Ticket collection

Occasionally old tickets which were issued for travel either to or from Culham come to light. We are fortunate enough to have been able to form a small collection, part of which is on view at the station, and all are featured here.

These cardboard tickets were called 'Edmondson' tickets, after their inventor, and were date stamped using special machines of which we have two working examples in our collection. You can read about Thomas Edmondson and his invention in a fascinating article written by Geoffrey SkelseyClick or tap to read the article in pdf form, which was first published in ‘Backtrack’ Vol.22 No.8, January 2008, and is reproduced here in pdf form by kind permission of the Editor.

We are not sure when the Great Western Railway began using Edmondson type tickets, having seen April 1845 and 1846 mentioned. Certainly they would not have been in use when the Old Ticket Office first opened in 1844, and it is possible that their introduction may have taken some time to spread across the whole system. Return tickets were divided into two portions, the right hand being for the outward journey and the left hand for the return, with the station names being reversed on each portion to indicate the direction of travel. The resultant return portion of a ticket was consequently quite small and care was needed not to loose it.

The May 1904 edition of the Great Western Railway Magazine featured a long article covering the work of the Stationery Department and Mr.J.R.Townsend who had been Stationary Superintendant since 1898. The article went on to describe the ticket printing section and its operation. It had a huge output which was given as being 63,000,000 in 1903. Two illustrations Great Western Railway Magazine
May 1904

Author's collection

Click or tap link for a larger image
show a ticket printing machine, of which there were seven, and a ticket checking machine. When tickets were printed, the serial number was automatically advanced and printed on the ticket. The ticket checking machine was really a counting machine which could be stopped to check whether the serial number on a ticket matched the number counted by the machine. Discrepancies could then be investigated and corrected.

Hand stamps, such as the 'CHILD' stamp in our collection, were sometimes used to endorse a ticket and tickets were sometimes overprinted with one or two letters to denote or reinforce the type of ticket being issued. There were many different letters used and their meaning and range did change over time. We have in our collection a photocopy of a circular, sadly not the original, dated 11th March 1910

Click or tap to see the circular
which describes the newly introduced skeleton letters. It also describes the various ticket colours then in use and confirms that use of the 'CHILD' stamp is to gradually cease as new arrangements come into operation.

Over the years more letters were introduced with others ceasing, and we have collected a list of all the different letters used Skeleton letters seen by us
½ Half Day ticket
AN Angler
BI Bicycle
C Cheap ticket
CA Cattleman
CF Conference ticket
CH Convalescent Home
CL Continental tour
CR Circular railtour
CT Commercial Traveller
D Dog ticket
EC Evening Cheap ticket
EE Evening Excursion
F Fishworker
FH Fruit & Hop Picker
GR Government Rate
L HM Forces on Leave
M Monthly ticket
MA Market Trader
MM Morning ticket
OC Ocean Cruises
P Period excursion
PA Party
PN Pic-Nic
PR Privilege ticket
R Railtour
RF Reduced Fare
RM Rail and Motor tour
RR Rail and River ticket
RS Rail and Sea ticket
S Summer ticket
SL Soldier Seaman &c, on Leave
SM Saturday to Monday ticket
ST Special Trip
T Tourist
TF Territorial Force
TS Training Ship boy &c on Leave
WE Weekend ticket
WK Workman
WT Walking Tour
WW Workman Weekly ticket
which we have come across.

Solid red overprinted letters Red overprinted letters seen by us

3 Third class ticket
5 5 day ticket
D Day return
E Evening ticket
GR Government Rate
H Half day ticket
L HM Forces on Leave
P Privilege ticket
S Single ticket
were to later superceed the skeleton letters.

Our own souvenir ticket

Culham souvenir ticket

We have produced special souvenir tickets for visitors to the Old Ticket Office. This one is stamped with the date of the 175th anniversary celebrations open-day using one of the refurbished Waterlow dating machines in our collection.

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