Newsletter: Christmas 2019

Wishing you a merry Christmas Santa

So what does Christmas mean to you?

For us it is the chance to take a well earned rest and take stock of what we have achieved during the year. We never cease to be amazed by the work our volunteers continue to provide year in, year out come rain or shine, and the generosity of our donors in helping to fund enhancements to our site.

Maybe for you it is the festivities and food, maybe a gift from “Father Christmas”, or time to remember friends and family present and passed.

Railway Museum Development

Thank you very much for your donations to our Railway Museum appeal earlier this year, which is funding the materials needed for this project.

Work is progressing on improving the displays in our railway museum. Designs have been created for two timber steps/walkways, work on which should start before Christmas.

Sunday school outingOne will provide visitor access to the inside of one of our Mountsorrel Granite Company wagons. The inside of the wagon will be set out as it would have been during the Sunday School outings from the early 20th century. A motion triggered audio presentation will bring these outings to life.

The other will give access to the inside of the brake van as it would have appeared during the 1920s, complete with a mannequin dressed in a period guard’s uniform. An audio presentation will describe a guard’s role during that period.

Tar Wagon Restoration

Tar wagon restorationWe are restoring a 1939 tank wagon that was used for carrying tar. 80 years worth of grime and corrosion has been scraped from the wagon and repainting is well advanced. The large timber braces at each end of the wagon had rotted away and it has been a challenge to remove the ends of the wagon so new timbers can be carefully cut to shape and installed.

The wagon will be painted into the livery of Midland Tar Distillers. This was a tar company based in Birmingham that had a plant at the old gas works in Leicester during the first half of the 20th century. It is hoped that the livery will be applied in January and the wagon will then be on public display.

Garden Railway Model Village

Landscaping the garden railwayA big thank you goes to our volunteer Natalia, who together with her parents, have donated plants and planted them around our new model village. Thanks also to our volunteer Peter, who has provided a donation to allow us to purchase the model village buildings.

Quarry Bottom Appeal Fund Raising

Our £5,200 Quarry Bottom appeal has passed the £2,000 mark! This will fund materials to allow us to extend the narrow gauge railway running line, and create a new path and fencing. It will run from the back of the Railway Museum, around the perimeter of the quarry bottom, and will rejoin the current path network via a new level crossing over the standard gauge sidings next to the water crane. This will provide much improved visitor access to the rock faces and open up new areas of interest that can be created in the quarry bottom. These could include displays of restored historic quarry machinery and tools and a recreation of a timber rock loading hoist, which will allow our younger visitors to get hands on with loading narrow gauge wagons.

Working on the Narrow Gauge extensionWork progresses as funds are raised; narrow gauge track has already been purchased and laid, and path fencing is underway. You can donate to this appeal by either cheque or via bank transfer, any amount large or small is greatly appreciated. Please make your cheque payable to “MARCH” (Mountsorrel And Rothley Community Heritage Centre) and send to Mountsorrel And Rothley Community Heritage Centre, 240 Swithland Lane, Rothley, Leicester, LE7 7UE. If you would like to donate via bank transfer please email our fund raising volunteer Malcolm, full details can be found on our how to donate page.

Christmas at Granites

The Heritage Centre Site and Granite’s are closed for Christmas and New Year from December 24th through until January 1st, reopening again on January 2nd at 10am. We are open as usual until 4.45pm on Monday December 23rd.

Memory Tree

Rosemary Conley at the memory tree

Rosemary Conley at the Memory Tree

Our Christmas Memory Tree is a simple way to remember a friend or loved one that is no longer with us. We have a box of baubles with ribbon in Granite’s. Write their name on the ribbon and tie it to the tree, then leave a donation in our donation box. Donations will be split equally between our current appeal fund and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The memory tree is proving very popular and we are delighted that local celebrity Rosemary Conley tied on a bauble during her recent visit.

The Christmas Memory Tree will be available until our last day before closing for Christmas, December 23rd.

Festive Food

Granite’s menu takes on a festive flavour on the run up to Christmas. Our home made giant mince pies are already available, delicious served hot or cold. Why not add a pot of clotted cream! Our home made sausage hot pot is back served in a giant Yorkshire pudding, and will shortly be available with a fresh turkey option. From December the 1st there will be fresh turkey and cranberry baguettes and paninis as well! Last but not least our legendary home made broccoli and Stilton soup, with even more Stilton!

Items for sale 2019

Gift Ideas

Bachmann Percy and the Troublesome TrucksWe have some excellent ideas for Christmas presents in Granite’s!

  • Interested in history? Then our A4 size 40 page glossy guide book, illustrated with dozens of photos, describes how the Mountsorrel and Rothley Community Heritage Centre was created by community volunteers, and how they restored the Mountsorrel Railway. There are also chapters explaining the history of quarrying in Mountsorrel and the history of the Mountsorrel Railway. A perfect gift for only £6!
  • Our carefully designed greetings cards would be great to send to your friends and family over this festive period! There are small cards for £2.00 and large cards for £2.50, with beautiful paintings of scenes at the Heritage Centre and along the Mountsorrel Railway.
  • One of our talented volunteers has handmade Kiddie’s Pinnies! On sale in Granite’s for £14.95, with sizes ranging from ages 2-3, 4-5 and 6-7 with lots of designs to choose from.
  • The Heritage Centre is also a Bachmann Large Scale Thomas & Friends retailer selling the full range! These are the same size trains that you see running on our garden railway. An ideal Christmas present could be the Percy and the Troublesome Trucks set at £349.95, containing everything you need to get started at home. Items from the Thomas range are ordered in especially for you and take around a week to arrive. Last Bachmann orders for arrival before Christmas need to be placed by December 15th from Granite’s Coffee Shop.

All proceeds from our Christmas gifts go towards future projects here at the Heritage Centre!

If we don’t see you in Granite’s or around the Heritage Centre site then may we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at MARCH.