Former Leamington ‘pub regular’ nameplate to star in auction debut

By Geoff Courtney

A steam locomotive nameplate that delighted regulars at a pub in Leamington Spa is to go under the hammer for the first time at an auction in Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on September 1.

It is Knight of the Thistle, which was carried by Star class No. 4012 for more than four decades and is an example of the largest nameplates ever fitted to GWR locomotives.

Name change: LNER Pacific No. 60065 Knight of Thistle is the centre of attention as it passes under the work’s footbridge at Doncaster with a rake of Gresley teak carriages on an Up express in May 1953. The A3 was named Knight of the Thistle – an identical name to GWR Star class No. 4012 – from new until 1932, when the word ‘the’ was dropped. BKB GREEN – NORMAN PREEDY ARCHIVE

The 4-6-0 was built at Swindon works in March 1908 and withdrawn by BR from Newton Abbot (83A) in October 1949. The details of which pub the plate was located in appear to be lost in the mists of time, however.

Mike Soden, director and auctioneer of Great Central Railwayana, who will be selling the nameplate, said: “Neither this plate nor the one from the other side has been at auction before.

“The plate we are selling has been put into the auction by the family of the collector who bought it direct from BR, while the other plate is understood to be in a private collection and has never come onto market.”

Mike, one of the country’s most respected railwayana auctioneers and an avid GWR enthusiast, said the plates from the 10 Star class locos named after knights were the largest ever fitted to GWR engines. He said the plate coming up for auction on September 1 had been on display for a time at a pub in Leamington Spa.

Read more in Issue 244 of HR – on sale now!

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