Author Archives: Alison Kay, Associate Archivist

How would British Railways survive nuclear attack?

Today’s blog was written by Tom Hercock. He’s been working at the museum on a placement from the Master of Archives and Records Management Course at Liverpool University.  Archivists normally hate the media describing archives as “lost” and “discovered”. My only excuse … Continue reading

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Free event: Coming Home From the Front Line – wartime ambulance train travel

The National Railway Museum archive and library collections reveal what it would have been like for patients, doctors and nurses to travel on ambulance trains during wartime. The below image shows a basic ambulance train; sometimes these were nothing more … Continue reading

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Textile design and ‘re-branding’ the railways

The Wolverton Works archive documents the design and manufacture of carriages and wagons, the design process was not limited to the carriages themselves but also the intricate decor inside. The Wolverton Works drawing collection contains examples of carpet designs for … Continue reading

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Travelling in style: luggage racks and wall paneling in railway carriages

The Wolverton Works archive contains thousands of drawings of carriages and wagons including intricate designs of their interiors.  These fantastically detailed drawings give a taste of what it might have been like to travel in these luxurious carriages. The details … Continue reading

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‘Slick Silent Switches’: fittings and flourishes from the Wolverton Works

The Wolverton Works archive contains drawings of early locomotives, carriages and wagons, it also contains images of intricately designed fittings. These fittings show off the glamour of travel in early 19th century railway carriages as well as the proud and painstaking … Continue reading

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Diagrams, deers and decor: lighting represented in railway engineering archives

The Wolverton Works archive contains thousands of drawings of carriages, wagons and early locomotives.  It also, rather surprisingly, contains a large number of light fitting designs. This is because as well as just the engineering of the vehicles, the works … Continue reading

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Boiled AND roasted? Rediscovering an 1870s turkey dinner

Here’s a letter from the Hackworth archive – our collection of papers from the family of Timothy Hackworth, railway engineer and early railway pioneer. The letter, sent to Hackworth’s granddaughter Jane Young by an unknown sender, describes the strange way the … Continue reading

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Malt by Export Express: Christmas Drinks Assured!

This article from the 1959 British Railways Eastern Region staff magazine describes how the (then) largest fully mechanised malting plant in Europe used private sidings and British Railways ”Export Express delivery” to transport malt around the world for Christmas. The Export Express … Continue reading

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Christmas shopping humour from 1935

Only 20 shopping days until Christmas, so here’s a cartoon from the December 1935 issue of the Great Western Railway (GWR) staff magazine. The GWR and other railway companies operated a door-to-door transport service, which people could use to transport … Continue reading

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Can you read this letter? There’s a prize on offer if you can

Below is a letter from the Hackworth family archive. The letter is cross written, a technique that Victorians used to save paper and reduce the cost of postage. The Hackworth archive is full of letters like this, and our team have been … Continue reading

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