Wednesday 26 June 2013

Neilson, Reid & Co 0-4-0ST Steam Locomotive No 9, 1901

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This little locomotive, built by Neilson, Reid & Co in 1901 as works number 5907 was built for the Bass Brewery in Burton-upon-Trent, who operated a fairly sizeable railway around the town using its own fleet of locomotives and wagons, and even at least one carriage for inspections, dignitaries etc. It was Number 9 in the fleet, and today is the only surviving steam locomotive from the railway, and, along with one of the carriages and a petrol locomotive later used are on display at the National Brewery Centre in Burton-upon-Trent. The red triangle seen on the locomotive is the symbol of Bass

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Monday 24 June 2013

Edwardian Weekend on the Bluebell Railway

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  South Eastern & Chatham Railway locomotives 178 of 1910 and 263 of 1905

The Bluebell Railway has featured on the blog before (here - and is home to easily the best collection of working Victorian and Edwardian locomotives and rolling stock in the UK and likely the world. This past weekend on 22nd and 23rd June, the railway ran an Edwardian Weekend, showcasing the railway's locomotives and carriages that would have been seen on the railways in the Edwardian era, as well as having staff in period clothing and also an Edwardian Fair, with various amusements of the time including a Punch and Judy show. These photographs hopefully give a good impression of the event which I hope will be run in years to come, as is one of the few preserved railways that have not only a railway station set in the Victorian/Edwardian era but also the locomotives and rolling stock to go with it, and also accurate railway uniforms of the era.

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 Train comprising of the two SECR locomotives and 1898/1900 Metropolitan Railway carriages leaving Horsted Keynes station

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The view from an 1898 Metropolitan Railway carriage over East Grinstead viaduct

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South Eastern & Chatham Railway 'Birdcage' brake carriage 901 built in 1910
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 South Eastern & Chatham Railway P Class locomotive 178 of 1910

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One of many interesting Edwardian related projects at the Bluebell Railway is the reconstruction of a 1911 London, Brighton & South Coast Railway express passenger locomotive, 'Beachy Head'

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 London & South Western Railway Lavatory Brake 3rd carriage 1520 of 1910, seen here in the livery it would have worn when first built - it has a very large luggage compartment for the amount of luggage holidaying Edwardians took with them to the south coast of England

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 South Eastern & Chatham Railway H Class locomotive 263 of 1905

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 A train consisting of four wheeled 19th century carriages (plus LSWR 1520 of 1910 out of shot), hauled by South Eastern & Chatham Railway P Class locomotive 323, leaving Sheffield Park station with staff in period London, Brighton & South Coast Railway uniform

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 Close up of station lamp at Sheffield Park, with the engine shed and two Edwardian SECR locomotives in the background

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 Sheffield Park station

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 Another photo of the charming little P Class locomotive 178 of 1910 - three of these locomotives reside at the Bluebell Railway, and four in total are preserved - not bad when you consider the P Class only totaled eight locomotives in all!

Friday 14 June 2013

Kent's 'Standard' knife cleaner, 1907

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 This luxury item dating from 1907 is a knife cleaner from Kent's of London, a vital item in the days before stainless steel became widely available, when knives would not just dull but also become less sharp quicker. Knives would be inserted into the holes along the top of the machine, with metal pieces to guide and hold the knife in position, apparently allowing multiple knives to be cleaned at any one time, and cleaning powder would be inserted into the machine (Kent's Emery was the only product supposedly to be used in this cleaner - although whether that is vital or just Edwardian marketing is up to you to decide!), and the handle turned and brushes inside would get the knives back in good condition

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Wednesday 12 June 2013

Horse-drawn coal delivery cart, c1900

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 This lovely recreated scene at Milestones Museum, Basingstoke is of a typical Edwardian era horse-drawn coal delivery cart. The carts would travel around towns and cities delivering coal to those who had already paid for it - on delivery it would often be put down a 'coal hole', sometimes a small cupboard under the stairs of a house, or in the cellars of a house, with a hole in the front wall near street level or on the pavement itself, sometimes covered with a metal grille. In this case it would be dropped down a chute to a store in the cellar, and evidence of these can still be seen in many Edwardian and older houses around the United Kingdom

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Sunday 9 June 2013

Wallis and Steevens Steam Wagon, 1912

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Wallis and Steevens steam wagon used by Pickfords, towing a horse-drawn van fitted with a towbar for more modern traction

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 This unique surviving vehicle is a Wallis and Steevens of Basingstoke three ton steam wagon, of a type first built in 1911, fitted with solid rubber tyres to give a top road speed of twelve miles per hour. It is an 'overtype' steam wagon, with the front end looking like a traditional traction engine, as opposed to 'overtype' engines which often had a vertical boiler, with a more modern looking cab, which was also shorter, giving increased area for cargo carrying. With the internal combustion engine still in its infancy and not particularly reliable, especially for heavy loads, steam wagons like this were extremely popular until the 1920's and 1930's. This is the only surviving Wallis and Steevens steam wagon and is on display at the Milestones Museum, Basingstoke. There is also a replica Wallis and Steevens wagon that appears at some steam rally events during the year

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Friday 7 June 2013

Horse-drawn Stick-back Undercut Gig, c1900

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Built by Joice of Basingstoke circa 1900, this is a stick-back undercut gig, built for personal transportation built at Joice's workshops in Winchester Street, Basingstoke. It would have been drawn by a single horse and a very common sight for personal transport in Edwardian England

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Wednesday 5 June 2013

15hp New Arrol-Johnston Car (Lambert & Butler Motors 14 of 25)


This is 14 of 25 in the Lambert & Butler Motors Series of Cigarette Cards issued in 1908. From the back of the card;

"15hp air-cooled engine, with special anti-freezing arrangements. Foot warmers heated by the exhaust gas. Tank at the side for melting the snow for drinking purposes, heated by exhaust gas. Folding wind shield made of talc. The construction of the driving wheels and of the runners speaks for itself. A Burberry weave cloth is carried in the car and is arranged to cover the whole vehicle, making a sort of tent"
The car shown and described is the New Arrol-Johnston taken with Shackleton to the Antarctic for his Nimrod expedition in 1907-1909. The car was supplied by Sir William Beardmore, head of the vast Beardmore empire (which included the Arrol-Johnston company) who was the major sponsor of the Nimrod expedition. For a more detailed account of Beardmore, and of this car and it's failings in Antarctica, see this link -

Monday 3 June 2013

North Eastern Railway Electric Parcels Van, 1904

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  1904 leaflet advertising the new services

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 In 1902 the decision was taken by the North Eastern Railway to electrify the North Tyneside suburban passenger lines, which originated at Newcastle Central and spread out in a large loop towards the North Sea Coast. As well as research by the company into the benefits of electric railways including trips to the USA, the main reason behind the choosing of these lines was that the railway was rapidly losing passengers after electric Tramways had opened in the area, a faster alternative to the more sluggish steam hauled services offered by the NER. The electrification was complete and opened to the public in 1904, it was a great success and was the first electric mainline system to open to the public - the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway also had an electric passenger service open in 1904, and as to which was first often changes depending on who writes it - from an article in the North Eastern Railway Magazine in 1919, the Newcastle to Benton service opened to the public on 29th March 1904, with the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway service opening to the public a few days later. The North Eastern Railway had ran a trial as early as 27th September 1903, and the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway had a full 'dress rehearsal' on 12th March 1904 which could be where 'which was first' gets confused, however assuming these dates are correct there can be no doubt the NER was first.

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As well as the electric multiple units of carriages which were used for passenger services, single 'vans' like this one, Number 3267, also known as a Motor Luggage Van (MLV) built in 1904 at York, were built for goods services which would run as fast as the electric passenger trains and would be used for express parcels and fish which could not wait for the slower steam hauled goods trains. They were powerful enough to pull other vans and carriages so they could be used as part of longer trains. The carriage of fish is shown by the ventilated compartment - although the insides of the vehicle have been removed from its use post-1937 when this and the other electric parcels vans were used to spray antifreeze onto the tanks, the louvred sides of the compartment can still be seen. The fish would be picked up at Cullercoats and Tynemouth stations. This fascinating vehicle with a wooden body is the only survivor of the original North Eastern Railway Tyneside electrics.

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Saturday 1 June 2013

Thornycroft X Type Motor Lorry, 1918

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 This motor lorry built by Thornycroft of Basingstoke in 1918 was purchased shortly after the end of the First World War by a fruit farmer, who grew damsons for jam making. The Thornycroft X Type was a three ton capacity lorry, part of the Thornycroft range that were produced post-WW1 but were actually pre-1918 designs. At the end of the First World War, vast quantities of motor vehicles were available very cheap second-hand from the military, and combined with technologies developed during the war making motor lorries a lot more reliable, the popularity of motor commercial vehicles took off even quicker post-WW1. There is a superb page with driving experiences of this vehicle here -

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