Friends of the National Railway Museum
South of England Group


Latest News

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An Intriguing Couple of Scrapbooks – by John D Richards
adobe Some while ago the NRM was approached by the V&A Museum of Childhood to see if it was interested in acquiring two scrapbooks for display as part of an exhibition of trainspotting. While the NRM had sufficient other pieces to show in the exhibition, they asked me to go to the V&A Museum in east London to inspect them and advise on their merits.

They are hardbound, foolscap size and contain lots of cuttings from railway periodicals of the mid to late 1960s. As such, they are not of a lot of interest. However, what is interesting are the pages of the book underneath the cuttings. Luckily the sellotape, which had been used to fix the cuttings, had aged becoming non-adhesive and very brittle. This meant that most were peeling away. What was uncovered was intriguing. Many of the hand-written pages had steam locomotive numbers tabulated, with shed numbers, and grouped by the month of their withdrawal. Elsewhere, there were tables of working rosters tabulating the days of the week, number of hours worked and overtime and rest-days due. Other pages, listed destinations and routings and, strangely grouped with a stage number in the last column. The latter are numbered in sequence, either 1 to 6, or 1 to 12.

The questions are: what was the purpose of the book and to whom did it belong?

In answer to the former, I and others whom I have consulted believe it may have belonged to someone working at a depot in the Birmingham area, as the destinations all seem to radiate from there. Initially, I thought we might be looking a railway or bus crew rosters, but consulting the experts from the area, we have ruled both out - the former because some of the routes were not railway served, and the latter because the timings, especially overnight, seem unlikely. It could be that they are long-distance road deliveries from a major manufacturer or British Road Services. But that is as far as we can get.

As to the answer to the second question, at the end of one of the books is a drawing, in a child\’s hand, of an A4 (albeit a 4-4-2 version!) with two signatures and dates. Was this the son of the book\’s original owner who made use of them for his cuttings once the books had been discarded?

The books have been scanned, so there is a permanent record, but the originals have deteriorated and unless we can reunite them, or find a more appropriate home, they will, unfortunately, need to be disposed of. If anyone has any other thoughts, or if you want to examine some of the scanned pages, especially if you think you know Mr John D Richards from the Birmingham area who will probably be in his 70s or 80s by now, please get in touch with Mel Draper: outreach@nrmfriends-south.org.uk.

Extracts of the different types of content are included in the attached pdf document.
Trip to Kingswear to Meet Our Vice-President Peter Townend
  On Saturday 4 May a party of eight members visited Kingswear in Devon, in the company of our Vice-President, David Buck, to meet our other Vice-President, Peter Townend, who lives nearby. We travelled on the Steam Dreams excursion from Paddington by way of the GWR mainline via Swindon, Bristol Parkway and Temple Meads, Taunton, and the Dartmouth Steam Railway from Paignton. We had a very enjoyable trip and three hour lunch discussion with our two vice-presidents – the first time we have had such a meeting of the SoEG dignitaries. For a fuller report on the trip - with photos - please click on this link

Summer Outing 2020: (very) advance note
  Thoughts have started turning already to our Summer outing for 2020, the present proposal being a visit to the Fawley Hill Railway of the late Sir William McAlpine, one of our former Vice-Presidents. If the trip proves practicable, details will appear in the Diary section of our website, but, in the meantime, if you would like to register your interest, please contact Phil Brown at outings@nrmfriends-south.org.uk