Monday, 17 July 2017

False starts and dashed hopes

We sometimes forget that project mismanagement, lack of clarity in aims and capital overspends are not just recent phenomena in major capital projects. In  ‘Ghosts of Aberglaslyn’ - False Starts and Dashed Hopes - the brief life of The Portmadoc, Beddgelert and South Snowdon Railway, John Manners and Michael Bishop examine the project that might have put a network of electric railways through Snowdonia but that ultimately foundered in a miasma of  political manoeuvrings, personalities, dashed hopes, obstructionism and obsolescent technology as well as '...lack of clarity in aims and capital overspends...'
‘Ghosts of Aberglaslyn’ tells the amazing story of an electric railway project in North Wales that was never completed, involving a predecessor of Parsons Peebles, the Rosyth based electrical engineering company, Sir Thomas Beecham, the inventor of Beechams Pills and father of the famous orchestra conductor, a Hungarian locomotive builder and the great great grandfather of the late Tara Palmer Tomkinson, the English socialite, "it girl", television presenter, model and charity patron.

Some of the line was constructed between 1901 and 1909, but it never opened and the track bed eventually became part of the Welsh Highland Railway. . If the aspirations of the promoters of the Portmadoc, Beddgelert & South Snowdon Railway (PBSSR) had been realised, electric trains might now be carrying passengers between Porthmadog and Caernarfon in North Wales

‘Ghosts of Aberglaslyn’ has 120 pages of text and a rich collection of photographs, including several published for the first time. It’s available direct from the publisher, the Welsh Highland Railway Heritage Group at for £18 post paid in the UK or via your local bookshop quoting:ISBN number 978-0-9930821-4-6

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Shire Hall Dorchester - Justice in the Balance

© Copyright Roger Templeman Creative Commons Licence


Dorchester’s Shire Hall is a rare architectural gem and one of the best-preserved buildings of its kind, remaining almost unchanged since it first opened in 1796/7.
A centre of law, order and government for over 200 years - Shire Hall was a place where all sectors of society interacted. The trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs  took place here in 1834 and changed the course of history and helped to shape the society in which we live today. Later, the writer Thomas Hardy served as a magistrate at the court, an experience which inspired some of his writing.
A project grant has been secured from the Heritage Lottery fund of £1.5 million that West Dorset District Council has match-funded. The aim of the project is to renovate and re-use the Shire Hall building and its Old Crown Court and cells as a heritage attraction and centre for learning that will encompass many aspects of law, politics, citizenship and history. In addition to creating a visitor attraction within the historic parts of the building, the refurbishment project will provide a new gallery for temporary exhibitions, a learning room, a shop and a cafĂ©.
The marketing strategy and plan will place Shire Hall - Justice in the Balance Visitor Centre at the heart of Dorset’s tourist offer by building a coherent and cohesive offer that works with partner organisations, attractions potential partners and linkages (e.g. for trails). 
The strap line ‘Justice in the Balance’ will play a key role in differentiating the Centre within the overall tourist offer and in all marketing communications.