Saturday, 27 March 2010

Litter & progress

If it is possible to have an exciting day when restoring a kiosk, today was that day! Our plan today was to remove the railings round the back, remove the remaining perspex panes in the East facing third side, and remove the unit on the back wall where the telephone and coin box would have been bolted to. As usual, we didn't actually complete much of that.

The bolts holding the unit on the wall were knackered, so we decided to drill out the bolts. The unit isn't going back in the kiosk, so we are not too concerned about damaging parts of it. However, despite putting my cordless drill on charge, the battery was dead, so the unit is still firmly stuck to the wall. We'll add that to the list for next weekend.

We then decided to remove the railings from behind the kiosk which protects the South facing fourth side. The amount of dirt that had accumulated by the side of the kiosk meant we were in for a fair amount of digging. It was during this digging that we discovered some interesting bits of litter.

We found an old Schweppes bottle, an old Golden Wonder Smokey Bacon flavour crisps bag which cost three pence, and amazingly a Tip Top frozen juice wrapper which cost 2d. This throws up two observations, clearly the environmentalist's argument about the hazards of plastic look pretty sound (the Tip Top wrapper must have been by the side of the kiosk since at least 1971), and the Council's waste management partner is failing the residents of Brookwood. I think I'll ask Cllr Glynis to request a Council Tax rebate on our behalf. The picture shows the wrappers after a quick clean up - these will be kept as part of the history of the kiosk.

Whilst digging out the dirt we discovered the posts were not as rusted through as we first thought. This led to another discussion about what to do and we decided to leave the posts where they are, remove the railings and put them back again some time in the future. This time, however, we are not going to leave the posts exposed thus providing an opportunity for vandals to snap them off, so we have left the railings there at the moment, and Alan will make up some bars to replace the railings as a short term measure until the railings are restored.

So, with two of our tasks having ground to a halt, we went back to the staple scraping of paint. Alan removed the perspex from the third side (there is no perspex left in the kiosk now), and worked on the putty, and I started stripping the paint from the crown on the fourth side. I was going to work on the third side, but the ivy on the wall was wet, and we forgot to bring any ladders. As can be seen in the above picture, there is what looks like a sewage ventilator made of concrete which can be stood on, so I could reach the top.

By the time we gave up for the day, we had almost finished the crown area of the fourth side, and almost removed all the putty from the third side. We are grateful to the resident who dropped by and gave us some money which will pay for the new door handle we need.

Finally, as we were clearing the usual litter that had been thrown in the kiosk, we discovered a small bag with six pence inside. Not a lot, but it's been added to the restoration fund, and we're certainly not going to discourage people throwing money in the kiosk!

This coming week should be quite productive, and our totally unrealistic plans are to finish removing all the remaining paint from the outside of the kiosk, and prime it over the long weekend if the weather holds.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Glazing Frames

There hasn't been a great deal of progress directly on the kiosk recently due to work committments, but in the background, Alan has made up 12 of the 24 frames we decided to make ourselves. These have been tested in the kiosk to ensure they fit satisfactorily, and now they need to be primed with red oxide in the next couple of weeks.

This weekend we will remove the railings behind the kiosk and remove the remaining perspex panes. If time allows we'll strip as much paint as possible on the third side.

I'm off next week, and the plan will be to strip the paint from the third side, and red oxide it towards the end of the week (we've failed miserably at most of our targets, so don't get your hopes up that we'll actually achieve this)! I shall also order all the glass we require from Glassmaster, ready for us to fit at the end of April.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Red Oxide Inside

Well, we finally have some red oxide on the inside of the kiosk! Only a couple of weeks later than we had hoped, but the end result looks good. Actually Alan did the painting as I had some Explorer Scouts skydiving today. It's worth clicking on the picture and viewing the higher res version as it nicely shows the pre-drilled holes in the frames where the brass pins will eventually sit.

More surprises for us, when we tapped that cylindrical bit shown in the left of the picture we discovered it is plastic. I'll speak to Unicorn and ask them how we should handle it.

Not shown here is the door where a lot of effort went into trying to clean some of the original panes of glass that we are leaving in the kiosk. These have come up really well, which is quite a relief.

I've included this photo partly because it shows the red oxide to the top of the west side, but far more interestingly it highlights the lazyness of BT staff when repainting the kiosk over the years. The white paint should come down to the bar immediately below the TELEPHONE glass. I suspect the white has never been repainted, and when we do finally get to that point, we will restore that section of the kiosk back to its original colour scheme.

The white inside a kiosk was designed to reflect the original light bulbs in the kiosk. At some point a flourescent tube was put inside, the electrics of which are still there today. With our mainly white posters in the kiosk, and the correct paint scheme, the kiosk should be quite bright of an evening.

This week, the Woking News & Mail continued their coverage of the kiosk by asking shoppers in Woking whether they backed the work we are doing in a kind of 'Have your say'. It was a resounding yes, which is great for Brookwood village seeing as most responses bemoaned the destruction of our heritage. It just seems that stuff disappears so easily these days. When I was working on the kiosk recently, I had a chat with a chap from Pirbright who moaned that Pirbright's K6 kiosk is in very poor condition, I can confirm that it is.

Nothing will happen this coming week directly on the kiosk until the weekend due to work committments, however we expect to get some of the large glazing frames made up, as well as cleaning up some of the small glazing frames which we have removed.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Progress Report

Alan and I managed to spend a couple of hours working on the kiosk yesterday. My estimate from last week of a couple more hours work and the inside of two of the sides would be ready for red oxiding, proved a tad optimistic. Although, it didn't help that we accidentally broke another small pane of glass, and we discovered a small pane with a fairly small crack in it we had previously missed which we decided to knock out. When removing the small panes, we have to knock the brass pins out, take out the original cast glazing frame, and then deal with rock solid putty. It is a lengthy process. So, with luck we'll be able to red oxide the two sides this weekend - should only be a couple of hours more work...

The final advertising slot was claimed today. Brookwood based Carefully Clean have agreed to contribute towards the maintenance of the kiosk by displaying an advert. I might try to twist their arm and see if they would like to try and clean up the small panes of glass in the kiosk! It does need a careful touch as we have discovered. There are still another two adverts due to go in from Glassmaster and Fulks the butcher, which will happen once I have the artwork.

Also early this evening, the last of the big panes was sponsored. So far, only one small pane out of (now) eight has been sponsored. Although I fear that if we don't get Carefully Clean to sort out the small panes, it could be more.

I am so surprised and pleased that the sponsoring a pane initiative seems to have struck a chord with Brookwood residents and their guests in one case! People do care about communities. We are still looking for funds though, as we still have the gilding to complete, as well as the full refurbishment of the railings and a few bits and bobs on the kiosk, like a new door handle. To all those that have given to this project, thank you.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Behind the scenes

The attached picture is the result of the work Alan has been doing behind the scenes. These are two of the refurbished brass shackles with a new leather strap attached. If you look closely at the right hand shackle, it is possible to clearly make out the letters GPO and a small crown above the letter 'P'. You can click on the image and a high resolution version will be displayed. We still need to refurbish the other two when time allows.

I received a wonderful letter today from an elderly Brookwood resident sponsoring a pane and reminising about other red telephone boxes that used to stand in Brookwood. Now there is only one left, and sadly, virtually none in the entire district of Woking.

Finally, this picture is the one that was published on the getsurrey website and similar to the one published in the Woking News & Mail. Both were taken by Grahame Larter and include from left to right: Alan, Roy from Allsigns, Brian from Glassmaster, Caled from Baker's Dozen, me, Tony from Fulks the butchers and Cllr Glynis. I am holding the pane that advises where the nearest working BT phone is.

I have sought permission to use this photo.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Progress Report

It's not a great photo, it was taken on my camera phone, with me holding the camera way above my head pointing down, but it does hightlight some interesting things.

Another couple of hours work, and the inside West side will be ready for priming, along with the inside of the door which is already waiting.

The brass hinges show up well from this picture, which won't be obvious once the kiosk is finished as the door will be locked, only the outside of the hinges will be on display, which we will polish so they look good.

Obviously with the door closing arm removed, the door swings right the way round which is not normal for a K6. The photo shows the outside of the door through the West side windows.

I also scraped some more paint off the third East facing side, we're probably down to bare metal on about 20% of that side now. I'm concentrating on the inside with a priority of red oxiding the two sides this weekend, and also continuing on the third side. Assuming Alan has some time this weekend, we'll take out the remaining plastic windows in the third side and remove the railings round the back of the kiosk.

P.S. Just read the piece in the Woking News & Mail. Quite impressed, a half page spread which I think nicely highlights the community aspect of the project. Better still we don't come across as a bunch of telephone box geeks!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Woking News & Mail Photo

Yesterday, I had a call from the Woking News & Mail reporter Beth who had read about the restoration in the Brookwood Newsletter. She was keen to run a piece in the paper about the community rallying around to restore the kiosk. At half ten this morning, and at incredibly short notice, we managed to get me, Alan, Cllr Glynis Preshaw, Caled from Baker's Dozen, Roy from Allsigns, Tony from Fulks the butchers and Brian from Glassmaster out for a quick photo which I guess will go in the paper either this week or next. Great recognition for our work, and a small piece of advertising for our local businesses, all of which have contributed to the kiosk in one way or another.

I then stayed on and continued to scrape paint, alternating between the third side and the inside. It's interesting to note that the inside and now the third side are so much easier than what we have done already. I guess it is because it's less weathered. Whereas previously we have taken upwards of three coats of Nitromors to get down to bare metal, now it is possible (with some elbow grease) to get to bare metal after using Nitromors to take only the very top layer off. In some areas, just chipping away with the sharp point of the scraper removes the paint. Consequently, this third side will be easier that expected.

From the attached picture, you can see the progress made on the third side, and it is also possible to make out some bare metal on the inside. Also from the picture, you can see where we have removed the leather straps and the shackles for refurbishment.

Not sure how much further progress we'll make this week due to work committments, but we are on target for our May completion.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sunday progress

Alan and I spent a couple of hours at the kiosk today sorting stuff out. I continued to scrape paint (as that's all I'm qualified to do), whereas Alan takes on the tough jobs which require a bit of know how. We also removed the one single small plastic pane in the door, and we also had a bit of fun smashing the one pane of glass which we will replace with the Push/Pull glazed sign. We are enormously grateful to the Brookwood resident who passed us at this moment and agreed to sponsor the new Push/Pull sign. We also removed the door closer arm as it will be easier to refurbish it away from the kiosk, plus it means we don't need to jam the door open everytime it gets in the way.

When the kiosks were originally glazed, a layer of putty was used prior to the glass being inserted and the cast glazing frame dropped into place. This putty is really tough to remove, but we have now removed all the putty from the door, which means the inside is now ready for priming.

A few weeks ago, we removed one of the brass door shackles which had jammed and needed work in a workshop to sort out. These shackles hold the leather straps in place which stop the door opening too far. There are four of them in the kiosk and we thought we would leave them in situ if possible rather than disturb them and create more work for ourselves. Anyway, Alan has refurbished the removed shackle, and it looks incredible. Plus, it is just possible to make out the letters GPO which are stamped on the front. GPO stands for General Post Office and is another bit of history/heritage that has disappeared. A great Wikipedia article on the GPO coincidentally has a picture of a K6 kiosk. We can buy replacements for around nine pounds each, but seeing as ours are in good condition and they clearly come with historical significance, we'll put the time in to refurbish the other three.

The Brookwood Club poster has now gone into the Kiosk. This is a great poster as it is a list of the future events planned in the club. Coincidentally, it outlines events right up to 16 May, which is the Club's Birthday BBQ and the day we are aiming to get the kiosk finished for. The plan being that we all look at the kiosk and then nip over the road for a pint. We'll change this poster each time the club publishes its future event list.
This coming week, we'll continue to scrape the paint off the third side, and get the door interior primed. Reasonably achievable depending on other committments and the weather.

I've just got off the phone from a Heath Drive resident who has asked to sponsor a large pane to celebrate 50 years living in Heath Drive. The houses in Heath Drive were built 50 years ago. We are extremely grateful for this donation, and that means 18 large panes are now being paid for by residents of Brookwood. There are still six large panes left, and it looks like we'll end up replacing six small panes, none of which are currently being sponsored.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Brookwood Village Association

Alan and I had a good meeting tonight with the Brookwood Village Association to discuss progress and understand what help the BVA could provide us in getting the kiosk finished. Obviously the BVA has the interests of the village and the community at its heart and the kiosk forms part of this overall picture.

In the short term, the BVA have very kindly provided us with some much needed funds, the value of which equals the cost of the final red and white enamel paint required.

We outlined the plan to completion, discussed insurance, listing status and the long term management of the kiosk  post completion. Alan and I are keen that the kiosk doesn't become a long term project associated only with us, but becomes something the village community is involved in and proud of. As ideas are batted round in the coming months, I'm sure they will appear on this blog, and in the Brookwood News newsletter.

Talking of which, there is a good write up in the March edition of the newsletter, with the kiosk getting a prime spot on the front page. Thanks Mike.