Kington History Society visit to The Kingfisher Line at Titley Junction
Titley Junction was the hub of a small network of lines in the north-west of Herefordshire and into Radnorshire. It was the junction of four minor rail lines from New Radnor, Presteigne, Leominster and Eardisley. Despite its relative isolation, the junction enabled travellers to connect up to all areas of the United Kingdom. There could be up to 32 trains a day using the junction. Titley Junction finally closed to freight traffic in September 1964, (the passenger traffic having finished in 1955.) The present owners took over in 2001.
On Friday, August 28th. at 5.30 p.m., members of the Society and visitors assembled at Titley Junction. We had a warm welcome from Bob and Lesley Hunt and their volunteers. Waiting on the platform was Peckett tank engine no. 1738 (built in 1926) in the guise of Percy the green engine. The weather was kind to us with sunshine and only the threat of a shower. Our driver was to be Bob Hunt, our fireman, Mike Haines and our guard, Harvey Jones.
I, for one, felt an air of excitement as we boarded the train for our first trip. Like many members I have fond memories of travelling by steam train, I particularly remember a trip north from Hereford to Morecambe and back in the 1950s. You never forget the sound and the smell of a steam engine. In total, we enjoyed six journeys up and down the track and a great time was had by all. The children who joined us had great fun waving the guard’s flag and blowing the whistle.
The restored line runs for a mile through the woods westward towards Kington but unfortunately can never be extended due to missing bridges etc! We are very fortunate that Bob and Lesley, helped by their band of volunteers, have committed so much time, energy and money to keeping Titley Junction in a good state of repair.
There are other things to see there, including a wonderful working signal box complete with easy chair and stove. Also a super ‘holiday cottage’ consisting of a carriage with beautiful views across the countryside. A large engine shed has recently been erected which should make winter maintenance a little easier.
During our visit we were all treated to refreshments which were much appreciated and in return for them and our unforgettable visit, we were delighted to make a donation to help with the expense of keeping Titley Junction ‘in steam’. Review by Julia Reid
Next meeting AGM, Friday October 16th, 7.30pm at the Kington Primary School.
Subs due so please remember to renew your membership We have lost a lot of members this past year and so we are needing your support. Thank you in advance for this.
John Potts will be back on the front desk and we wish him well as he makes very good progress from his stroke almost a year ago. We have two speakers for the night, Dave Pickersgill from Weobley Ash and Irene Smith, so come along and be well entertained. Our November meeting is a joint affair with Kington Remembers WW1. There will be an entrance fee for non society members so all our members will have a free pass as this talk is not at the school but at The Burton Hotel Nov 20th 7-30pm and is a splendid talk on the Commonwealth war Graves by Lt Gen Sir Alistair Irwin KCB CBE. Your passes will be available at our AGM or you can apply for one with Nancy Wheatland 01544 230691 or Julia Reid 01544 231663 Please be aware if you do not have a pass then you will have to pay entrance as the people on the desk will not know if you are a KHS member. Thank you again in advance for your support on this evening. Hope you all like the look of the next years programme and if you have any ideas for talks or visits then please approach a KHS committee member Look forward to seeing you all at the AGM. Best wishes, Nancy Wheatland (Programme sub-committee)
Brian Hatton and the Changing Landscape Illustrated talk by Robin Holloway
It was interesting to have a talk on Herefordshire’s best known artist during Hereford’s Art Week, but it seems sad that most of his output from a relatively short life is hardly to be seen with any ease or convenience, and this illustrated talk highlighted our loss, and demonstrated one facet of his considerable talent.
Brian was born into a close knit family in Hereford, and he was always encouraged from every side – parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, and eventually friends and far off contacts with helpful connections and interests. He was using pencil and paper from the age of two years, drawing animals, especially in motion, and quickly graduated to sketches of people of all sorts, which showed their nature and attitude quite remarkably. He had such an interest in horses, that it was not surprising that he soon acquired one for himself, and became a skilled rider – often leaping onto an unsaddled animal for a quick canter.
As his horizons expanded, he began to explore the countryside to the west of their home in Broomy Hill, and graduated from pencil sketches to pen and ink, pastel and charcoal, and especially water colours, and eventually he began to master oils, but that medium was never his favourite. So it was his water colours that we liked best, and he seemed to have a particular skill in making what might just have been a pretty landscape, develop before your eyes with subtle use of highlights, and careful emphasis of any shadows to frame ‘the action’.
As part of the demonstration contained colour photos of the sites of the original paintings, still largely recognisable – it was obvious that some ‘life’ was missing from the modern medium, and although colourful, they seemed a little flat by comparison.
As a youngster, Brian had been a bit chesty, and so (happily) spent much of his early school years – terms and hols – in Swansea at the seaside, and if ever there was a ‘scape’ in motion, this was it, and perhaps the sense of restlessness was transferred in time landwards.
So in his drawings and paintings of animals, especially working horses (common enough in those days) there is always an appreciation of the effort that the animals are using, and any humans are used to denote the scale and attraction of the animal subjects (extras in the cast you might say).
Hatton also became a superb portrait and figure painter, with very sensitive depictions of his subjects (so far as we can tell now). Unhappily he was a casualty of World War I, but had he survived, there is no doubt that he would have been recognized nowadays as among the greats in that respect also, and it is our loss that there is such a poor exposure of his art in his home county. Review JR.
Our own dear Duncan Noble has issued a new book: Dawn of the Horse Warriors: Chariot and Cavalry Warfare, 3000 to 600 BC.
Those members who have heard Duncan speak will remember how vivid and interesting his researches have been. We are delighted to mention this new work in our Bulletin as being an excellent read. Copies may be obtained from Amazon Price: £19.99 The book signing at the museum went well, selling 14 copies.
It is that time of year again when subscriptions are due. We are giving our Bank Account details so that anyone wishing to pay by Standing Order may do so. It is very quick and easy to set one up and saves you having to remind yourself if and when to pay your subscription. Please ask for details.
Many Thanks, John Potts, Treasurer