Wednesday 31st May 2017
Jan and her partner Robin had set aside a day to ‘attack’ the steps leading down to the ‘tunnel’ which are beside the old auction room doors on the corner of Station Hill and Alma Place. Dozens of years of rubbish had accumulated on these steps, completely engulfing them. Armed with very old clothing, sturdy gloves and wellies, they cleared another ‘Galaxy load’ of old wood and about 20 bags of litter from the area to reveal beautiful dressed granite steps leading down to a walk through to the courtyard. As well as the steps, there is evidence of blocked up two arched windows or doors from the old printing works, which clearly pre-date the steps as they are partially behind them.
There followed a well earned brunch in the Market way café giving us energy for the afternoon. Two more loads of rubbish and one more metal scrap yard load, saw the tunnel cleared and the old cobbled surface exhumed from under at least three inches of pigeon dung and other unmentionable substances. The jumble of junk filling the space (old wardrobes, chairs, books, shelving, corrugated iron and so on), has now gone and another useful walkway into the courtyard is available, should we decide to remove the iron gate which currently secures it. As well as the rubbish, there were also a couple of old enamelled signs from Richards Son and Murdoch which we felt could be used to decorate the building in the future and show a part of its history.
The day’s work required hot baths and some anti-inflammatory pills for we two over sixties (!) but it felt like an important area of the site (appearance wise) had been sorted.