MP Mims Davies and Councillor Sam Smith visit our workshop

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Mims and Councillor Samantha Smith visited our workshop for the first time on 29 September 21. Overall, it turned out to be an engaging, fun and positive experience for all involved. During the visit members were able to show the range the projects and products we make including some of our community work.

We really appreciated them taking the time to visit our great workshop and for taking such a deep interest in what we do. Thanks to Mims and Sam for an enjoyable and fun experience, and we hope to see you at the Kiln soon.

See Councillor Sam Smiths Facebook Article

The Pallet Line

A story of creativity and eye for detail by Mike Lewis

This is the story of the Pallet Line Railway locomotives built at the Shed Works at Burgess Hill.  The first of these ‘Shed’ Class locos, engine number BHSW001, was a small tank engine constructed principally of square wooden blocks to a design copied from a 1980 prototype toy.     This first of its kind was completed by November 2019 and, although of an unsophisticated design and of rather poor proportions, was nevertheless snapped up when offered for sale at a local craft fair.

It was decided to go into production with traditional steam locomotives with full length boilers and multiple wheel arrangements, and the first of these,  engine number BHSW002, was ready by the end of the month.  This particular model was provided with a 4-4-2 wheel set-up with the driven wheels connected by two side outriggers to give the visual impression of the wheel linkage.  It was also equipped with a separate steam dome and whistle, smoke box handles, boiler pipework, and front buffers.  Engine name and number plates were also added to each side of the rear tender and to the front of the train.

A third engine was soon put into production and was completed by early January 2020.  BHSW003 was identical to its sister loco but now without the   outrigger which was considered unwieldy, and a rear coupling hook and buffers were also included.  The cab roof was refined and a wooden driver made.

A new model design was now required so a sectional boiler style with banded joints was produced in February and numbered BHSW004. This engine omitted the buffers and whistle for simplicity, and reduced the number of wheels to just three pairs.  Fresh innovations to this model were the fully enclosed driver’s cab, front view port holes and side windows.

A new locomotive to leave the Shed Works has been engine number BHSW005 which has the enclosed cab again but has reverted to the one-piece boiler and steam pipework.  It has been fitted with the full collection of smoke box handles, name and number plates, whistle, and rear coupling hook and has gained an additional axle with four sets of fully detailed wheels.

The new sculpted wheels have now been employed on a new innovation with engine number BHSW006 which is an elongated locomotive incorporating an   integrated tender with coal.  The driver’s cab is provided on both sides with a step-up and handrail, and the engine nameplate has been repositioned to the side flanking plates.

The Kiln Project kicks off!

The aim is to create a new space in the Town for arts and crafts, and to provide a flexible space for community groups, events and projects. More information is at The Kiln website.

Refurbishment of the Kiln premises started in September. The ‘front of house’ has been reconfigured to provide a shop front for our products and to create a flexible space for activities and events. The venue has already successfully hosted 2 Repair Cafe events and is used by the Mid Sussex Brass Band every Thursday.

The main work is focused on re-commissioning existing services, rewiring, adding wifi and computer stations, changing the downstairs layout and decoration. Lots of work already done, loads more to do.

Craig’s Kayak makes maiden voyage

If you wondered what Craig was doing when he started sawing pine strips in the workshop last year, here’s the finished product. Looks fantastic doesn’t it and it has been in the water too. After its maiden voyage, Craig now wants to make some mods to change the trim and improve handling. Ah well I guess perfection always takes just that little bit longer. Good luck with the mods Craig.

Workshop to open 11 August

Very pleased to be able to tell you all that our workshop will re-open for the usual mix of activities from Tuesday 11 August onwards. From then it will be open every Tuesday and Wednesday, and if there is sufficient uptake, we may open on Mondays for leatherwork.

There will be appropriate Covid-19 controls in place and anyone attending will receive guidance on the first day that they return.

Until we have worked things out, I would suggest that anyone at high risk does not attend.

The aim of these controls is to ensure that the workshop is as safe as possible whilst allowing members to do the things they normally like to do in the workshop. Most of the controls are similar to those you will experience in enclosed spaces like shops, except for handling shared equipment where we have to take extra precautions.


One Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog

Hi Guys
I hope you are all well and coping with the lockdown okay? We’re certainly going to need our name badges when we return – I can’t even remember who I am! I’ve spent the last few weeks uploading some of my poems onto my Facebook page and I came across this one which I wrote back in 2004 as an entry to the Burgess Hill Festival’s poetry competition. The theme was ‘The day the Queen came to Burgess Hill’ but the organizer asked me to change the title which she considered irreverent to HM. I declined to accept her censorship and she in turn declined to accept my entry. Nevertheless, I later sent it to the Palace direct on the occasion of the Queen’s diamond wedding anniversary and received a lovely letter back thanking me on behalf of HM and the Duke.

One Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog

The day that the Queen came to Burgess Hill
was back in the summer of ‘55
She’d said to Prince Philip “Now listen up Phil,
One dearly would love to learn how One should Jive”

The Duke replied “Lizzie, Society Balls
never go in for these modern delights –
but I’ve heard, down in Sussex, that most Village Halls
hold Rock n’ Roll sessions on Saturday nights”

And so incognito the Royal limousine
headed for Brighton ‘neath warm summer skies
with a trusted old chauffeur, while Dukey and Queen
were hid in the back under heavy disguise

In less than an hour the Royal chauffeured car
was almost in sight of the South Sussex coast,
when out of the stillness they heard from afar
a beat that got tapping all twenty Royal toes

They stopped and dispatched this discreetest of drivers
to park up the Rolls while the pair sought the Dance –
And that’s how Her Majesty joined all the Jivers
(and how she found Burgess Hill purely by chance!)

Then at last free from all sycophantic shoe-lickers,
the Queen with her hair in a back-combed beehive
and the Duke in his drainpipes and long winkle pickers
for once in their lives felt completely alive

And from that day forth there’s been nobody finer
at Rock n’ Roll dancing throughout all the Land
than our very own Monarch, one Betty Regina,
who learnt all her steps from a Burgess Hill band!

By Mike Lewis, 2004