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Restoration of historic royal Hythe Pier carriage is on track

One of the team restoring Hythe pier train carriage (photo: Garry Brown)
One of the team restoring Hythe pier train carriage (photo: Garry Brown)

A TEAM of conservationists are making fast progress on renovating a historic train carriage which is part of a set that once carried royalty along Hythe pier.

Hythe Pier Heritage Association (HPHA) recently set out a £220,000 plan of works to safeguard the future of the historical structure.

The organisation intends on relaying the tramway as well as restoring all the existing carriages and the two original tractor units which power the train. It is currently working on carriage 4.

Volunteers have been joined by members of Hythe Men’s Shed to work on the first carriage, which was one of two to be delivered in 1922. They have strengthened the structure by adding new frames along one side and new panels.

In May 1944 King George VI rode along the pier in carriage 2 while visiting the area to view the vessels assembled in preparation for the D-Day invasion.

A plaque to commemorate the event was placed in the carriage – but was later stolen. More recently, a period penny has been mounted on the backrest of the seat on which the King sat.

Project leader Tina Brown said: “Work is currently under way on the repair and re-staining of the carriage doors in another workshop nearby and, once all the external refurbishment is complete, replacement glass panes will be sought to comply with the British Standard specified for rolling stock.

“The internal paintwork will need cleaning and preparing for a fresh coat of paint. The original seats, although nearly 100 years old, are beautifully made and show the carpentry skills of that time.

“These have been given a good clean and only a touch up in keeping with restored furniture.”

The HPHA is aiming to have the restoration complete in time to mark the pier’s centenary in July 2022.

Donations to the project can be made at www.hythepierha.org.uk

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