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Exhibition Layout project: Bricklayers Arms circa 1844

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London to Birmingham and hopefully back again...

Another of my 'seemed like a good idea at the time' projects last summer was to create kits for each of the principal carriages of the London & Birmingham Railway.   Once again this was to be another diversion from Bricklayers Arms but a change is as good as a break, no?     Together with a good friend Tom Nicholls who has provided endless information, drawings, research and above all encouragement, I started at the bottom with the intention of working my way u

The Locomotives of George & John Rennie

Last year I embarked on an ambitious project to scratch build no less than four locomotives by Messrs Rennie of Blackfriars, London.    In 1838/39 the brothers constructed five engines for the London & Southampton Rly., and two for the London & Croydon Rly. It is clear from studying the drawing published by Brees in his 'Railway Practice' that the design was a combination of Stephenson's Patentee and the popular and sturdy 2-2-2 by Sharp & Co of Manchester. However, having

Secret crush

Although somewhat irrelevant to my overall project south of Old Father Thames, I confess I've always rather fancied the look of these sturdy GER open wagons.   So it's been a pleasure to revive these two ex-Woodham Wagon Works kits of both 1870 and 1883 versions. I managed to complete the 1870 one which is my personal preference but then struggled to find a period photo of the 1883 edition which is why it is as yet unlettered or numbered. I also fouled up a bit with this one by setting


5&9Models in GER wagons

A complete whitewash

Jonathan enjoys his job at Bricklayers Arms. Usually he is gainfully employed tending to the bovine guests arriving at the cattle yard. He couldn't say for sure what happens to them once they leave the yard, but given the profusion of tanneries in he area we can be fairly certain it is a one way trip. He makes their lives as comfortable as he can whilst they are in his charge.     Occasionally there are sheep to manage but these are less rewarding owing to their irksome tend

Saturday morning on the Upper Grange Road

Ex petty officer Solly is in a bit of a pickle.  Having recently been suspended from active naval service owing to a regrettable incident with a cannon, he has decided to consume an increasing quantity of London’s best porter. Unfortunately, not only did the calamity result in the loss of his right leg below the knee, it also neatly removed his left thumb. He now has to swap his crutch to the left in order to hold a bottle in his right hand. After several bottles this balancing act can

Activity in the cattle yard

Thankfully, in my case at least, lack of blog updates has not meant lack of activity. The past few months has seen slow but steady progress towards completing the cattle yard at Bricklayers Arms c1845 and therefore entering the final straight in terms of completing the first baseboard of this four baseboard exhibition layout.   The following pictures are a collection of various cameos and scenes which hopefully go some way to telling the story of a busy (ish) mid 19th century yard in 4

LSWR and LCDR in Bermondsey?!

Not that these two will ever run at Bricklayers Arms but by request I dug out the old Woodham Wagon Works masters for a LSWR open wagon and made a new mould to produce the kit again. It went together very well and makes a lovely sturdy wagon. Not convinced about my choice of dark brown but I don't think the lighting helped. I'm in the process of reviving two GER open wagon kits as well, 1870 and 1883 versions, but more of that later. The LCDR van or 'covered goods wagon' to give it its proper ti

Bricklayers Arms stables update

Well, not being a massive footie fan I decided to amuse myself yesterday evening fitting the cattle yard office and back wall to the baseboard in front of the stables. This has created a more Dickensian alley feel to the forecourt which is what I had hoped would happen. There is still much to do in terms of fitting the cattle docks, weathering the surfaces, adding muck and the assorted figures and of course, cattle.   There are a few final touches, the steps to the office are too clean

William Bridges Adams Light Locomotive

In the latter half of the 1840s, William Bridges Adams began to dabble in locomotive design with the help of several key figures, particularly the resident engineer of the Eastern Counties Railway, James Samuel. He had established a works at Fair Field, Bow in 1843 for the purposes of expanding his business building carriages and wagons for both rail and road and locomotive construction was a natural progression.   Together they developed the principle of the light locomotive which was

Bodmer's balanced locomotive in 4mm scale (or "Thank God that's over")!

I've finally completed my scratch built Bodmer single no.124 of the London & Brighton Railway. It's taken a year of blood sweat and tears, trying to be too clever and paying the price!   Details of the project have been promised to the HMRS in the form of an article for their Journal, so rather than spoil that I'll just deposit a couple of images here in the meantime.   Further details of this project can be found on a previous blog entry entitled 'Build a Bodmer Competit

Ballasting at last.

An opportunity presented itself to drag the baseboard outside yesterday and take some photos in the rather dull afternoon light. At last I feel some progress is being made, or in other words, what a difference a bit of ballasting makes!   I took a few more photos to show how some of the areas are finally tying together after some further detail was added.   Oooh look, ballast at last! This is my own somewhat unconventional technique since the ballast in the 1840s was al


5&9Models in Ballasting at last

Backscene diversions

Just a small filler project to sit between the Stables and Greyhound Place at Bricklayers Arms. Bermondsey was the centre of the London leather trade chosen because it was sufficiently south of the Thames for the inevitable stench not to trouble the great and the good, notwithstanding the fact that at that time they had their own stinking cess-filled river to contend with. Apparently, at their peak, the tanneries of Bermondsey supplied one third of all the leather in the country.   I c


5&9Models in Bermondsey backdrop

Tartan paint !

Continuing the theme with some ModelU 3D printed figures, I've been experimenting with 'Tartan paint'.   Seems to work quite well on Rose's shawl as she has it out with Charlotte over some recent unladylike behaviour. I mean really! What is she doing out in the street without her bonnet on? Disgraceful!           Apologies for the horrible model makers fingers!    


5&9Models in Tartan Paint

In a stable condition...

I hesitate to call this 'Bricklayers Arms Stables' because that's not what they are. However, they are the stables for Bricklayers Arms which is confusing I know but I'll explain.   Whilst Bricklayers Arms station building, goods shed, carriage and loco sheds and coke depot are recorded (some photographically, others as outline drawings) the original 1844 stable block is not. There appears to be no record at all of its appearance. Therefore I have chosen to model the 1856 stables

Build a Bodmer competition (not)!

In 1845 the Swiss engineer John George Bodmer constructed a pair of 2-2-2 locomotives at his Manchester workshops for the Joint Committee of the Brighton, Croydon and Dover Railways. Born in Zurich in 1786 and later apprenticed to a millwright, the young engineer showed much promise and a strong talent for innovation. He moved to Lancashire in the 1820s but continued his connections with Switzerland and Baden in Germany. His particular invention was that of an opposed cylinder steam engine in wh



George England 2-2-2

Over the few years I've been a member of RMWeb, I seem to have erroneously created several blogs. My clumsy grasp of computers has been a bit frustrating as I never know where I've posted and have a horrible habit of posting new material on the wrong blog and so on. Therefore a little bit of belated Spring Cleaning is required and I have copied the info from my previous 'George England 2-2-2' blog to this one so that I can have it all in the right place. So, apologies to those who have read the



Greyhound Place

I think I have finally completed the buildings at Greyhound Place, Bermondsey. This is the collection of buildings next to the Greyhound Pub at the Eastern end of Bricklayers Arms c1845. I've slightly tweaked the date of the layout by a year as I want things to show signs of settling in, and it allows a bit more artistic licence when it comes to the rolling stock.   These images show the back yards, there are only a couple of children to add and a few bits of general domestic 'stuff' t



Canterbury & Whitstable Railway, Tayleur 0-6-0

It's been a very long time since my last post (which I think was a 4mm scale chair!) but I've nearly completed my latest build: Canterbury & Whitstable Railway, Taylor 0-6-0 goods loco, no.121,  c1847. The bulk of it was constructed whilst convalescing with a broken left metatarsal. What a tragedy to be signed off work and have to sit there day after day with my foot up, drinking tea and model making, life can be so cruel! A friend offered some Portescap motor/gearboxes in exchange



The Greyhound

A bit of history   The earliest record of a tenant in The Greyhound public house was a Mary Stiff in 1822. The Upper Grange Road (now Dunton Road) Bermondsey was likely a relatively quiet lane leading off the Kent Road before the arrival of the Bricklayers Arms Extension Railway in 1843/4. At first it was suggested that the railway should cross the road on the level, but the contractors Grissell & Peto constructed a bridge to carry the road over the four running lines. The inconven



Tonight I made a chair.

Once the children were safely tucked up in bed and with an unexpected hour to spare and not really fancying tackling anything big, I decided to make a chair. Scrap brass for the seat, a bit of wire, some solder and a lick of paint.  



L&G Royal William Pt.5

London & Greenwich Railway No.1 Royal William - Pt.5   This is the last part of the series on Royal William for now until I make the Stephenson tender to go with it.   It's all done, an interesting project and a good opportunity to try out a few ideas on the cheap! So the lessons learned are as follows:   Sprung plunger pick-ups on such a tiny engine were more trouble than they were worth. In the end I simply fitted some tee shaped wiper pick-ups between the wheels. Easy, simple and ef



L&G Royal William Pt.4

London & Greenwich Railway No.1 Royal William - Pt.4   RW is now painted and final tuning is underway. An issue cropped up on track testing that I had my suspicions might just be the case. It was ludicrously slow! The spur gearbox is very effective but the ratio much too high. So what to do? After staring at it for some time over a cup of tea, I decided it was possible to remove the final pair of gears and shunt the final drive gear back to take the place of the gear that drove the shaft.



London & Greenwich Railway - Royal William Pt. 3

Royal William Pt.3   A little more progress and I've been able to trial fit the driving wheels. Clearance was a bit tight on the central boiler stays but I think this is due to the slightly over-scale flanges on the 00/EM tyres. A bit of fettling to the stays with a swiss file sorted the issue.   The leading axle is only a spare carriage one at the moment, just to get a feel for where the front axle rocker should be and to determine the correct height and levels etc. It's difficult to ap



London & Greenwich Railway - Royal William Pt. 2

Royal William - Pt. 2   Having made a bit more progress over the last few evenings, here is a little more about the loco itself.   The image below shows the mainframes with firebox and flimsy inner frames (more trunk guides than frames). The firebox and frames will be detachable from each other in order to remove wheels in the future, although I can't image a scenario where I would want to do that. The boiler and smokebox are also detachable in order to extract the motor if needs be.  



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