Historical 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 which is on view at the station and is featured here with a short description of each ticket.

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 view the article
(pdf document format)
, which was first published in ‘Backtrack’ Vol.22 No.8, January 2008, and is reproduced here 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.

19th April 1898

19th April 1898 - Culham to Didcot

It is difficult to see what the endorsement on this ticket is for, but best guess is that it is for a bicycle. Issued at Culham for a trip to Didcot this ticket did not have the price written on it.

10th April 1899

10th April 1899 - Didcot to Culham

A First Class fare from Didcot to Culham looks to have been 11d (less than 5p nowadays). It would not be unusual for destination stations and fares to be hand written on tickets as stocks of pre-printed tickets could only be held for popular destinations and ticket types.

27th January 1902

27th January 1902 - Culham to Radley

This ticket cost the princely sum of 2d (less than 1p!) and was for PARLY (3rd class) travel from Culham to Radley, the next stop down the line. There used to be First, Second and Third class accommodation on trains with vastly differing levels of comfort (or discomfort) between them. Even so, ticket prices were beyond many and so the government enacted the Railway Regulation Act, which took effect on 1 November 1844. It compelled the provision of at least one train a day each way at a speed of not less than 12 miles an hour including stops, which were to be made at all stations, and of carriages protected from the weather and provided with seats; for all which luxuries not more than a penny a mile might be charged. These were known as Parliamentary trains and whilst obeying the letter of the law they tended not to follow the spirit as they were often timetabled to run at inconvenient times.

22nd October 1916(?)

22nd October 1916(?) - Paddington to Culham

This is the return portion of a First Class Weekend Return between Culham and Paddington and, although the year stamp is indistinct, it is thought to date from 1916. The weekend appears to be five days long according to the days printed on the ticket!

22nd January 1933

22nd January 1933 - Oxford to Culham

The overprinted C emphasises that this is a Cheap Return for use on the day of issue and by certain trains only. This ticket would have taken you just two stops down the line.

Unknown date

Unknown date - Culham to Oxford

This undated ticket is for Third Class travel between Culham and Oxford at the Government agreed rate.This type of ticket was for use by personnel on military service and would have had a large GR printed on left portion. Possibly dating from around the 1940s but old ticket stock was still being used up several decades later.

4th November 1942

4th November 1942 - Manchester(London Road) to Culham

This is an unusual ticket for several reasons. Issued by the L.M.&S.R. it is a First Class single for travel from Manchester(London Road), the destination 'Culham GW' is written in ink, as is the intermediate station of Wolverhampton. What makes this ticket more unusual is that it is specifically for a Navy Army & Air Force Officer on Duty, in all probability travelling to RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill).

8th March 1944

8th March 1944 - Abingdon or Culham to Radley

Another overprinted ticket, being PR it denotes a Privilege Ticket. For Third Class travel taking you just one stop from either Abingdon or Culham to Radley it cost 3d (just over 1p). This type of concessionary ticket would have been available to staff and sometimes members of the press.

Undated ticket

Unknown date - Culham to Southampton Central

This Third Class return ticket issued by British Railways(S) appears unused and is therefore undated. It is overprinted with a red letter 'L' emphasising that the ticket was intended for use by a member of the Armed Forces travelling to and returning from leave. Possibly this might have been someone stationed at RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill) intending to return home to Southampton but who didn't use the ticket. This would date it as being between 1948 (when British Railways came into being) and 1953 (when RNAS Culham closed). Although this could be as late as 1960 when the Admiralty ceased to have a direct interest in the site at Culham.

4th November 1951

4th November 1951 - Paddington to Culham

As this ticket dates from early BR days it is an example of old stock being used up. This Third Class monthly ticket from Paddington to Culham cost 15/6 (about 76p).

19th May 1952

19th May 1952 - Reading General to Culham

A Third Class single British Railways Western Region H.M FORCES ON LEAVE ticket issued at Reading, possibly for someone returning to RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill) which was not to close until the following year.


25th May 1953 - Culham to any station not exceeding 10 miles

This British Railways Western Region ticket was issued at Culham for an accompanied bicycle and is hand stamped with RETURN. The destintion station is not specifeid, but the journey is limited not more than 10 miles from Culham.


28th May 1953 - Ford (Sussex) to Culham

Dating from early BR days, this is another example of old stock being used up. A Southern Railways Third Class single ticket from Ford in Sussex to Culham, via Victoria and Paddington. The GR overprint reinforces that this is a Government Rate ticket for use by personnel on military service, presumably travelling to RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill) which was soon to close.

29th May 1959

29th May 1959 - Culham to Didcot

Costing just 11 pence, this First Class single ticket is one more example of old GWR stock being used up at Culham.

May 1962

22nd May 1962 - Culham to Appleford Halt

Costing just 3 pence for a 2nd Single to the next stop up the line, this ticket to Appleford Halt is marked 'British Transport Commission' on the back with the (W) on the front denoting Western Region. This body operated from 1st January 1948 to the end of 1962. It was created by the post-war Labour government as part of its nationalisation programme to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport in Great Britain.

The different classes of ticket became a bit confusing as many railway companies had effectively phased out Second Class, retaining just First and Third class. However, on 3rd June 1956 British Railways stopped using the designation of Third class, having just First and Second class tickets. Effectively Third became Second as it took quite some time for the number 3 to be changed on coaching stock, if at all. Today we know only of First and Standard classes on the railways in Britain.

10th June 1963

10th June 1963 - Abingdon to Culham

A 2nd Class 'British Transport Commission' single ticket for travel between Abingdon and Culham, a journey which would have involved changing trains at Radley. Abingdon station closed for passenger traffic on the 9th September 1963, so this could have been one of the last tickets issued for this particular journey.

Our own souvenir ticket

15th June 2019 - 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.