Posts Tagged ‘1939’

Speeding North with the Royal Scot

February 22, 2016

Only once in my life have I taken a train that was the equivalent of the Royal Scot. Back in 1970 my future wife and I went youth hostelling in Scotland and the first leg of this was the train from Euston to Glasgow. In those days we had electric power up to Crewe and then a diesel loco took over for the rest of the journey.

Earlier, in the days of steam power, the Royal Scot ran non-stop for the 299 miles from Euston to Carlisle. At that point the driver and fireman were replaced by fresh enginemen for the rest of the journey to Glasgow.

One of my favourite railway books has the title I have given this blog. It was written by a driver and describes the route and the work involved for him and his fireman mate. It is an easy read and a way of discovering just what footplate life was like, at any rate on a reasonably modern express passenger loco.

And here is that book.


We can see straight away that this is no new book. In fact it was published in 1939.


The book is nicely illustrated with photographs and some diagrams. This is the frontispiece which allows us to meet our author/driver.


Driver Earle (for that is his name) is not as tall as the wheels of his loco which, for this trip, was number 6206 – Princess Marie Louise. His fireman was Tom.

Here’s another page of photos.


The detail of the journey is mixed in with little stories that Driver Earle remembers. And he doesn’t fail to describe the scenery, whether it be industrial or the Westmorland fells.


We even learn about life in the overnight hostel and how our driver spends his spare time.

All in all, a good read. I’ve just looked up prices on internet book sellers. It doesn’t seem to come cheap! Mine cost me 6d at a jumble sale – circa 1963

Another calendar

January 23, 2016

Another calendar

Well, well! A third calendar for 2016 which I can feel is worthy of a comment. This one is actually about a garden and was given to my wife. But it also has a railway context for this one features posters of Kew Gardens, encouraging people to get there by Underground.

You can just think of it as lovely poster art and here is the January image.

image002This is a 1939 poster with artwork by Edward Bawden.

For added nerdiness it even tells you which trolleybuses can get you there.

I like poster art. It has no hidden symbolism designed to allow experts to spout on about it. It may attempt to glamorise the absolute truth but it does give an idea of reality. If you go to Kew these days you can still see cacti as shown in this poster.


This was on a 2014 visit.

And of course, the huge glasshouses are still there too.




Eric Ravilious – November

November 30, 2014

I have been back in seventh heaven in November. My Eric Ravilious calendar has been showing me a chalk downland scene and one I am very familiar with.


This is not the much loved Sussex of my childhood.  This is the equally loved Wiltshire of my adult life. And I was last at the Westbury White Horse on October 1st when I took this picture.


What has changed since 1939, when Eric produced his painting, is that the horse has been concreted and painted. You no longer get the chalky streaks flowing off the hooves in rainy weather.

Of course, the trains have changed as well. From this viewpoint, but not where Eric has put his train, I managed to get two of the present day trains.


These are nearer in to Westbury.

I wanted a closer look at Eric’s train.


I should say that loco is stylised. It doesn’t look to be anything I’d have expected the Great Western Railway to have been operating in 1939. But it looks the part as it works hard with its mixed goods train.

What a lovely picture!

Screw in Stoppers

July 4, 2014

I have said before, I do not collect bottles, but somehow some arrive with me. Actually, I do like old glass bottles, mostly because they have writing on them, produced when the bottle was moulded. I also rather like screw-in stoppers – assuming they have writing on them.

Here’s a little collection of mine.


The bottles have the matching thread moulded into the neck. The rubber washer on the stopper (perished or missing on this collection) ensures a tight seal. But as I say, it is the writing which makes them interesting so lets take a look.


This one was from Simonds of Reading. This brewery started business in 1785 and remained in production until the 21st century although name changes had taken place before then.

More interesting to me is a Wadworth stopper. Wadworth are the local brewer still running under that name in Devizes, our local town.


Two of the stoppers have this on top. I can only guess that 1939 might be the year they were made. Maybe somebody could tell me more.

So to the fourth of the stoppers.


R. Fry were  manufacturers of aerated mineral water (fizzy pop to us) and based at Tonbridge Wells in Kent. This is the correct stopper for the bottle I have used to photograph all of them. It’s an earthenware rather than a glass bottle.


I find it an interesting little collection.