The small sheds featured below bring back vivid memories, from 35 years ago, of cross-country running along the Cromford Canal and up the steep Sheep Pasture incline of the Cromford & High Peak Railway.
At my school if you weren’t a rugby player (and I really wasn’t!) you were banished to endless cross-country runs to free up the PE teachers to focus on the rugby squad. As a result I spent many a Wintry afternoon sheltering from horizontal freezing rain and whiling away the hours in abandoned corrugated iron huts like these!
Corrugated iron was much favoured by railway companies, it was strong, relatively light, easily transportable and, in ‘kit’ form, could be pretty much delivered anywhere the rails went, and erected on site with the minimum of tools.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts that many railway companies, in a drive for cost-cutting and a strong corporate identity, tended to mass produce standard-sized sheds eg. 6’x9′, 9’x12′ etc. They were manufactured in their thousands; without doubt if you live close to a railway track you’ll know of a lamp hut, gangers hut, permanent way hut, lock-up etc. close by?
In some ways these small huts were a victim of there success, (like BCN day boats such as our Eileen) their ubiquity meant that for a long while hardly anyone gave them a second thought and they were left to rot where they stood, once their original function ended.
Luckily a number were sold on, as garden or agricultural sheds or, as in the examples below, on preserved railway lines across the country.
The fact such humble buildings have survived is down to individual generosity, selfless volunteers and endless enthusiasm which sees these battered, basic buildings transformed and retained for another generation…