Station Name: PADSTOW

[Source: Martin James]


Padstow Gallery 3: Early 20th Century - 1914

The LSWR operated a number of 4-4-0 locomotives of various types, some having outside and others inside cylinders. In this early twentieth century view we see Drummond S11 class No.404. Despite appearances the S11 was a slightly new class than Drummond's T9. The T9 had been intended for fast passenger work in the south-west, in other words on the so-called 'Withered Arm' of the LSWR, but their 6ft 7in driving wheels meant performance was poor on the heavier trains. Dugald Drummond thus conceded that smaller driving wheels were the answer, which provided better hauling capability at the expense of speed. The latter, however, is academic as steam locomotive performance is very much dependent on the skill of the crew as well as locomotive condition. The result of Drummond's doodlings was the S11 class with 6ft 1in driving wheels. Ten were built at Nine Elms in 1903. The box-like device ahead of the cab is thought to be connected with an experimental water-tube firebox fitted to certain LSWR classes. Put simply, whilst the boilers were conventional fire-tube types, water was passed through tubes within the firebox in an attempt to increase thermal efficiency and aid water flow. In service the experiment proved to be of little, if any, benefit and the equipment was removed. Class S11 was reliable but not especially successful from the operational point of view. Water consumption was high and drivers mistrusted them owing to stability issues, real or perceived, as a result of the large high pitched boilers. Nevertheless and perhaps surprisingly, the class soldiered on to survive into British Railways ownership, by which time modifications over the years had given them an appearance not far removed from the T9 class. LSWR No.404 became BR No.30414 and survived until October 1951. The train in this view, it will be noticed, is too long to wait behind the Starter signal and will therefore be under the control of Padstow's Advanced Starter. The train itself contains at least one clerestory-roofed coach. Clerestories were a raised section along the centreline of the roof which provided light and ventilation. Interiors of clerestory coaches were, as intended, light, airy and draught-free. Rainwater leaks could be a problem but on the whole they provided a travelling environment far more pleasant than the claustrophobic, clinical and plastic-infested trains of today. Some clerestories were also fairly ornate. Many clerestory coaches survived in engineering use or as grounded bodies after all but one exception had been taken out of passenger service in the 1950s. The exception was the ex-London Transport Standard Tube Stock on the Isle of Wight which had a shallow clerestory for ventilation purposes. These trains finally bowed out in 1992. On the left an LSWR bogie coach and a single-ended LSWR goods brake van can be seen. These vans were rather interesting, being introduced in 1886 and known as 'Road Vans' they were 10-ton vehicles and a cross between a goods van and a brake van, having a pair of hinged double doors on each side. They were the LSWR's standard brake van for many years and were built in their hundreds. A few have survived into preservation.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection

Padstow station and environs sometime during LSWR days. To the right, the always present fish barrels are seen with these probably belonging to Messrs Pawlyn Brothers. The stabled coaching stock bears set number 220 but no details of this set have so far come to light. The stock actually appears to be two sets stabled together, both having a third, a composite and a 6-wheel brake. There is also an individual vehicle stabled at the far end of the siding. On the station the almost-mandatory advertisement for Liptons Tea can be seen, which could be spelled with or without an apostrophe and the gas lighting supplied from St Columb Gasworks. A clock can just be seen beneath the platform canopy and under magnification it is telling us the time was 1.20. This clock later disappeared, possibly relocated to elsewhere on the station. In those days station clocks were vital as only the better off could afford a watch. Surprising as it may seem today, there were also a great number of people, especially from the working classes, who did not even know how to read a clock or watch.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Padstow harbour sometime around 1910 with a vibrant fishing industry. Two LSWR vans are stabled on the turntable run-off. Perhaps siding space was at a premium or they were for use by the locomotive department. Their livery tells us they were passenger rated, meaning they could run with passenger trains and the vacuum pipe can be seen on the near end of the nearest van. To the left of the vans there are four, or possibly five, grounded coach bodies. As noted elsewhere, these grounded bodies at Padstow seemed to be constantly coming, going and varying in number. The number seems to have decreased after the fish shed was extended so perhaps some were used for storage of boxes, pots and so on. The harbour illustrates well just how intense the British fishing industry once was. Today if one buys a tin of fish it has probably come from the Far East. Above, sailing smacks and luggers can be seen as can, with careful observation, a couple of steam-powered vessels. One vessel with a visible registration number bears the Padstow code PW while at least two bear LT codes, for Lowestoft. It was common for fishing vessels to move around the coast according to the season. Fish landed at Padstow were mainly pilchards or, if you prefer, sardines - it is the same fish and herring. The building behind the grounded coaches was Pawlyn Brothers 'kipper building', a smoke house for turning the herrings into kippers. Lobster were, and still are, also landed and in more recent times a scallop industry has developed. Today Padstow remains a fishing town but, as elsewhere in Britain, the industry is a mere shadow of its former self.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection

A postcard view of the Padstow station area circa 1912. The station building can be seen centre left and left foreground the rather cramped and cluttered general goods facilities. There was a goods dock where the three vans stand to the left of the corrugated lamp room. Above the van in the foreground stands the signal box while beyond it part of the station platform can be seen. Dominating the centre of the picture is the fish shed. To the right of this the rarely-photographed tracks leading onto the jetty are seen, with a few vans present. The water came part way round the west side of the jetty but in this scene it is hidden from view by the fish shed. On the right are the three, perhaps four, grounded coach bodies of which at least one was believed to have been used as an enginemen's bothy. Two of the bodies are obvious, the other less so; it sits at a right angle to the tracks in front of the stack of what were probably fish boxes. It is not clear if this body was one relatively longer example or two shorter bodies placed end-to-end but under magnification it appears to be the latter. Over the years, these bodies were moved around and possibly replaced. The stabled coaching stock consists of 2-car set No.186, another 2-car set, then some vans. Two of these, the nearest and the furthest, appear to be 4-wheel luggage vans. In the left background the Metropole Hotel is seen looking down on the station; it is still there today. In the right background the buildings of North Quay are seen. Today, the station building and part of the platform still exists while the fish shed was replaced by another building alongside the platform sometime around the turn of the 21st century. The station forecourt area is Padstow's bus terminus, as indeed it has been for many years, while the remainder of the former railway land is now mostly a car and coach park.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Padstow station staff posing for the camera sometime in LSWR days. The amount of foliage visible suggests some years after the station opened so perhaps circa 1912. It has not been possible to put names to faces but uniforms help to identify certain grades. The stationmaster is the gentleman seated third from right. His cap bore a braided peak and the cap badge bore the initials 'LSWR' in script. Lesser grades wore cap badges which stated their grade at the top and their employee number below. Such badges can be seen at each end of the front row and third from right in the back row. These men were most likely porters. Of the remainder, these were perhaps clerks, goods porters, lampmen, road drivers and, back row second from right, a signalman. The gentleman at far left of the back row is something of a mystery as he appears to be wearing some sort of military uniform. The nameboard has been lodged in the branches for the benefit of the photograph and it appears to be a carriage destination board, possibly borrowed from one of the steam rail-motors, although it does look a little too large for this.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collecton

Whilst railway enthusiasts may love clouds of steam, for researchers it can cause problems as witnessed here at Padstow in 1913. Some difficulty has been encountered in identifying the locomotive, with the conclusion being that it is an Adams 460 class 4-4-0. Assuming this to be correct, this was a class of 21 locomotives introduced in 1884 with construction split between Neilson & Co and Robert Stephenson & Co, with Neilson constructing the first ten, Nos.460 - 469. One, No.526, was the odd man out being built by Stephenson three years later in 1887 for an exhibition marking Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee at Newcastle upon Tyne, the location of Robert Stephenson's works. It was afterwards purchased by the LSWR. From what very few photographs have survived of the 460 class, it would seem the Neilson batch had the trademark Adams square cab windows while the remainder had round windows. If this is correct then the locomotive at Padstow was from the 460 - 469 batch. The class, which was one of many 4-4-0 types on the LSWR, survived intact into Southern Railway days but all had gone by 1929. The cloud of steam has also made it difficult to identify the train. A check of LSWR headcodes for this period and relative to the area suggests there was also a circular plate mounted in the centre position on the bufferbeam. This would mean the train is, perhaps unsurprisingly, heading for Exeter. The track is also of interest in this view. The North Cornwall Railway was built with light bullhead rail of rather feeble appearance and this can clearly be seen in the period pictures of Little Petherick Creek bridge. In the above 1913 view the track appears to be of a heavier rail suggesting that relaying had taken place fairly soon after the line had opened.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

An elevated view across Padstow station, harbour and Camel Estuary sometime after 1904. The 'ghostly' appearance of the steam from a locomotive is the result of the long exposure time required for photography at the time. The ever-dominant Metropole Hotel stands in the left background. Certain details of the hotel in its early days are shrouded in mystery. Apparently originally named South Western Hotel (see the 1905 OS map), the hotel's own website states, at the time of writing, that it was built between 1900 and 1904 for ship owners John Cory & Sons but makes no mention of the South Western name. One could be forgiven for assuming the name 'South Western Hotel' meant it was a railway hotel, i.e. owned by the railway, but this was not the case and it should be remembered that initially the LSWR only worked the line; it did not own it until 1922. The hotel would probably have been built because of the coming of the railway but the 'South Western Hotel' name most likely had its origins in the hotel simply being located in the south-west. The name may, however, have been decided upon by agreement with the LSWR. The’ South Western’ name also appears on period postcard views. Quite when the ‘Metropole’ name was assumed is unclear. The hotel was sold to Trust House in 1936 and requisitioned by the Admiralty during the Second World War.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection

As the world was still coming to terms with the loss of RMS ‘Titanic’ the previous year, and as the storm clouds of WW1 were starting to gather, this tranquil May 1913 scene at Padstow must have seemed like a different world. At the platform one of the LSWR steam rail-motors from the Nos.3 - 15 batch dating from 1905/6 can be seen. Visible is the driving cab at the trailing end, the boiler and power bogie being out of sight at the other end. The rail-motor numbers were located on the bufferbeams and on the body sides towards the powered end. Several of the type worked in the area, based at Exmouth Junction, and Nos.4 & 5 are known to have been on the Bodmin & Wadebridge section during 1913/14. Nos.10,13 & 14 were also in the area during 1906 when brand new with No.10 known to have been photographed at Wadebridge during that year. The headcode displayed on the rail-motor is the usual one, for the time, for the Bodmin & Wadebridge section. Like most of the early steam rail-motors, the LSWR machines did not enjoy long lives in their original form and were soon converted into hauled stock. In push-and-pull form many, if not all, survived well into British Railways days with perhaps the best known examples being the articulated pairs 481/2. See this website's pages on the Bishop's Waltham branch for more information on the rail-motors and also the Westerham branch pages for information on the push-and-pull conversions. Always of interest are period advertisements. On the left is one for Pears soap. Andrew Pears started the business in 1807 and the company is still in business today. To the right of the Pears advertisement is one for Messrs Criddle & Smith of Truro and Penzance. This firm were primarily furniture dealers but also dealt with removals, art and decorating, estate agency and a host of other things. This diversification was fairly typical of businesses a century ago. The world of commerce, with its mergers and takeovers, is complex but briefly Criddle & Smith eventually disappeared in the late 1960s when they were swallowed up by House of Fraser, perhaps better known in the locality for trading as Dingles of Plymouth until becoming defunct in 2011. However, a furniture business with a historical connection to Criddle & Smith, Alfred Smith & Son, still trades as of 2016. Moving on, the next advertisement is for Moon & Sons of Plymouth. This company were piano dealers apparently with a shop at 1 Queen Anne Terrace, Plymouth, and now defunct. At far right of the fence the smaller notice is only partially readable but from what can be seen it is offering a reward of forty shillings on behalf of [initials illegible] Smith & Son.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

Padstow sometime during LSWR days. Visible are the goods shed at bottom right, lamp room in centre of picture, station building left of centre and fish shed right of centre. To the left of the lamp room is the dock, complete with cattle pen and a single cattle truck. Also visible here, just, are the points leading to the loop siding bypassing the goods shed. In the sidings east of the station are various passenger, brake and goods vehicles together with the accoutrements of the fishing industry. Between the passenger carriage nearest the camera and the quayside can be seen a grounded carriage body. Period plans show a single body at this spot but there are in fact two, placed end-to-end. As has been mentioned elsewhere however, these grounded bodies were frequently moved around, added to or replaced. At far right can be seen a steam-powered vessel. By the late nineteenth century steam was rapidly replacing sail but more so with ocean-going vessels with sail persisting several further decades for inshore work, especially where local tradition held strong and small family-owned industries could not afford the massive expense of updating to steam power. In the late nineteenth century insurance scams were common when value of ocean-going sailing vessels dropped because of the change to steam and not all owners could not afford to make the change. This is suspected of being part of the story concerning the brig 'Mary Celeste' (the incorrect spelling 'Marie Celeste' came from the Conan Doyle version of the story, much of which was myth). In the left background the Metropole Hotel presides over the scene, this building being briefly described elsewhere.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection

A Drummond T9 has just crossed the Little Petherick Creek bridge and will soon be arriving at Padstow in this pre-Grouping view. The train appears to consist of a 6-wheel passenger brake plus a 4-wheeler of some description but it is too obscured by the bridge to say with any degree of certainty. The train has just passed a signal showing 'clear' and is about to pass a distant signal at caution. Presumably these signals were Padstow Outer Home and Distant respectively. The granite obelisk on the summit of Dennis Hill was erected in 1889 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Jubilee of 1887.
Photo from Malcolm McCarthy collection

Padstow station and environs sometime during LSWR days. To the right, the always-present fish barrels get in on the act with these probably belonging to Messrs Pawlyn. The stabled coaching stock bears set number 220 but no details of this set have so far come to light. The stock actually appears to be two sets stabled together, both having a third, a composite and a 6-wheel brake. There is also an individual vehicle stabled at the far end of the siding. On the station can be seen the almost-mandatory advertisement for Liptons Tea, which could be spelled with or without an apostrophe and in this case apparently without, and the gas lighting supplied from St Columb Gasworks. A clock can just be seen beneath the platform canopy and under magnification it is telling us the time was 1.20. This clock later disappeared, possibly relocated to elsewhere on the station. In those days station clocks were vital as only the better off could afford a watch. Surprising as it may seem today, there were also a great number of people, especially from the working classes, who did not even know how to
read a clock or watch.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

There was much industriousness at Padstow in 1914 during relocation of the, then, 50ft turntable to make way for access to a new jetty. While this work was ongoing, presumably only tank locomotives operated to Padstow. Much confusion has prevailed concerning Padstow's turntable, particularly with regard to dates, but a contemporary ‘Railway Gazette’ article confirms it was indeed 1914. Relocation is not to be confused with replacement, which came just after the Second World War (1947) when enlargement to suit the Bulleid Pacifics occurred. An interesting aside is that tender locomotives of trains terminating at Wadebridge from the Exeter direction would continue light engine to Padstow for turning, there being no turntable at Wadebridge. In this view what appears to be a wheelbarrow run has been built alongside the old pit and is presumably being used to fill it in. In the centre background the tracks on the jetty can be seen. There were two: a single track approached the jetty and then split into two with the turnout being on the east side. Despite the presence of an open wagon, the track leading to the jetty appears to be disconnected, obviously temporarily. Left of centre the ever-present grounded coach bodies can be seen, two being visible on this occasion. On the left the fish shed is being extended while a Beattie well tank occupies itself with some vans but the vehicle immediately behind it is a larger vehicle of some description. The locomotive is carrying the headcode for the Padstow - Exeter route, top - diamond and bottom centre - disc, which is thought to have been current during the 1905 - 1921 period; this concurs with the 1914 date. To the left of the turntable pit a small platelayers’ trolley can be seen on the old turntable road. This might have been of railway manufacture as 1914 may be too early for it to have been a product of D Wickham of Ware, Hertfordshire; a well known and highly respected firm which sadly became defunct in 1991. A number of new buildings have appeared. The building behind the fish shed is a stores building and that immediately behind the turntable belongs to fish merchant Pawlyn Brothers.
Photo by GH Read from Roger Griffiths collection

Click here for Padstow Gallery 4: c1914 - c1930s

 

 

 

[Source: Martin James]



Last updated: Monday, 22-May-2017 10:42:51 BST
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