Stratford upon Avon Station

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LMS Route: The Shakespeare Route

Stratford on Avon Station

Stratford on Avon Station (173) Stratford on Avon Shed (73) SMJ Locomotives (61)

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Historical background

The East & West Junction Railway's (E&WJR) initial presence in Stratford upon Avon reflected the paucity of the Company. Having failed to raise sufficient funds to open the line from Fenny Compton direct to Stratford upon Avon, the company had to have two bites to achieve their goal. First, they just managed to open on 1st June 1871 its initial, and inconsequential section, of 6¼ miles of single line track between Fenny Compton and Kineton. Then through a hastily organised Act of Parliament the same year the Company was given more time to build the remainder of the line to Stratford upon Avon. This section of line was some 9¼ miles long and was opened on the 1st July 1873. Then, having reached Stratford upon Avon, the E&WJR hadn't sufficient funds to build their own station and were compelled to use, for a fee of £112 per annum (to cover all expenses including locomotive water supply), the facilities of the Great Western Railway's (GWR) station known as 'Stratford & Honeybourne'. This sorry state of affairs continued until June 1875 when the E&WJR opened their own facilities, said to be a temporary structure. Finally, in 1876 the E&WJR was able to open its own permanent station in Stratford after an inspection by a Board of Trade Inspector in January of that year.

The opening of a permanent station was however very much clouded by the E&WJR's financial situation as in the previous year the Court of Chancery appointed a receiver to manage the E&WJR's affairs from 29th January 1875. This situation was to last for another twenty-seven years as the receivership wasn't lifted until 1902. The new Beyer Peacock locomotives delivered to head the services between Blisworth and Stratford upon Avon, for which payment had not been made, had to be returned to the makers and sold on to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway. The railway's inability to finance the purchase of locomotives in order to run its passenger services meant that from 31st July 1877 it was compelled to withdraw its passenger service which lasted until 12th March 1885. Given the state of its finances, which were brought about not just by being under capitalised when first built, but also by its inability to make a profit due to the railway running through a rural area with a very low density in population, one would have thought the situation was not encouraging for any allied railway proposal to extend the line. However, such an initiative did take place with the Directors of E&WJR sponsoring a line, the Evesham, Redditch and Stratford-upon-Avon Junction Railway (ER&SJR) which ran west from Stratford to a junction at Broom on the Evesham and Redditch Railway. This line was authorised on 5th August 1873 and opened on 2nd June 1879, initially only to Binton but soon extended to Stratford upon Avon. Although the ER&SJR had running powers over the Midland Railway line to Redditch they only exercised the use of five chains into the confines of Broom station. The strategy behind this extension was to generate additional traffic routed over the Midland Railway's line to Evesham and beyond.

The ER&SJR was, from the outset, operated by the E&WJR, despite the fact that it couldn't operate services from Stratford upon Avon to Blisworth in its own name. The short journey of seven miles to Broom was well within the capacity of the 0-6-0ST it could just manage to purchase from Beyer Peacock. Stratford upon Avon station was therefore in the unique position of being a terminus for two railways, at separate times, one from each direction. When first opened in 1873 for services to and from Blisworth it was a terminus for the E&WJR, but these services had to cease in 1877 due to its finances. From 1879 it was the terminus for the ER&SJR's passenger services to and from Broom. In the intervening two years the station saw no passenger services using its facilities. The only other link it had to the 'outside world' was was the short connecting line to the GWR's single line branch between Stratford on Avon and Honeybourne. However not surprisingly, the ER&SJR did not receive any receipts from the E&WJR in respect of the running rights which led it entering into receivership on 2nd January 1886. Fortuitously, this was preceded by the E&WJR being able to raise sufficient funds to purchase locomotives from Beyer Peacock and to recommence its own passenger services from Blisworth so from 22nd March 1885 (some sources reference the date as the 2nd March) which ran through to Broom. When the Blisworth to Broom passenger service was restored the first train to be hauled was by the French 2-4-0 'Ceres', one of two locomotives probably of the Buddicom/Allen/Crewe type either hired or purchased from Thomas Brassey in 1885. The other locomotive being 'La Savoie' an 0-6-0.

The London North Western Railway (LNWR) showed some interest in exploiting the heritage of Stratford upon Avon by introducing trains from Euston via Blisworth, but using their own locomotives in 1873. These were 2-4-0 'Jumbos' hauling vacuumed equipped LNWR coaches running from Blisworth to Stratford upon Avon with the E&WJR supplying pilot drivers as the E&WJR's locomotives did not have vacuum brakes. They began to operate Shakespeare Specials' on Summer Saturdays in 1890. A special notice was posted in the LNWR timetables drawing attention to this service. The E&WJR and its successor, the Stratford Midland Junction Railway, (SMJ) to focus on the burgeoning tourist potential of the district particularly on the traffic from America. They issued a pamphlet on 'England's Greatest Poet' and called the line 'The Shakespeare Route'. They also introduced an omnibus between the station and the town at Stratford. Another patriotic American bought a house built by Thomas Rogers at Stratford in 1596 and called it Harvard House, a place for the 'stars and stripes' to hang in Stratford. It was opened by the American Ambassador and the Great Central Railway (GCR) ran a special train from Marylebone for the occasion calling it the 'Harvard Special' with British and American flags on the front of the locomotive and a wreath of laurels. The loco was 4-4-2 No 1086 which brought the corridor coaches from London to Woodford where an SMJ engine 0-6-0 No 18 hauled the train forward to Stratford. It was a great publicity boost for the S&MJR.

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The history of the station

By the time the East & West opened their line on 1st July 1873 the town had already had three stations built by two other lines. The first was Sancta Lane (the original name of what is now Sanctus Road), a terminus station built by the Oxford, Worcester & Wolverhampton Railway's (OWWR) branch terminus built in a field called 'Ladye Meadow'. It was constructed from the outset as a 'narrow gauge' (4 foot 8½ inches) railway and was a simple layout comprising engine shed, 40 foot turntable, goods shed and single platform with a run round loop to release the locomotive. The second railway to arrive in Stratford upon Avon was the mixed gauge line from Hatton opened on 9th October 1860 by the independent Stratford on Avon Railway Company (SRC) with its terminal being adjacent to Birmingham Road. The obvious advantage of joining the two branch lines was quickly recognised and a new station was opened adjacent to Alcester Road on 24th July 1861 with the Birmingham Road station being relegated to goods traffic and the occasional excursion traffic, the latter ceasing in 1869. Sancta Lane was closed with its facilities moved to the new GWR station off Alcester Road. From the 1st August 1861 through services commenced between Leamington and Malvern thereby offering the citizens of Stratford upon Avon services to Birmingham, London, and to the South West and Wales. It was against this monopoly that the E&WJR and its successors had to contend with.

The E&WJR station was also at a disadvantage by being some distance from the centre of the town compared to the GWR station. Nevertheless the Stratford Herald of Tuesday 4th July 1873 made note that the station was small but substantially constructed in brick on land formerly known as Church Farm. 'At the entrance to the station stand two line old elms.' Being a single line the station only required one platform to be built. This was a common practice on many railways in the 19th century as evident at Shipston on Stour on the GWR and on the LNWR at Milverton Leamington.

There was a large assembly of the towns people at the station to welcome her, centre stage on this occasion prominently occupied by local novelist Marie Corelli. Another highly feted occasion each year was the annual Mop Fair which pressed hard on the local railway services. The E&WJR and subsequent companies had to hire coaches from many different railway companies which presented some novelty in terms of variety at the station. The E&WJR were never in very much of a financially secure position to develop their competition with the GWR. The supportive through coach of the GCR was introduced in the summer of 1902. This was running the shortest route to London of 89½ miles. Authorised running powers held by GCR were never used much apart from the occasional excursions.

Entrance to the station for both passengers and goods was from New Street which in turn was off College Lane. The entrance to the main building led into the booking hall, off which was the general waiting room, the ladies waiting room including an en-suite toilet, the station master's office and the booking and parcels office, this being accessed only via the kiosk as the door to the office was accessed from outside, off the up platform. At the Broom end of the structure was a store room whilst at the Fenny Compton end of the building was door leading into the tea room and counter with another ladies toilet being accessed from the tea room. The tap room, for the serving of good ales and beers, was accessed by staff from the kitchen and for customers from the approach roadway outside the station. Also at this end of the building was the Guard's and lamp rooms. The down platform was directly opposite the up platform but was separated by a much wider space than was normal. This space in railway parlance was the 'six-foot' as it approximated to this dimension. In this instance however it was at least double this distance. Services to Broom which were served by the down platform were few and far between and this was reflected in the very small waiting room erected on the platform. Passengers accessed the down waiting room by a 'level' crossing which was located at the Broom end of the two platforms.

Effective changes came with the formation of the S&MJR in I908. An extra half an acre of land was purchased to extend the facilities of the engine shed. Additional cover was erected over two lines alongside the main building and a hoist was obtained from Cowan & Sheldon. This area also enclosed the sheerlegs making work on the engines more comfortable for the fitters. A carriage shed was rebuilt as a wagon repair shop, this was situated on the opposite side of the new turntable (51 foot 8 inches) to the water softening plant. A new covered carriage shed was built further down on the other side of the line towards Broom Junction but this was later removed by the LMS. The turntable itself was rebuilt to accommodate the locomotives of the GCR, whilst the station platform and loop were extended. An electric generator was installed to supply power to all of the station area including the marshalling yard. Steam power for this was raised with a locomotive type boiler that charged a generator and stored power in a large accumulator at the rear of the workshop. It also powered a new 25hp horizontal saw for timber work. The only refreshment rooms on the E&WJR, later SMJ were at Stratford. Emphasising the railway as a purely local company the head offices were above the 'up' side ground floor of these station buildings. With through running of longer bogie coaches the SMJ rebuilt the platforms and extended them in 1910. Arthur Jordan noted in his book on the SMJ. 'A new carriage shed and two additional sidings were added at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1910 at a cost of £250 and in that same year the station loop was lengthened, as was the Down platform, at a cost of £75. A new signal box was erected at the west end of the Up platform and the original East & West box was released for other purposes.'. The carriage shed and sidings were located in the triangle between the line to Broom, the exchange sidings and the GWR line to Honeybourne, by then upgraded to main line standard.

During the period of LMS ownership the locomotive shed was entirely rebuilt in very unflattering corrugated iron or asbestos. The passenger service between Stratford and Broom ceased 16th June 1947. In 1950 British Railways informed Stratford RDC that passenger train booking between Blisworth and Stratford were two tickets per day, from Ettington one per month, from Kineton one per day. It was therefore their intention to withdraw the service. This came about on 7th April 1952 but it was on the 5th, that the last scheduled passenger ran with the 6:40pm to Blisworth with 200 passengers. Engine diagrams on the day were for ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44525 working the last train from Stratford to Blisworth with ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43822 worked the last train to Stratford from Blisworth. Driver Ernest Smith was accompanied on the footplate by the Mayor of Stratford upon Avon as far as Ettington on the outward journey. The goods service, for which the line was promoted was much more successful and continued until 1965. Coal merchants still operated from Stratford; Hutchings & Co, Alcester Co-op and Dingley's Time and Fertiliser. The main private siding was for Lucy & Nephew which was a continuation of the Goods Shed siding; also near the Goods Shed was the accommodation crossing to Mr Carter's farm.

The goods yard was located along the original exchange sidings between the E&WJR and GWR and were on the right as you entered the station. Adjacent to the second signal box, built by the SMJ in 1910, was the end-loading dock and to its right, the cattle dock and pens. Between the two, for a very brief period commencing on 23rd April 1934, was the Ro-Railer ramp which was where this rail top road hybrid bus metamorphosed between the two forms of traction. Moving further to the right towards the GWR line was a goods shed which, given the volume of traffic being handled by the railway, always appeared too small. Within the goods shed was an internal platform and in the centre, a one-ton fixed position manually operated crane. There were two offices provided at the goods yard for railway personnel one each side of the main structure. Passing the goods yard on our left as we move further to the GWR line was the coal siding which, from the evidence seen in the aerial photo 'smjsa251' and 'smjsa288' didn't have much in the way coal wharves, from which coal was distributed to the local population, but were apparently served direct from the wagons themselves. Coal delivered by Private Owner wagons owned by the local merchant, as in the case of Hutchings & Co, had no time restriction applied whereas railway owned wagons not emptied within a three-day period were charged as an extra fee to the merchant. Warehouse facilities were also provided for Walkers and Warwickshire Farmers, the latter's building being adjacent to the junction between the GWR and the E&WJR/SMJ.

The Railway Clearing House's 1929 Handbook of Railway Stations states Stratford-on-Avon station provided the general public and businesses with the following services: Goods traffic; Passenger and Parcels traffic; Furniture Vans, Carriages, Portable Engines, and Machines on Wheels; Live Stock; Horse Boxes and Prize Cattle Vans; and Carriages (Horse-drawn - Ed) by Passenger Trains (GPFLHC). The cranage facilities provided within the goods yard had substantially improved from the 4 ton capacity as noted in the 1894 edition, to 13 tons which was far superior to the 5 ton capacity available at the GWR station. The 1894 edition of The Railway Clearing House Handbook of Railway Stations did not provide information to the same detail e.g. the number of categories listed, and only recorded (GPFL), however its reasonable to assume that the same facilities recorded in 1929 were offered from the outset. As stated above the cranage capacity was only 4 tons. Interestingly, the post 1942 schematic diagram of the SMJ station and shed shown on page 52 of Arthur Jordan's book and reproduced in image 'smjsa166a' shows the capacity of the fixed position manually operated crane (see image 'smjsa261') as being 6 tons whilst in the shed another crane was available but limited to a one ton capacity. The Handbook of Railway Stations needed to be accurate in order to facilitate the transfer of goods across the country. Therefore either the drawing is incorrect or the crane was replaced with a crane of a lesser capacity at a date in the 1930s. The station remained open to freight traffic until 1965. Finally the rails were removed in 1966 between Stratford upon Avon and Burton Dassett.

The four road Engine Shed was located immediately behind the down platform and was accessed connections emanating from the line to Broom. Parallel to the line to Broom for a short distance was a siding which led to the coaling stage. The original turntable was positioned immediately in front of the shed with the turntable providing access to three of the roads into the shed. When the Great Central Railway commenced running its locomotives into Stratford on Avon, a second and larger turntable was built and this was positioned towards the Broom end of the platform on the line to and from the coaling stage. Also accessed off the turntable by a short siding was the PW and Engineering shop. A third siding ran alongside the latter and served a variety of stores as can be seen in 'smjsa166b'. Adjacent to the turntable was a brick built office for the shed foreman. Behind the shed (the Fenny Compton) end, was a two storey structure with a steel water tank on top, one of the rooms beneath serving as a pump room. This was accessed via a walkway which rose up from ground level at the shed to the first floor.

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Stratford on Avon Station - A personal recollection by Arthur Jordan

Its very rare to be given a detailed first-hand account of the facilities and workings of a station, particularly one which closed half-way through the 20th century. Fortunately through the eyes of Arthur Jordan, whose mother managed Stratford upon Avon station's refreshment facilities, we can. His book The Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by OPC in 1982 gives us this opportunity. The numbers in the brackets refer to the schematic map seen in image 'smjsa178'. Arthur's account is as follows:

'The refreshment rooms catered for all tastes and pockets so that in the bar one could purchase a wide range of wines and spirits, cigars and chocolates. The tea room served bread and butter with jam, toast and cakes, at tables inlaid with blue tiles; over the mantelpiece hung an oval mirror with gold mouldings and beneath stood a graceful wooden encased clock with inlaid mother of pearl decoration. In winter a coal fire blazed in the fireplace with its very ornamented cast iron fender and brass fire irons. By ordering in advance, a cooked meal could be obtained, usually of steak, vegetables and pudding. Yes, my mother was a great believer in filling puddings rather than the more dainty mousses and fruit salads. General Manager Diggins and his two young sons, together with their housekeeper. Miss Doris Prentice, frequently lunched at the refreshment rooms before travelling to Leicester. The boys' favourite pudding was steamed jam roll and on one occasion, as my mother took the mouth-watering pudding to the table, it suddenly rolled off the plate and was caught by the GM before it landed on his lap!

In those times beer was what is now called 'real ale', delivered in thirty-six gallon wooden casks from the local Flowers brewery. In SMJ and early LMS days the beer was drawn from the wood, but the LMS installed a beer engine (nothing to do with class 4Fs!) after which the barrels were stored in a cellar beneath the bar and the beer pumped up to the bar through pipes. I hasten to explain that this was not achieved by the use of gas but by the barmaid pulling gently on a lever whilst holding the beer mug beneath the tap. Tap room customers were mostly railwaymen or work- men from the coal wharves and warehouses around the station. It was seldom that any food was sold in the tap room, except perhaps an occasional bag of potato crisps because the men had all brought their own food from home and bought only a pint, some only half a pint, of beer to swill it down. Vacuum flasks, or Thermos flasks as they are popularly known, were seldom seen among workmen who carried bottles of cold tea to drink when no facilities existed for brewing tea in a billy.

If the crockery and furnishings of the SMJ refreshment rooms were offered for sale today they would realise a small fortune as either Victoriana or railwayana, for they included pewter tankards and tea pots, floral decorated cups and saucers, pewter measures for spirits, willow pattern dinner services, ornate mantelpiece clocks, bamboo tables and elaborately carved chair backs. There were National Cash Register Company's tills with a mass of chased brasswork and little metal flags that popped up to indicate the amount rung up, and a bell that rang every time the till was opened. There were cups and jugs bearing initials or coats of arms of the Great Central Railway, the Midland Railway and the LNER as well as the LMSR. Refreshment room takings from the tills were banked every day, the money being placed in a leather bag bearing a brass plate with the letters 'SMJ Refreshment Rooms' engraved upon it. Each day similar money bags were conveyed to Stratford-upon-Avon from outlying stations and all would be taken to the bank by the stationmaster on foot. There were no railway police at Stratford-upon-Avon station and only very occasionally did a town policeman get as far as the SMJ station. This was usually on a Sunday, and we suspected that he was checking to see if the refreshment rooms were honouring their six-day licence to sell intoxicating liquor. Mind you, a policeman on duty given a free pint on an unlicensed day was no offence! The refreshment rooms were broken into in 1910 when, according to the Stratford Herald, the thief 'stole a quantity of cigarettes, chocolates and a sixpence'. He was not a railwayman!

There were few changes at Stratford-upon-Avon station between 1919 and the end of passenger services in 1952, so that my personal reminiscences together with reference to the plan (see image 'smjsa177') should enable the reader to gain a clear impression of the station, which the Great Central Railway in its brochures described as 'The Gateway to Shakespeareland'. It had two platforms, both able to accommodate five or six bogie coaches, and directions were Up to Ettington and Down to Broom Junction. The loop could take a train of thirty-three wagons plus engine and brake van. The main station buildings, which were built of brick, were situated on the Up platform and comprised booking hall, booking and parcels office, station- master's office, ladies' waiting room with WC, general waiting room and refreshment rooms. A platform canopy extended the length of the buildings, whilst on the station approach side there was a very short canopy, approximately 15ft x 8ft.

The well-trodden wooden floor-boards of the station buildings, except for the stationmaster's office and the refreshment rooms, were devoid of floor-covering and every evening a porter would use a garden syringe to settle the dust with disinfectant before sweeping the floors. This gave the place a distinctive smell so that, after the manner of the well known Bisto adverts of the day, one might say 'Ah - Jeyes Fluid'. All shelves and ledges which were not regularly brushed by the clerks' sleeves, were thick with dust, some dating from the opening of the line in 1873! Removal of the circular lid on the iron stove in order to feed in more coal resulted in the escape of billowing, choking smoke which then lingered for a long time, discolouring stationery, tickets and clerks! The only filing system in the booking office made use of stout wire spikes standing on a wooden base. To add a paper to the file one pierced the document with the spike and since this was often done by jabbing the spike on to the desk-top the latter resembled a piece of Gorgonzola cheese after some fifty years of such treatment. An Edmondson ticket date stamping machine stood by the ticket window next to the ticket case, with folding lockable doors, and containing several racks of SMJ tickets; white for first class single, white and yellow for return and green for third class single, with green and buff for return. In 1921, the bookings from SMJ stations were 627 first class; 126,135 third class and only 23 season tickets. Wooden poster boards were affixed to any unoccupied flat piece of wall, and on these the porters pasted the company's timetables and coloured posters extolling the attractions of numerous resorts which would be reached by asking for a ticket by THE SHAKESPEARE ROUTE. A feature of this station for many years were the painstakingly chalked notices displayed to advertise excursion trains. Bill Walton, a porter, executed these works of art, for such they were, in coloured chalks in the Gothic style of lettering and often accompanied by illustrations of Blackpool tower or a rail- way engine. Small bundles of handbills proclaiming cheap day tickets, race meeting specials and seaside trips hung on nails around the booking hall. Enamel signs advertised VIROL. MAZAWATEE TEA, FRYS CHOCOLATE, TANGYE PUMPS, SUNLIGHT SOAP and VICTORY V GUMS and occupied any wall space not already claimed by the railway company.

A number of automatic machines dispensed Nestles' or Fry's chocolate bars or Sun Maid Raisins after the insertion of one penny; in fact the popular name for them was 'penny-in-the-slot machines'. The price of one penny remained stable for half a century! These penny-in-the-slot machines were fine examples of the Victorians' ability to apply the most ornate decoration to the most mundane pieces of equipment and the piece de resistance was undoubtedly the weighing machine. Tall, broad, green and matronly in appearance, it stood against the platform wall, its large dial making provision for weight-watchers of up to twenty stone whilst a metal handrail on either side ensured a ready means of support for those weighers overcome by the evidence displayed on the dial before them. Red buckets, marked FIRE, hung in clusters of four at various points around the station, and whilst never put to their intended use for extinguishing outbreaks of fire, they provided a welcome source of refreshment for the local bird population as well as being used for such unapproved purposes as washing down horse buses waiting hopefully for fares in the station yard. Sparrows used the more inaccessible corners of the platform awning as a maternity home, and soon learned the positions where engines were in the habit of standing whilst the crew ate their 'tommy' and cast crumbs off the footplate.

The refreshment rooms included a bar room with a long counter, a tea room, kitchen and tap room used mainly by railwaymen and employees of firms having business with the railway. Railwaymen always referred to the refreshment rooms as "The Shant', being short for shanty. When railways were being built, and hundreds if not thousands of navvies were engaged upon the works, the huts where they could buy liquor and food were known as Shanties. Many of the navvies, after completing the construction, became railwaymen, which is no doubt how the term became applied. Stratford-upon-Avon magistrates first granted a licence *to sell ales, wines and spirits and tobacco', at this station to a licensee named Chambers in 1874. The premises were known as The Burke Arms, presumably after the general manager of the East & West Junction Railway, JF Burke. Not until 1914 did the SMJ take over the management of the refreshment rooms when the licence was transferred to A E Diggins. General Manager, and my mother (then May Bradley) became the first manageress.'

At the western end of the station buildings stood the original East & West signal box, (see image 'smjsa42b'), and readers may be interested to learn that for a time my extensive '0' gauge Hornby model railway was housed here. Beneath the disused signal box, in what had been the locking frame loom (3) and in a lean-to shed adjoining, the Signal & Telegraph Department was accommodated and sometimes I would be invited in to watch the block instruments and telephones being repaired. The SMJ installed a time-clock in the entrance to the S & T Department and here all non-clerical staff were required to clock on and off duty. Two signal fitters and two telegraph linesmen were responsible for signals, points and communications between Broom Junction and Towcester. One of the men, Ted Tookey, rode an old belt-driven Royal Enfield motorcycle which was a veteran even in those days. Beyond the ramp of the Up platform was the new signal box (4) of wooden conduction on a brick base which housed the locking-frame. Just at the fool of the platform tamp, close to the signal box, stood a small corrugated iron shed (5) which housed a Merryweather steam fire engine costing £115 in 1909. This comprised a vertical boiler and a pump mounted on two large carrying wheels, with an iron bar shaped like the shafts of a rickshaw by which the appliance could be manhandled to the scene of the conflagration. It looked very impressive with its highly polished brasswork, gleaming red paintwork and a column of smoke and steam rising confidently from its chimney pipe.

The old joke about keeping the fire going until the fire engine arrived may have originated at Stratford SMJ but on at least one occasion the Merryweather proved its worth in quelling an outbreak in the locomotive shed when the heat was of sufficient intensity to melt the electric Light bulbs. Fire drills were held at regular intervals and the crew consisted of Tommy Duckett, an engine fitter, 'Tacker' Harris, a porter and George Shirley, a goods porter. Upon the alarm signal being given, Tommy Duckett would grab a shovelful of live coals from any available locomotive or from the stationary boiler. He would then run with his blazing burden to the fire station, where Tacker Harris would have the Merryweather engine out ready and waiting with the firebox lid open for Tommy to shoot his shovelful of fire into the box. After about ten minutes steam would be up sufficiently to work the pump, by which time the crew had pushed their appliance to the scene of the drill, whereupon Tacker would direct a jet of water on such objects as the cattle pens or the glazing in the platform canopy, if either appeared to be in need of a wash.

At the east end of the main building stood a brick-built lamp room (6) containing drums of paraffin and rape oil used in the signal lamps, tail lamps and guards' hand lamps. All the signal lamps had to be collected in from the signals each week, some on Tuesdays and the rest on Thursdays. This was a job for the porters, who were responsible for filling the lamp reservoirs with paraffin, trimming the wicks, cleaning the reflectors and glasses and then returning the lamps to their signals. On the back wall of the lamp room was a rack to hold shunting poles. Each pole could be placed in the rack and then secured with a hasp and staple and padlock. Guards, who each had a pole, claimed that a shunting pole 'got in their way of handling' and the men were very disconcerted if forced to use any pole other than their own, or during the period of 'breaking-in' a new shunting pole. A rack full of labels and a large can of glue enabled passengers' luggage to be clearly consigned by the Shakespeare Route.

Last, along the Up platform, was the guards' room (7), a wooden hut with a corrugated iron roof. On three inner sides were lockers in which the guards stored their 'traps', being such items as flags, hand lamp, detonators, rule book and registered parcel book. When the lids were closed the men could use the lockers as seats. On the fourth wall was a stand-up desk with a notice board above, where men signing on for duty would look for the latest instructions which might affect their turn of duty or for trade union notices. In the corner a coal stove glowed bright red through its iron sides when the men had stoked up for a mealtime session. One of my boyhood joys was to take a hunk of bread and cheese and to sit with these guards and porters at 'snap' time. I must have heard much that was not at all suitable for boyish ears, but at least I was not spraying 'Arsenal Rules OK' on public buildings or throwing bricks at the drivers of passing trains.

Access to the Down platform was by a wooden sleeper crossing (8) at the signal box end of the station. It is amazing that no serious accident ever occurred on this crossing because trains were shunting back and forth ceaselessly as passengers were wishing to cross the metals between the two platforms. On the Down platform an earlier wooden waiting shelter, bequeathed by the SMJ, was demolished by the LMS and a brick waiting room with a fireplace and glazing on three sides erected (9). Most stations of sufficient size ran St John's Ambulance classes for the railwaymen and entered teams in the district and in regional competitions organised and encouraged by the railway companies. At Stratford, the organiser of these classes was Jack Bloxham, a bricklayer, from the engineering department, and those who attended met weekly in the Down platform waiting room, where various railway accidents were simulated and treatment rendered. Raw recruits usually fell into the traps set by the more experienced members such as taking an injured man away on a stretcher, without having first lifted the heavy weight which was pinning him down!

Until about 1928 an old four-wheeled carriage body (10) stood at the east end of the Down platform having originally been a LNWR coach built in 1850 and working between London and Birmingham. It had been purchased by the East & West Junction Railway in 1880 and used in traffic until 1908.

The space between the Up and Down platform tracks, commonly known to railwaymen as 'the six foot', was unusually wide, probably fifteen or twenty feet, and in this wide space were two water columns, one for each track. Behind the Down platform stood the engine shed (12) with four roads able to shelter eleven engines, if the shed doors were left open. At the east end of the engine shed stood a tall brick tower (13) topped by a large metal water tank - providing the supply for the water columns. In SMJ days water was pumped from the River Avon including small fish which found their way into engine tenders and indeed into the refreshment room sink but not into the tea — we hope! Until about 1928 the station generated its own electricity with power from a stationary Robey boiler and a Tangye 25hp horizontal steam engine with a dynamo housed in a building (14) attached to the east end of the engine shed. Another wooden building (15) housed rows of large glass accumulators which supplied current for the station lighting during the period from 10pm until 6am when the generator was not in use. A few minutes before 10pm the lights in the refreshment rooms would flicker followed by a noticeable reduction in voltage as the change over to batteries took place.

Retired driver Tom Hine recalls how as a young cleaner in the years 1912-1914, he was required to carry batteries in wooden boxes from the charging plant to the guard's vans of the passenger trains since no generators were fitted to the early electrically-lit carriages. Ever alert to save on expenditure, and since demarcation disputes were unheard of on a line for which the chairman's motto was 'unity and perseverance', the SMJ had no hesitation in employing one of its head office clerks, who had a knowledge of electricity, to wire the station and offices when the plant was installed. The stationary engine also drove lathes and a water pump, until the generating of electricity was discontinued and a supply was taken from the mains of the Stratford-upon-Avon Electricity Company. At about the same time a connection was made to the Corporation's water supply so that the refreshment rooms now had two taps, one with fish and one without fish!

The original East & West Junction Railway turntable been sited near the doors of the engine shed on number 1 road, but in 1908 a new 51 feet 8 inch table was installed some eighty yards further away from the shed with spurs to give wagon access to the workshops and stores of the permanent way department and the engineering department (17). The permanent way department was responsible for tracks and drainage whilst the engineering department looked after bridges and buildings. It was a carpenter in the engineering department who constructed my first wooden engine with three trucks on which I could sit and scoot along the flagstones on the platform edge without once falling over into the 'four foot', the space between the rails.

At the extreme west end of the engine shed was a coaling stage (18) being a very basic structure of wood and corrugated sheeting, and almost opposite were the carriage sidings (19) which, until shortly after the LMS take-over, were covered by a corrugated iron roof supported on a steel framework. This was dismantled, after which all servicing of coaching stock was carried out in the open air. On the north side of the station, behind the signal box, ran the cattle dock siding which terminated in an end-loading dock (20), in line with which was a hand winch (21) for handling pantechnicons and farm machines. Between this loading dock and the cattle dock (23) a wooden deck (22) resembling a level crossing was installed in 1932 for use by that unsuccessful vehicle the Ro-Railer.

For the volume of traffic handled, the goods shed was small, taking only three wagons inside with a loading bay for one road vehicle. A small hand-operated crane stood on the loading deck inside the shed. An uncovered loading dock (26) made of old sleepers and holding four goods wagons adjoined the shed and a small lean-to office (27) accommodated the goods checker. Several delivery drays could be accommodated at this open-air dock. Another lean-to office at the opposite end of the shed housed the goods clerks.

One of the well-known firm of Pooley's vehicle weighbridges (28) with a corrugated iron hut was in great demand by coal merchants, cattle feed suppliers and hay dealers, so much so that a railway company's weighbridgeman was employed full-time. I often spent an afternoon helping this man by sliding the bright brass cursor along the shiny steel graduated scale until it 'balanced' and then reading off the weight. The tare, in other words the weight of the cart unladen, had to be deducted from the gross laden weight to give the actual weight of the load, and when I made a mistake in my calculations the men would try to goad me by sneering 'Is that the best they can learn you at the Grammar School?'

Eastwards from the goods shed was a complex of ex-First World War army huts (39) mounted on brick piers to rail wagon height and used by W & L Dingley & Company as corn and cattle feed stores. These warehouses were served by an extension of the goods shed siding which crossed the station approach road and ran to a field gate (29) giving access to a meadow which the line crossed to reach Lucy & Nephew's flour mill astride the River Avon. Until the coming of the East & West Junction Railway the mill had relied upon canal and river transport for its imported grain supplies, but the River Avon's 'Lower Navigation' fell into disuse in the mid-1800s so that all water traffic had to reach Stratford-upon-Avon via the canal which ran from Kings Norton. This explains Charles Lucy's willingness to sell much of the land on which the station was built. Alter the retirement of the founder of the firm of Lucy & Nephew. Charles Lucy, a new company was formed with Joseph Pope as Managing Director, a conspicuous figure who wore a hard hat, similar to but squarer than a bowler, a check jacket, breeches and highly polished brown leather leggings and boots. Every day, without fail for twenty years or more, Mr Pope strode across the meadow from the mill to the station where he took tea in the refreshment room. Always the same menu, two slices of bread and butter, cut very thinly, and one queen cake, with a pot of tea.

Railway company's locomotives were not permitted to pass beyond the field gate (29) and originally horses belonging to the railway's cartage agents, Hutchings & Company, were used to pull wagons up the incline from the mill to the station yard. This was heavy work and two or more horses were harnessed in tandem, being in the charge of a heavily built, fearsome-looking carter named Timms. This job usually had to be done at the end of the horses' working day when they normally expected to be going to their stables for a well-earned feed of carrots. Understandably, the horses resented this disruption of their daily routine and voted with their feet not to go down to the mill. Carter Timms had to use a great deal of persuasion to get his horses to put in overtime! In the late 1920s a Lister stationary petrol engine was installed by Lucy's in a shed by the field gate, and this then hauled the wagons up from the mill by means of a wire rope. A passing loop was provided half way across the meadow and the points operated by heavily weighted levers at ground level. Loaded wagons descended by gravity with one mill-hand to each wagon brake and a retired mill worker recalls a wagon having to be fished out of the river after crashing through the buffer stop. The mill has now been demolished and in its place a block of luxury flats named 'Lucy's Mill' stands astride the Avon where once its waters gushed through the turbine that drove the milling machinery, and where boats from Sharpness Docks tied up beneath the mill's central arch. These flat-dwellers enjoy a splendid view of the river and of the six-arched viaduct which once carried the SMJ Railway. In the same meadow through which the mill siding passed stood a stately house (31) with a pillared portico, for many years the residence of the Everard family; the head of this family was a shareholder in the Fast & West Junction Railway and Managing Director of Lucy & Nephew's mill. The house still stands but, with additions, it is now a holiday hostel.

On the west side of the goods shed, a separate siding served the coal yard (32) and could hold some fifteen wagons. Coal was unloaded direct from rail wagon to delivery cart or was stacked on the ground about fifteen feet from the track. In the coal yard, which could be entered without much difficulty at any time of the day or night, stood hundreds of tons of coal yet, in the days of one to two million unemployed workers and much poverty, I do not recall anyone being apprehended for stealing coal. Many families, particularly widows (and there were many widows following the First World War) were so poor that they came to the coal wharf with perambulators or an old box on wheels to buy a half hundredweight of coal; some bought only 'slack'. Beyond the coal yard a siding served a brick-built warehouse for Walker & Atkinson, coal and corn merchants, and a little further on another line led to the Warwickshire Farmers' warehouse. Stationmaster Gilkes bought a Trojan motor car, a peculiar machine with a chain drive from a jack-shaft, and this became a matter of general interest among the railwaymen. When my father later bought a three-wheeled Morgan car he rented the stationmaster's garage (36) for 7s 6d (37½ pence) per year.

Beyond the Warwickshire Farmers' building lay the double junction with the Great Western Railway main line but both SMJ lines were blocked by 'scotch-blocks' (A scotch is a small triangular block that sits on the rail head in order to stop a wheel passing over it). This junction was under the control of the Stratford & Midland Junction signal box (37) situated about 100 yards to the north and manned by a GWR signalman. It was a block post open only from 1.30pm until 9pm each weekday, partly to handle transfer traffic between the two companies but, more importantly, to shorten the long block section between the GWR Stratford station and Milcote on the busy West of England main line. The same signalman manned this box six days a week throughout the year except for one week's annual holiday. I was friendly with this 'Bobby', as signalmen were popularly known among railwayman, and spent many hours in the signal box learning the bell codes and being allowed to lap them out under the bobby's directions. This signal box was a snug place with the kettle always on the hob and tea brewed for each new visitor be he platelayer, linesman or a fireman from a train held at the 'peg' under Rule 55 which required the fireman of a train held at a Home signal where track circuiting was not operating, to report to the signal box and sign the register. There was a unique satisfaction about being in a signal box when the weather outside was foul! The rain lashing against the many window panes, the strong wind causing the whole box to tremble but inside the warmth from the stove and perhaps the appetising smell of the bobby's bacon frying. Then the startling clang of a block bell calling attention followed by the dull tap of our reply. Next the important sound of four clangs asking 'Is the line clear for an express train?'. With a glance at his bacon the bobby would reply with four beats and then pull the levers to sot the road for the express he had just accepted.

Back to the cooking but soon a couple of clangs on the block bell would announce that the express train was entering our section and a few minutes later 'Whoosh' and 'De da de da, de da de da, de da de da' as the long train flashes past and the signalman peers through the rain-lashed windows to make sure that there are no open carriage doors and that the red tail lamp is there to signify that the train is complete. Now all is quiet once more, so back to the cooking! Before leaving this end of the station I must mention an ex-LNWR four-wheeled coach (38) which stood for many years at the end of a siding near the GWR main line. This coach belonged to the East & West Junction Railway, carrying the number 4, and from the photograph it will be seen that a rectangular window had been cut in the end to convert it to a directors' inspection saloon but when a new vehicle was brought into use in 1909 this older veteran became redundant.

Much of the information and or photographs provided on this and other linked pages has been derived from books written by: Arthur Jordan The Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by OPC; JM Dunn's The Stratford upon Avon & Midland Junction Railway published by The Oakwood Press; RC Riley and Bill Simpson in their book A History of the Stratford-Upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by Lamplight Publications; David Blasgrove in his book 'Warwickshire's Lost Railways' published by Stenlake Publishing which has a brief illustrated overview of some of the stations; and finally Geoffrey Kingscott's Lost Railways of Warwickshire published by Countryside Books which has a section dedicated to the SMJR with 'Now and Then' photographs. We would like to express our thanks to the members of the SMJ Society (www.smj.me) for use of their information and images, in particular the late John Jennings whose contribution can be seen on many of our SMJ pages.

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Exterior view of station

View of the exterior of the original Stratford on Avon station prior to the building in 1909 of the extension
Ref: smjsa58
Public Records Office
View of the exterior of the original Stratford on Avon station prior to the building in 1909 of the extension
The exterior of the E&WJR Stratford on Avon station was similar in architectural style to others on the route
Ref: smjsa42
LGRP
The exterior of the E&WJR Stratford on Avon station was similar in architectural style to others on the route
Close up showing the original station structure on the right and the later extensions on the left
Ref: smjsa42a
LGRP
Close up showing the original station structure on the right and the later extensions on the left
Close up showing the outside of the former E&WJR signal box which was decommissioned in 1910
Ref: smjsa42b
LGRP
Close up showing the outside of the former E&WJR signal box which was decommissioned in 1910
View of the exterior of the exterior of the abandoned Stratford on Avon station on 18th August 1962
Ref: smjsa112
DJ Norton
View of the exterior of the exterior of the abandoned Stratford on Avon station on 18th August 1962

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View of the station's main buildings and up platform

View of the original E&WJR station showing the building prior to the extension and with the shorter canopy
Ref: smjsa61
LGRP
View of the original E&WJR station showing the building prior to the extension and with the shorter canopy
Close up showing the extension built to the eastern end of Stratford on Avon's main station building
Ref: smjsa62b
Real Photos
Close up showing the extension built to the eastern end of Stratford on Avon's main station building
Close up showing Stratford on Avon station's up platform and the various furniture, posters and architecture
Ref: smjsa63b
LGRP
Close up showing Stratford on Avon station's up platform and the various furniture, posters and architecture
View of the station looking towards Fenny Compton with the barrow crossing from the up to down platform
Ref: smjsa63
LGRP
View of the station looking towards Fenny Compton with the barrow crossing from the up to down platform
Looking East from the Broom end of the down line with the second signal box on the left and the shed on the right
Ref: smjsa114
DJ Norton
Looking East from the Broom end of the down line with the second signal box on the left and the shed on the right

Close up showing the replacement SMJ signal box viewed from the East end of Stratford on Avon station
Ref: smjsa53a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the replacement SMJ signal box viewed from the East end of Stratford on Avon station
Close up showing the original E&WJR signal box to the right and the replacement SMJ signal box on the left
Ref: smjsa63a
LGRP
Close up showing the original E&WJR signal box to the right and the replacement SMJ signal box on the left
Close up showing the West elevation of SMJ built signal box with the door to the machine room underneath
Ref: smjsa43a
RM Casserley
Close up showing the West elevation of SMJ built signal box with the door to the machine room underneath
Looking towards Fenny Compton showing the SMJ signal box standing at the west end of the up platform
Ref: smjsa43
RM Casserley
Looking towards Fenny Compton showing the SMJ signal box standing at the west end of the up platform
Close up showing part of Stratford onh Avon station's forecourt and entrance to the goods yard and sidings
Ref: smjsa59a
LGRP
Close up showing part of Stratford onh Avon station's forecourt and entrance to the goods yard and sidings

Looking East towards with the second signal box on the left and the water tower for the shed on the right
Ref: smjsa108
DJ Norton
Looking East towards with the second signal box on the left and the water tower for the shed on the right
Another view of the original East & West Junction Railway signal box after the closure of the passenger station
Ref: smjsa155
A Vaughan
Another view of the original East & West Junction Railway signal box after the closure of the passenger station
A 1955 view of the second signal box erected at Stratford on Avon station with the goods yard behind
Ref: smjsa151
A Vaughan
A 1955 view of the second signal box erected at Stratford on Avon station with the goods yard behind
Close up showing the two signal boxes and goods yard on the left and the approach road to the shed on the right
Ref: smjsa65a
HC Casserley
Close up showing the two signal boxes and goods yard on the left and the approach road to the shed on the right
View on 12th October 1963 of the derelict original signal box and station after the removal of its second canopy
Ref: smjsa152
R Fisher
View on 12th October 1963 of the derelict original signal box and station after the removal of its second canopy

View showing the different coloured bricks used to build the flat roof extension to the station
Ref: smjsa174
R Postill
The derelict station showing the different coloured bricks used to build the flat roof extension to the station
View of Stratford on Avon station lying derelict as seen some ten years after closure to passenger traffic
Ref: smjsa60
Lens of Sutton
View of Stratford on Avon station lying derelict as seen some ten years after closure to passenger traffic
Looking west towards the junction with the ex-GWR Stratford upon Avon to Honeybourne line
Ref: smjsa64
Lens of Sutton
Looking west towards the junction with the ex-GWR Stratford upon Avon to Honeybourne line

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View of the down platform

Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43693 is seen at the head of a local passenger train arriving from Towcesterin the 1950s
Ref: smjsa44
Lens of Sutton
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 43693 is seen at the head of a local passenger train arriving from Towcesterin the 1950s
Close up of one the two water columns located at either end of the platforms between the up and down roads
Ref: smjsa44a
Lens of Sutton
Close up of one the two water columns located at either end of the platforms between the up and down roads
Close up showing passengers  leaving the platform with many people  wheeling bicycles from the train
Ref: smjsa44b
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing passengers leaving the platform with many people wheeling bicycles from the train
Close up showing the rear of the locomotive shed on the left and the down passenger waiting room
Ref: smjsa62a
Real Photos
Close up showing the rear of the locomotive shed on the left and the down passenger waiting room
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa277
Anon
The small brick built passenger waiting room located on Stratford Old Town's down platform

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Panoramic and general views of the station

Looking East towards Fenny Compton with the two signal boxes on the left and the shed on the right
Ref: smjsa105
DJ Norton
Looking East towards Fenny Compton with the two signal boxes on the left and the shed on the right
Looking towards Broom with the shed on the left and the goods yard and exchange sidings in the distance
Ref: smjsa62
Real Photos
Looking towards Broom with the shed on the left and the goods yard and exchange sidings in the distance
View from the station's up platform looking East with the bridge over the River Avon in the foreground
Ref: smjsa119
DJ Norton
View from the station's up platform looking East with the bridge over the River Avon in the foreground
A panoramic view of station looking Eastwards with the shed on right and the station on the left
Ref: smjsa65
HC Casserley
A panoramic view of station looking Eastwards with the shed on right and the station on the left
View of the station looking towards Fenny Compton which shows lines to goods yard, shed and Broom Junction
Ref: smjsa59
LGRP
View of the station looking towards Fenny Compton which shows lines to goods yard, shed and Broom Junction

Another view of the ex-GWR locomotives heading the LCGB special made up of Southern Region coaching stock
Ref: smjsa149
R Fisher
Another view of the ex-GWR locomotives heading the LCGB special made up of Southern Region coaching stock
Looking East on 18th August 1962 from the site of the demolished second signal box replaced by a ground frame
Ref: smjsa113
DJ Norton
Looking East on 18th August 1962 from the site of the demolished second signal box replaced by a ground frame
Looking East showing the sole remaining water crane complete with enclosed brazier to ward off frost
Ref: smjsa118
DJ Norton
Looking East showing the sole remaining water crane complete with enclosed brazier to ward off frost
View of the abandoned station and shed from the down spur to the former GWR line to Honeybourne
Ref: smjsa117
DJ Norton
View of the abandoned station and shed from the down spur to the former GWR line to Honeybourne
View of the demolished shed showing only the water tower tower, coal stage and water column remaining
Ref: smjsa116
DJ Norton
View of the demolished shed showing only the water tower tower, coal stage and water column remaining

Close up showing the trackwork to the west of Stratford on Avon station during the early 1960s
Ref: smjsa64a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing the trackwork to the west of Stratford on Avon station during the early 1960s
Looking West on 18th August 1962 from the old station with the connecting line to Honeybourne on the left
Ref: smjsa120
DJ Norton
Looking West on 18th August 1962 from the old station with the connecting line to Honeybourne on the left
View of the derelict station looking East and showing the signal box has now been replaced by a ground frame
Ref: smjsa109
DJ Norton
View of the derelict station looking East and showing the signal box has now been replaced by a ground frame
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa174a
R Postill
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 approaches the SMJ station via the spur connection from the GWR line i
Ref: smjsa172
R Postill
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 approaches the SMJ station via the spur connection from the GWR line i

Looking along the exchange lines towards the junction with the ex-GWR Honeybourne to Stratford route at Sanctus Road
Ref: smjsa261
J Cosford
Looking along the exchange lines towards the junction with the Honeybourne to Stratford route at Sanctus Road
Close up showing the entrance to the former SMJ goods yard and on the right, the yard crane
Ref: smjsa261a
J Cosford
Close up showing the entrance to the former SMJ goods yard and on the right, the yard crane
Looking across the long defunct turntable towards the now demolished engine shed with the coaling stage on the right
Ref: smjsa262
J Cosford
Looking across the defunct turntable towards the remains of the engine shed with the coaling stage on the right
Looking along the former track bed to Broom Junction with the connecting line to the GWR on the left
Ref: smjsa263
J Cosford
Looking along the former track bed to Broom Junction with the connecting line to the GWR on the left
Looking along the former down platform towards the former track bed to Broom and the junctions with the GWR
Ref: smjsa264
J Evans
Looking along the former down platform towards the former track bed to Broom and the junctions with the GWR

Looking south towards Stratford Racecourse Platform with the now lifted connection to the SMJ line seen the left
Ref: smjsa265
J Evans
Looking south towards Stratford Racecourse Platform with the now lifted connection to the SMJ line seen the left
Looking west towards the station's former cattle dock and goods yard and on to the GWR exchange line
Ref: smjsa174
R Postill
Looking west towards the station's former cattle dock and goods yard and on to the GWR exchange line
Looking east past the former up platform towards the bridge carrying the line over the River Avon on 17th April 1965
Ref: smjsa244
R Postill
Looking past the former up platform towards the bridge carrying the line over the Avon on 17th April 1965
Looking east past the station's former up platform with the line to down platform on the right primarily lifted
Ref: smjsa266
J Evans
Looking east past the station's former up platform with the line to down platform on the right primarily lifted
The now redundant exchange curve built in 1960 to connect to the GWR line at Stratford Race Course
Ref: smjsa267
J Evans
The now redundant exchange curve built in 1960 to connect to the GWR line at Stratford Race Course

Looking east towards the former station with both sets of rails still in use as evident from the lack of rust
Ref: smjsa361
J Cosford
Looking east towards the former station with both sets of rails still in use as evident from the lack of rust
Two signals and a water crane watch over the bleak remains of Stratford Old Town station
Ref: smjsa284
R Marsh
Just two signals and a water crane now watch over the bleak remains of Stratford Old Town station
A general view of Stratford Old Town station, looking east towards Fenny Compton, with the lines in the foreground leading to Broom Junction
Ref: smjsa245
TE Williams
Looking east towards Fenny Compton, with the lines in the foreground leading to Broom Junction
Looking along the single track route in the direction of Fenny Compton at a point just past Mill Bridge
Ref: smjsa57
RS Carpenter
Looking along the single track route in the direction of Fenny Compton at a point just past Mill Bridge
On the right is the newly constructed connecting line to the ex-SMJ station and on the left Stratford on Avon Racecourse Platform
Ref: smjsa364
TE Williams
On the right the newly built line to the ex-SMJ station and on the left Stratford on Avon Racecourse Platform

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Stratford on Avon Goods Yard

Another view of the Ro-Railer at Stratford undergoing its wheels being changed from rail to road use
Ref: smjsa308
JR Jennings
Another view of the Ro-Railer at Stratford undergoing its wheels being changed from rail to road use
Close up showing a view of the goods yard and sidings including the cattle pens and goods shed
Ref: smjsa66a
Lens of Sutton
Close up showing a view of the goods yard and sidings including the cattle pens and goods shed
A line of Hutchings & Company's Private Owned six-plank open mineral wagons runs into the goods shed circa 1900
Ref: smjsa288
A Jordan
A line of Hutchings & Co's Private Owned six-plank open mineral wagons runs into the goods shed circa 1900
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa289
A Jordan
Employees of Hutchings & Company stand proudly holding the heads of their charges

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Stratford upon Avon Old Town Exchange Ground Frame

View of the Stratford Upon Avon Old Town Exchange Ground Frame on 17th April 1965
Ref: smjsa168
R Postill
View of the Stratford Upon Avon Old Town Exchange Ground Frame on 17th April 1965
View of Stratford on Avon station's six lever ground frame which replaced the second signal box
Ref: smjsa110
DJ Norton
View of Stratford on Avon station's six lever ground frame which replaced the second signal box
View of the  Exchange Ground Frame showing the diagram advising staff which levers controlled which set of tracks
Ref: smjsa111
DJ Norton
View of the Exchange Ground Frame showing the diagram advising staff which levers controlled which set of tracks
Sketch of the layout of Stratford Old Town's Exchange Ground Frame made on 18th August 1962
Ref: smjsa275
DJ Norton
Sketch of the layout of Stratford Old Town's Exchange Ground Frame made on 18th August 1962

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Miscellaneous

A 1923 photograph of J Stubbs, 'Tacker' Harris, Harry Barrett, in the dickey seat at the rear
Ref: smjsa282
A Jordan
A 1923 photograph of J Stubbs, 'Tacker' Harris, Harry Barrett, in the dickey seat at the rear
View of the foot bridge which ran alongside the SMJ rail bridge down stream of Lucy's Mill
Ref: smjsa176
SA Newton
View of the foot bridge which ran alongside the SMJ rail bridge down stream of Lucy's Mill
View of the foot bridge which ran alongside the SMJ rail bridge down stream of Lucy's Mill
Ref: smjsa408
SA Newton
The Avon Bridge built by the East & West Junction Railway downstream of Lucy's Mill, Stratford upon Avon
Mrs May Jordan Manageress of Stratford Old Town Refreshment Room from 1915 to 1934
Ref: smjsa101
A Jordan
Mrs May Jordan Manageress of Stratford Old Town Refreshment Room from 1915 to 1934
An ornamented silver milk jug, stamped 'London Midland & Scottish Railway Company'
Ref: smjsa291
A Jordan
An silver milk jug, stamped 'London Midland & Scottish Railway Company' and emblazoned with its crest

An LMS 1942 Timetable showing the times of trains in each direction between Gloucester to London Euston
Ref: smj_misc302
W Simpson
An LMS 1942 Timetable showing the times of trains in each direction between Gloucester to London Euston
A September 1951 BR Timetable showing the times of trains in each direction between Olney to Broom
Ref: smj_misc325
RC Riley
A September 1951 BR Timetable showing the times of trains in each direction between Olney to Broom
A joint E&WJR and GCR Handbill advertising a Special train between Stratford on Avon and Leicester on 23 March 1907
Ref: smj_misc286
B Morris
A joint E&WJR and GCR Handbill advertising a Special train between Stratford on Avon and Leicester
An E&WJR Handbill advertising fares from its station to Stratford on Avon Races on 27th April 1908
Ref: smj_misc278
B Morris
An E&WJR Handbill advertising fares from its station to Stratford on Avon Races on 27th April 1908
The Webb-Thompson electric train staff used by the platelayers' trolley between Clifford Siding and Ettington
Ref: smj_misc292
W Simpson
The Webb-Thompson electric train staff used by the platelayers' trolley between Clifford Siding and Ettington

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Locomotives and trains seen at or near Stratford upon Avon station

E&WJR and SMJ Days - 1871 to 1922

E&WJR 2-4-0T No 1 standing at the head of a three coach local passenger train bound for Towcester
Ref: smjsa56
Real Photos
E&WJR 2-4-0T No 1 standing at the head of a three coach local passenger train bound for Towcester
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0ST No 1 built by Manning Wardle is seen at Stratford upon Avon near the SMJ General Manager's house
Ref: smjsa175
LCGB/K Nunn
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0ST No 1 built by Manning Wardle is seen at Stratford upon Avon near the General Manager's house
An oblique view of E&WJR 0-6-0ST No 1 and the GWR Clerestory Coach standing on the exchange line adjacent to the coal sidings
Ref: smjsa294
K Nunn
E&WJR 0-6-0ST No 1 and the GWR Clerestory Coach standing on the exchange line adjacent to the coal sidings
Another view of the small Manning Wardle locomotive which headed the E&WJR's first passenger services
Ref: smjsa293
K Nunn
Another view of the small Manning Wardle locomotive which headed the E&WJR's first passenger services
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2300, formerly SMJ No 2, is seen in Stratford on Avon goods yard marshalling goods wagons
Ref: smjsa46
WL Good
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2300, formerly SMJ No 2, is seen in Stratford on Avon goods yard marshalling goods wagons

Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2300 stands resplendent in its new LMS livery as the locomotive crew change over on 8th April 1924
Ref: smjsa33
WL Good
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2300 stands resplendent in its new LMS livery as the locomotive crew change over
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2 is seen approaching Clifford Chambers after leaving Stratford on Avon station
Ref: smjsa32
LGRP
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 2 is seen approaching Clifford Chambers after leaving Stratford on Avon station
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 4 is seen at Stratford on Avon station whilst at the head of a short passenger service to Towcester
Ref: smjsa54
Real Photos
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 4 is seen at Stratford on Avon station at the head of a passenger service to Towcester
E&WJR 2-4-0T No 5 is standing in the station with a three coach service ready to depart for Broom Junction on 20th April 1897
Ref: smjsa167
SWA Newton
E&WJR 2-4-0T No 5 is stands with a three coach service ready to depart for Broom Junction on 20th April 1897
E&WJR 2-4-0T No 5 pauses with a eight-coach special train at the east end of the up platform to top up the tanks with water
Ref: smjsa279
Locomotive Publishing
E&WJR 2-4-0T No 5 pauses with a special train at the east end of the up platform to top up the tanks with water

Ex-E&WJR 2-4-0 No 6 standing the original station whilst at the head of a service for Towcester
Ref: smjsa52
Real Photos
Ex-E&WJR 2-4-0 No 6 standing the original station whilst at the head of a service for Towcester
Ex-E&WJR 2-4-0T No 6, resplendent in its SMJ livery, stands gleaming in the sun at the head of a Towcester train circa 1909-10
Ref: smjsa52b
Real Photos
Ex-E&WJR 2-4-0T No 6, resplendent in its SMJ livery, stands gleaming in the sun at the head of a Towcester train
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 10 stands in glorious sunshine in during shunting duties in Stratford upon Avon's goods yard
Ref: smjsa337
Locomotive Publishing
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 10 stands in glorious sunshine in during shunting duties in Stratford upon Avon's goods yard
Ex-SMJ 0-6-0 No 2306, formerly SMJ 12B but now in LMS guise, is busy working within the confines of Stratford station
Ref: smjsa234
NJ Allcock
Ex-SMJ 0-6-0 No 2306, formerly SMJ 12B, now in LMS guise, is busy working within Stratford upon Avon station
E&WJR 2-4-0 No 13 with a two coach train, waits at Straford upon Avon in East & West Junction Railway days
Ref: smjsa300
Locomotive Publishing
E&WJR 2-4-0 No 13 with a two coach train, waits at Straford upon Avon in East & West Junction Railway days

Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa344
CRH Simpson
E&WJR 2-4-0 No 13 a handsome locomotive with its proportions its dark blue livery which was new to the railway
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 14 stands 'wrong road' on the up platform carrying Class 6 headlamps
Ref: smjsa374
S Dunkley
E&WJR 0-6-0 No 14 stands 'wrong road' on the up platform carrying Class 6 headlamps
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 15, now in SMJ livery, stands immaculate in its livery with polished buffers at the head of a short goods train
Ref: smjsa53
Lens of Sutton
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 15, now in SMJ livery, stands with polished buffers at the head of a short goods train
Close up of ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 15 pausing for the driver to dismount at Stratford on Avon station's up platform
Ref: smjsa53b
Anon
Close up of ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 15 pausing for the driver to dismount at Stratford on Avon station's up platform
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 16 leaves the station on 11th April 1924 with a two coach passenger train for Broom Junction
Ref: smjsa50
WL Good
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 16 leaves the station on with a two coach passenger train for Broom Junction

LMS 0-6-0 No 2309, formerly E&WJR No 16, passes Stratford on Avon's new signal box on 20th February 1925
Ref: smjsa35
WL Good
LMS 0-6-0 No 2309, formerly E&WJR No 16, passes Stratford on Avon's new signal box on 20th February 1925
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 17 is seen on 11th April 1924 bringing a goods train through the station 'wrong road'
Ref: smjsa48
WL Good
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 17 is seen on 11th April 1924 bringing a goods train through the station 'wrong road'
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 18, now in SMJ guise heads a special train of GCR stock conveying the American Ambassador
Ref: smjsa67
Lens of Sutton
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 18, now in SMJ guise heads a special train of GCR stock conveying the American Ambassador
SMJ 0-6-0 No 18 is seen on 11th April 1924 heading a goods train through the station past the up platform
Ref: smjsa49
LGRP
Ex-E&WJR 0-6-0 No 18 is seen heading a goods train through the station past the up platform

LMS Days - 1923 to 1947 (Grouping)

Ex-MR 1P 2-4-0 No No 96 is seen on 8th April 1924 still wearing MR livery whilst working a goods train
Ref: smjsa45
WL Good
Ex-MR 1P 2-4-0 No No 96 is seen on 8th April 1924 still wearing MR livery whilst working a goods train
Ex-MR 2F 0-6-0 No 3696 stands at the up platform with single coach on a passenger working to Towcester
Ref: smjsa41
Real Photos
Ex-MR 2F 0-6-0 No 3696 stands at the up platform with single coach on a passenger working to Towcester
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 3884 proceeds towards Ettington with a two-coach local service on 15th May 1942
Ref: smjsa243
VR Webster
Ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 No 3884 proceeds towards Ettington with a two-coach local service on 15th May 1942

BR Days - 1948 - 1965

Ex-LMS 0-6-0 4F No 44043 is seen passing through Stratford on Avon station on a local pick up goods service
Ref: smjsa159
A Vaughan
Ex-LMS 0-6-0 4F No 44043 is seen passing through Stratford on Avon station on a local pick up goods service
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 6940 'Didlington Hall' is seen passing through Stratford on Avon station
Ref: smjsa157
R Fisher
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 6940 'Didlington Hall' is seen passing through Stratford on Avon station
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44266 leaves Stratford for Broom with a Class 8 through mineral or empty wagon train
Ref: smjsa235
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44266 leaves Stratford for Broom with a Class 8 through mineral or empty wagon train
An unidentified ex-WD 2-8-0 locomotive is seen crossing the bridge carrying the former SMJ route over the River Avon
Ref: smjsa124
AT Locke/KRM
An unidentified ex-WD 2-8-0 locomotive is seen crossing the bridge carrying the former SMJ route over the River Avon
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 6940 'Didlington Hall' is seen crossing the River Avon on a freight to Fenny Compton
Ref: smjsa147
R Fisher
Ex-GWR 4-6-0 Hall class No 6940 'Didlington Hall' is seen crossing the River Avon on a freight to Fenny Compton

Ex-LNER L1 2-6-4T No 67740 with three brake vans in tow pauses at Stratford Old Town on 25th April 1960
Ref: smjsa237
TE Williams
BR built L1 2-6-4T No 67740 with three brake vans in tow pauses at Stratford Old Town on 25th April 1960
Ex-MR 4F 0-6-0 No 43853 leaves Stratford Old Town with a Class 6 service bound for Blisworth in the early 1960s
Ref: smjsa238
RC Riley
Ex-MR 4F 0-6-0 No 43853 leaves Stratford Old Town with a Class 6 service bound for Blisworth in the early 1960s
Ex-WD 2-8-0 No 90312 is seen crossing over the former GWR line as it proceeds to Broom on a engineer's train on 28th May 1960
Ref: gwr_src1521
TE Williams
Ex-WD 2-8-0 No 90312 is seen crossing over the former GWR line as it proceeds to Broom on a engineer's train
Ex-LMS 0-6-0 4F No 44043 is seen on a down freight about to cross the former GWR lines on 11th June 1957
Ref: gwr_src1525
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 0-6-0 4F No 44043 is seen on a down freight about to cross the former GWR lines on 11th June 1957
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 stands at the head of a SLS Special at Stratford Old Town station on 24th April 1965
Ref: smjsa173
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 0-6-0 2251 class No 2211 is seen at the head of the 'Tiddly Dyke' as it readies to leave the ex-SMJ station

Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44121 slows down to hand in the staff for the section from Broom to Stratford Old Town on 19th June 1954
Ref: smjsa242
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44121 slows down to pass the staff for the section from Broom to Stratford Old Town
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 3806, with full wagons of iron ore, leaves the new south curve onto the line to Honeybourne on 25th April1961
Ref: smjsa323
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 3806, with full wagons of iron ore, leaves the new south curve onto the line to Honeybourne
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44175 running tender first pilots classmate No 44015 on a Class K freight service to Broom
Ref: smjsa318
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44175 running tender first pilots No 44015 on a Class K freight service to Broom
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 2851 pauses at the now derelict Stratford Old Town station in 1961 with a long train of 'flats'
Ref: smjsa324
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 2-8-0 No 2851 pauses at the now derelict Stratford Old Town station in 1961 with a long train of 'flats'
An unidentified BR 9F 2-10-0 locomotive is seen with a Class H through freight of coal in the early 1960s
Ref: smjsa270
J Cosford
An unidentified BR 9F 2-10-0 locomotive is seen with a Class H through freight of coal in the early 1960s

Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44491 is acting as shunter at Stratford Old Town during advanced works on the southern junction on 29th April 1959
Ref: smjsa394
TE Williamsl
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44491 acts as shunter at Old Town during advanced works on the southern junction
Ex-LMS 5MT 4-6-0 No 44919 enters the former SMJ station with the empty rolling stock of the royal train on 11th July 1964
Ref: smjsa283
TE Williams
Ex-LMS 5MT 4-6-0 No 44919 enters the former SMJ station with the empty rolling stock of the royal train

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The last scheduled passenger service and the last special on the SMJ

Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44525 leaves the carriage sidings with the last scheduled passenger train on 5th April 1952
Ref: smjsa236
RC Riley
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44525 leaves the carriage sidings with the last scheduled service on 5th April 1952
Ex-MR 0-6-0 3F No 43222 is seen standing at the head of an SMJ Rail Tour special as the fireman pulls coal forward
Ref: smjsa285
A Jordan
The end of an era - the last passenger train to run over the old SMJ to Blisworth on 5th April 1952
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44525 is seen at Stratford on Avon station's down platform on the final passenger train service
Ref: smjsa146
A Thompson
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44525 is seen at Stratford on Avon station's down platform on the final passenger train service
The SLS Special, the very last departure from Stratford upon Avon Old Town Station on 24th April 1965
Ref: smjsa363
J Jennings
The SLS Special, the very last departure from Stratford upon Avon Old Town Station on 24th April 1965
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 stands at the head of a SLS Special at Stratford Old Town station on 24th April 1965
Ref: smjsa173
R Postill
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 stands at the head of a SLS Special at Stratford Old Town station on 24th April 1965

Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 pauses at Stratford-upon-Avon (Old Town) station on 24th April 1965
Ref: smjsa268
R Postill
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 pauses at Stratford-upon-Avon (Old Town) station on 24th April 1965
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa269
R Postill
Ex-LMS 4F 0-6-0 No 44188 comes off the Honeybourne line as it approaches Stratford Old Town station

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Special Tours

Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx class No 6368 and ex-GWR 0-6-0 2251 class No 2246 at Stratford on Avon on a down special
Ref: smjsa148
R Fisher
Ex-GWR 2-6-0 43xx class No 6368 and ex-GWR 0-6-0 2251 class No 2246 at Stratford on Avon on a down special
Ex-MR 0-6-0 3F No 43222 is seen standing at Stratford on Avon station in 1956 with a special train for Broom
Ref: smjsa126
HC Casserley
Ex-MR 0-6-0 3F No 43222 is seen standing at Stratford on Avon station in 1956 with a special train for Broom
Ex-MR 0-6-0 3F No 43222 is seen standing at the head of an SMJ Rail Tour special as the fireman pulls coal forward
Ref: smjsa160
A Thompson
Ex-MR 0-6-0 3F No 43222 is seen standing at the head of an SMJ Rail Tour special as the fireman pulls coal forward
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa273
TE Williams
Ex-GWR 2-6-2T No 6111 on an REC special with four coaches heading east on 14th September 1963
Ex-GWR 4-4-0 'Dukedog' class No 9015 is seen at Stratford on Avon at the head of the South Midlander Special
Ref: smjsa154
A Vaughan
Ex-GWR 4-4-0 'Dukedog' class No 9015 is seen at Stratford on Avon at the head of the South Midlander Special

View of the South Midlander special at the down platform with a freight service passing through the up platform
Ref: smjsa158
A Vaughan
View of the South Midlander special at the down platform with a freight service passing through the up platform
A visiting party of enthusiasts look around the near derelict E&WJR signal box and station building on 14th May 1960
Ref: smjsa274
JS Doubleday
Enthusiasts look around the near derelict E&WJR signal box and station building on 14th May 1960

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Aerial views of Stratford Old Town station and locomotive shed

An aerial view of the westerly approach to Stratford Old Town station, goods yard and shed on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa250
Britain from Above
An aerial view of the westerly approach to Stratford Old Town station, goods yard and shed on 23rd June 1952
An aerial view showing the approach via New Street to Stratford Old Town station, goods yard and shed on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa253
Britain from Above
An aerial view showing the approach via New Street to Stratford Old Town station, goods yard and shed
Close up showing the entrance to the station and a mix of wagons adjacent to the goods shed on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa258
Britain from Above
Close up of the entrance to the station and a mix of wagons adjacent to the goods shed on 23rd June 1952
Close up showing an ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 locomotive and an LMS 4F 0-6-0 locomotive outside the shed on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa254
Britain from Above
Close up of an ex-MR 3F 0-6-0 locomotive and an LMS 4F 0-6-0 locomotive outside the shed on 23rd June 1952
Close up showing the outside of the passenger station and the coaling stage outside the shed on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa257
Britain from Above
Close up of the outside of the passenger station and the coaling stage outside the shed on 23rd June 1952

Another view of Stratford Old Town's goods shed and yard with the locomotive shed in the foreground
Ref: smjsa249
Britain from Above
Another view of the station's goods shed and yard with the locomotive shed in the foreground
Close up showing the water tank and the ramp which led up to the machine room beneath on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa248
Britain from Above
Close up of the water tank and the ramp which led up to the machine room beneath on 23rd June 1952
An aerial view of Stratford Old Town's locomotive shed showing the section of roof without its corrugated sheeting on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa276
Britain from Above
Stratford Old Town's shed showing the section of roof without its corrugated sheeting on 23rd June 1952
Close up showing the eastern end of the station and shed with the WD Store and water tank prominent on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa252
Britain from Above
Close up of the eastern end of the station and shed with the WD Store and water tank prominent
Close up showing the sidings adjacent to the WD Store and leading up to Lucy's Mill on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa251
Britain from Above
Close up showing the sidings adjacent to the WD Store and leading up to Lucy's Mill on 23rd June 1952

Another view showing the sidings adjacent to the WD Store and west end of the station on 23rd June 1952
Ref: smjsa255
Britain from Above
Another view of the sidings adjacent to the WD Store and west end of the station on 23rd June 1952
Close up showing the remains of the station's cattle dock and some of the goods yard buildings
Ref: smjsa256
Britain from Above
Another view showing the sidings servicing the WD depot and siding into Lucy's Mill on 23rd June 1952

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Maps, Schematics and Diagrams

An interior view of the SMJ's Stratford on Avon shed with SMJ 0-6-0 No 10 seen on the left prior to grouping in 1923
Ref: smjsa259
Ordnance Survey
An 1885 OS map showing the SMJ station on the right and the line to Broom crossing the GWR line to Honeybourne
An interior view of the SMJ's Stratford on Avon shed with SMJ 0-6-0 No 10 seen on the left prior to grouping in 1923
Ref: smjsa260
Ordnance Survey
A 1913 OS map showing the SMJ station on the right and the line to Broom crossing the GWR line to Honeybourne
An interior view of the SMJ's Stratford on Avon shed with SMJ 0-6-0 No 10 seen on the left prior to grouping in 1923
Ref: smjsa161
Ordnance Survey
A 1938 OS map showing the SMJ station on the right and the line to Broom crossing the GWR line to Honeybourne
Close up of the 1938 OS map showing the station, the carriage sidings and the goods shed and yard
Ref: smjsa161a
Ordnance Survey
Close up of the 1938 OS map showing the station, the carriage sidings and the goods shed and yard
An interior view of the SMJ's Stratford on Avon shed with SMJ 0-6-0 No 10 seen on the left prior to grouping in 1923
Ref: smjsa161b
Ordnance Survey
Close up of the 1938 OS map showing the shed, station and the lines to Broom and the GWR network

An interior view of the SMJ's Stratford on Avon shed with SMJ 0-6-0 No 10 seen on the left prior to grouping in 1923
Ref: smjsa166
OPC
A post 1942 schematic diagram of the SMJ station and shed and the various sidings and facilities
Close up showing the passenger and platform staff facilities together with facilities for local merchants
Ref: smjsa166a
OPC
Close up showing the engine shed and station layout together with facilities for local merchants
Close up showing the carriage sidings, exchange sidings, goods shed and other merchant facilities
Ref: smjsa166b
OPC
Close up showing the carriage sidings, exchange sidings, goods shed and other merchant facilities
View of the 1885 plan of the East & West Junction Railway's Stratford on Avon station showing the line to Broom
Ref: smjsa153
A Thompson
View of the 1885 plan of the East & West Junction Railway's Stratford on Avon station showing the line to Broom
Stratford on Avon station's layout  showing the junctions with the former GWR line after the lifting of the line to Broom
Ref: smjsa150
A Thompson
Stratford on Avon station's layout showing the junctions with the former GWR line after the lifting of the line to Broom

A schematic map showing the SMJ station, shed, goods yard and sidings from 1910 to 1942
Ref: smjsa178
OPC
A schematic map showing the SMJ station, shed, goods yard and sidings from 1910 to 1942
Drawing showing the internal layout of the main station buildings prior to being extended
Ref: smjsa177
OPC
Drawing showing the internal layout of the main station buildings prior to being extended
A plan of the new road network to the South of Stratford upon Avon including Seven Meadows Road
Ref: smjsa156
WCC
A plan of the new road network to the South of Stratford upon Avon including Seven Meadows Road

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Goods traffic at Stratford on Avon - A personal recollection by Arthur Jordan

As stated above its very rare to be given a detailed first-hand account of the facilities and workings of a station, particularly one which closed half-way through the 20th century. Fortunately through the eyes of Arthur Jordan, whose mother managed Stratford upon Avon station's refreshment facilities, we can. His book The Stratford upon Avon and Midland Junction Railway published by OPC in 1982 gives us this opportunity. Arthur's account is as follows:

Tuesday was cattle market day in Stratford-upon-Avon and, until the 1920s, the railway provided almost all the transport for animals to the Birmingham slaughterhouses: as many as twenty trucks would be loaded at the SMJ station. The cattle market was on the other side of the town, about a mile away from the station, and all the cattle (mainly bullocks but including sheep and pigs) had to be driven through the streets of the town, much to the inconvenience of the road traffic and frequently to the alarm of pedestrians. Men known as drovers attended all Midland cattle markets and contracted to do the droving and loading of cattle for the dealers and butchers. They were tough, rough characters armed with stout cudgels, loud voices and strong language, so that if the beasts were not already frantic with fear whilst in the sale pens, they soon became so when under the 'care' of the drovers.

A particularly fearsome looking character, known as 'Cattle Bill', drove beasts to the SMJ station and he and his mates frequented the Shant for beer when I overheard many of their tales and most of their foul language. One of these tales concerned an ancestor of Cattle Bill's who used to use the old drove roads through the Welsh mountains to the Midland grazing lands and markets. One such tale concerned a herd of eight hundred cattle being driven along the muddy road towards Hereford when the mail coach approached and the impatient driver tried to force his way through the cattle. Lashing out in all directions at the cattle he caused them to stampede and this so infuriated the drovers that one of them knocked the coach driver from his seat and threw him into the ditch. This sequel always seemed to please Cattle Bill's audience. Sometimes Cattle Bill would agree to buy his mates a drink by striking a bargain in the traditional drovers' manner, that is by slapping hands. Often he would break into song with snatches from old drovers' drinking songs, one of which was about a maiden betrayed by a drover and finished with this verse in which the assembled company of the Shant would all join in the last line:

 

'To our house came he for a bed,
His words were honey but his thoughts I read,
With a handy hammer I tapped his head.
That was the end of the drover'

The SMJ passenger and goods stations were both approached along the same road, so it was not surprising that railway passengers were frequently terrified as they were surrounded by wild-eyed, bellowing bullocks and swearing, cudgel-wielding drovers. I was always frightened on my way home from school if I encountered the drovers with or without their cattle. The cattle dock was not large enough to pen all the animals arriving at the station, so that milling herds of beasts would be held on the piece of ground in front of the station building entrance, thus obliging passengers on foot to pluck up sufficient courage to penetrate the sea of horns or, as some ladies did, to scream and secure the protection of a drover or a railway- man. Occasionally a beast would attempt to escape and find its way into the railwaymen's allotments, trampling crops under hoof. However, some of the manure shovelled up from the station yard after the departure of the cattle train found its way to these allotments whilst some helped win prizes for the station platform gardens.

The unfortunate animals, already terrified to the verge of madness, were now subjected to the most sickening cruelty as they were lambasted on all sides in an effort to load them into the cattle wagons. Sheep were never such a problem because after one had been shoved through the wagon doors the others would follow, but oh, pigs! Pigs brought more and more punishment upon themselves by their pro- testing squeals and refusal to understand what was required of them. I can to this day hear their terrified shrieks as they were pulled by the ears, flogged across the back and kicked in the belly to get them into the wagons. Some 18,000 head of livestock were despatched from SMJ stations each year. Bert Russell, aged 95 years when I talked to him, was the traffic canvasser at Stratford-upon-Avon, and he recalled that on cattle market days all the settlements by farmers were made in the public house near the market. Ink pots and pens stood cheek by jowl with the beer pots and whisky glasses on a table in the bar, and cheques were made out by the farmers to settle outstanding accounts with the railways, the cattle drovers and amongst themselves.

Eventually a large, modern cattle market was built adjacent to the GWR station so that cattle to be loaded at that station had to be driven only a few hundred yards. This, coupled with the growing use of road vehicles, soon reduced the traffic for the LMS, so that a special train was no longer required and the one or two wagons which were loaded with cattle could be attached to the rear of the 7.45pm passenger train to Broom Junction. After market day the cattle dock had to be cleaned down with a hose and broom and then 'sloshed' with disinfectant. 1 often helped or even completed this cleaning task on my own, for which I might be given sixpence, but my mother protested vehemently at my doing this job, because I always soaked my boots and socks and often all my clothing- There was seldom any outwards livestock traffic, other than on market days, but twice a year a horse breeder named Tom Wynn would consign five or six shire horses to the railway stables at Lawley Street goods station in Birmingham. These were beautiful, powerful looking animals and to a small boy appeared to be of mammoth proportions with feet the size of dustbin lids which it was wise to keep well clear of. Their manes and tails were neatly plaited with straw and their 'socks' were snow-white whilst their coats shone as though polished. Tom Wynn and his son would tether these horses to the gate at the back of the Shant whilst they refreshed themselves after their long walk in from the country, and I would run away in terror if Tom offered to lift me on the back of one of his horses.

Although these animals had been broken-in for dray work they had never before seen a railway station and certainly never been invited to step inside a railway horse box; an invitation they did not readily accept. In fact a shire horse's unwillingness to enter a horse box increased in proportion to the amount of pulling, pushing and shouting expended upon it. Perhaps it was the massiveness of these horses, perhaps a different attitude of the men towards horses as compared with cattle, but I never saw a violent blow struck at these horses. No, if a horse would not enter the horse box in a forwards direction then the men tried inveigling it into believing that if it allowed itself to be propelled backwards it was not going into the horse box at all! Often this worked, but not always. l have watched, several men trying unsuccessfully for up to half-an-hour to load one of these shire horses and then Tacker Harris, the porter, would lead the horse away, take a turn around the station yard, all the while stroking the horse's neck and talking to it, and then he would come trotting up to the horse box and - IN! Once loaded, horses were given more consideration than humans, for the horse boxes were well padded to prevent injury to the animal and movable partitions were placed so as to make it impossible for the horse to fall over in transit.

At the head end was a hatch to enable the horse to be fed and a watchful eye kept on it en route; whilst railway rules required that all animals, after twelve hours in transit, be released from their vehicles, watered and fed. Many passengers on present day High Speed Trains on which the buffet facilities have been suspended, might well wish that some such similar rules required them to be fed in transit! Stratford-upon-Avon Steeplechases were held twice a year, bringing additional traffic to the railways. The SMJ station was nearest to the racecourse until the Great Western put in two racecourse platforms adjacent to the course in 1930. Jockeys or stable boys travelled with the horses in a compartment built into the horse box and would be accompanied by a large chest displaying the stable's colours and containing medicines and lotions required for 'servicing' the horse. These lads could be extremely temperamental, especially after a long journey which may not have gone entirely to plan, when their use of foul language knew no bounds.

There were no stables on the racecourse in the early days, consequently all available stabling in the town was in great demand for the racehorses. The stables of the local brewery, Hutchings & Co., and of numerous other traders were turned over to accommodating racehorses. To help meet the situation the SMJ erected stabling for twenty horses at Avonfield, the general manager's house by the station yard. Anxious to please the racing fraternity and in response to an appeal, the SMJ directors donated £40 to the United Hunt Farmers' Steeplechase in 1921.

In order to comply with the rule mentioned earlier regarding animals in transit, it was occasionally necessary for cattle passing through Stratford-upon-Avon to be let out of their trucks and watered. It was an operation undertaken with great reluctance by the station staff because animals which had already endured twelve hours of buffeting about in a draughty cattle wagon were not easily persuaded to re-enter that torture chamber after having been released. There was some excitement when Tacker Harris had to render this service for a young bull, for it seems that the spell Tacker was able to cast over shire horses was apparently ineffective over the bovine species. The bull broke loose and, galumphing down the approach road, disappeared into the maze of streets in the Old Town district and was never seen again at the LMS station! I believe that the hapless Tacker heard something about this episode from headquarters but nothing could bring Ferdinand back. Tacker was certainly not born under Taurus!

Whereas cattle, sheep and pigs released from their wagons were expected to re-enter when required, pigeons were released with the object of their flying away. These were homing pigeons or racing pigeons conveyed in baskets with special labels on which the station staff recorded the time of the birds' release and the weather conditions. These birds were transported twenty, fifty or even hundreds of miles from their home lofts and released at the station to which they had been consigned, to fly back to their lofts as fast as possible. It was understood by the railway staff that the birds should not be released during unfavourable weather conditions, so that if they were held for several hours the birds* drinking-water tins would need replenishing. When releasing the birds, care had to be taken as far as possible, to avoid obstructions such as telephone wires or signal gantries. Before setting off for home, the birds would circle around the station several times, presumably as part of their ritual for determining the direction they were to follow.

Arrival of theatrical traffic always caused some excitement for me because of the special working arrangements involved and the interesting things to be seen coming out of the scenery vans. I remember in particular the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company, when the cast and the 'props' would arrive by special train on Sunday morning, having travelled over- night from the town of their previous appearance. Railway staff and cartage vehicles would be organised to unload and convey the scenery and costumes to the theatre beside the River Avon. The special scenery rail vans would be shunted into the cattle dock siding with the end-door vans buffered up to the end-loading dock. Through these end-doors would come long pieces of scenery and back-drops whilst hampers of costumes were being unloaded from other vans. The Opera Company's stage manager and staff would be anxiously supervising every move, fearing damage to their precious 'props' and attempting to ensure some order in the despatch of the dray loads to the theatre.

Singers, who the night previously in their final performance at the last theatre had looked so glamorous and zestful, now presented a very different sight! A tedious cross-country train journey of perhaps eight or more hours, sitting up all night and without refreshment, had taken its toll and now they faced a walk carrying suitcases to their new theatrical 'digs' somewhere around the town. After a few hours rest they would be at the theatre for a rehearsal. At the end of the week the operation would be repeated in reverse late on Saturday night, after the last performance at Stratford's theatre. From eleven at night until one or two in the morning, drays would be making their way through the darkened streets to the station yard where loading of the scenery vans was taking place. The fabulous Cornish coast scene from The Pirates of Penzance looks less fabulous when folded up, loaded on a dray and viewed in drizzling rain by the dim light of oil hand-lamps. Every piece of scenery had its place in the vans, somewhat like a jig-saw puzzle, and to depart from the well-tried method of loading known to the theatrical company's hands, might well result in an inability to get everything loaded.

Farm wagons, similar to the one in Constable's 'The Haywain', drawn by two or three horses in tandem, would bring their loads to the station, often hay and straw sold to one of the railway companies for their city stables. When the railway wagon was loaded it would be sheeted, both to protect the load from the elements and to assist in holding it together. Next, ropes would be passed over the load from both sides and secured to hooks fixed on the wagon-sides. Considerable skill was called for to build the load so that its sides were straight and each layer securely bound in to pre- vent movement in transit. The height and width of the load had to be watched to ensure that it would pass beneath the loading gauge hanging from a post located on one of the goods sidings.

The handling and control of wagon sheets figures largely in the activities of the goods department, for there were many loads carried in open wagons, as can be seen from photographs of goods trains of bygone days. Railway companies owned thousands of sheets and ropes. The sheets, made of tarred canvas, were numbered and carried the owning company's initials painted in white letters. Records were kept of the whereabouts of all wagon sheets and users were charged sheet hire. As wagon sheets were removed from a load they were neatly folded according to a set routine which ensured a tidy, manageable bundle which a man could hoist on to his shoulder for carrying. Unsheeting was easier than sheeting-up for which the sheets had to be carried up a ladder to the top of the load and then unfolded so that they dropped down over the sides and ends of the load. Adjustment would be required until the load was adequately protected, after which the sheet cords could be tied to hooks or rings on the wagon sides. Ropes and sheets did sometimes work loose in transit and this could prove a serious hazard to other traffic, which is why signalmen, in addition to their other responsibilities, were required to scrutinize all passing goods trains for signs of insecure loads and to have the train stopped if necessary.

Before a loaded wagon could be despatched, two labels would be required, one for each side of the wagon, indicating the destination and route, such as 'To Gloucester via Broom June & Ashchurch'. An invoice would have to be prepared by the goods clerks showing the name and address of both the sender and the receiver (or, as they were known to the railway company, the consignor and the consignee) the station to which consigned, the route, the wagon number, sheet numbers and quantity of ropes together with a description of the goods, weight and charges and whether the charge included delivery at the other end. One copy of the invoice would accompany the wagon, held in a spring clip behind the label on the wagon side, and another copy would be sent by passenger train to the station to which the load was consigned.

Metal street nameplates and road signs were manufactured at the Royal Label Factory in Stratford-upon-Avon and large quantities were despatched by SMJ to destinations all over the country. When in 1935 a Minister of Transport named Hore-Belisha introduced pedestrian crossings with the omnipresent beacon lights (known there- after as 'Belisha beacons') the volume of this traffic increased considerably. In SMJ days, the brewing industry generated a consider- able tonnage of traffic for the line, with Flowers & Sons brewery despatching eight or ten wagon loads of beer each day. One of the Flowers was a director of the Stratford- on-Avon Railway (GWR) and such was the anxiety of this firm not to appear to favour one company more than the other that, for towns served equally well by either line, the brewery used both routes in alternate weeks! Kendall & Sons were brewers' chemists, supplying molasses to breweries throughout the land and despatching between ten and fifteen tons of traffic daily, mainly in metal drums.

A firm manufacturing aluminium kettles and teapots, NC Josephs Ltd., established works in Stratford-upon- Avon in the twenties and despatched three or four van loads of utensils daily. Next, this firm went into the food canning business under the brand name of 'Sona' and in season, thousands of tons of fruit arrived from as far away as Scotland. The canned goods were consigned to shops all over the land by rail until eventually the firm's own road vehicle fleet took over the distribution. Ernie Batsford, one of Hutchings' draymen at that time, recalls spending ail of one day unloading raspberries from Scotland until he was sick of the sight and smell of that fruit. After working overtime he arrived home for his cooked meal and his wife, thinking to cheer him up after a long day's work, told him that she had cooked his favourite, raspberry pie!

All this traffic from the brewery, Kendalls, Josephs, the Royal Label Factory and many other firms was conveyed on horse-drawn drays of which Hutchings & Co. possessed thirty and one covered van. In 1928 the firm acquired its first motor lorry, a Morris Commercial, but by 1938 this had grown to a fleet of some twelve lorries. Fork-lift trucks and palletised loading were scarcely known anywhere in the country, much less at Stratford's SMJ goods yard, so that most goods were packed in crates, boxes, barrels, drums or sacks, all of which were charged for and returnable to the senders. The conveyance of 'returned empties' placed almost as great a burden on the railway's facilities as did the outward transport of the goods they had contained. An empty drum occupied as much space in a railway wagon as a full one and called for an equal amount of handling and documentation, yet the revenue was much less.

The plastics industry as we know it today had not been developed, and plastic and polythene bags were twenty or more years away, so that all the sacks for grain, fertilizers, flour and the like were made from jute. These sacks were relatively costly but hard wearing and whilst many firms owned their own sacks and had their names printed on such as 'Lucy & Nephew Ltd. Flour Mills, Stratford-upon- Avon', many other users hired sacks from sack contractors. One of the largest and best known sack hire firms was Hudsons of Gloucester with depots and agents throughout the country. Their depots were frequently situated in rail- way goods yards, with the railway acting as agents, and the counting and documentation of hired sacks occupied a lot of railwaymen's time, for which the payment was 2s 6d (12½p) per 100 sacks. For grain and Hour the sacks were very large, and when filled, weighed a little over two hundredweight. In warehouses, mills and docks, where handling was by hoist, they had their advantages, but on railway drays and loading decks, where they had to be man- handled, they were real man-killers and caused many a hernia. Most draymen and goods porters wore aprons made from these sacks, some being simply tied with twine round the waist but others had a bib and twine braces over the shoulders. Unless torn, these sack aprons would last almost a lifetime.

Before leaving this description of the goods yard it would be appropriate to tell something of the enormous amount of paper work incurred in respect of every consignment. The sender of goods, be it a small box or several wagon loads, would be required to complete and sign a consign- ment note. On this he would state his name and address and that of the consignee. A description of the goods and any special requirements such as insurance would have to be entered. The railway drayman collecting the goods would take the consignment note and at the goods station the rail- way checker would weigh the goods and enter the weight on the consignment note which, after checking the number of packages, would be sent into the invoicing clerks. In those days all railway charges were subject to control under the Railway Act 1921 which fixed standard rates for the whole country with provision for 'Exceptional Charges' below the standard rates. The Railway Rates Advisory Committee established twenty-one classes of merchandise classified according to value, to the bulk in relation to weight, to the risk of damage, to cost of handling, and to the saving in cost which may result when merchandise is forwarded in large quantities'. It is scarcely surprising that educational classes enabling goods clerks to understand this charging system took four years to complete.

The goods invoice for each consignment would be written out in long-hand and computations made with the aid of ready-reckoners, for one hardly ever saw a typewriter in a railway office and never an adding machine. In order to pass an examination as a junior clerk I was required to attain a certain standard of proficiency in typing and short- hand, but although I passed the exam, never in my railway career was I called upon to make use of my hardly-acquired talents. After completion of the invoicing there remained a mountain of paperwork to be done at the sending station as well as that which would fall upon the receiving station. Here the goods would be checked against the invoice and a note made of any loss or damage. Each item would be entered on a delivery sheet containing some twenty lines per sheet and which the drayman would take on his rounds to secure the signature of the consignee upon delivery of the goods. In the Goods Office would follow an involved bookkeeping process of abstracting invoices to summary sheets and, where other railway companies were concerned, returns to the Railway Clearing House to ensure that each company received its correct share of the revenue. All errors, even for as little as one penny, would be debited or credited as the case may be when obviously the labour time consumed in this bookkeeping far exceeded in cost the sum involved.

Stations on the SMJ system despatched some 17,000 tons of merchandise each year and about 26,000 tons of minerals, mainly iron ore. The Passenger Department was responsible for parcels traffic, a very different thing from 'goods'. Parcels traffic was conveyed by passenger trains either in the guard's van or in a parcels van, or, if a horse, then in a horse box. The term 'parcel' covered anything from a small brown paper package weighing a few ounces to a box of wet fish weighing two hundredweights, bicycles, perambulators, baskets of fruit, birds in cages, animals on the hoof or in crates or van loads of theatrical scenery. After the parcels van arrived from Birmingham on the morning train the platform trolleys, piled high, would be wheeled into the booking hall and the parcels sorted into heaps according to the streets and shops to which they were addressed. By grouping the packages together on the delivery sheet, time would be saved for the deliveryman. As a boy I used to help with this and, later as a clerk, it was my responsibility to enter details of each parcel on the delivery sheet. Each parcel had to be weighed and then a porter or myself would call out in a loud voice the name and address of the consignee, the name of the sending station, the weight and value of the parcels stamps affixed. I enjoyed 'calling out' and the older porter was glad of my help for his eyesight was no longer keen, although he did wear spectacles which he had purchased at Woolworths for one shilling (5p). (Many low paid people did not visit an optician in those days but instead could be seen trying on spectacles at the counter in Woolworths until they found a pair that seemed to improve their vision.) 'Calling out' improved my geography of Britain so that at an early age I knew the whereabouts of Machynlleth and Kirkcudbright even though they sounded like 'Makunleth' and Kirkoobry' when called out by a porter.

Believe it or not, the charge made for each parcel as entered on the delivery sheet was supposed to be checked and if found to be incorrect then an appropriate document correcting the charge sent to the originating station! Had this been done for every parcel then there would have been the world's biggest parcel pile-up at every major station in the land, consequently only the most glaring errors were dealt with in this manner. When parcels were being despatched each had to be weighed and the distance from the sending station to the receiving station calculated so that a mileage-related charge could be computed. Contrast this with the simplicity of the Post Office parcels service with a charge related only to the weight. There were scales of charges according to whether the sender desired 'Owner's Risk', 'Company's Risk' or 'Special Risk' for fragile articles. A paper stamp to the value of the charge was then applied to the parcel with a large brush and oceans of glue.

What sort of parcels came to Stratford-upon-Avon? Mainly clothing from the mills of Leicestershire, Lancashire and Yorkshire; wet fish from Gnmsby and Great Yarmouth; dead game and rabbits for the fishmonger and for hotels; hams, pies and sausages from Palethorpes of Cambridge and Harris's of Calne and crates of wines and spirits for the wine merchants and hotels arrived regularly. New bicycles came from Redditch and Nottingham and perambulators in light wooden crates. The bicycles would be well wrapped in brown paper around the frame and handlebars and cardboard shields over the chain and chain- wheel. The handlebars would be turned through ninety degrees so that the machines occupied less space in the parcels vans. New bicycles were not delivered but had to be collected from the station by the shopkeepers, but as they found difficulty in leaving their shops unattended they would pay sixpence (2½p) to me if I delivered a bike for them. For delivery, the handlebars would be turned back to their normal position and it was not illegal in those days to ride on one cycle steered with one hand and to guide a second cycle with the other hand.

The Shakespeare Hotel served as a town parcels office for the East & West Junction Railway in Stratford-upon-Avon and later for the SMJ, and parcels collection and deliver}' was by an agent, EF Thorpe, until February 1918, when he relinquished the agency. Because of difficulty in finding another agent the SMJ decided to purchase 'a horse, covered van and harness, at a cost of about £60,collection'. and our own staff will make the collection'. The locomotive fore- man's daughter, Linda Matthews, was engaged to deliver the parcels and she was to be 'paid 1/- extra for Sunday duty tending the horse', 'This arrangement lasted until the end of 1919 when it was minuted that 'We have now got an Army man to do the work and the horse, van, harness etc. have been sold and realised about £7 10s 0d more than we gave for it. The SMJ now pay 2d per parcel for collection and 3d per parcel for delivery. Before the war we paid 1½d and 2d. There is no mention of the fate of Linda Matthews the driver! The ex-army man was Leonard Gibbs, who acted as parcels agent for both the SMJ and the GWR. For some years he used a horse and covered van (possibly he bought it off the SMJ) but in LMS days he acquired an American Overland station wagon and disposed of the horse. This vehicle soon proved too small for the increasing volume of parcels traffic and was replaced by a Morris Commercial van which in turn had to be supplemented by a two-wheeled handcart with a cover over and pushed by a skeleton-like youth for fifteen shillings (75p) per week of six days.

This lad would stagger away from the station with his cart laden so high that he could see neither over nor round it. After pushing this burden for a mile he would commence delivering parcels to the town's shops and when completed he would return to the station for a second load, after which he would assist his employer on the motor van. Outwards parcels traffic was relatively light but regularly there were two hampers of clothing from dry-cleaning firms with branches in the town. Sketchley, still a well known firm, despatched only to their works at Hinckley in Leicestershire but Pullars of Perth did in fact send their clothes to that Scottish town for processing. Articles of clothing handed in at their Stratford branch on Monday would be returned by Thursday having made the return journey North of the Border, as well as being processed in a little over two clear days! I doubt if that could be improved upon today.

In season, chips (baskets) of blackberries and straw- berries and hampers of plums would be despatched when a consignment of perhaps fifty or more chips would be placed on a Pooley's weighing machine, the charge calculated and a waybill prepared to accompany the fruit on its journey. I know for certain that not every strawberry put into the chips reached its destination but I only ever took one at a time and so did the porter and the guard, and who would miss just one?

At small stations, such as Stratford-upon-Avon, the duties of the booking clerk covered the booking office, parcels office, enquiry office, left luggage office as well as bookkeeping and computing wages and salaries. Later when I worked at much larger stations such as Cheltenham and Birmingham I found my duties more specialised. The mention of working out wages and making up the pay packets each week reminds me of the primitive copying process employed. Clerks were issued with special pencils with which to write out the wages sheets, which then had to be copied. Next a sheet of flimsy tissue-like paper was laid over the sheet to be copied and well wetted with a brush dipped in a bucket of water. Both sheets, still wet, were then placed in a large press which was screwed down tightly and left for several hours. When removed from the press a copy of the original document was impressed upon the tissue. At Stratford-upon-Avon LMS station the number of passenger enquiries was out of all proportion to the volume of bookings because, although the LMS was the largest of the big four railways (extending from London to Wick and from Bristol to Liverpool as well as to Wales and Ireland) few places were conveniently accessible from Stratford LMS station. Passengers preferred or were advised to travel to Birmingham by GWR, cross from Snow Hill station to New Street station and continue their journey by LMS from there'.

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Stratford on Avon Station (173) Stratford on Avon Shed (73) SMJ Locomotives (61)