A recent purchase for the collection – a Cannock & Rugeley Colliery Boundary Marker.
Other boundary markers in the collection are shown below.
In their heyday, the railways were the biggest landowners in Britain after the Church, and it was inevitable that boundary disputes sometimes arose. It was to resolve this problem that many railways designed boundary posts or markers.
The oldest tend to be in stone, while those from about 1870 onwards are in cast iron – some companies using lengths of surplus rail, suitably inscribed.
The Great Western Railway (GWR) markers were made of Brunel-designed bridge rails cut into lengths, with an angle iron T-piece on the bottom, and a cast iron top, moulded round the rail. Between 1880 and 1920, the year of manufacture was included on the cast top. The Midland Railway (MR) used pieces of ordinary bull-head rail whose tops were stamped into an oval shape, with the raised letters ‘MR’.
These two types are by far the most common available to collectors, though the cast iron posts of the London & North Western Railway (LNWR) and Great Northern Railway (GNR) are also frequently seen.
It appears that several railways never had any boundary posts, and no examples are known from the Great Eastern, London, Brighton & South Coast, South Eastern & Chatham, or from any of the five main Scottish lines.
On the other hand, two of the small South Wales companies had boundary posts which often come up for sale – the Barry and Rhondda & Swansea Bay railways. The GWR, MR, GNR and LNWR all made boundary posts for their joint lines, and some of these are both exotic and extremely rare.
For example, the GWR produced posts for an area of land at Reading which abutted with the South Eastern& Chatham. This was the only meeting point of the two companies, and just two markers are known to exist, both dated 1915.
Boundary markers are usually placed in the fence line at the side of the railway, or in adjacent land by bridges, viaducts or crossings.
These ‘No Admission’ notices were fixed to the signal box adjacent to the door. I can’t see one on this box, but it is a nice picture of the Anglesea Sidings signal box, sited near Newtown Bridge, Brownhills, Staffordshire.
I believe that ‘Anglesea’ can also be spelt ‘Anglesey’, my usual spelling.
These notices have been in the museum for some years so we are not sure whence they came!
The first one is from the Great Western Railway.
The second one, obviously from the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.
A recent addition to the Museum collection of badges, etc. is a Great Western Railway silver medallion issued to Charles Hewlett in 1947 in recognition of fifteen years’ service to the railway’s St. John’s Ambulance Service.
Charles (known locally as Charlie) had a long career with the GWR in South Wales; he was the last Shed Master at Pontypool Road before it closed.
Around 1940-41 Charlie administered first aid to a man and woman in Oxford Street, Griffithstown who had had their throats cut by the woman’s husband after he discovered a case of infidelity. In spite of Charlie’s first aid the pair later succumbed to their injuries.
Charlie was awarded a St. John’s Ambulance gold medal following the incident. The medal has been retained by Charlie’s nephew but we now have the 15 year medallion on display.
The murderer incidentally was sentenced ‘at his Majesty’s pleasure’ but on the death of King George VI he was released from prison.