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Ian Kirk is on this forum and may well still have the master

 

When I said "the Master", I meant Ian Kirk himself, not the master for the model! I have indeed seen his posts on various threads. 

 

Having assembled the remaining solebar and popped some wheels in, I can make some assessment of what's needed to finish the job:

 

post-29416-0-44414600-1520096991_thumb.jpg

 

I'm not sure whether the lower step board was supposed to be mounted on wire brackets or whether that was my improvement - I'd carved slots in the solebar and notches in the underside of the step-board to locate the wire. The side in the photo is the one with the solebar I'd fixed in place 30 years ago; there are plastic moulded bits of ironwork stuck over the wires; if I have those for the other side, I've yet to find them! Anyway, they look too chunky. I'm minded to replace them with bits of microstrip.

 

The handrails are a source of angst, as usual with brake vans! I'd made the end handrails and the vertical ones either side of the doors - the easy ones. There should be short horizontal sections of handrail at the same height as the end handrails. These form a butt joint with the vertical handrails. The photos of the NBR 4mm Developments model illustrate this. The way to do this would be to solder them, but how to do that within 0.5 mm of the plastic? I'm minded to make some sort of jig. Both the photos of the brass model and the ones in the Hooper book also show that the vertical handrails didn't stick straight out as I'd made them, but are folded back at an angle of 45 degrees or so. 

 

I think there should be another brake gear moulding for the other side - I wouldn't expect a brake van to have the brakes acting on one side only! As there is a cross-shaft, the push-rods will appear opposite-handed when viewed from the other side. (Does that make any sense? I know what I mean...) The brake gear moulding is a bit on the chunky side so I may replace it with spare Slaters or Coopercraft gear.

 

I'm also reminded that the Colin Ashby range included the two diagrams of Midland Railway Stores Sleepers wagons...

Edited by Compound2632
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When I said "the Master", I meant Ian Kirk himself, .......................

I'm also reminded that the Colin Ashby range included the two diagrams of Midland Railway Stores Sleepers wagons...

Two people who were there 'back along' before the all singing dancing days we are in now,

we owe them a lot, and, I have many of their kits too.  

Edited by Penlan
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This talk of Colin Ashby and Ian Kirk has prompted me to dig out the Ian Kirk L&Y Diagram 5 loco coal wagon I built as a teenager. I showed a photo a while ago:

 

post-29416-0-23507100-1520111476_thumb.jpg

 

This isn't as crisp as the NBR brake van; like the Ian Kirk outside-framed Great Western van I rebuilt last autumn, it's moulded in a rather buttery plastic, black in this case. The body does look very like the photo of a D5 in N. Coates, Lancashire & Yorkshire Wagons Vol. 1 (Wild Swan, 1990) - plate 50. The solebars and running gear, however, are rather generic - perhaps designed for an RCH 1923 standard wagon. So, I've cut away everything below the solebars and removed some of the solebar detail. I've used MJT W-irons and Attock axlebox/spring castings - the LH looks a bit wonky; this is just a trial fitting:

 

post-29416-0-39817800-1520111500_thumb.jpg

 

The wooden end pillars are a bit weedy-looking and don't extend down to the bottom of the headstock, so the next move will be to scrape these off and replace with 60 thou square microstrip. The ribbed buffers are quite like the ones in the reference photo, so I'm keeping them for now but they are a bit vulnerable. The brake gear should be of the unusual L&Y type with two brake blocks on one side but only one on the other, with both brake levers facing the same end. Pondering how to do that with the bits and pieces to hand!

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I do like this re-birth and upgrading of your old wagons. It's not often in life we get a chance to improve on the past!

 

On the topic of removing moulded bits from solebars. I've sometimes wondered whether it would be worth making a tool for that particular purpose. Especially channel ones.

Edited by Mikkel
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There's also a photo showing one of these Diagram 69 vans, No. 458, alongside a very similar van without the central ducket, No. 526 - Diagram 21 (SSA Diagram 33B) according to NBR 4mm Developments. To do these variants in brass, one needs a separate etch master for each. Anyway, some useful signposts on livery there - though I'm not convinced by the off-yellow verandah interior!

Hi, found this discussion on the NBR brake vans by chance and as the individual behind NBR 4mm Developments thought I would add some info.

 

Hmm, that image does make the interior look rather yellow on my website.......

It is actually, "duck egg green" and was referenced from a December 1955 Railway Modeller article by Sir Eric Hutchison, Bart.

The full description:

"Painting was as follows:

van sides and solebars medium grey (a rather lighter shade, much lighter than the "lead" colour so often used on goods stock) ;

van ends, headstocks and buffer bodies, bright red ;

all ironwork, black ;

roof, tyres, chimney and writing, white.

During the 1914-18 war, vans which were built or repainted did not have the ironwork picked out in black, and this economy lasted until grouping. Inside, the painting was duck-egg green"

 

My own range of brake vans are my first attempt at designing an etched brass kit and was a limited release while I had stocks of the white-metal castings.

I have managed to obtain more castings just last weekend for all but the buffers and would hope to be able to re-release the kits when I have them.

One of my other casters has over the past couple of years for family reasons not been in a position to undertake more spins for me and I do not wish to add any pressure onto him.

​I had considered the 51L buffers but the additional price starts to make the kit uneconomic, I am not so much a cottage industry as a spare room equivalent and that is when I am not driving the 12" to the 1' trains full time (and most of my rest days !!)

​Brgds

Ian

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Hi, found this discussion on the NBR brake vans by chance and as the individual behind NBR 4mm Developments thought I would add some info.

 

Hmm, that image does make the interior look rather yellow on my website.......

It is actually, "duck egg green" and was referenced from a December 1955 Railway Modeller article by Sir Eric Hutchison, Bart.

The full description:

"Painting was as follows:

van sides and solebars medium grey (a rather lighter shade, much lighter than the "lead" colour so often used on goods stock) ;

van ends, headstocks and buffer bodies, bright red ;

all ironwork, black ;

roof, tyres, chimney and writing, white.

During the 1914-18 war, vans which were built or repainted did not have the ironwork picked out in black, and this economy lasted until grouping. Inside, the painting was duck-egg green"

 

My own range of brake vans are my first attempt at designing an etched brass kit and was a limited release while I had stocks of the white-metal castings.

I have managed to obtain more castings just last weekend for all but the buffers and would hope to be able to re-release the kits when I have them.

One of my other casters has over the past couple of years for family reasons not been in a position to undertake more spins for me and I do not wish to add any pressure onto him.

​I had considered the 51L buffers but the additional price starts to make the kit uneconomic, I am not so much a cottage industry as a spare room equivalent and that is when I am not driving the 12" to the 1' trains full time (and most of my rest days !!)

​Brgds

Ian

 

Ian, thank you for this, and for reminding us that for many kit & bits manufacturers, what you do is as much a hobby as what we modellers do once we've got our hands on the kit. Reading some threads, ii seems to me that too many people expect one-person manufacturers to operate in the same way as Hornby or Bachmann!

 

Now Eric Hutchinson was writing only three decades or so after Cowlairs last turned a van out in NBR livery; we're now twice as long again after he wrote. It is with some temerity therefore that I, as quite an ignoramus on matters North British, suggest his notes require some interpretation in the light of the photos in the John Hooper book.

 

Firstly, the "medium grey" described as "much lighter than the lead colour" - I wonder what lead colour he was comparing with? The photos of newly painted vehicles in the Hooper book (wagons in general, not just brakes) give the impression of a rather dark grey - certainly much darker than the "lead" colour used by the Midland. For example, the photos of Dia. 88 6-wheel brake No. 601 on p.65 and of Dia. 70 brake No. 580 on p. 66. Certainly the Precision Paints NBR Freight Wagon Grey P679 is a dark grey - if you look back in this thread, you'll see I've been using it for LNWR wagons, for which it is perhaps too dark; the photos of your own builds of your kits on your website seem to me to be this same dark grey.

 

"All ironwork, black" - except after 1914. It seems to me that black ironwork appears randomly on new or newly painted vehicles, irrespective of date. For example, of the two brakes just mentioned, No. 580, photographed in new in 1905, only has ironwork below solebar level painted black, whereas No. 601, with a 1914 paint-date crescent, has solebar ironwork and handrails painted black. Those prominent paint-date crescents enable NBR wagon photos to be dated much more reliably than many photos of other companies' stock; looking at other types of wagon in the Hooper book, one quickly realises that many of the photos were taken in 1923 - there must have been a semi-official campaign to record the old livery before new instructions were handed down from south of the border! Most of these don't have black ironwork; however, there are quite a few photos of newly built wagons with 1921 paint dates, that do have the black ironwork! (Several, but not all, of these are new from Hurst Nelson). On the other hand, there are examples of new mineral wagons with '96 and '06 paint dates that don't have the black ironwork; admittedly, both these appear to be Pickering official photos. However, there's also a photo of a new Cowlairs '04 6-wheel van without black ironwork, followed by a '21-built example with black ironwork. So as far as I can see there's no very hard-and-fast rule!

 

"Duck-egg green": this begs the question, were the insides of the verandahs counted as inside or outside? In the photo mentioned of brake No. 580, the verandah door is open and one can see some detail of the interior partition. This seems to me to be painted a dark colour; the natural inference is that it is body colour. I would suggest that duck-egg green was used for the interior of the full-enclosed central section of the van - this would accord with other companies' practice. A light colour would be desirable where there wasn't much light getting in from outside. In both the brake van photos I've mentioned, red ends etc. are entirely credible - they look darker than the sides and the buffer guides in particular look "black", as one would expect with orthochromic photographic emulsion.

 

Any other North British experts out there willing to comment?

 

The Hooper book states the NBR wagon stock at grouping as 58,970, the fifth largest fleet after the North Eastern, Midland, Great Western and London & North Western - I think that's supposed to be in order of size, though does the L&NW total include the L&Y fleet? Even in pre-pooling days, a good few must have made their way onto the Midland system via Carlisle, so I ought to be able to justify the odd one in the Birmingham area c. 1903. Though this brake van is completely off-piste!

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Two thoughts.

 

Hurst Nelson tended to paint ironwork black whatever the painting spec. High-quality painting was one of their selling points. They also shaded lettering where it wasn't specified.

 

When a wagon is built, the ironwork might have been painted, presumably black, before fitting if it were made in batch and put in store. This would be to ward off rust. If it was made and fitted immediately then there wouldn't be much point in black-leading it. Therefore, a mix of black and body-colour ironwork for new wagons depending on situation at the works at the time of build. Also, a wagon with blacked ironwork that was not part of the paint spec would almost certainly have the black painted over with body colour on repaint because that saves work.

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Two thoughts.

 

Hurst Nelson tended to paint ironwork black whatever the painting spec. High-quality painting was one of their selling points. They also shaded lettering where it wasn't specified.

 

When a wagon is built, the ironwork might have been painted, presumably black, before fitting if it were made in batch and put in store. This would be to ward off rust. If it was made and fitted immediately then there wouldn't be much point in black-leading it. Therefore, a mix of black and body-colour ironwork for new wagons depending on situation at the works at the time of build. Also, a wagon with blacked ironwork that was not part of the paint spec would almost certainly have the black painted over with body colour on repaint because that saves work.

 

And equally, for the 1921 Cowlairs 6-wheeled van, it might be a case of doing a special job in the "old style" for the sake of the photo. In the book, the latest date on a crescent is 24, one on a mineral wagon on hire to James Nimmo & Co, Slamannan - this also has the quaterfoil mark but one axlebox has N. B. RY cast on its front and the other LNE-B; the other on a Dia. 97 iron ore wagon - not by any means a full repaint; the only new paint appears to be the crescent itself! I suppose it's really "date of overhaul".

Edited by Compound2632
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I should have added a wee caveat that details taken from "Sir Eric's Notebook" articles need to be checked carefully as evidence often contradicts what he wrote.

 

NBR wagons are in general painted all over grey, including the iron work except for that below the solebar which is black.

Photographs showing iron work picked out in black tend to be found on wagons specially prepared for photographing and not seen in general service examples.

 

The grey I used was indeed Phoenix Precision P679 NBR Freight Wagon Grey and I agree is darker than I would like.

I would also agree that the duck egg green reference is most likely found inside the van for the reasons you give and the veranda area is most likely the same as the external colour.

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This talk of Colin Ashby and Ian Kirk has prompted me to dig out the Ian Kirk L&Y Diagram 5 loco coal wagon I built as a teenager. I showed a photo a while ago:

 

attachicon.gifL&Y D5 loco coal wagon.JPG

 

This isn't as crisp as the NBR brake van; like the Ian Kirk outside-framed Great Western van I rebuilt last autumn, it's moulded in a rather buttery plastic, black in this case. The body does look very like the photo of a D5 in N. Coates, Lancashire & Yorkshire Wagons Vol. 1 (Wild Swan, 1990) - plate 50. The solebars and running gear, however, are rather generic - perhaps designed for an RCH 1923 standard wagon. So, I've cut away everything below the solebars and removed some of the solebar detail. I've used MJT W-irons and Attock axlebox/spring castings - the LH looks a bit wonky; this is just a trial fitting:

 

attachicon.gifL&Y D5 modernisation WIP1.JPG

 

The wooden end pillars are a bit weedy-looking and don't extend down to the bottom of the headstock, so the next move will be to scrape these off and replace with 60 thou square microstrip. The ribbed buffers are quite like the ones in the reference photo, so I'm keeping them for now but they are a bit vulnerable. The brake gear should be of the unusual L&Y type with two brake blocks on one side but only one on the other, with both brake levers facing the same end. Pondering how to do that with the bits and pieces to hand!

Sorry Compund, this L&Y loco coal wagon was an early Cambrian kit not a Colin Ashby one!

 

Tony

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Sorry Compund, this L&Y loco coal wagon was an early Cambrian kit not a Colin Ashby one!

 

Tony

 

Interesting. Actually I've a very distinct recollection of it being in packaging branded Ian Kirk when I bought it (not Colin Ashby) - but that was thirty-five years ago - I have good reason to believe I built it before the summer of 1983 - and I've no way of proving its provenance. Did Cambrian inherit some of Ian's kits?

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Interesting. Actually I've a very distinct recollection of it being in packaging branded Ian Kirk when I bought it (not Colin Ashby) - but that was thirty-five years ago - I have good reason to believe I built it before the summer of 1983 - and I've no way of proving its provenance. Did Cambrian inherit some of Ian's kits?

No I don't think so. I built one about the same time and have since seen others in the original packaging.  The quality of mouldings and end stantions that do not descend onto the buffer beam are both replicated in the very first generation of Cambrian kits.

Do you have a MR gunpowder van from that range from the same era?  It is the exception to the rule and is actually quite good!

Tony

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I've exchanged PMs with Ian - my memory is at fault: the L&Y Dia 5 coal wagon is not his; he agrees that it is probably early Cambrian. The NBR brake van was originally tooled by Pete Westwater as a "Westykit"; Ian adapted it for mass-production and it did then pass to Colin Ashby - Ian explains that he passed his wagon kits on as demand for his coach kits was taking up all his production time. Ian also explained that the outside-framed Great Western Mink was originally intended as a grounded body kit but he was persuaded to supply some as complete kits despite his GW underframe being too modern. 

 

All this history is a little academic but I do feel its right to be able to give the credit to the true originators of these kits. Alas I do not have the early Cambrian Midland gunpowder van. Was this the early D384 or later D385 design? The latter were more numerous (as such things go - 15 vs. 60,000!) but being built in 1904 are on the limit of my target date range.

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I do not have the early Cambrian Midland gunpowder van. Was this the early D384 or later D385 design? The latter were more numerous (as such things go - 15 vs. 60,000!) but being built in 1904 are on the limit of my target date range.

The Cambrian kit was for the later D385 design (15 built) as opposed to the D384 of which there was only 5

 

Tony

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I've managed to negotiate some, very restricted, modelling space, so an assault on plastic wagon kits has begun.  The whitemetal and brass will have to wait as there's not enough space to do any soldering.  Inevitably, as an ardent follower of this thread, the quest for accuracy and detail differences begins.  

 

Back in June Richard and Stephen discussed Gloucester's build for Stephenson Clark and noted that SC wagons had internal diagonal ironwork, rather than just the bolts securing the external ironwork.  Aside from SC's own specification, was there any standard difference between the various wagon builders in their use of internal iron straps?

 

I've also been fascinated by the issues of solebar ironwork and axlebox choice that do seem to be a signature for different works.  Is there a reference work that helps here?  I got the 4mm Coal Wagon but was disappointed in that regard.  The number of PO wagon books has long outpaced my budget and space, are there one or two, wide ranging in terms of build and period, that might be good for northern-ish England?

 

First up are a couple of POWSides (is that said like prisoner of war or is it like Batman - pow! biff! bang!) then some Ratio LNWR, then I might do my D299.  I want to get my hand back in before I tackle that or else the disgrace here would be intolerable.

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I've managed to negotiate some, very restricted, modelling space, so an assault on plastic wagon kits has begun.  The whitemetal and brass will have to wait as there's not enough space to do any soldering.  Inevitably, as an ardent follower of this thread, the quest for accuracy and detail differences begins.  

 

Back in June Richard and Stephen discussed Gloucester's build for Stephenson Clark and noted that SC wagons had internal diagonal ironwork, rather than just the bolts securing the external ironwork.  Aside from SC's own specification, was there any standard difference between the various wagon builders in their use of internal iron straps?

 

I've also been fascinated by the issues of solebar ironwork and axlebox choice that do seem to be a signature for different works.  Is there a reference work that helps here?  I got the 4mm Coal Wagon but was disappointed in that regard.  The number of PO wagon books has long outpaced my budget and space, are there one or two, wide ranging in terms of build and period, that might be good for northern-ish England?

 

First up are a couple of POWSides (is that said like prisoner of war or is it like Batman - pow! biff! bang!) then some Ratio LNWR, then I might do my D299.  I want to get my hand back in before I tackle that or else the disgrace here would be intolerable.

I can't find the Stephenson Clarke discussion from June, but I think the use of internal ironwork, and on the reverse diagonal too, did feature on the early SC wagons, as I have seen photos of their dumb-buffered stock with this arrangement, and Len Tavender shows this on a couple of his drawings, however the company seems to have been quite happy with the normal external diagonal ironwork on the majority of its fleet.

As for books on PO wagons, it is difficult to single out just one, but I find the HMRS volume on the Ince wagon works provides a large amount of background information, as it contains drawings for the various elements of at least two RCH specifications, and it has lots of drawings of buffers and other fittings, principally showing the variety of buffers available to convert dumb-buffered wagons to conform with later requirements. The book largely concentrates on traders around the builder, which almost fits in with your needs, and, at the moment, it is available from HMRS at a bargain price of only £7! I hate to think what I paid for it when new, as it is a substantial hardback book.

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........at the moment, it is available from HMRS at a bargain price of only £7!

I hate to think what I paid for it when new, as it is a substantial hardback book.

I quickly got out my copy to check, no price on it.

£7 Must be one of the best bargains - EVER,

If I didn't have a copy already, I would be there, now, and get a copy.

Edited by Penlan
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I've also been fascinated by the issues of solebar ironwork and axlebox choice that do seem to be a signature for different works.  Is there a reference work that helps here?  I got the 4mm Coal Wagon but was disappointed in that regard.  The number of PO wagon books has long outpaced my budget and space, are there one or two, wide ranging in terms of build and period, that might be good for northern-ish England?

 

.

If you want to compare and contrast different makers, then Lightmoor Press have published Chris Sambrook's comprehensive survey of hundreds of builders, with plenty of photos and views of the various builders' plates which help to characterise a wagon.

As you have noted there is now a plethora of books on the subject, making further selection difficult. The Lightmoor / Turton books are very wide ranging, concentrating on the operators, but the Montague book is solely Gloucester based, whilst the Bill Hudson series relies heavily on Charles Roberts' products, but they do have some useful general information tucked away, including a guide to coalfields.

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Stephenson Clarke had such a huge fleet of wagons by the 1920s and 1930s (perhaps up to 8,000?)  that I think almost anything goes for wagon details.  Not only did they order new wagons from the builders, probably to RCH 1923 specification) but they also took over so many other companies all of which would have had their own fleet of wagons (owned or on hire/HP), that the fleet must have been anything but standardised.

 

Tony

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The first post in the Stephenson Clarke discussion is here - plus subsequent posts from Richard (wagonman). Part of my interest is in trying to model the dumb-buffered Stephenson Clarke wagons that appear in a Huntley & Palmers photo*, by extrapolating back from their standard design mass-produced by Gloucester C&W Co. and, presumably, others. Whatever may have happened post-Grouping, it's clear that at the period I'm interested in, Stephenson Clarke had wagons built to their own design, rather than relying on the builders' standard designs. With a fleet of 4,000, they clearly had the purchasing power to do this and found it more efficient - this might be accounted for if they had their own repair depots rather than using contractors.

 

*As noted previously, the 1920 date given for this photo is clearly wrong. 1890s seems more likely.

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The first post in the Stephenson Clarke discussion is here - plus subsequent posts from Richard (wagonman). 

Just dipping in quickly, before off out for the evening, I see W.H.Bowater, the 6th wagon along, was a coal merchant in the Birmingham area, and indeed he himself was Mayor pre. WW1.

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Just dipping in quickly, before off out for the evening, I see W.H.Bowater, the 6th wagon along, was a coal merchant in the Birmingham area, and indeed he himself was Mayor pre. WW1.

 

I'd identified the Bowater wagon - the Lightmoor index indicates that there's one of his wagons in the second of Keith Turton's volumes but I didn't know about his involvement in local government. On looking him up, I see he was succeeded in that office by Neville Chamberlain.

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Thanks for the information, the HMRS book is on order, but the best price for a used Sambrook is £45.00!  That needs some thinking about.

 

I think I was a bit unfair on Hayes' 4mm Coal Wagon, I expected more of a history when I bought it and the practical modelling angle threw me a bit.  There's actually some good information in there, but it's provided on the basis of the examples he builds.  A re-read is necessary with amended perspective.

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Does anyone have a suggestion of an intro book into PO wagons which would be helpful for understanding my period interest - the Peak District Midland 1902.

 

This request has been prompted by the discussions above around the Ince Wagon works book.

 

I am looking for something which might give an overview to the subject and would thus give me an entry into the much more detailed surveys that are available. Ie what companies were out there ... how did the whole business work and evolve ...Is there a company(s) which might have been more prevalent than others during my period and in my area ....  what changes should one be aware of etc etc.

 

I am aware of the Turton and Hudson series - these are good visual sources but there is an element of looking for a needle in a haystack about them when starting from a position of ignorance and from a beginners perspective. As an example, apart from discussions here and elsewhere I have no detailed knowledge relating to dumb buffers etc ... or how legislation changed over time.

 

Any thoughts, guidance, suggestions much appreciated.

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