Since occupying The Old Ticket Office, Entikera Ltd have understandably developed an interest in the history of the building together with its operation and place within the GWR. A small but constantly growing collection of items has been gathered for general display in the Old Ticket Office. As it is a working environment which must take into account the varying constraints imposed upon space, provision for displaying these items can vary from time to time. It may not always be possible therefore to view the complete collection as it stands at any one time as the balance of the collection will be held off site. There are however always a good number of items and old photographs to see.
It would be impractical to try to document online everything held, however particular portions, such as certain book series and GWR jigsaws, are dealt with in greater depth and can be seen by following the appropriate menus. The full collection catalogue can be accessed under the 'ABOUT/Downloadable resources' menu tab.
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This page serves as an introduction to those items in our collection which do not easily fall into other broader categories and it will be expanded as appropriate.
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There are a number of items of clothing in the collection. The one shown here is a GWR Porter’s jacket of unknown origin and date, possibly from 1930s but looking almost unused.
Also in the collection is what is believed to be a GWR Porter’s cap, again of unknown origin and date, but the peak and button suggest that it dates from the 1860s. The cap is fairly small and might have been worn by a boy porter. One visitor thought that the picture of an engine on the button associated it more with the Taff Vale Railway which became a part of Great Western Railway on 1 January 1922.
The collection holds a number of brass GWR buttons from different periods and in a variety of styles.
Edmondson date punches
In the collection are two Edmondson ticket date punches. They are both actually made by Waterlow & Sons of London, with serial numbers 4063 and 4254 respectively. They have both been restored to fully working condition and are complete with spools, ribbon and original date type. They are of unknown origin and date but serve to illustrate the type of equipment which would have been present in the ticket office. Operation was purely mechanical. When a ticket is pushed into the slot it is gripped by the moving jaws which serve to press it against the ribbon and date type. The ribbon would then be automatically advanced by a ratchet mechanism. Every morning the ticket clerk would have to reset and ink the ribbon and change the date type which is held in place beneath the knurled knob seen near the middle. Marks on the counter top show where the original machines used to be fixed when in use.
This system of dating pre-numbered tickets was devised by Thomas Edmondson, a trained cabinet maker, who became a station master on the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway. Previously, railway companies had used handwritten tickets, but it was laborious for a ticket clerk to write out a ticket for each passenger. He devised a complete system using pre-printed tickets that was both faster and one which could be audited as the takings had to be reconciled against the serial numbers of the unsold tickets at the end of each day. The tickets were printed on card cut to 1 7⁄32 by 2¼ inches, with a nominal thickness of 1⁄32 inch. Stocks would have been kept stacked in racks within a cabinet so that the next ticket in sequence could be taken from the correct rack. Whilst stations held stocks of tickets for popular destinations and classes of travel, blank tickets were also available for use when an appropriate pre-printed ticket was not held at the issuing station.
You can also read about Thomas Edmondson and his invention in a fascinating Click or tap to view the article
(pdf document format)article written by Geoffrey Skelsey, which was first published in ‘Backtrack’ Vol.22 No.8, January 2008, and is reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor.
Other associated items in our collection include a box of date type, two hand punches as used by Ticket Inspectors, hand stamps for overprinting tickets with the endorsements 'Child' or '⅔rds Rate', and a ticket printing die for a ticket from Evesham to Paddington.
The early operation of the railway was overseen by the Railway Police whose constables were responsible for a particular 'beat'. As well as undertaking what we would think of as normal police duties, they were also responsible for ensuring the safe operation of the railway which included the controlling of rail traffic and operating the signals. They had to ensure there was a suitable time delay between trains entering each section of track and thus, hopefully, avoid a collision. There was however no reliable way in which they could be warned if a train had broken down, was simply running slowly, or of any other threat to safety, and this inevitably lead to some bad accidents. Signal boxes as we would now recognise them only started to appear in the early 1870s when the fixed block method of controlling the flow of rail traffic was adopted and technology became available to allow for the remote control of signals and telegraphic communication was developed. Signalmen became responsible for the operational aspects of the railway, with the railway police becoming responsible for law and order along the railway.
Most of the early railway police constables carried an elaborately painted wood truncheon and we are fortunate to have a fine example in our collection. Probably dating from the 1860s it is decorated with the Royal Crown and the initials GWR for the railway company. A larger image can be viewed by clicking or tapping the thumbnail image.
There were many changes in the way that the railway police were organised over the years with the various constabularies eventually becoming the nucleus of today's British Transport Police. You can read a detailed history of this specialised force on the British Transport Police website.
Railway Service badge
During both world wars many railway companies issued lapel badges to their workers to show they had been placed into the 'Reserved Occupation' category which meant that they would not get called up for Military service. In the First World War these badges had an Royal Crown on them, but by World War Two the government’s policy had changed and crowns were only to be used on badges for those directly employed on government business. The railway companies therefore agreed on a new pattern of badge to be used by them all. This small oval brass badge generally had a steam locomotive on the top half, an enamelled blue bar saying ‘Railway Service’ across the centre and the initials of the railway company beneath, G.W.R. on our example. They had a button hole fastening and were produced by Fattorini of Birmingham, with their makers name being marked across the top on the back.
All the badges had a unique reference number stamped on the back with a cast letter prefix, ours being J 17321. These numbers were held on a central register so that each recipient could be identified. It has been suggested that the badges would have been worn by railway employees both on duty and off, and would have enabled staff to get to work during air raid warnings. The badge is shown here about full size, but a larger image can be viewed by clicking or tapping the thumbnail image.