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THE LARKHALL NEWS Issue 16, Novmber 2011

Produced by St Mark’s School A Church of England Business and Enterprise College

Front cover by Jacob Milward, Swainswick School

St Mark’s Students Report On...

Mercy in Action, The History of Norland College The Larkhall Festival 2012

Legends of Larkhall by Bryan Chalker

Competitions Galore!


Win tickets to see Pick & Mix at The Rondo

A family ticket for The French Detective and the Blue Dog at the egg this Christmas

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To promote your business locally contact us on 01225 478416

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From the Editor Welcome to Issue 16 of The Larkhall News, bumper packed with all of our lovely regular features and some new ones written by our student reporting team at St Mark’s School.

Mark’s School. It was a really well attended event and we hope that many more of you will take the opportunity to join us on December the 15th at Plain Ham from 7:30pm. There really are no hidden costs or catches; it’s simply the school’s way of helping bring businesses and community groups together for the benefit of the local area.

The reporting team have been incredibly busy this term, interviewing local businesses and community members. In addition to the reporting team at St Mark’s School, we are always thrilled to hear from other local schools who want to actively encourage their pupils to get involved in The Larkhall News. It is, after all, a community magazine!

Last, but by no means least, we have teamed up with the egg and The Rondo this year to be able to offer two fantastic competitions. The French Detective and the Blue Dog is a new Christmas production at the egg and we have a family ticket just waiting to be given away! And if that’s not enough, why not try Pick and Mix at The Rondo on December 17th, the perfect start to the festiviThis issue, we are very grateful to ties! We have two tickets for this the Year 2 reporting team from one-time-only performance, so don’t Swainswick who have taken the time miss out! to tell us about their recent interview with author, Karen Saunders. Definitely journalists in the making - With best wishes thank you for a lovely article! We are also very pleased to display the winner of our Christmas Front Cover Competition which, this year, was open to all children at Swainswick School. The children did a marvellous job with their designs, but sadly we could only choose one winner, Jacob Milward. Congratulations, Jacob. Last month, we held the second of our Business Connect events at St

In This Edition St Mark’s & The Valley Schools

Executive Headteacher, Raymond Friel sets out his vision for the future of St Mark’s School

Larkhall & Lambridge News Council updates, local policing, business news and services at St Saviour’s Church this winter

The Legends of Larkhall

Bryan Chalker tells of his mission to rescue an old steam crane languishing in a yard 80 miles away

Transition Larkhall

A new year in the garden

The Norland Institue

Ever wondered the history behind the uniform, Ben and Bryher find out how Norland came to Larkhall and Lambridge

Competitions Galore! See our fab competitions for all ages at The Rondo, page 9 and the egg, page 14

Paula Paula Hawkins Telephone: 01225 312661 or 478416 Email: hawkinsp@

Published by St Mark’s School Editor: Paula Hawkins, St Mark’s School, Baytree Road, Larkhall, Bath, BA1 6ND Tel: 01225 312661 Email: Website: The Larkhall News is available online at:

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or errors in content. Whilst every reasonable care is taken with all material submitted, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage. For advertising enquiries contact us on 01225 478416

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StMark’s S c h o o l

By Executive Headteacher, Raymond Friel My first term as Executive Headteacher of St. Mark’s has been very busy indeed, but has left me with a great sense of hope for the future of the school. As you know, for too long the school has been held back by speculation about closure. This has made too many local people look elsewhere for a school for their children. With political support from B&NES for the future of the school and for the joint sixth form, the picture now looks quite different. I have spent a lot of time this term speaking to as many local people as possible, either at St. Mark’s Open Events, or at their children’s primary schools or even, thanks to a warm welcome from the Rev. Michael Norman at St. Saviour’s Church, about the bright future facing the school. It is my impression that many more local people than before are seriously considering St. Mark’s as their first choice. We hope that next year sees a ‘breakthrough’ year with a significant increase in numbers. When that happens we will lose none of our small school atmosphere.When the school is full it is only designed to hold

just over 500 students, which is still well below the national average. With an increase in numbers we will also be able to develop a more enriching afterschool and sporting programme which so many parents have said they would like to see. Although, I should add, that even with our current numbers we have a very impressive range of extra-curricular activities on offer. Ofsted got it right when they came in January 2010: St. Mark’s is a good school. With more students it would be even better, so

please help to spread the message that St. Mark’s is the local school for local people and has a very bright future. Pictured, the new leadership team at St Mark’s School. From left: Hilary Kops, Deputy Head; Karen Howard, Executive Burser; Chris Ryan, Head of School; Raymond Friel, Executive Headteacher; Rachel Purnell, Deputy Head

Swainswick School On Tuesday 27th September the Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children at Swainswick C of E Primary School were lucky enough to have a visit from Karen Saunders, author of picture book ‘Baby Badger’s Wonderful Night’.This is what Year 2 think you should know about the story! Baby Badger is scared of the dark so his daddy takes him out on a night walk. He finds out about the North Star, he sees some lovely night colours and he sees other nocturnal animals. Find out how Baby Badger feels about the dark now, by reading this story. WHERE DID YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK? I wrote this book at university and also at home at my desk. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT BADGERS? I looked on the internet and also visited a wildlife park where I was lucky enough to see a badger. Of course it’s very hard to see badgers as they are asleep in the day. HOW DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO PUT A BADGER IN A STORY? I wanted to write a story about being

The Year 2 Reporting Team

scared of the dark, so thought of different nocturnal animals. There aren’t a lot of badger stories around so I thought it would be nice to write my own. DID YOU DO A LOT OF WRITING WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE? Not really, I actually just loved reading. I read all the time and always really enjoyed stories. DID YOU DRAW THE PICTURES? No I didn’t. I wrote the story and then my publisher chose an illustrator to do the pictures. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU WRITTEN? My next picture book, ‘The Christmas Tiger’, should be coming out in a couple of years.

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StSt e p h e n ’s S c h o ol By Headteacher, Pete Mountstephen

Saltford: Our Local School? There is not much in the world of education that out current administration is not planning to change. The Coalition’s white paper “The Importance of Teaching” contained so much reform, and root and branch reform at that, that “change” seems too small a word to describe the agenda we are all addressing in schools at the moment. One of the key platforms for change was centred on the creation of 100 or so “Teaching Schools” across the country to organise training for new teachers and existing staff and also to act (potentially, and this is important ) as a hub for schools to collaborate around as the Local Authority changes and shrinks. A key element of the envisaged new world is a reshaping of Local Authority function and, inevitably, a shrinking of that function to provide a different kind of service to parents and communities, while schools take on more of the service provision for themselves. Hoorah you may say, and many do, but the seizing of these new “opportunities” has created a challenging agenda of its own. Some schools are very small, some larger and relationships are mixed and varied over the years of educational co-existence. Not much is certain but one thing is emerging as vital: schools are going to have to work in collaboration in a whole variety of ways if we are to continue to provide the rich and vibrant educational opportunities that will sustain our school systems.

Bath and North East Somerset is unusually richly placed in securing two “Teaching Schools”. Fosseway Special School in Radstock and Saltford Primary School in Saltford were granted the money and the responsibility to take the government’s vision forward and to create self sustaining school systems that will offer training, development and research capacity to communities across the whole school system. The Saltford Teaching School Alliance has strategic partnership from St Stephen’s Primary School within our community as well as the Local Authority, Bath Spa University College and local nursery, secondary and independent schools. The vision is that Saltford Teaching School will provide a whole range of services to schools across the whole authority ranging from Initial Teacher Training (student teacher placement) through Continuing Professional Development (training for existing school staff) and research and development that will touch all our children’s lives and provide a platform for all of us to learn from each other. The Saltford School Teaching Alliance’s core premise is that excellence is everywhere across our community and we can all learn from each other. Child to child, teacher to teacher, governor to governor, parent to parent and support staff to support staff and infinitely various combinations and variations within this mix. Schools really can do it for themselves, but only if they look outside their own boundaries, start to think about children,

staff and communities who are not necessarily those traditionally associated with their school alone and look ambitiously and creatively to the future. It will be one heck of a challenge and digging deep will be the order of the day, but together we can make something that will enhance our children’s lives and lift the quality of their learning experiences. That is the aim. St Stephen’s CEVA Primary School is proud and delighted to be a strategic partner of the Saltford Teaching School Alliance because it is founded on these inclusive and altruistic premises. I am sure that the limits of the opportunities that surround us are bounded only by our creative and energetic limitations and that, with the whole community’s support, our collaborative future will mean terrific times for our children and the highest standards of education in all the many ways such a statement can be measured. Watch this space!

L &L Page 6



Council Ward News November the fifth will be the first half-year anniversary since our election as Lambridge councillors - six months that have simply flown by. Our election in May resulted in Bryan taking up his post as Heritage Champion and Mayor of Bath, and Dave as the council’s River Champion. Both roles have meant that there have been plenty of meetings, appointments and projects to keep us busy!

Cllr Bryan Chalker

As River Champion, Dave has been working with a team of highly qualified specialists to prepare an exciting vision for the regeneration of our great River Avon. This vision is about to be released publicly as a major report and we are confident that you will be equally excited by the proposals.

In addition to our roles in the council, we have also been very active in our community. In SepCllr Dave Laming tember, Bryan made his entrance to the Alice Park Classic Car Show in his 1974 German Trabant – a sight not to be missed. Special mention must go to Tony and Russ at Alice Park Café for their organisation of this event to raise much needed funds for Help the Heroes. We have also recently brought pressure to bear on a council decision to cancel the Deadmill Lane and Ferndale traffic study. Thankfully, the proposal to cancel this scheme has now been reverted and we are hopeful that it will result in an improvement scheme being put forward in the near future. Replacement litter bins have been forthcoming where necessary and potholes sorted. Dave took his hedge trimmer up to a back lane in Raglan and sorted out the overgrown access following months of inaction. We are also pleased to announce that we have recently managed to secure a grant of £1000 for our very own Larkhall Football Club. With best wishes Bryan and Dave

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Business Connect is now in full swing and pulling out all the stops to make sure that local businesses have an opportunity to work together and support one another in a tough economic climate. Our event held in September was attended by over 30 local businesses and introduced Andy Copp as our guest speaker. His organisation, Business Mentors South West, offers part, or in some cases wholly, subsidised mentoring services through its volunteer network of professional business mentors. Several of our members have already met with Andy and his team since September and we are really pleased that the event helped so many understand a little more about how it can help and support local businesses in our community. We are equally thrilled to announce that our next event will be full of festive splendour on Thursday December 15th from 7.30pm. The event will be hosted by Larkhall Football Club at Plain Ham and will be the perfect way to unwind, enjoy good company and have some fun with like-minded business people! Guest speaking at the event is Rebecca Hurwitz and Lesley Bees from the Larkhall Festival Committee - a perfect opportunity to find out how your business can help support this much anticipated annual local event. To register for a place, please contact Paula Hawkins on 01225 312661 before Friday 2nd December. Places are FREE; BUT LIMITED so early booking is advised.

St Saviour’s Church Events this winter. . . Friday 11th November 7:30 - 10:00pm - Fairtrade Extravaganza at St Saviour’s Sunday 13th November 10:30am - Remembrance Service Saturday 26th November 10:00am - 4:00pm - Christmas Fair Sunday 4th December 4:00pm - Family Christingle Service Sunday 18th December 10:30am - Family Praise Christmas Special Including a Christmas party for children and youth 6:30pm - Carols by Candlelight A service of nine lessons and carols Christmas Eve 4:00pm - Family Nativity A family service with the Nativity performed by the children 11:30pm - Midnight Holy Communion in Candlelight Christmas Day 8:00am Holy Communion BCP 10:00am Family Celebration Christmas Service

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Beat Team Reports by PCSO Paul King Some of you may be aware of an important change that took place from the 19th September. To contact your local Police you can now call 101 when it's less urgent than a 999 call.This number now replaces the old 0845 number and is being rolled out across England and Wales from July 2011. 101 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls from either landlines or mobile networks cost 15 pence per call, no matter what the time of day you call or how long you are on the phone. When to call 101 You should call 101 to report less urgent crime or to speak to your local Officers For example: To report a stolen vehicle, To report vandalism to your property, To report suspected drug-dealing in your neighbourhood, To provide information about a crime in your area, To speak to the Police about a general enquiry You should still call 999 when it is an emergency such as when a crime is in progress, when a suspect of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened. For further information on the roll out of the 101 number visit The final Lambridge PACT of this year takes place on 16th November at 6.30pm at St Mark's School. Please feel free to attend should you wish to raise any issues or concerns that you may have. Current Priorities: The Havory - expanding double white lines around the junction into St Saviour's Rd Small advertising vans parking in lay-bys. Lambridge Beat surgeries have now taken on a new form, and the next one for this year is on Saturday November 19th from 10am to midday at the New Oriel Hall. Attending now will not only be myself or another member of the Beat Team but also the local Councillors, Bryan Chalker and Dave Laming. We work closely together to ensure relevant issues are dealt with and feel this joint venture will ensure this is done both more effectively and efficiently, so please feel free to drop in.

PACT Meetings 16 Nov: 6.30pm St Mark’s School

Lambridge Beat Surgery Nov 19th : 10am - Midday at New Oriel Hall

Contact us on 999 IN AN EMERGENCY or 101 for NON EMERGENCY

By student reporters, Maddy and Nancy Two budding student reporters from St Mark’s School last week interviewed Lesley Bees, one of the committee members of the Larkhall Festival to find out about their plans for 2012... How long does it take to organise a Festival? We normally start planning in October with our Annual General Meeting. This sets in place who are the elected officers of the committee and what roles they will be taking over the coming year. Anyone can come along to the AGM on the 26th October or get involved with the Festival at one of the regular monthly meetings held between now and May 2012. What will your role be? This year I am going to stand for Treasurer, making sure that we have enough money to pay for the event, paying the bills and helping to raise funds. Do you enjoy the Festival? I think it’s brilliant! I love being involved in it and think that it’s a good way to meet new people and celebrate our community. It’s great to see all of the talent in Larkhall come together over the weekend. Did you come up with the idea? No, there were a couple of people in the community who came up with the idea and started the first one. I went to the first Festival and thought ‘this is good, I like this,’ so I went to one of the meetings and volunteered to help out and join in. What will be new for Larkhall Festival 2012? We’re not really sure yet. At this stage, we start to think and plan new ideas, talk about them at the monthly meetings and then start piecing all of the ideas together to make one big Festival. Anyone can have an idea for an event and run it themselves, although we do ask that you tell us about it, just in case someone else had that idea! We can also make sure that it goes in the programme and is publicised.We want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. How can schools get involved? Well that’s up to you really, if you have an idea for something, talk to your teachers and ask them to help set something up. Most of the schools are represented in some way at the AGM by a governor, parent or staff member so it would be good to speak to them and share your ideas. How can local residents or businesses get involved more? There are lots of ways.They can come along to our next open meeting on Wednesday 30th November at 8.00pm or if they are a local business, they can find out more at the Business Connect event on Thursday December 15th. They can also email us anytime at We will also be updating our website with information and ideas and even have a facebook group!

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News from

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New Oriel Hall

New Oriel Hall’s programme for late autumn and winter is rapidly filling up with a wonderful selection of colourful and varied events. Alongside some exciting new regular classes there are lots of ‘one-off ’ happenings worth jotting down in your diary. The Sonnets Theatre Arts School will be commencing teaching at the hall from Wednesday 2 November. Sonnets, led by a professional team of actors and performers, will be running acting, dancing and singing classes for school-aged children on Wednesdays after school. It’s a fun and relaxed environment; perfect for children to learn some new skills. For more information please call Lisa on 0845 0038910. If you are looking for a new way to exercise and enjoy listening to gorgeous eastern rhythms you might like to try out our new Bellyfit class. Run by Monika, the class incorporates yoga and belly dancing moves along with basic aerobic techniques. Classes run on Wednesday evenings at 6pm, call 07968 710800. Forthcoming events, not to be missed. . . David Rawlings Morning Weekend Workshops, energising sessions of Core

Connection, Saturday 5 November and Sunday 11 December and Space to Stretch, Saturday 12 November and Sunday 16 December. For details please call David 07815 606051. you’re planning a party, wedding or are a business looking for meeting rooms. If you’re Carolling Workshop with Candy Verney, looking to run a class, we’ve recently had a Sunday 26th November. A very popular an- few prime teaching slots become available, so nual event, contact Bath 867333 for more in- do give us a call if interested. formation. We are always grateful to anyone who feels Christmas Clothes Sale able to give a few hours of their time to volPresent buying, entertaining and planning can unteer at the hall.You can choose what you’d put strain on the average woman’s purse and like to do from gardening, general DIY, admin to help solve the problem Sarah is organising to keeping our notice boards tidy and up to another of her terrific Clothes Sales, with date. Just pop in or give us a call. heaps of fantastic party and winter clothes for sale at affordable prices. So, for a bit of afThe 100 Club Lottery fordable retail therapy and fun, make sure you Here at the hall we run our own Lottery mark down Friday, 2nd December at 7.30 called The 100 Club. If you join before p.m. on your calendar. 1st December (just £4 per month) you’ll be eligible to win our bumper Christmas Swainswick School Fair Saturday 10th Draw, with three large prizes, offering December. Wonderful stalls, games and remembers a great chance to win a subfreshments to get you in the festive mood. stantial cash prize. The 100 Club supports activities for young and old held at For more information and our regular daily the hall, with half money raised paid out timetable, please see our website. in prizes each month, plus a triple chance or give us a call on of winning £100 or £50 at Christmas. To 01225 466606. join please call us on Bath 466606. We’ve got lots of fabulous rooms for hire if

Zen Meditation at NewOriel Hall A new Zen meditation class has started at the New Oriel Hall, Larkhall. Zendo, which has been running classes for 10 years in Dorset is now offering classes in Bath in response to requests from local people. Tobyn Tribbeck Roshi, the teacher, has been a committed meditator for over 25 years and has studied under a number of very well respected teachers. We lead busy, hectic lives with little time for taking space and being quiet. Our habitual thinking and emotional patterns can cause a sense of dissatisfaction in our lives and even great unhappiness. We carry tension around in our bodies, which strongly relates to these patterns of behaviour. If you learn to relax and open up the body, the mind becomes still

and open too. And then insight naturally arises. The practice at Zendo consists of a series of gentle exercises, mindfulness practice which brings the attention very clearly to the present moment - and sitting meditation. The practice gives students skills to apply to everyday life, which enable our chattering minds to become clear and settled. The group or Sangha is an exceptionally supportive environment to be in and the teacher is available for guidance outside of class times. Classes run every Wednesday from 7.30pm until 10pm. There is also a one-

day introductory workshop on Sunday 18th December, 10am – 4pm. (For more information please see contact details below.) Zendo runs on donations, known as Dana, but there is a suggested amount of £10 per evening session. For more information please go to, email or call Laura on 07779143146.

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What an end to the year we have in store at The Rondo, the jewel of Larkhall.We have the critically acclaimed Nick Lane’s (of Hull Truck theatre fame) new play Housebound, which promises to be a thought provoking piece of comedy theatre. Also not to be missed is Gonzo Moose’s Grimm & Grimmer - “anarchic fringe theatre at its best” – Fringe Review, they really are amazing.

Two Days Afloat On The Mekong

R.J.Sanderson winter Open House Studio Local artist, Rick Sanderson will be opening up his studios at 21 Valley View Close, Larkhall for a Winter Open-House. He will be open from 11am to 5pm on November 19 and 20, showing a variety of beautifully inspired paintings. You can see examples of his work online at before sampling the real thing in his home-studio. There will be new small paintings inspired by Cornish and other coastal drawings, one or two Jersey ones (from a wild and windy week spent there), some larger Cornish paintings, and new work from his drawings, ‘At The Races’.There will also be an opportunity to see some larger scale India, SE Asia and Spanish paintings from a few years back. These earlier works will be at less than the usual studio price – so opportunities are there for someone wanting the bigger picture on a more limited budget! In addition, Rick has produced limited edition prints from a number of paintings.These have gone down very well so far and may prove to be handy for Christmas presents. “We are of course open to anyone who just wants to have a look or ask questions,” said Rick. “That has been a considerable part of the pleasure of Open Studios!”

Nunkie’s Warning to The Curious is another evening of spooky stories from the company that so amazed all who saw them last year. Music is provided by Urban Folk Quartet (brilliant folk cross-over) Cindy Stratton (a local star with a gorgeous sound) and the ever brilliant Keith James. Last year The Rondo hosted a week long pre-Christmas slice of comedy that sold-out and left audiences whooping with delight. Hoping to repeat the trick this year is Live Wire Theatre and their wonderfully ridiculous sounding Biggle Flies a Fokker Home.This is the first ever stage production of Biggles and promises huge, huge laughs and fun for all. The producers of last year’s smash hit Anti-Panto, (New Old Friends) close the season with a special festive edition of their wildly popular (and plain wild) variety night, Pick & Mix. Crackers and good times guaranteed. The Larkhall News and The Rondo have teamed up to offer readers the chance of winning two tickets to join the laughs at this year’s Pick and Mix at The Rondo on Saturday 17th December.

COMPETITION! strictly for the adults... You can win two tickets to Pick & Mix on Saturday 17 December, by answering the following question... The giant ruby in New Old Friends’ hilarious Christmas show Anti-Panto was named after which reindeer’s nose? Email or post your answer by Friday 2nd December to: or Paula Hawkins, The Larkhall News, St Mark’s School, Baytree Rd, Larkhall, BA1 6ND Sit back, have a nice cup of tea and we’ll let you know if you’re the lucky winner!

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New Home Found For Historic Steam Crane

Bryan Chalker is a Lambridge Councillor, B&NES’ Member Champion for Heritage and currently Mayor of Bath and he has used his Heritage Status to rescue an old Stothert and Pitt steam crane languishing in a railway yard. The crane in question, No.312, was built at Stothert & Pitt’s Newark Foundry in 1904 and is probably the last rail-mounted, self-propelled example of its type left in the world. This venerable machine worked in Bath until 1971, when it was donated by Stothert & Pitt to the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust and trailered by low-loader to the Washford yard, where the crane was used as a general workhorse until a failed boiler-test in 2007 rendered it surplus to requirements and a new home was sought. Bryan read about the crane’s plight in an edition of Old Glory magazine, decided that the crane should be brought back to Bath and set about trying to repatriate it. To begin with little or no interest was shown in the crane’s future and for a time the outlook was bleak, even though the S&D Railway Trust had vowed that the machine would not be scrapped. Nevertheless, finding a new home for a steam engine weighing in at more than 27-tons, standing almost 16-feet in height, from wheelbase to chimney top, and sporting a 45-feet long lattice jib, was a daunting task. Furthermore, Washford is more than 80-miles from Bath and transporting the huge machine back to its birthplace would require specialist haulage equipment – and a hefty budget. Crane No.312 was built as a ‘pepper-pot’, that is a vertical boiler and exposed workings and precious little protective cover for its crew. We are lucky enough to have obtained a sepia photograph of a similar Stothert & Pitt steam crane built in 1912 at the Newark Foundry on the Lower Bristol Road and as can be seen, its operator and fireman have nothing more than a corrugated iron roof and rear cast-iron skirt for protection. Engine No.312 now has a full galvanised steel cab, thought to have been added during the 1920s but the rear ‘skirt’, whilst now detached from the crane’s lower frame, has survived, together with the cab’s early steel door. It is hoped that the door will be refitted to the cab in due course.

NO BEAUTY The old steam crane has been described as ‘ugly’, ‘ungainly’ but, whilst certainly no beauty, this amazing Stothert & Pitt Edwardian survivor commands respect and admiration for what it represents – the bygone age of steam. It also happens to be a magnificent memorial to Stothert & Pitt ‘Crane Makers To The World’ because, until its arrival back in Bath on Sunday, July 17, there was little in this World Heritage Site to tell the world that S&P had even existed. It was as if the name of Stothert & Pitt had been airbrushed from history, except that the splendid Museum of Bath At Work had fought tirelessly to keep the company’s name alive in its galleries of priceless exhibits. Just when it seemed that crane No.312 might be destined to quietly rust away at the Washford yard, Crest Nicholson, developer of Bath’s Western Riverside project contacted Bryan Chalker at the beginning of 2011 and asked if he could help to locate a suitable steam engine to place on permanent display at the huge housing development and he suggested that the Stothert & Pitt crane might fit the bill. Crane No.312 was precisely what Managing Director (Special Developments) Debbie Aplin wanted and following countless discussions over a period of months and help from numerous individuals, including various members of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust (particularly engineer Nigel Smart), Steve Tomlin (who assisted in locating a suitable haulier), Stuart Burroughs (Museum of Bath At Work), Vicky Windsor (Greatrix PR), Bob Hitchings and David Coles (Avon Valley Heritage Railway) and John Everitt, Chief Executive of B&NES, the future of this historic machine was secured. A failed boiler-test is usually a serious and hugely expensive business and one of the hurdles to overcome in transporting the old crane from Washford to Bath – a journey of more than 80-miles – was the removal of its jib, which could only be lowered by putting the

Stothert & Pitt steam crane No. 312 at its new home in Western Riverside Photo: Bryan Chalker

engine in steam again. This, of course, was not possible due to the failed boiler and countless Health & Safety issues. Enter veteran engineer Nigel Smart, who had worked with the crane since its arrival at Washford in 1971 and knew the old machine intimately. Nigel knew that the boiler’s failure was due to a certain amount of tube wastage but was convinced that he could lower the jib (to facilitate its temporary removal) by using compressed air. A compressor was rigged up and attached to the crane’s mechanism and sure enough, it held enough pressure to enable the 45-feet long lattice jib to be lowered and unbolted for separate transportation to Bath. Meanwhile, Cllr. Chalker contacted various haulage companies and, with help from Steve Tomlin of MASCO, settled on K.H. Haulage for the long, slow and arduous journey from Washford to Bath. Crane No.312 was winched and part-shunted (with compressed air) onto its low-loader and during the early hours of Sunday, July 17, the 9-hour journey began and the Edwardian engine rolled into Bath’s Western Riverside site at 11.30am that same morning. The jib had arrived the previous day on another articulated lorry and trailer and this was to be reunited with the crane. ENORMOUS GOOD WILL In the meantime Crest Nicholson had prepared a display site for the iconic crane and this was at the entrance to Western Riverside – at its Sainsbury’s Filling Station and Homebase car-park entrance – on a grassy landscaped verge complete with vintage railway lines and sleepers generously donated by the Avon Valley Railway Heritage Trust. Bath &

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Crane No. 312 following the accident in 1951

Crane No. 312 reposing at Washford

Away she goes! Crane No. 312 as she departs Washford for Western Riverside. Photo: Jim Warren

North East Somerset Council kindly paid the £240 required to transport these from Bitton to Bath.

restoration programme is expected to last for several months.

saved by Stothert & Pitt’s own medical officer, Dr. L. Scott-White. Dr. Scott-White crawled beneath the overturned crane and gave the driver an injection to relieve the pain from a crushed shoulder, arm and wrist. Locomotive 34041, owned by British Railways, apparently ran down a slope towards the crane early on Sunday, December 13, 1951 and derailed it. The 61-year old driver, who had worked for Stothert & Pitt for 32 years, was rescued, taken to the Royal United Hospital and is known to have survived his injuries.

Removal of the crane from its low-loader necessitated lifting it physically from the trailer, with the aid of a giant crane provided by King’s Heavy Haulage, but this meant cutting holes in the crane’s roof and steel floor to enable cables to threaded through. This task took several hours to achieve but finally the 27-ton steam engine was carefully lifted, gently swung into place and lowered onto its length of bullhead track. Next day a compressor was linked up to the crane, under the expert supervision of Nigel Smart, and the jib was reunited and raised into its final position – pointing in towards the main expanse of Bath’s Western Riverside. Since its arrival back in Bath, to within yards from where it was built in 1904, the old crane has created a wealth of good will and Cllr. Chalker has been able to obtain specialist paint – free of charge – from a number of companies, including Homebase and Davies of Bath. A volunteer workforce, overseen by Alison Phillips (of Bath Heritage Watchdog), has been eagerly preparing the venerable crane for a sympathetic protective re-paint and this

Bryan’s theme as Mayor is ‘Bath’s Industrial Heritage’ and it is perhaps significant that crane No.312 was returned to Bath less than two months after he was installed in his major civic role. “If I achieve nothing else in my year as Mayor,” said Bryan, “I will be happy that this wonderful example of Edwardian engineering is back where it belongs – on land formerly occupied by the world’s greatest crane makers, Stothert & Pitt”. There isn’t much romance attached to machinery of this kind but crane No.312 is a great survivor in more than ways than one, as Cllr. Chalker discovered recently. A faded cutting from the Bath & Wilts Chronicle & Herald dated Thursday, December 13, 1951, revealed that the machine had been involved in a serious accident with a runaway steam locomotive – but survived to make it into preservation. The front-page news headline of the day read: “Runaway Engine At Bath Works Overturns Crane,Traps Man”. The man in question being crane driver Fred Nash, of Clarence Place, Lower Weston, whose life was undoubtedly

The crane was later righted and put back to work. A testament indeed to the ruggedness of this historic Edwardian workhorse, which preceeded the building of the Titanic by eight years! A ‘welcome home’ ceremony is planned for crane No.312 and it is hoped to invite as many former Stothert & Pitt employees as we can find – and that obviously includes those living in Larkhall. If you have any early photographs relating to Stothert & Pitt, Cllr. Bryan Chalker would like to hear from you via The Larkhall News.

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tion and vital food and medication. The charity aims to help and support the poorest of the poor in the Philippines, children and mothers who are malnourished and living in squalor, with no prospect of an education or a safe future.

prices. The charity have recently appointed a new Schools Co-ordinator and it is hoped that through this role, the charity can do more to raise awareness amongst young people and encourage them to get involved in fundraising activities.

Student reporters, Ben and Bryher, visited Mercy in Action in Larkhall to find out about the history of this local charity and how, through their work, they reach children in extreme You can help by: Next February, Mercy in Action will be hosting poverty. Sponsoring a Child for just £15 a month, Chal- a week-long art exhibition at Paintworks in Mercy in Action was set up by Bath husband and wife, John and Allison Todd when they went on a holiday 15 years ago to the Philippines and they came across street children. There were so many children that they couldn’t support them all and made it their mission when returning to the UK to do everything they could to help. If the public could donate just £15 every 2-3 months the money you donate will help the children to get skills, educa-

lenge-Fundraising in your own way, taking your old toys and clothes to the shop in Larkhall for them to sell, or joining in with Mercy in Action’s Meal Appeal, for just £9you can feed a family of 6 during the Christmas period. The shop in Larkhall helps to keep a steady and reliable income coming in so that the charity can allocate resources abroad. The shop is well-supported locally and is a hive of activity for those looking for good quality clothes, toys and household items at affordable

Bristol’s creative quarter, based on the theme of HOPE and POVERTY. They are inviting artists worldwide to submit pieces based on their interpretation of Hope and/or Poverty to be displayed and sold at this event with all profits donated to Mercy in Action. Alongside the sale will be an exhibition of entries into the Schools Art Competition. For more information or to submit an entry, go to or pop into the shop in Larkhall.

The Larks’ Season So Far... After a successful start to the new season, Larkhall Athletic FC sat comfortably at the top of the league, leading by 4 points with a much better goal difference than their rivals. In recent weeks the Larks have experienced some mixed fortunes on the field with a win and loss against Bishop Sutton and a hard fought defeat against Willand. This variable run of form has left the Larks still at the top of the league, albeit only on goal difference for now. A break in league fixtures for an FA Vase tie against Slimbridge of the Hellenic League resulted in a stunning 4-0 win. Despite a goalless first half, the Larks always looked comfortable and a second half run

of goals saw the team go safely through to the next round where they will make the long journey to Bodmin Town on 19th November. The team now eagerly anticipate what is hoped will be a comfortable win against struggling side Radstock when they return to league fixtures at home on 5th November. To crown a brilliant start to the season, first team manager Lee Collier was named the Western League Manager of the Month for August/September, a well deserved acolade. In other news, the Larks have just heard that a recent funding bid to Bath Building Society has been successful to the tune of

£500. With ambitious plans to move the club forward, the money will be used to help pay for vital work to the club’s facilities at Plain Ham. If anyone would like to help with the fundraising or would like to offer the team any support, email ( The big game coming up is against local rivals Odd Down on Boxing Day, 7.45pm kick-off. A very big crowd is expected for this festive fixture so early arrival is advised.

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Transition Larkhall

gardening Blog A new year in the garden Funding awards mean even more people in Larkhall can enjoy the Alice Park community allotment It’s a year since we started the community garden blog in The Larkhall News, and in that time the garden has been transformed from a triangle of tussocky, unused grass into a flourishing fruit and vegetable patch. Now the garden is entering its second phase – and we need your help. Transition Larkhall, the local eco-group that set up the allotment, has won funding from Awards For All to appoint a volunteer development worker. The post is being advertised this autumn. Apart from drawing up plans so volunteers in the garden can make the most of their time there, the role will also involve spreading the word to the wider community. We’d like to involve a larger number of people – individuals, organisations and businesses so they can learn allotment skills, find out about food production and organic methods, and enjoy being active in the outdoors. The ‘green gym’ is a great alternative to expensive memberships in these cashstrapped times. Volunteer sessions through the autumn and winter are 12pm to 2pm on Sundays. Even if you don’t have time to dig in, do come and explore, and choose some of the freshly grown produce to take home in return for a donation.There has been a bumper crop of pumpkins, and the broad beans, onions and garlic have been going in for next year. We also plan more fruit trees, with a medlar or quince. Recent events in the garden include a harvest party, willow workshop and apple pressing. Congratulations to Matt for his prize-winning sunflower – the seed he planted at the Larkhall Festival open day was the tallest of a stand of giants. Financial support from the Lottery will also mean we can develop a sensory area that can be used as an educational resource, with pond-dipping, forest schools and food workshops. See more on the Alice Park Community Garden Facebook page or email

Autumn-to-winter growing tips: • This is the time for planning your plot and deciding what you’d like to grow next year. Look at seed sites online, such as the Organic Gardening Catalogue. • Save seeds from bought pumpkins and squashes to plant next year. • It’s easier to keep on top of small beds. Raised beds are made from timber planks – email if you would like to find out about building your own. • Clear out old plants to help keep beds healthy, but keep a log pile for overwintering insects.

The Larkhall

Village Kitchen

The column that puts creativity back into cooking with the majority of ingredients sourced from Larkhall shops, gardens or allotments.

Braised Spinach Ingredients: 2lb spinach 1 large carrot 1 onion, or a few spring onions 1 teacup of stock small piece of turnip rinds from a rasher of bacon 1oz of dripping salt and pepper to taste Method: Wash the spinach thoroughly in several waters. Remove the mid-ribs (and use later for a stir-fry). Melt the dripping in a casserole. Add the carrot, turnip and onion, cut into small pieces and then put in the bacon rind. Pour in the stock and add seasonings – and then add the spinach. Cover the top of the casserole with a piece of greased paper, replace the lid, and cook in a moderate oven till tender. Remove the spinach, chop it finely and strain over the stock from the braise. The vegetables used for the braising ‘bed’ are useful for soup afterwards, or, broken up with a fork, they can be served with the spinach. This dish was first officially published by the Ministry of Food in 1941, when the nation was being prompted to use pure ingredients and simple preparation methods. Spinach is a good source of Vitamins A and C.

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Ever wondered about the history of Norland College in Bath? Student reporters, Ben and Bryher, went along to find out more... The Norland Institute was founded in 1892 by Emily Ward. She had the idea of giving women who professionally look after babies and young children a formal qualification to help raise standards and share her knowledge and experience. Emily was a teacher and a mother and felt that it was important that those teaching children should be trained in the arts of early-years’ childcare and nanny-ing.

Road in 2002. This move was prompted by the need to move out of a more traditional countrified setting, allowing students to develop social skills and community awareness.

The origins of the Norland Institute lie in London and latterly Chislehurst and Hungerford. It is only recently that the Norland Institute have been based in Bath, having moved to their premises on the London

Norland believe that, despite the formality of their students’ attire, they are only slightly different from other training groups. In their teaching of students they offer all the training required to meet curriculum standards in Early Years’ Foundation Stages, but add to this with a more rounded approach to their training. Students are taught home economics using the facilities at St Mark’s School, creative skills helping children to explore their imaginations and practical skills such as sewing or changing nappies. All of these skills ensure that whilst their students have the classroom knowledge that is required, they also have the practical skills to take with them when they leave.

Over the many years of the institute, it is estimated that they have trained 7-8000 Norland Nannies with many of them going on to develop life-long careers in childcare, teaching or nursing.

Still the most recognisable aspect of a Nor-

Emily Ward, 1892 land Nanny is the uniform. In 1892, when starting her Institue, Emily wanted her students to be instantly recognisable as a childcare professional rather than another house-servant.The uniform is still very much a part of the tradition of Norland with students being instantly identified by the distinctive brown and beige. The college opened its own child care facilities around two years ago in response to a growing need for good quality childcare in the local area. It also had the added benefit of providing a working environment for students to study and learn in. Indeed, many of the childcare professionals employed by the nursery are graduates from the Norland Institue.

!n... N O e r I d l i TITr the ch

Estrictly fo P M CO

Win a family ticket to see The French Detective and the Blue Dog at the egg this Christmas and step into the mystery... If you would like the chance to win a family ticket for 4 (2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children) to watch The French Detective and The Blue Dog at the egg theatre on Sunday 11th December at 2.00pm just enter the COMPETITION! All you have to do is paint or draw a picture entitled ‘The Blue Dog’ and submit it to: The Editor, The Larkhall News, St Mark’s School, Baytree Road, Larkhall, BA1 6ND by Friday 2nd December. Make sure that your name, address, school and a contact telephone number are clearly written on the back of your picture. Entrants must be aged 6 - 16 and have the permission of their parent or carer. The winning entry and two runners up will also have their picture displayed at the egg theatre throughout the production!

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Larkhall News November 2011  

Larkhall News November 2011

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