Going all potty over SVR’s Arley station

MASTER stonemason Philip Chatfield has again been contributing his skills at the Severn Valley Railway, in a volunteer capacity at Arley station.

He carefully researched the history and construction of an unusual floral chimney pot dating from 1904, so an exact replica could be produced.

The original pot was unfortunately broken some years ago. Philip explained the challenges of getting things right: “This chimney pot was highly unusual, and really was clearly not standard issue for a station at the time.

Philip reinstating Arley’s new replica chimney pot. LENNIE WARRINGTON

“However, the stationmaster in 1904 was a man called George Batchelor, an award-winning gardener, and I have the feeling he made sure the newly built extension to his station building received a chimney pot that was a cut above. Perhaps he even paid for it himself!

Prettiest GWR station

“By consulting books and many old photographs of the station building,
I produced full-scale drawings so that a replacement pot could be fired.

“The infrastructure manager Chris Bond found a potter in Hampshire, Mick Pinner, who had the skills to create the new pot out of clay.

George Batchelor, Arley’s stationmaster, with his children in 1904.

“When I was recently fitting the new pot in place, I thought of George Batchelor as I was up on the scaffolding.”

Philip added: “I know from my research that he’d wanted his station to be the prettiest on the GWR system, and I hope George’s spirit is smiling from above, not only at the new floral pot, but also the exemplary efforts of the volunteers at Arley today, who keep the gardens and station in such great shape.”

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