Music, Times Digital Archive etc by looking at the other headings on the referenceandlearning pages. An overview of local and family history material held in libraries can be found at library local studies web pages Our library catalogue can be found at librarycatalogue  (Narrow the search to local studies material on the catalogue, by clicking on the collections arrow, just above the general search box and then click on local studies and family history). I hope your members will find the above information useful and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Kind regards
Louise Essex, Senior Librarian, Local Studies, Warwickshire Library and Information Service,
Resources Group, Nuneaton Library, Church Street, Nuneaton, CV11 4DR. April 2017

Next Meeting – 13th April 2017

From the Chairman. Dear all, Arthur Astrop was a stalwart of WIAS for many years, producing an important Occasional Paper on the Machine Tool Industry of Coventry, acting as recorder of meetings for the WIAS Newsletter for a long period, and continuing in the role of proof reader right through to the latest edition. He was a delightful man – cultured, charming, erudite – and he will be sorely missed. It was John Berkeley who passed on the news of Arthur’s death to me and he summed up Arthur perfectly – “one of life’s real gentlemen”. Arthur’s humanist funeral will take place at Oakley Wood Crematorium, Bishops Tachbrook, Leamington Spa, CV33 9QP on Wednesday April 5th. at 11.30 am. Martin Green, Chairman, WIAS, March 2017

WIAS member Arthur Astrop. Our good friend Arthur Astrop passed away peacefully at lunchtime on Friday 17th March. He had tuned his radio to listen to the one o’clock news, adjusted his headphones, the pips had sounded and the broadcast begun…and he slipped away. I cannot imagine a more dignified way to go for one of life’s real gentlemen, exactly as he would have wished, in his own home, with family members present.  I am sure many members of the Society would wish to pay their respects, remembering him with great affection and I’ll pass on details as soon as the funeral arrangements are known. John Berkeley, March 2017

Packington Hall Gardens Open.  Sunday 7th May (2.30 – 5pm). Admission £5.50, children free. Home-made teas. Refreshments in aid of St James’, Great Packington & the local WI. Packington is the setting for an elegant Capability Brown landscape. Designed from 1750 in 100 acres of parkland which sweeps down to a lake incl 1762 Japanese bridge. Delicious WI teas on the terrace or in The Pompeiian Room if wet. If you missed the opportunity to visit this fabulous location in September 2016 the gardens are once again open by kind permission of Lord & Lady Aylesford as part of the National Garden Open Scheme.  There is a considerable amount of Industrial Archaeology in the park including the lakes and their system of dams and spillways, the remains of a mill, bridges and water features. Full details on the NGS/Packington Park web site – click here. Photos from the 2016 opening. March 2017
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Cast Iron Mile Posts in South Warwickshire. I think you know about our project to restore the six (known) survivors of the nationally unique set of cast iron mileposts along the former Stratford on Avon to Long Compton Turnpike. Thanks to a grant from Heritage Lottery Fund we have made a start, and the posts are being extracted and collected for restoration by a specialist company Leander Architectural. I will keep you informed of further progress as it takes place.

A synopsis of this interesting project to date is now available – to read the full story click here.

Robert Caldicott, Warwick
March 2017

Chance Glassworks Trust. The Trust needs your help! To read about the appeal to save this famous glass works site click on the picture below. February 2017

WIAS Newsletter No. 60 January 2017. At present this edition is only available on line, click here to view now. Paper copies will be freely available at the March 2017 meeting. February 2017

Heritage of Industry Ltd 2017 Tours. Full details available now on the Visits page. February 2017 

WIAS Meeting 9th February 2017. ‘The Lost Railway – Henley in Arden to Lapworth’ by Paul Baker. Everyone welcome!

WIAS Trip March 2017. Aattached is a booking form for the Visit on Sunday March 19th. 2017 to Kempton Great Engines and the London Museum of Steam and Water. Alain Foote, the organiser of the trip, will be collecting these forms at the meeting on Thursday 9th February 2017. Click here to go to the WIAS Trips & Visits page now for details and to download the booking form. Feburary 2017

Kenilworth Railway Station – Update. Work on the ‘new’ Kenilworth Railway Station, (on the site of the original station closed in the 1960’s and demolished in the 1970’s), is now well under way. Mostly preparation of the substructure and diversion of underground services at present but if you find yourself in Station Rd/Waverley Rd, Kenilworth you can see the construction from the nearby footbridge that leads to Farmer Ward Road. Unfortunately the planned opening date had been put back again and the completion date is now estimated as December 2017. Here are a few photos of the site on a cold and dark January afternoon. Trains are still passing through the site at normal speed. January 2017 [wowslider id=”18″]

WIAS 2017. The first WIAS meeting of 2017 will take place on Thursday January 12th. 2017 when Peter Crowley will describe his experiences of spending his working life at Alvis, and the continuation of that connection with his involvement with Red Triangle in Kenilworth. Choosing to remain on the shop-floor to maintain his hands-on experience, Peter has a unique story to tell of this once eminent company. The meeting will be held in the Pyne Room, Warwick School. All are welcome. Martin Green, Chairman, WIAS. January 2017

‘THE RED ROSE’ 11th February 2017. Have you seen 60163 Tornado on the West Coast Main Line? She will be hauling ‘The Red Rose’ on a London Victoria – Shrewsbury excursion on Saturday 11th February 2017. Timings to be confirmed, 60163 will pass through Coventry and then take the Nuneaton line before continuing on via Birmingham, to Shrewsbury. January 2017

60163 Tornado at Leamington Spa in 2011. Photo courtesy of Derek Billings.

AIA Spring Tour 2017. I am pleased to announce that we now have full details for the upcoming AIA Spring Tour “The Randstad – North & South Holland and Utrecht” 15th – 21st May 2017. This unique and exciting tour includes visits to sites in the Amsterdam area, Rotterdam and Utrecht most of which have not been visited by the AIA before, or at least not for over 20 years. Those few that are revisited are important enough to warrant a return visit and one of those at least has been returned to productive work from the dereliction that was seen before. We will be including evening talks which give a background to some of the visits and a half-day, joint Anglo-Dutch seminar with our friends in Dutch IA groups on the theme of adaptive re-use. The itinerary is generating a lot of interest. Booking has been open for only a week to those who had previously registered interest and already 23 places have been booked. Now is your chance and I recommend booking right away if you don’t wish to miss the opportunity.
Click here for full details:

Kind regards,
Bill Barksfield, Managing Director, Heritage of Industry Ltd
Exploring the Industrial Past for more than 25 years
The Gables, 20 Main Road, East Hagbourne, Oxon, OX11 9LN
Web: Email:
Phone/Fax: +44 1235 352275
Heritage of Industry sponsors – the index to Industrial Heritage

Atherstone. If you walk around looking at the ground it can be quite revealing! These three water box covers were recently spotted set into the ground in Atherstone Market Place. All look to be of considerable age and a guess suggests NEWWB stands for North East Warwicksire Water Board? December 2016[wowslider id=”16″]

WIAS Trip 2017. In recent times, WIAS has enjoyed talks on Kew Bridge and Great Kempton Steam and a tentative plan has been formed for a visit to both locations on Sunday March 19th. 2017. This is very dependent on numbers interested, so I am sending this e-mail to assess the level of support for such an idea. If you are interested, please would you let Alain Foote know the numbers, and he will explore costs of coach etc. His e-mail address is These are two wonderful examples of steam power and this provides an excellent opportunity to visit both sites, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Please let Alain know if you are interested.

Can I also take this opportunity to thank you all for your support for WIAS in 2016, to offer best wishes for Christmas, and to look forward to more investigation of the industrial heritage, both local and beyond, in 2017.

Martin Green,Chairman, WIAS, December 2016

WIAS Meeting – December 8th 2016. Learn more about THE GREAT KEMPTON ENGINES at the next meeting of the Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society. Thursday December 8th. at 7.30 pm in the Pyne Room, Warwick School. Alain Foote – a renowned expert on steam power – will describe the workings of the world’s largest triple-expansion steam engines. These engines worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, pumping millions of gallons of water to North London between 1927 and 1980. All are welcome to attend the meeting and discover more about these magnificent examples of steam power and engineering. December 2016

WIAS Newsletter. No 59 October 2016 issue is now available to read on line. Click

WIAS 2014 – 2003. The archive is in pdf format.