A Private Press-sponsored Gate
It is almost sixty years since the pubic footpath that ran outside the window of Coneygar Lodge - the home of The Reading Room Press - was diverted 20 yards down the road into the adjoining meadow. Visitors for N.A.D.F.A.S., S.W.E. and O.G.P. picnics parking in the field, will have been familiar with the gate:
This picture was taken several years ago. The gate had deteriorated further; indeed it disintegrated when removed from its hinges:
There seemed to me to be such a warmth of vernacular craftsmanship about the gate I thought it worthwhile replacing it like-for like rather than with the ubiquitous tubular steel affair. With the farmer’s blessing I commissioned a local carpenter to build another one:
All the iron-work was preserved. The hinge post remained unmoved. The delightful latch was restored. The wooden knob atop the plunger was turned from a boxwood billet discarded and rescued many years ago from the fire from a man making pub-skittles.
This could well be the first time a private press has sponsored a gate. I am grateful to Tim Morris, the land-owner for supporting my endeavour; to Trevor Sallis for making the gate; to Andrew Ives for supplying the latch-post; to Nick Sandford (“gates float my boat”) for fettling all the iron-work and both expertise and enthusiam throughout; to Peter Dunn for help hanging and digging and to Ian Stephens for providing the boxwood.