It’s Great Western to the fore, but Essex gets a look-in

A major GWR collection may be set to take centre stage at GW Railwayana’s
July 14 auction, as reported in last month’s Heritage Railway, but other companies and locations will also be adding their weight.

The headline items from the collection are nameplates County of Oxford, St Mawes Castle, Fringford Manor and Runter Hall (Nos. 1023, 5018, 7814 and 7919 respectively), with Charles Dickens from Britannia No. 70033 flying the Standard flag.

A sixth nameplate – the only main line steam plate not from the collection – is Quentin Durward, from GWR Saint class No. 2979 that was built at Swindon in April 1905 as a 4-4-2 named Magnet, renamed after the 1823 Sir Walter Scott novel in March 1907, and rebuilt as a 4-6-0 in August 1912. It was withdrawn by BR from Newport Ebbw Junction (86A) in January 1951 after an operational life of 46 years.

Another nameplate in the auction is Sir Ralph Verney from 1922-built Metropolitan Railway Bo-Bo electric No. 3, this being one of the alloy plates that replaced the original brass versions in 1953, while there is also the smokebox numberplate from GWR No. 1013 County of Dorset.

Unknown survivor

Thoughts then turn to the fair county of Essex, from where three items will be going under Simon Turner’s hammer, led by a totem sign from Westcliff on Sea. The granddaughter of a station employee who obtained the sign in the mid-1950s has placed it in the auction, and the totem is a previously unknown survivor from this London Tilbury & Southend line station.

Two miles from Westcliff is Leigh-on-Sea station, and this was the location of a high-profile ceremony on January 4, 1934, that is recorded on the other two Essex items. The occasion was the opening of the town’s new station half a mile to the west of the original built in 1855. Among VIPs who attended were LMS chairman Sir Josiah Stamp and Coun Herbert Frith, mayor of Southend.

The first item is a large inscribed silver key – presumably representing a key to the station – that was presented to the mayor by Sir Josiah, and the second a ticket mounted in a silver frame that was also presented to the mayor. This ticket was numbered 001, and allowed Coun Frith and his party to travel first class from the new station to Southend, presumably after the ceremony.

Read more in Issue 242 of HR – on sale now!

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