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Sammy the Shunter





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#1 roythebus

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 23:23

Thinking back to the first exhibition I went to at Central Hall, probably 1961, there was a large 0 gauge layout downstairs run by Harold Elliot featuring a loco known as Sammy the Shunter which would perform antics to the delight of everyone.

 

It featured 2 trains running on one track, a miracle in those days. Anyway, the last time I saw the layout was in an arch on the seafront in Brighton in the 1970s. Does anyone know anything else about the layout, stock, the owner? Photos? I remember Harold saying the show was in its last year as the council had put up the rent for the arch and he relied on donations to keep it going.





#2 Golden Fleece 30

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 00:25

Harold's layout was originally in Scarborough above an amusement arcade on the sea front. It's form here was very large and at times through the day children were invited into the middle to operate it. He also sold railway books and used to make loco noises into a microphone. Sammy was usually chased by the streamlined Coronation set after Harold had tried to swot him a few times with a rolled up newspaper. I saw the layout many times as I lived in York. The high level track crossed a large harbour with real water. At times his daughter Victoria would help him. A few years ago I did write to Victoria and talk about it. He moved to Brighton in the late 60's to retire but the layout there was not a patch on what it was in Scarborough due to the smaller area. Very soon Harold sold it off although kept Sammy and possibly a little more stock. Unfortunately this smaller version did not last and was broken up. I think she said Harold died in the late 70's early 80's but I cannot remember. While he was based in Scarborough Harold bought the very large Hornby Dublo 3-rail display layout possibly from Mecanno which had 5 main lines one of which used a hump shunting yard but Victoria has no idea what happened to that as it never got displayed in Brighton. This Dublo layout was based in an amusement arcade called the Olympic in Blackpool. Sammy was a great asset to the youngsters getting them interested in model railways like Thomas did on the TV in the late 80's. The layout obviously was coarse scale 3-rail and with being 3-rail allowed the two trains on the one track. It took considerable skill to operate while trying to swot Sammy at either end of the covered station. The layout in Scarborough could be viewed on all sides with the station at the front and the loco depot and turntable at the rear above the main running lines.

I don't know if Harold actually ran the layout in Brighton himself as it certainly was not him when I travelled down there in the early 70's hoping to see what I had seen many times in Scarborough. The chap who said it was in its last year would not have been Harold but the new owner as he finished with it all by then. There are very few photos around but Victoria did say she would send me some but alas this did not happen and we lost touch.

The portable part of the layout went to many exhibitions as I saw it in Manchester corn exchange and Leeds corn exchange venues.

Garry

Edited by Golden Fleece 30, 10 February 2018 - 00:53 .


#3 Golden Fleece 30

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 01:58

Here are the only photos I managed to find in my search for this elusive layout a few years ago.  As the write up states the exhibition part was only a small part of the layout.  Railway Modeller October 1961.

 

Sammy the shunter on Harold's layout was based on a loco character in a book/books.  The real one was a 2-4-2 but Harold's was just an 0-4-0.

 

Victoria did say to me that during the summer she would be on the beach in her swimming costume and Harold would use the microphone to call her in to help even though she might have just come out of the sea wet.

 

 

Garry

Attached Thumbnails

  • Sammy 1.jpg
  • Sammy 2.jpg

Edited by Golden Fleece 30, 10 February 2018 - 10:03 .

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#4 Golden Fleece 30

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 10:12

The first Sammy the Shunter book was published in 1949 and they were written by Eileen Gibb.

 

Here is a replacement book I bought last year.  My parents first bought this for me in the late 50's early 60's while I was just starting to read on my own, probably from Harold Elliot in Scarborough, but was lost in time.  As we now have a little 6 year old leaning to read, and I have brainwashed her into loving steam engines and disliking diesels (she also helps me with my TT layout), I bought this to read to her.  This book has about 15 of the individual stories in it and was still being reprinted in the 70's.

 

Great for kids, and memories for the older ones.

 

Garry

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  • DSC06370.JPG

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#5 dunwurken

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Posted 11 February 2018 - 15:37

Thanks for the memory. I can recall being taken by my parents to see Sammy at the old Waverley Market exhibition hall in Edinburgh in the mid to late 50's. I was already the owner of a small Hornby tinplate layout and to see a layout bigger than our living room and crammed with trains is something which has remained etched in my memory ever since. Sadly I was not one of the chosen few to be invited to operate.
Malcolm

#6 Brit70053

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 14:28

Reading this topic jogged my memory of a post I made under the ironically, but appropriately titled Topic "Old Men Forget", back in May 2016:-

 

 

Quiote "A Picture postcard amongst my late Father In Law's possessions, which depicted a 3 rail, possibly O Gauge model railway featuring a streamlined Duchess with a Union Flag secured over the smoke box and the card emblazoned with the legend "Greetings from Elliot's Model Railway Exhibitions (Blackpool)"(sic).

Despite this very obvious pointer to the location, my mind screamed "Scarborough" incorrectly, but insistently recalling a 'permanent' (until it disappeared)'OO' gauge layout which was open to the public on payment of a small admission fee. This was located in a building on the sea front at the East Coast Resort during the 1960s.".  End quote.

 

Golden Fleece 30's Post #2 here helps me make sense of the confusion which had overtaken my mind back then, particularly in respect of the 3 rail track which led me to think it was O gauge depicted on the postcard while my memory was distinctively of the OO gauge  layout  at Scarborough.( I have a scanned image of the postcard available and would be happy to post it here provided there are no copywrite issues. Guidance from any of the moderators would be appreciated.)

 

  I recall the layout at Scarborough quite clearly, but have no personal memory of the 'Sammy the Shunter' antics described above.

 

Regards,

 

              John



#7 Golden Fleece 30

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 15:29

John, both layouts were 3-rail, the large 0 gauge and the Dublo one. In those days there was no 00 Coronation ready to run apart from a Trix AC version. I think the Dublo one when it was in Blackpool may have still been owned by Mecanno but not 100% certain. Harold Elliot did end up with a small TT layout for the last year or so in Scarborough but I never saw that working.

Regarding Sammy' antics it was about an hourly or so event so some people could miss it. I would be in there for more than an hour as my parents would be on the bingo or slot machines downstairs.

I doubt there will be a problem scanning the card as long as you say who's it was or you have no idea but not yours. I have put various pages from Railway Modeller on. The big issue is if you used it to make money but that obviously is not the case here.

Garry

Edited by Golden Fleece 30, 13 February 2018 - 15:32 .

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#8 Brit70053

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 19:43

Here Goes then, the postcard, which wasn't written on or posted and I assume was a keepsake following a visit to the exhibit by my Father-in-Law. His Father and Brother were both Railway employees, so it was natural that he also had a strong interest and did much travelling by rail.

scan0002.jpg

I hope it will be of some interest.

Regards,

John
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#9 Golden Fleece 30

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 20:35

That is certainly 0 gauge John, lovely photo.  To me there are a couple of possibilities, 1) Harold was exhibiting his portable layout in Blackpool, but, with the ballast and scenery etc it seems unlikely.  I only remember the unballasted ones at shows.  2) He had a more "permanent" layout in Blackpool before moving to Scarborough.

 

The layout depicted above does not give me any indication as the one in Scarborough. I believe he did venture out often in the closed season but I would think Blackpool was "shut" if Scarborough was.

 

I think Victoria is about my age and she never said they lived in Blackpool so it may have been before her time, I can only remember him with a permanent layout from Scarborough but the Dublo layout I remember well from both Blackpool Olympia and then in Harold's possession in Scarborough.

 

It is intriguing to say the least as there is very little information about Harold Elliot and his layouts.

 

Here is a scan from Michael Fosters book showing a Dublo layout from 1953 (I was 1) and is very similar to the one I remember although by the time I saw it the Castle and Bo-Bo were running.  I think I will have first seen it around 1957/8 time.  By the time I did see it the layout had acquired the turntable as well. I will say that at both Blackpool and Scarborough the layout was only viewed from  the far side and not from where the photo was taken.

 

Garry

Attached Thumbnails

  • Dublo hump layout.jpg

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