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7027 Thornbury Castle

Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by svrhunt, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. misspentyouth62

    misspentyouth62 Well-Known Member

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    I'm not clear as you propose, that many knew 7027 was up for sale.
    I'm also not recalling any formal, specific appeals for contributions towards 7027 whilst it has been privately owned. I may have overlooked. Whilst at Tyseley I always considered it 'spare' and for the greater cause, that being 7029
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022
  2. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    What would they have paid into? It’s all a bit Catch 22: you can’t donate to a non-existent group, but you can’t really form the “Thornbury Castle Preservation Society” if you don’t own it, and don’t have a clear path to obtaining ownership. It’s a rather different situation to obtaining locos from BR or Barry when there was a seller prepared to sell if you registered interest and could credibly demonstrate you could raise the asking price.

    Tom
     
  3. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Precisely my point. One wonders what the Charities Commission would make of Trustees ignorance of a major and controversial purchase being defended on the basis that "They are an autonomous group. We have no authority or wish to have authority over private individuals who pursue their interests." when that selfsame autonomous group uses GWS letterhead details.
    I think we're aligned - it's far from clear to me that anyone except (obviously) the 4709 group knew this was for sale.
     
  4. steam_mad

    steam_mad Member

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    On the face of it, assuming it is the GWS that have purchased the loco and not supporters privately, the Trustees of the GWS Ltd are failing to meet the most basic requirements of a Charity Trustee in that:

    "As a trustee you must take steps to make sure that your charity’s money is safe, properly used and accounted for. Every trustee has to do this. Even if your charity has an expert to manage its finances, you are still responsible for overseeing your charity’s money."

    Having a material amount of money leave the Charity's bank account for the GWS Trustees to be completely unaware of it is, bluntly, a massive failing in governance of the organisation. How are the Trustee's reassuring themselves that the money is being used for anything close to the intended purpose on which they (GWS Ltd) received the donation?
     
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  5. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, and if you go to 4709 website and click on donate, you end up at https://didcotrailwaycentre.digitickets.co.uk/category/30497 - i.e. the payment is processed through the Didcot Railway Centre payment mechanism.

    The governance is all a bit murky: were I a trustee of the GWS charity, I’d be feeling distinctly squirmy. The 4709 project is clearly shown as a ring fenced fund within the overall GWS accounts. Yet they are making very substantial purchases - if the GWS statements are to be believed - without the GWS trustees knowing. I think the GWS members should be asking some pretty searching questions about the Society’s internal financial controls.

    Tom
     
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  6. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    While that's true, perception is a really big deal in this game .

    If the owner wanted to lose the responsibility, and especially if it was clocking up storage charges then a cash offer on the table - if that's what it was - beats the hell out waiting months or years for a new preservation group to form and get the money together. However the way things have happened provides ample material for conspiracy theorists. I'm just surprised that so much flak has gone the way of the GWS, who appear to be minimally involved, rather less to the 4709 group, and none at all to the vendor.
     
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  7. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    You seem to have missed a lot of (admittedly contradictory) press releases. I wasn't in any doubt that something was in the wind.
     
  8. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    The possible point of reconciliation would be if the purchase is being privately funded, with a view that 7027 will then be transferred to GWS (4709 Group) ownership post transfer. However, while that deals with the purchase element, it would represent a material increase in the asset value of the GWS (at the higher values being speculated upon, one that would be a multiple of the last book value assessment of the 4709 Restricted Fund), while implying future liabilities (space, restoration costs, whatever) on the part of the GWS.

    If I were a trustee of a charity being offered so material a gift, I would be insisting that this was at minimum subject to formal review by the board of trustees, with an appropriate level of diligence to underpin that decision.
     
  9. GWR4707

    GWR4707 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Just delving back into the GWS Facebook for an after tea review, jesus christ they could do with a) employing some crisis pr specialists sharpish and b) whilst the CEO engaging is a positive he needs to walk away quickly.

    It's rapidly turning into a total mess way beyond 7027.

    Sent from my SM-A125F using Tapatalk
     
  10. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Fair enough - but in the context of those wishing to preserve 7027 as a Castle, were those smoke signals enough to support any kind of appeal?
     
  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I think the flak for the GWS is on account of what it says about financial controls within the GWS. As far as I can see, the 4709 group has no independent existence outside the GWS - so if the GWS didn’t buy Thornbury Castle, then who did?

    Tom
     
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  12. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    Not just financial controls.
     
  13. Jimc

    Jimc Part of the furniture

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    There's the rub... An awful lot of these big deals are done behind closed doors. Consider the 4920 Dumbleton Hall saga. South Devon Railway (Ex Dumbleton Hall Preservation Soc) seem to have thought - or at least convinced themselves - they were selling it for a return to steam and in short order its on a ship and off to Japan.
     
  14. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    For several decades various parties either planned to strip Thornbury Castle for spares or thought they might restore it but then had second thoughts. All of a sudden we have two lots of people squabbling to do something with it, but unfortunately with conflicting ideas of what they want do with it. Looking from outside, as a member of neither of those groups, I see two very important questions: where would either lot get the money, and how long would it take?
     
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  15. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    To the last bit I would add ......before HMRC and the Charity Commissioners take a special interest. On the one hand we have the GWS cowering in a corner whimpering ..."not us gov, its them over there". On the other hand gift aid for charitable purposes for the 4709 project is being claimed through.....the GWS. Worse still we are told that the signatories to the ring fenced 4709 account are nothing to do with the GWS.

    This just got a whole lot worse and is getting well beyond simply should 7027 be sacrificed but as yet we see no firm action, simple comments attempting to deflect.
     
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  16. John Petley

    John Petley Part of the furniture

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    I think we can be pretty confident that this latest press release announcing the Star new build is highly unlikely to result in any of the currently nearly 700 signatories to the petition to save 7027 changing their minds.

    It was interesting that when the Beachy Head group at the Bluebell was considering a follow-up project to 32424, the initial plan - since abandoned - was to build an SE&CR E Class and the reason for choosing an E rather than the slightly more graceful D was the existence of no. 737 in York Museum. 737 is no more likely to steam that Lode Star, but even so, building a second example of an already extant class was deemed unlikely to generate sufficient enthusiasm. Even without this hoo-hah, I would say that the likelihood of any realistic amount of funding to start rolling in for this Star project is precisely zero.
     
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  17. MellishR

    MellishR Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    That's your guess, which could be right or wrong. How about the likelihood of any realistic amount of funding to start rolling in to restore another Castle, when there are some currently in working order or soon to be, and at least one (at Tyseley) already subject to a funding appeal?
     
  18. green five

    green five Resident of Nat Pres

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    What the.....?


    Sent from my XQ-BT52 using Tapatalk
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  19. Great Western

    Great Western Member

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    The way I read it is, the GWS claim they knew nothing about the purchase of Thornbury by the 4709 group who are “independent” of the GWS or so the GWS say.

    The 4709 group don’t have several thousand pounds sitting round in their account, as others have said I’d you donate to the project you go via GWS fundraising channels?

    This would to me seem like the 4709 group is part of the GWS in some form, even if only on paper for admin and fundraising purposes (is this allowed?).

    But this doesn’t answer the question of where did the money to buy Thornbury come from? Was it a loan from the GWS to 4709, if so the statement from GWS that they knew nothing doesn’t ring true.

    If the 4709 group have had a windfall in the last period since their accounts where filed then why not simply say ? Was the windfall enough to order a new correct boiler or at least a good chunk of the overall cost or was it just enough to buy the Castle?

    This new story about a Star is just a smoke screen to try to brush off the fall out I think, more mud and merk to make this sorry tale even more toxic for both the GWS and 4709.

    If in some shape or form GWS own Thornbury which i suspect they do, why not say so and open a dedicated Thornbury fund so we Dan put our money where our mouths are.

    They could have a 40XX castle, a 50xx castle and whatever sub class Thornbury is ?
     
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  20. Tobbes

    Tobbes Member

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    I can see the appeal of having a Star at Didcot and thereby completing the set of GWR 4-6-0s (albeit with a County with a bodged boiler); I can also see the attraction of a Star that is operational rather than 4003 Lode Star which is at this point (like City of Birmingham) an artefact in its own right as it is was prepared for preservation by Swindon who reputedly put a great deal of time and effort into it.

    But if you want a Star, honestly make the case for building one from scratch: like 32424, you've got a No 1 boiler to use, and all of the other bits have been made before whether for Tornado, PoW or Lyn.

    This is especially true if those who've forgotten more about GWR 4-6-0s than I'll ever know tell us that the BR-built batch of which 7027 was part was (wholly unsurprisingly) mechanically different from the 13* Stars converted into Castles and that therefore a retro conversion is somewhat more demanding than lopping a foot off the back with a gas-axe, bunging a No 1 boiler on and fabricating a new cab.... (unless they want to nick the one off 2999 becuase it'll look about right even if it's wrong**).

    All of this was foreseeable, especially given that 7027 was being restored as itself in its own right in a way that Maindy Hall was not.

    It beggars belief that the 4709 group were so engrossed in what they were doing that they thought this would be a good idea: if you're that far into the bunker, then you probably want to have some external counsel about the other decisions you're making.

    *if Wikipedia is right
    ** IRONY ALERT
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2022

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