Whitewebb's Own Green Goddess
Text By John Wilkinson - Photographs by Mike Price
When it was announced in the national press that the Green Goddesses were to be disposed of a quick consultation among the Trustees decided that one would be of benefit to the Museum. The first obstacle was to find out who owned them.
You would think the owner might have been the MOD, the Army or Central Government, but after very many phone calls and a lot of, "nothing to do with us" responses we eventually arrived at the office of the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott. "Yes, we are disposing of them", came the answer to our enquiry, "would you like to write and tell us about your Museum and send any appropriate leaflets". This was quickly done together with a letter of support from our then MP Stephen Twigg, who had previously visited the Museum and had been very encouraging.
Nothing happened for a full year until mid February 2006, when a message was left on the Museum ansaphone requesting us to contact a John Wolfson at the Deputy Prime Minister's office regarding a Green Goddess. Contact was promptly made, more questions asked and answers given. Two days later we received a letter from the Deputy Prime Minister's office telling us that we had been selected to receive a donation of a Green Goddess - only one snag, it needed to be picked up from Staffordshire!
This could have been a major problem, the trip being approximately 340 miles, but a quick consultation with our Vice Chairman Chris Norris, and his remark of, "That's no problem, when do you want it picked up?" All was taken in his stride - for which we are very grateful. What would we do without him? Four days later with detailed directions from a very helpful lady at the Emergency Fire Service at Marchingham, (including a warning of where to look out for the speed cameras which were located two miles from the depot), Chris set off with Andrew Caldrew in Chris's tow-truck in case the Green Goddess broke down.
Upon arrival at the Emergency Centre in Marchingham Chris found everybody was very helpful and friendly. They informed him that the vehicle had been fully serviced the previous day, and provided a detailed explanation of all spares held in the various lockers. A full set of workshop manuals and the vehicle history going back to the 1950's was handed over, and the journey back to Enfield commenced with their good wishes.
When Chris collected the Green Goddess, she was given a full tank of petrol, (26 gallons), but due to fuel consumption of only 6 mpg, that only lasted as far as the A1, at which point Chris had to put in another £50.00 pounds worth.
They arrived at the Museum in the early afternoon to great excitement and plenty of fuss was made of our new acquisition. 1,800 miles on the clock, a new engine at 360 miles, and not yet run in! Green Goddess PGW 605 had arrived at her new home, hopefully to be a cherished exhibit for the visitors to the Museum and outside shows.
We are very grateful to club member Dave Draper who was approached prior to the Green Goddess being accepted by us and he declared an interest to "adopt" her, and to date he has already got a plan of action drawn up for general maintenance - indeed he has already started on cleaning the cab interior.
Without this sort of commitment by Society members acquisitions can become of very dubious benefit if vehicles cannot be maintained in the pristine condition that the Green Goddess has been delivered to us in. The Museum has of course various vehicles owned by the Trust so why not adopt one and have the pleasure of seeing the results of your efforts being exhibited.
Just speak to any Trustee if you are interested. You will be welcomed with open arms.