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Author Topic: Cholsey Station: J J Hutt coal wagon  (Read 1479 times)
Marlburian
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« on: November 27, 2020, 09:15:26 pm »

Yesterday I walked on the footpath alongside the railway line from Cholsey Station to the A328 and passed the premises of J J Hutt, coal merchant, which have also seemed to me to be a throwback to the days when a number of stations had such businesses close by, presumably with supplies being delivered to them by rail.

I spotted what appeared to be a coal wagon in Hutt livery, but the setting sun was behind it and in my eyes. I've just Googled, and indeed it is a wagon.

Image here

and here.

(Scroll down in both cases.)

Over the years I've passed the site many times on the train, but never spotted the wagon before = I guess that it must be obscured from the track.
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stuving
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2020, 11:45:39 pm »

Certainly coal merchant is a business that has been almost extinct for some time now. The last Thomson directory for Reading listed just one - J H Hutt, of course. Later yellow pages etc. have no such heading: nothing closer then firewood sales. And Hutts have been at Cholsey for 100 years, as they say. There was no coal yard marked on the maps of the time, so it was probably a question of a wagon of coal now then, parked on a siding while the load was shoveled into sacks to be delivered.

But if you think they have clung on at the station, you might be wrong. Google Earth's earlier pictures show the whole of the old goods yard overgrown in 2005, and being reoccupied by commercial activity since. But among the odd bits under the weeds, a small wagon could have been there all along.

By the by, I rather liked the random fact that, when the original John Henry Hutt died in 1933, his executors' solicitor was called Cecil Hatt.

Earlier this year I was looking at the coal yard at Wokingham (a much bigger place, of course). When the planning application for Jewsons site by the level crossing came in, I was unimpressed by their (consultants') Heritage report. Being locked down, theirs was hardly a desk study - relying on the developers' photos, and not even looking for online maps. The main building is hard to understand, having been much hacked about, but was an imposing detached house with a very industrial yard beside it.

They should have asked me! The house was owned by (I think built for) George Garratt, coal merchant. The "coal wharfs" were some way away, in a pretty industrial area by a smithy. His rather grand house was facing the level crossing, but he kept his carts and horses in the yard behind it, for safety. Later he also sold salt, seeds, farmers' supplies, and eventually it became a builders' merchant (but as Drake & Mount; by then Garratt had gone on to become a farmer). 

Note that in 1887, G Garratt advertised himself as coal, coke, and salt merchant at "Wokingham and at any other station to order". How did that work, exactly?
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 12:01:26 pm by stuving » Logged
Marlburian
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2020, 11:49:25 am »

Yes, you're correct about old maps showing no evidence of a coal business. The 1877 six-inch one shows a turntable, goods shed and cattle pens, then the shed appears to have been moved further SE, and the pens still feature in a 1936 revision. Cholsey seems to be ill-served by old directories available on-line. I spent a few minutes looking at Oxfordshire ones until I recalled that the village itself was in Berkshire until 1974, and though there are several 19th-century Berkshire directories available I can't find anything more recent.

It's one of those instances when it would almost be worth glancing through hard copies in Reading's Local Studies Centre, but at the moment ...
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2020, 02:08:29 pm »

I think the photos of the waggon posted were some time ago and it is a little more weather beaten at present and is situated - if I remember correctly as it has been quite some time - next to the Up Relief, perpendicular to the railway.

The business is run by a very pleasant fellow that can often be seen running around the district in his one tonner on deliveries. I was giving a geology talk to some Year 4 pupils at my sister's school, and I needed some coal to show the kids as part of that show and tell. On the off chance, I popped in and was pleased to discover he was on site - a very rare occasion. I explained my needs and he was delighted to take to the coal pile to select a couple of lumps. He then asked if I would like some anthracite. "Yes please", said I and a couple of shiny pieces were tossed in the polythene sack from his stock. He wished me all the best for my talk, refused my offering and bid me a cheery wave.

To see the delight on a child's face when they realised just how dirty bituminous coal is  Grin - in anticipation I had wet wipes and kitchen roll. The kids kept the anthracite!

A wonderful local business - please support them if you can.

There is still a short length of track embedded in the ground where back siding crossed over the goods shed access road. It can be seen on this 1910 map.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2020, 02:16:49 pm by Oxonhutch » Logged
Marlburian
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2020, 03:18:35 pm »

I wonder why there was a turntable, apparently in the goods yard, as shown on this 1877 map? To align wagons so goods could be more easily loaded/offloaded?

Interesting that the station was then known as Moulsford, which in those was closer to it than Cholsey. Then the latter village expanded and grew closer! In my commuting days I think the station was known as Cholsey & Moulsford, now it's just Cholsey.
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stuving
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2020, 03:26:38 pm »

I wonder why there was a turntable, apparently in the goods yard, as shown on this 1877 map? To align wagons so goods could be more easily loaded/offloaded?

Interesting that the station was then known as Moulsford, which in those was closer to it than Cholsey. Then the latter village expanded and grew closer! In my commuting days I think the station was known as Cholsey & Moulsford, now it's just Cholsey.

Actually, the station moved less than a mile up the line, from Reading Road, Mouslford to what become Station Road, Cholsey. John Hutt was publican of the Waterloo Hotel on Reading Road,as well as being a carman or haulier. He took up coal dealing a bit later, moving nearer the new station. What lead to which is hard to say.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2020, 11:25:58 pm »

The old station site was where the small development now known as Waterloo Close is now- see below.

I think that the rectangular building at the southern end parallel to the track includes the old station building.

Quote
By the by, I rather liked the random fact that, when the original John Henry Hutt died in 1933, his executors' solicitor was called Cecil Hatt.

In my time there were both a Hutt and Hatts practising as local solicitors (one of the latter lives near me!). Both families are involved with businesses nearby at Woodcote - the Hutt coal and fuel merchants have a depot there, while W J Hatt Limited describe themselves as outside water engineers, providing everything from septic tank installation to ditching and constructing lakes and water features. Their vans used to have the slogan "Dam and Blast" on them! 
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stuving
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2020, 11:50:09 pm »

The old station site was where the small development now known as Waterloo Close is now- see below.

I think that the rectangular building at the southern end parallel to the track includes the old station building.

If the 6" map is to be believed, the station was centred 100 m from the bridge - which is in the trees well south of the surviving building. That is pretty much where the Railway Tavern was shown, but as parallel to the street. Twenty years later the station has gone, but pub - not marked as such - has mysteriously skewed round to match what's now there. I suspect is wasn't marked in its true orientation in the first place, since it's hard to see why a replacement building would line up with the non-existent station rather than the other houses along the street. As to why the station was taken down ... it may not have been much of a building, so not worth keeping.
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