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Pre-grouping livery clippings

Mikkel

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37999728155_7414f0fcb0_o.jpg

 

Here are a couple of PDF files that may be of interest to pre-grouping modellers.

 

The first document is an 1896 article from Moore's Monthly Magazine (later renamed "The Locomotive") on British pre-grouping liveries. It includes brief livery descriptions for a number of the railways (but not all).

 

MooresMonthlyLiveries.pdf

 

The second document is my personal selection of quotes and news items on GWR liveries and selected other liveries from the archives of the Railway Magazine during the period 1898-1924.

 

RailwayMagazineLiveries_OK.pdf

 

A few notes:

 

Apart from the general observations on British and GWR liveries, the documents contain two key sources for the theory that GWR wagons were red until 1904. I'm a follower of this theory, but thought I'd have a look at the contemporary sources to see for myself. I have to say though that the references to wagon liveries are very brief, and to me emphasize the very scant attention given to wagons by railway observers of the time.

 

More generally speaking, this material also suggests to me that contemporary magazine articles are a somewhat problematic source of livery details. I can't help feeling that the livery descriptions herein seem rather subjective and not necessarily well researched. That said, the material does provide some snippets of information on various details of GWR loco and carriage liveries that I had not previously encountered.

 

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions. If nothing else, it all gives a sense of the ethos of the time! Many thanks to the RMwebbers who have helped with this.

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That is where the RMweb is also can be used for.

To share information. I like that. 

 

I agree Job. And it's quite entertaining to read some of the observations in these old magazines. It is very clear which liveries the authors like and which they do not!

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Interesting to see the statement in Moore's that:—

 

"...the numbers which appear along the upper portion are in yellow, shaded with brown."

 

The mortal remains of BG No. 250 at Didcot broadly confirm this, although I'd describe the brown as being decidedly red - a dark terracotta - & the face of the numbers is definitely gilt. Bolstered by photographic evidence the numbers are decidedly 'chunkier' than those used later.

 

My attempt at a reconstructed set based on 250:—

 

Dean Numbers

 

 

Pete S.

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Worth noting that the Chatham is also described - but it is buried in the entry for the Brighton.

Best wishes

Eric

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It's always useful to look at original sources, partly to judge the context in which comments were made and, thus, how credible these then seem to be. 

 

I was intrigued by the idea that "as recently as 1856, the Great Western Railway had its three classes of passenger coaches painted in distinctive colours, the first class being yellow, the second brown, and the third green.", mentioned in 1907 and repeated in 1922 (with a reference to the Locomotive Magazine of 1908).

 

Was there, perhaps, a one-off experiment at that time or is it a faulty recollection from a single source?

 

I like the monochrome illustration with just one wagon picked out in red!  A very clear statement of your own preferences :)  

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Oh! No, more reading !

 

Thanks Mikkel, all this research and information is definitely going into the -to read- file.

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Very public-spirited - thanks!

 

I note that for the goods wagons of several companies (e.g. Midland), the Moore's Monthly article says "black underframes", which is clearly to be understood as black below solebar level, not black solebars and headstocks. The absence of this statement for other companies (e.g. Great Western) is not evidence for these parts being body colour, as there's plenty of evidence these were black for the North Western , to give but the most significant example.

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By-the-way, if you're short of space for a long goods train, you could orient the wagons vertically, as in those Stourbridge photos we were looking at a while back.

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Hmmmm! This has put a cat firmly among the pigeons of my little world! I have recently convinced myself that the white lettering on my wagons was incorrect and should, in fact be yellow. As a bit of background for those who are not familiar I model First World War, War Department railways on the Western Front. I have long had a bee in my bonnet about modelers who use a too modern colour pallet for things like doors, window frames and even clothes as the vivid colours we have today are a relatively modern invention. So was I guilty of it with my white letters? I little light research suggested that I might be as white paints that were stable  and quick drying enough appeared not to have been viable until the mid 20's at the earliest. A quick search of pre grouping loco liveries showed almost no use of white - I had not looked at wagons though. So straight away in the first download I see that company after company is described as having ' white lettering'. Am I justified in using white after all?????

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Interesting to see the statement in Moore's that:—

 

"...the numbers which appear along the upper portion are in yellow, shaded with brown."

 

The mortal remains of BG No. 250 at Didcot broadly confirm this, although I'd describe the brown as being decidedly red - a dark terracotta - & the face of the numbers is definitely gilt. Bolstered by photographic evidence the numbers are decidedly 'chunkier' than those used later.

 

My attempt at a reconstructed set based on 250:—

 

Dean Numbers

 

 

Pete S.

 

That's interesting, Pete. I rather like that terracotta shading. So if the article is correct, the gold and black-shaded numbers on the HMRS transfer sheets are strictly speaking incorrect for upper panels for at least pre-1896 (when the article was published).

 

Incidentally I note that the article does not mention lining of horseboxes, something that I have always doubted was common practice (except for a single N5 photo which seems to show lining). 

 

"Horse-boxes, carriages, trucks, &c., are painted a light brown umber all over, with lettering in yellow, shaded with black."

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Worth noting that the Chatham is also described - but it is buried in the entry for the Brighton.

Best wishes

Eric

 

Thanks for pointing that out Eric, an oversight of mine when I transcribed the article. I have uploaded a corrected version of both this and the Railway Magazine file (adding a note to the LC&D entry).

 

Your comment led me to look at description of the LCD in the diagrams accompanying the 1904 article in the Railway Magazine clippings, and I noticed that the entry for LCD says "LC&D (now SE&C)". Moreover, the author has added "Teak brown now" above "Dark Maroon" for the coaches. The SER entry also appears to have been updated by the author.

 

I believe the SER and LCD "merger" took place in 1898, and so this adds fuel to a nagging suspicion I have had that the diagram - and perhaps the whole article? - may in fact be a good deal older than the October 1904 publishing date!  Other indications that the diagram is older and has been updated includes the words "New stock cream" above GCR coaches (when was this livery change?) and possibly the "also grey" added to GWR wagons.

 

Of course, it may just be that the author wanted to capture the liveries of certain companies retrospectively - but I do wonder whether he has actually been compiling his notes privately over several years before preparing the article. If so, we can't be sure everything is updated and so the 1904 date needs to be taken with a grain of salt, which is a bit critical for the debate on GWR wagon red!

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I was intrigued by the idea that "as recently as 1856, the Great Western Railway had its three classes of passenger coaches painted in distinctive colours, the first class being yellow, the second brown, and the third green.", mentioned in 1907 and repeated in 1922 (with a reference to the Locomotive Magazine of 1908).

 

Was there, perhaps, a one-off experiment at that time or is it a faulty recollection from a single source?

 

Yes, I thought that would interest you! I didn't take it seriously at first, but it is a bit puzzling that *both* magazines mention it. I suppose that's how a myth may develop though: Something it written in one place and then passed on as fact in another place. Like, well, social media!

 

Oh! No, more reading !

 

Thanks Mikkel, all this research and information is definitely going into the -to read- file.

It's good fun I think, especially the poorly veiled outrage whenever the GWR dares to change anything. Note the editorial comments on coach livery changes in 1905 and 1908 - the editors are not amused :-)

  

I note that for the goods wagons of several companies (e.g. Midland), the Moore's Monthly article says "black underframes", which is clearly to be understood as black below solebar level, not black solebars and headstocks. The absence of this statement for other companies (e.g. Great Western) is not evidence for these parts being body colour, as there's plenty of evidence these were black for the North Western , to give but the most significant example.

Good point Stephen, thanks for that, and another reminder that this article too - which on the face of it appears to be the best researched of the lot - has inconsistencies. 

 

I'd rather not stand my wagons on end  :)   - but you are right that I do not yet have a fiddle yard to accommodate that length of trains, so I don't normally operate such (relatively) long trains. I have a plan to use one siding as an "exhibition siding" for my wagons though, more on that later.

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Hmmmm! This has put a cat firmly among the pigeons of my little world! I have recently convinced myself that the white lettering on my wagons was incorrect and should, in fact be yellow. As a bit of background for those who are not familiar I model First World War, War Department railways on the Western Front. I have long had a bee in my bonnet about modelers who use a too modern colour pallet for things like doors, window frames and even clothes as the vivid colours we have today are a relatively modern invention. So was I guilty of it with my white letters? I little light research suggested that I might be as white paints that were stable  and quick drying enough appeared not to have been viable until the mid 20's at the earliest. A quick search of pre grouping loco liveries showed almost no use of white - I had not looked at wagons though. So straight away in the first download I see that company after company is described as having ' white lettering'. Am I justified in using white after all?????

Interesting thoughts. I think the white stands up to scrutiny. I agree on the more subdued colours of the era in general, but the evidence does seem to suggest that white was widespread on pregrouping wagons - and there are the many private owners too. Of course the question then is: What shade of white!  :)

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Interesting thoughts. I think the white stands up to scrutiny. I agree on the more subdued colours of the era in general, but the evidence does seem to suggest that white was widespread on pregrouping wagons - and there are the many private owners too. Of course the question then is: What shade of white!  :)

I recall reading that LNWR used a pale blue for the upper part of carriage sides, with the idea that the subsequent varnishing would add sufficient yellow tint to make them appear white.

 

I also believe that vivid colours were, in fact, a Victorian invention, which is often mis-understood.  New synthetic dyes were produced by the burgeoning chemical industry and these were eagerly taken up in many fields, including on the railways. 

 

The GWR added white to the upper sides of their carriages because the Directors thought that the overall brown was rather dull.  In their case, it really was white but became cream after varnishing.. This cream appearance was maintained when new types of synthetic varnish appeared that were much less coloured than early 'natural' varnishes.

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Hi Mikkel,

 

Love how you have just picked out the one wagon in red on that picture... :good:

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On the topic of "white" in the choc and cream. This is one of the points where the Railway Magazine claims to have observed a change. An August 1903 entry (in the attached file), says:

 

The Great Western Railway is painting a large number of passenger coaches a rich shade of chocolate, with ivory upper panels. Whilst, freshly painted, these tints are excellent, being well set off by the varnish, it must, however, be left to time to prove whether they can stand the effect of wear and tear and our delightful English climate. Should these new colours successfully emerge from the contest, we consider they are an improvement on the celebrated tones adopted by Brunel for the Great Western Railway. The new tints have certainly a warmer and richer appearance than the original colours.

 

Anyone heard about that before, or were they hallucinating?

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Hi Mikkel,

 

Love how you have just picked out the one wagon in red on that picture... :good:

 

Thanks Pete. Last night I remembered that the effect was also used in Schindler's List - no association intended  :umbrage:

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Thanks Pete. Last night I remembered that the effect was also used in Schindler's List - no association intended  :umbrage:

 

That was exactly what I thought when I saw it...but didn’t think it was the right analogy to reference it in my reply...probably not the only film/graphic to have used the effect, it’s just the one most of us remember...

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Mikkel,

 

This is very interesting, thanks for the effort you have put into this, as has been observed elsewhere this is a great forum for sharing information. It does seem that in these accounts personal views seem to take priority over methodical accuracy but I suppose the people writing this would never have believed that 100 plus years on modellers would be debating the minutae of railway liveries.

 

With regard to the coach livery, some time ago I attached  a photo of the BG coach at the Bristol Transport Museum. I gather that, very regrettably, this is now in store but as I recollect, when withdrawn it was made into a house (hovel may be a more appropriate word) and panelling was applied over the coach side. As a result, when discovered, the side was in exactly the condition it was when withdrawn. The original photo, before the file size was reduced, shows that the coach numbers were in the typeface as described by K14, but yellow with a reddish brown, perhaps slightly lighter, shading, and located in a panel over the door window. Incidentally, although difficult to differentiate between yellow and gilt the numbers on the Bristol coach (319-D) are distinctly more yellow than the gold "First" lettering. The "First" etc. lettering style looks to have never changed until WW2 when a more modern typeface was introduced. The upper panels were white rather than cream but then it's well known that this was a result of the varnish aging. The upper panels had very thin black lining, it wouldn't be noticeable in 4mm, whilst the lower panels were lined in black with a thin white line either side. Bolection mouldings were unpainted mahogany.

 

Incidentally, what did the "D" after the coach number denote?

 

Fortunately a lot of your research backs up what is already known and I think the Moores Monthly Magazine was a reference used in the RCTS GWR livery publication. The GWR magazine must also be a mine of information on these matters.

 

Thanks again for sharing this, it's much appreciated.

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...With regard to the coach livery, some time ago I attached a photo of the BG coach at the Bristol Transport Museum. I gather that, very regrettably, this is now in store but as I recollect, when withdrawn it was made into a house (hovel may be a more appropriate word) and panelling was applied over the coach side. As a result, when discovered, the side was in exactly the condition it was when withdrawn. The original photo, before the file size was reduced, shows that the coach numbers were in the typeface as described by K14, but yellow with a reddish brown, perhaps slightly lighter, shading, and located in a panel over the door window. Incidentally, although difficult to differentiate between yellow and gilt the numbers on the Bristol coach (319-D) are distinctly more yellow than the gold "First" lettering. The "First" etc. lettering style looks to have never changed until WW2 when a more modern typeface was introduced. The upper panels were white rather than cream but then it's well known that this was a result of the varnish aging. The upper panels had very thin black lining, it wouldn't be noticeable in 4mm, whilst the lower panels were lined in black with a thin white line either side. Bolection mouldings were unpainted mahogany.

 

Incidentally, what did the "D" after the coach number denote?

There's a hi-res photo of 319 on Flickr:—

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/miocene/4849536836/sizes/l

 

This shows the upper-body lining to be brown (or possibly Indian Red) & not black. Unfortunately the door numbering is washed out by the flash, but 250 at Didcot has similar lettering in addition to the more conventional numbers in the eaves panels. I can only assume thet they're individual door numbers - 319 has C & D, 250 has R (fragment), T & W, & I also recorded A and c. The incidence of letters from the far end of the alphabet rather suggests that trains were permanently coupled as sets and painted as such.

Herewith scans of the tracings I took of 250's remnants:—

 

250 01

250 02

With regards to door lettering, there are differences over the years:—

 

Third comparisons

 
The difference 'twixt apparent yellow & gold might be explained by the use of transfers versus hand-applied gold leaf. I've seen transfers where a gilt effect was achieved by overprinting translucent yellow onto a silver foil - when the light catches it it's definitely gold, but in other lights it's decidedly yellow.
 

Monogramme GWT

 

Pete S.

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There's a hi-res photo of 319 on Flickr:—

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/miocene/4849536836/sizes/l

 

This shows the upper-body lining to be brown (or possibly Indian Red) & not black. Unfortunately the door numbering is washed out by the flash, but 250 at Didcot has similar lettering in addition to the more conventional numbers in the eaves panels. I can only assume thet they're individual door numbers - 319 has C & D, 250 has R (fragment), T & W, & I also recorded A and c. The incidence of letters from the far end of the alphabet rather suggests that trains were permanently coupled as sets and painted as such.

Herewith scans of the tracings I took of 250's remnants:—

 

250 01

250 02

With regards to door lettering, there are differences over the years:—

 

Third comparisons

 
The difference 'twixt apparent yellow & gold might be explained by the use of transfers versus hand-applied gold leaf. I've seen transfers where a gilt effect was achieved by overprinting translucent yellow onto a silver foil - when the light catches it it's definitely gold, but in other lights it's decidedly yellow.
 

Monogramme GWT

 

Pete S.

 

 

Pete,

 

Thanks your comments.

 

The photo I took was at the other end of the coach where the number is clearer. Having looked more closely at the lining yes it could well be dark brown but it's so thin that you wonder why they bother.

 

The coach is a remarkable survivor. I never realised it was in the museum, we only went in because of the transport connection although my wife would rather have gone shopping. Hopefully my photo appears below but it loses something because of the reduction in file size. I spent some time studying the coach as it gave a vivid impression of what travelling on the GWR in the 19th century must have been like. Let's hope it's back on display soon.

 

 

 

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Pete,

 

Thanks your comments.

 

The photo I took was at the other end of the coach where the number is clearer. Having looked more closely at the lining yes it could well be dark brown but it's so thin that you wonder why they bother.

 

The coach is a remarkable survivor. I never realised it was in the museum, we only went in because of the transport connection although my wife would rather have gone shopping. Hopefully my photo appears below but it loses something because of the reduction in file size. I spent some time studying the coach as it gave a vivid impression of what travelling on the GWR in the 19th century must have been like. Let's hope it's back on display soon.

 Sorry I haven't mastered the art of copying photos.

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Thank's for this Mikkel!

 

I do wonder which/how many carriages received the experimental all-chocolate livery in 1903. I know a D29 (or possibly a D40) was amongst them, so possibly a rake of corridor clerestories. But were non-corridor clerestories included as well?

 

I ask because I have noticed that the Triang clerestory coaches seem to look well in crimson lake, which hides their unorthodox layout that is neither first nor second class (I treated my three as composites.) I have another for an Edwardian rake and am now considering all-chocolate rather than chocolate and cream.

 

Dana

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Very interesting comments and illustrations - thanks for that, all.
 

Sorry I haven't mastered the art of copying photos.

 
I think perhaps you meant the photo on this page of your blog. A very attractive coach and livery, I think. (To copy an image, right click on the photo, select copy, then place the cursor where you want to insert the image and right-click again). 
 
 

The difference 'twixt apparent yellow & gold might be explained by the use of transfers versus hand-applied gold leaf. I've seen transfers where a gilt effect was achieved by overprinting translucent yellow onto a silver foil - when the light catches it it's definitely gold, but in other lights it's decidedly yellow.

 
That's quite intriguing and exactly the kind of thing that we might completely overlook in the absence of written documentation from the GWR itself. Come to think of it, I don't recall much detail about transfers in the literature.
 
 

I do wonder which/how many carriages received the experimental all-chocolate livery in 1903. I know a D29 (or possibly a D40) was amongst them, so possibly a rake of corridor clerestories. But were none corridor clerestories included as well?

 
Ah yes, that's an interesting  question. Slinn's/HRMS Great Western Way (1978 edition) does say "In 1903 a rake of coaches was painted all over brown" as if there was only the one rake. I'm not sure where he has that particular info from though.  And then there is your mention of a single van third in this post, and the reader query in the Railway Magazine which speaks of "a number of new passenger carriages painted all chocolate" at Reading. 
 
There aren't many models of the all brown livery, it would be interesting to see - although less glamorous perhaps.

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