33 – Railway Crossing

Along the tracks was the site of The Row, a name given due to lack of other rows of houses in Whitecroft. One of the seven houses in The Row was the meeting place of the Primitive Methodists that eventually built a chapel in Whitechapel Road, Bream in 1858. For many years afterwards the congregation of the Bream chapel held a procession of witness from Bream to The Row to recognise their roots.

Just before we reach the Whitecroft level crossing, the large building on the right was used by the firm founded by Donald Nash and Royston Morgan. You’ll see the brick built front as we round the corner.

Nash and Morgan began in a hut near the Memorial Hall in 1944, doing general welding and fabrication. They had this building put up and moved here a few years later, switching to making and fitting lorry vehicle bodies. In 1965 they started building showman’s travelling vans and in 1976 they built longest travelling van in world at 55ft for Gerry Cottle of circus fame. This van was in the Guiness book of records for 2 years – until the Americans built a bigger one. It needed special dispensation to travel through Chepstow on it’s way to Torquay.
Vans built here for circus and fairground people were very high quailty and could even include such features as marble fireplaces.
By 1991 there was a workforce of 46 skilled craftsmen and the cost of a travelling van could be £70,000, the price of a reasonable house at the time.

A photo of a Nash and Morgan travelling van
A photo of a Nash and Morgan travelling van

The site is currently used by Forest of Dean Tyres and an antiques business with the amusing motto “junk bought, antiques sold”.