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

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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.

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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