Tinner's Forge

My signature building, this old stone forge has been with me for several years and now takes pride of place on my Tinner's Forge layout.

It has an unusual set of arches in the end wall, a large sliding wooden door and various other doors & windows. The chimney is long gone, and the actual building is looking worse and worse each time I go back.

The model is card with Scalescenes brick paper covering, with various pieces of plastic strip to provide the detail.

Tinner's Forge - a possible history.

Recent research into the history of the Chacewater to Newquay line has unearthed a hitherto unknown and quite interesting story. What most books would lead you to believe is mostly true, but there are sinister undertones involving the War Office, and the British and American Militaries.

Penhale Camp
In the late 1800s, the War Office saw the potential of establishing a large training camp on the dunes above Perranporth. The camp was split into two for operational and security reasons. The main part of the camp was positioned on the headland between Ligger Point and Penhale Point, the other smaller part of the camp was hidden in the valley to the southwest of Cubert.
Here, well away from prying eyes, troops were trained in all sorts of offensive combat, including demolition and sabotage. Whereas the Cornish population were usually keen to avoid any entanglement with government officials, especially the Excise Men, this 'not seen anything' attitude was encouraged by the War Office in order to keep the camp and its activities as quiet as possible. In exchange, the Government itself discouraged too much involvement of its officers with the locals' nocturnal dealings. Even today, only the main part of the camp on the headland is marked on OS Maps of the area.

With the arrival of the railway first to St Newlyn East, and then later to Treamble, the War Office were able to move troops and supplies to and from Penhale Camp far easier and with even less fuss.

Shepherds Station
In 1903 the GWR opened the line from Chacewater to Perranporth. The War Office pressed for the line to be extended to join with the Treamble branch, and Shepherds farm was chosen as the most inconspicuous spot.

This simple trackplan allowed freight trains arriving from Truro to leave a wagon or two in the siding, from where they would be collected later by the small loco running the Treamble branch. Similarly, wagons could be left in the siding and collected by any passing Newquay/Par bound freight. These collections were usually timed to be between any scheduled passenger trains.

Also well known and well documented was the removal of the rails from Shepherds Halt to Treamble, allegedly to help with the overseas rail lines during the First World War. The track bed was still used by the War Office as an alternative route to the Camp and a massively over engineered bridge was built over the track just to the east of the Halt.

As clouds darkened over Europe again in the 1920s, a decision was made to re-instate the Treamble branch, with a cover story that the mines in the area had re-opened. In reality, the War Office and the American War Department wanted somewhere in Cornwall to store munitions and other non-perishable supplies in preparation for an assault on the European mainland, should the 'Peace in Our Time' intuitive fail. The old Tinner's Forge building, south-west of Cubert was chosen as the ideal location, and a short branch was constructed off the southerly curve to Treamble.

Following the end of the war, the Treamble branch saw less and les military traffic and was closed in 1952. In 1963, the complete line from Chacewater to Tolcarne Junction was closed. In order to maintain the secrecy of the smaller Penhale Camp and the role it played, it was decided to remove all traces of Shepherds Station. This exercise was not completely successful, for the sharp eyed there are still some remnants to be found.

Tinner's Forge itself was left standing, the trackbed and platform removed and the building allowed to fall once more into disrepair.



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