Supplement to e-BLN 1257 BLN Pictorial 21 May 2016
BLN Pictorial returns with a very different take on the London railway scene. Many members will be aware of the series of "London Railway Memorials"
tours, by train and on foot, which have been run (and will continue to be) by our member and former Chairman, Don Kennedy. Although these have not
been specifically BLS events, many of our members have taken part and thanks to Don's thorough research, have learned a lot about personalities and
events from both recent and earlier history and have been guided to railway-related memorials in parts of London they might never have visited. We're
grateful to our member Stuart Hicks for the great majority of the pictures here; where not otherwise attributed, the photographs are Stuart's.
Our first series of pictures come from the tour which was led by
Don on 6 November 2015, and are accompanied by Don's own
account of the event, taken, with permission, from an article he
wrote for the LMS-Patriot Project's magazine The Warrior. Don
Part 2 of my "London Railway Memorials" events was repeated on
November 6th (with some re-routings compared with the original
July 11th one) - starting at the Henry Moore sculpture on the
reopened King’s Cross forecourt. A walk around the main-line
station followed, taking in the impressively re-established GNR/
LNER war memorial (near the south ends of platforms 4/5) that so
imaginatively takes John Singer Sargent's painting Gassed as the
inspiration for its redesigned form; the tribute on the main
concourse to Philip Larkin's The Whitsun Weddings; and the
plaques dedicated to the architect Sir Lewis Cubitt and to Sir Nigel
Gresley (with a reminder of the on-going controversy surrounding
the removal of the mallard originally intended to form part of the KING'S CROSS
new statue of Sir Nigel). We attended the unveiling of the final version of the statue at the start of the repeat of “LRM” Part 3 on 5 April.] Downstairs in
London Underground's south ticket hall are sad reminders of those who perished in the fire and bombing of 1987 and 2005.
Next came Marylebone, with its memorials to Sir John Betjeman ("poet and friend of the railways"), Sir Sam Fay, once General Manager of the GCR, and to
ex-GCR staff-members (three superbly recreated plaques, two of which are depicted here).
By train from Paddington we reached Southall to view (from outside the locked gate) the memorial to the victims of the 1997 rail crash there.
En route to Willesden Junction we had a further opportunity to take in Acton Main Line (having also included it in Part 1) where, at the London end, may
be glimpsed a small compound to the north of the goods lines, dedicated to a railwayman killed in 2005. Then we used London Overground via Highbury &
Islington to reach Hoxton and the re-erected WW1 North London Railway memorial (originally at Broad Street station, then moved to Richmond).
ACTON MAIN LINE
Via H&I again, the useful, reopened Hackney Central/Downs pedestrian link (reopened since the original Part 2 event) and a walk from Bethnal Green
brought us to the nearby tube station, where, in 1943, 173 local people were crushed to death descending the steps to what was, at the time, a deep air
raid shelter. Adjacent is the impressive Stairway to Heaven memorial erected in 2014/15 - instigated locally, as it was felt that the existing, small plaque
(depicted here) over the present staircase was insufficient. It is still incomplete, however, as fund-raising is on-going.
Finally, we reached Liverpool Street, where several war-related memorials are to be found, including the magnificent Great Eastern Railway one (first
erected in the original main-line booking hall) – and two marking the Kindertransport trains that arrived there from Harwich immediately before the
outbreak of WW2, bringing children "who found hope and safety in Britain through the gateway of Liverpool Street Station". We ended with a tribute
to Sir Nicholas Winton, who had been closely involved with rescuing so many children; he had died ten days before our July 11th event.
The Kindertransport memorials at Liverpool Street. On the left is Frank Meisler's The Arrival and on the right is Flor Kent's Für Das Kind, unveiled (in
its original version) by Sir Nicholas Winton in 2003. Other similar works can be found at Wien Westbahnhof, Gdańsk Główny and Berlin
Friedrichstrasse stations. There is a memorial to Sir Nicholas Winton at Praha hlavní nádraží.
Left : StoneColdCrazy at English Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons Right : By Loco Steve from Bromley , UK (“Fur Das
Kind”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Our second collection of photographs comes from Part 3 of Don's events, on 20 February 2016. The first commemorates a comparatively recent event,
the Clapham Junction accident of 12 December 1988, when due to a wiring fault resulting in a signal failure, a Bournemouth-Waterloo ran into the rear
of a stationary Basingstoke-Waterloo train which had stopped due to the signal failure. The wreckage was hit by an empty 8-car train on the adjacent
track, the two collisions resulting in 35 deaths and 69 serious injuries.
Two widely different memorials, as different in appearance as the lives and deaths of their two subjects. On the left is the Stephens family grave in
Brompton Cemetery, including that of Colonel Holman Fred Stephens, a man who in earlier times might have been known as the 'Light Railway King'.
Branch Line Society members will need no introduction to Col. Stephens - four of the railways in which he was at various times involved still survive as
heritage lines today, together with the Gunnislake branch beyond Bere Alston.
The photograph on the right is of the memorial at Stockwell station to Jean Charles da Silva e de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician shot at the station on
22 July 2005 in the mistaken belief that he was a fugitive involved in a failed bombing attempt the previous day.
BROMPTON CEMETERY STOCKWELL
Victoria Station was jointly owned at the time of the First World War by the London, Brighton & South Coast (LB&SCR) and the South Eastern &
Chatham (SE&CR) Railways. After the war, and with the Grouping still a few years away, each company set up its own memorial to those of its
employees who died on the Western Front and elsewhere. The Southern Railway (SR), which occupied both parts of the station during the Second
World War, added its own tribute to those lost between 1939 and 1945. The photographs below show (left) the LB&SCR memorial and (right) the
SE&CR memorial, with the SR's tribute to its WW2 losses beneath each one. (The identical LB&SCR/SR memorial at London Bridge station is presently
displayed in the ex-SER offices there, but is scheduled to be restored to public view. It was viewed during “LRM” Part 1.)
Every other memorial that has featured here has related to people whose identities are known, even if not named directly on the memorial. This last
one is different in that it records the arrival at Victoria of the Unknown Warrior, an unidentified soldier who died on the Western Front, prior to burial
in Westminster Abbey on Armistice Day in 1920. Currently the LMS-Patriot Project, of which Don Kennedy is a supporter, is working on a new-build
Fowler-pattern LMS "Patriot" 4-6-0 which will become 45551, The Unknown Warrior, and is scheduled to become operational in time for the centenary
of the end of the First World War in 2018.
Don Kennedy adds: VICTORIA
At the end of each “LRM” event, donations are invited to specified railway-related charities. Six have benefited so far, the total sum of £800 having
been raised, including regular contributions to the LMS-Patriot Project (www.lms-patriot.org.uk).
For the record, Part 1 visited Euston, Baker Street, Paddington (including the Remembrance Day service there), Acton Main Line, Kensal Green
Cemetery, Ladbroke Grove, St James’s Church Sussex Gardens, Bank, Cloak Lane (adjacent to Cannon Street station), London Bridge and Waterloo.
Members are welcome to contact me for copies of the notes distributed to participants and to be added to my mailing list for future events. Part 4 is
scheduled for later in 2016. ([email protected] / 63 Disraeli Road, London W5 5HS)