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On 30/01/2016 at 18:55, Edwardian said:


Below are reproduced extracts from the Achipedia pages on Castle Aching, checked, updated and extracted on 14th October 2020.  Readers will find the answers to many questions below.


Castle Aching


Castle Aching is the name of a village in the west of the county of Norfolk in England's East Anglia region. It is also the name of a model railway layout that has been under construction since early 2016 to a scale of 1:76, or 4mm to 1 foot, and a track gauge of 16.5mm, or OO gauge. Castle Aching has developed most fully, however, as a topic on a popular railway modelling forum (RMWeb), where concepts and ideas are tested, advice given and received, and project progress (or lack of it) reported. The topic is characterised by its digressive nature and often arcane content.


The layout, which is set in the year 1905, represents a portion of the large and ancient village of Castle Aching. The scene is dominated by the ruined donjon or keep of its Norman castle, built on a motte, or mound. The village streets and a railway have colonised the former castle bailey at the foot of the motte. The layout takes a conventional terminus to fiddleyard format; fiddleyard is a railway modelling term of art for the off-stage portion of a layout and represents the rest of the railway network. There is, however, scope for expansion to include much of the central section of the West Norfolk Railway.


The Village


The village of Castle Aching takes its name from the castle established there by the Normans, though it was the site of a modest settlement before it became a Norman stronghold and developed into a planned town of considerable local importance. A wealthy, if bucolic, parish for much of its subsequent history, a further period of growth and prosperity was engendered by the agrarian revolution and the subsequent advent of the railway in the mid-1850s, improving access to market for local farmers and manufacturers. The population in 1901 was recorded as 1,931.


In administrative terms, the Achings form the western part of Achingham Rural District Council (RDC), while the village is a civil parish with its own Parish Council. Both RDCs and Parish Councils were established by the Local Government Act of 1894. The ecclesiastical parish (of St Tabitha's) is run by the vestry, and forms part of the Archdeaconry of Lynn (also established in 1894) in the Diocese of Norwich.


The Castle


The castle was of a conventional motte and bailey design, its foundation and development are summarised in the Victoria County History, A History of the County of Norfolk: Volume II, ed. William Page (London, 1906) (abridged):


Originally a wooden keep atop the motte, construction soon after the Norman Conquest, the castle was substantially rebuilt in stone in the 1130s-1140s. The Anglo-Norman family of Fitz Aching held the fief. Fitz Aching is patronymic, as the prefix 'Fitz' derives from the Latin filius, meaning "son of". It is believed that 'Aching' is a corruption of Acaris, who was the son of Bardolf, a son of Odo, Count of Penthièvre. The castle is now ruinous and uninhabited, and the later history of the Fitz Achings is obscure. In modern times, the local landowning family has been the Erstwhiles of Aching Hall.


The stone donjon or keep is ruinous but largely intact. The most significant loss being the fore-building, which would originally have house the guard room commanding the covered entrance to the main keep on the first floor. Today only the steps and base of the fore-building remain. Slightly below the keep, the remains of the stone curtain wall or enciente remain.


All three of the gates to the bailey survive to some extent. At the east and west the gates still mark either end of Bailey Street, which curves around the base of the motte, the houses backing onto the castle ditch, now filled in in places. The gate marking the southern end of the bailey survived as a single tower, but is now unrecognisable after it was re-faced and incorporated into the Drill Hall of 1865.


The Church


The parish church of St Tabitha lies to the south of the castle, some distance from the village; a common arrangement in Norfolk. The first church here was established in the late Saxon period. When the first Norman lord of Castle Aching, Acaris de Boer, founded Aching Priory sometime before 1090. he granted it the income from 'the church at Aching', so we know there was already an existing church. The orientation of the church is typical of Norfolk, with the east end facing down hill. The reason for this local practice is not known.


Most of the extremely large present building is a product of the 14th and 15th centuries, when a stream of pilgrims travelling to the Shrine of Our Lady of Wolfringham brought prosperity to the village. Aside from pilgrims, the village stood near the ancient Pedlar's Way footpath and catered to travellers along the old Roman road by providing inns and hostels.


The church is exceptionally endowed with items of architectural interest. The main body of the fabric is 14th century. A low clerestory and tall aisles accentuate the width of the place. The magnificent 15th century Perpendicular tower, however, is wholly rational, leaving the mysteries of the middle ages behind.


The church also benefits from some fine stained glass, both Nineteeth Century and some original Mediaeval work, which, like the extant Fifteenth Century Rood Screen, was preserved illicitly during the iconoclasm of the Civil War period. The east window, in particular, is famed for exhibiting all the exuberance of Chaucer with none of the concomitant crudity. Among the 15th century treasures are the hexagonal font, wine-glass pulpit, and chantry, which displays the crocketted and finialled ogee that marks it as very early Perpendicular. The bosses to the pendant are typical.


The Almshouses


The Hospital of the Sisters of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Norwich was originally founded in 1349 by Bishop Bateman to shelter women widowed during the Black Death, who had no available means of support, little prospect of remarriage due to the depleted population, and who might, therefore "turnne unto sinne". Following its dissolution as a chantry during the Henrician Reformation, it was revived during the reign of Queen Elizabeth as St Tabitha's Hospital and placed under the care of the Rector of St Tabitha's, who generally appointed a Deputy Warden to oversee the running of the institution. The present buildings date from the revival and were constructed in the first years of the Seventeenth Century around a courtyard facing Bailey Street, with the Hospital's chapel extending eastwards at the rear of the courtyard. St Tabitha's remains home to twelve of the Distressed Womenfolk of the parish, whose distinctive red capes and tall black hats make them a cheerful sight to villagers and visitors alike.


Public Elementary School


Established in 1856, and located on Station Road, Castle Aching, the school caters for children from the parishes of Castle, West and Little Aching.


Public Houses


Castle Aching boasts several public houses. The largest and most notable is The Dodo, a courtyard coaching inn dating from the Fourteenth Century. The original name of the inn is not recorded, though there are 15th Century references to Ye Pilgrimmes Reste Inne on what became known as the High Street. The name Dodo is later and relates to the crest of the Rokewood family, the Lords Erstwhile, of Aching Hall, who became established at Castle Aching during the Seventeenth Century.


Other notable hostelries include the Castle Inn on Bailey Street, and the Rokewood Arms, located on the green by the village pond.


Shops, Trades & Businesses


An account of these is provided by Kelly's Directory of Norfolk, 1904:


Professional Practices: Physician & Surgeon


Services: Post Office; Reading Room


Shops & Trades: Baker; Butcher; Grocer; Gentlemen & Ladies Outfitters, proprietor W Awdry & Son; Beer Retailer; Corn Dealer; Dispensing Chemist & Photographic Studio, proprietor J H Ahern; Chimney Sweeper; Builder; Bricklayer; Plumber & Painter; Cycle shop, hire and repair; Blacksmith & Wheelwright; Saddler; Carpenter & Undertaker; Coal, Lime & Seed Merchant; Boot & Shoe maker; Dressmaker; Horse-breaker; Watch-maker.


Industries: Brewer; Iron Founders & Agricultural Engineers


Local Personalities


These include, at Castle Aching:


Lord and Lady Erstwhile, the Hall; Sir Grenville Buttoch, composer, the Grange; Rev. Aldwyn Rokewood DD, the Rectory; Wm. Danvers Everington, Esq, the Lodge; Mrs Howard, the Grove; Mr Cuthbert Harding, Warden, St Tabitha's Hospital; Mrs Elizabeth Prior, Post Mistress; Miss Hermione Bloom, music teacher, Wisteria House; Miss Annabelle Finch, Reading Rooms & Lending Library; W. Awdry, draper and outfitter, the High Street; JH Ahern, photographer and dispensing chemist, Bailey Street; Frederick Pitcher, The Dodo; Israel Turner, coal merchant; Jabez Whiskeard, estate gamekeeper.


The Aching Euterpeans, amateur operatic society


At Smoxborough, Sir Henry Acton-Tichingfeld, of the Hall.


At Mildew Lodge, Little Aching, we find Colonel and Mrs Trench, and their daughter, Miss Mariana.


West Norfolk


Castle Aching lies at the heart of the Achings, a cluster of parishes found in West Norfolk.




"West Norfolk" is a term that encompasses both the more familiar geography of the western parts of the county and places perhaps less familiar to the general reader. Once described as "lost in the folds of the map", a series of towns and villages mark a corridor of land running broadly south from the north Norfolk coast at a point midway between Hunstanton and Wells. Towards the coast are the cluster of communities known as the Birchoverhams. On the coast is the minor haven of Birchoverham Staithe, to the west of which lies the fashionable resort town of Birchoverham next the Sea. Inland we find Birchoverham Town, which, despite its name, is a small village. The hub of the area is Birchoverham Market, an important centre for the agriculture of the district. A shallower crease in the map takes us east, between Wells and Walsingham, then up again to the coast, where we find another village harbour at Fakeney.


Travelling south along the fold from the Birchoverhams, we encounter the villages of Flocking, Hillingham and Massingham Magna before arriving in the district known as the Achings, where settlements lie around the shallow valley of the River Ache. The chief settlement here is Castle Aching, but here there is also Aching Constable, West Aching, South Aching, Little Aching and Smoxborough.


Shallow folds run both east and west from here. To the west creases seem to radiate out from the Achings, as if, when the map was badly folded, the Achings marked the beginnings of the mischief. Here lies the orchard country between Aching Constable and the busy inland port of Bishop's Lynn, and we can follow another distortion in the map as it skirts the southern edge of the Sandringham Estate to reach the west coast at Wolfringham and Shepherd's Port. To the east we follow a fold to Doughton Abbey and the very considerable town of Achingham, with its own branchline, corn exchange, gasworks, maltings, egg dépôt, newspaper (The Achingham Argus), law courts, and Yeomanry and Territorial drill halls.


The Achings


The Achings form a series of parishes spreading out from the shallow valley of the River Ache. The river itself runs to the north, then north-west, before turning to the east where it flows towards the river Great Ouse at Bishop's Lynn. A tributary, the Lesser Ache, flows west from Achingham, meeting the bend of the Ache in the parish of Aching Constable. From thence, to its outflow on the Ouse, the combined river is known locally as the Great Ache.


Castle Aching claimed precedence as a Norman stronghold and the site of a wealthy priory, and because it straddled the old Roman Road to the north-west, which later became a pilgrim route. Thus, Castle Aching became and remained the major settlement in the district. A primarily agricultural district, what little industry there is in the Achings - founding and agricultural engineering and brewing - tends to concentrate here. The famous biscuit factory lies on the Smoxborough Road, some way from the village. The principal residence at Castle Aching is Aching Hall. Home of the Rokewood family, the Lords Erstwhile, Aching Hall is a pleasant stone house built in the Palladian manner and situated within Aching Park, which abuts the south eastern edge of the village, limiting its expansion beyond the green.


Smoxborough is the traditional seat of the Acton-Tichingfelds, a prominent recusant family, though the villagers remained staunchly, at times violently, protestant. Smoxborough Hall is a moated house of considerable antiquity. The area has long been associated with lavender cultivation.


Aching Constable was long a modest village of no moment, but its position favoured it as the site of the West Norfolk Railway's locomotive, carriage and wagon works, an extensive site developed from around 1880. Neat modern terraced housing for the workforce has been provided by the company, lying between the railway works and the old village. The size of the village has doubled in consequence. The railway company is known as a benign and enlightened employer, and has provided an Institute in the village for the improvement and recreation of its workforce.


There remain the three small villages of West, South and Little Aching, whose inhabitants are devoted entirely to the pursuit of agriculture and the consumption of beer. The West Norfolk Railway provides a horse-omnibus service linking the villages, Goods and limited numbers of passengers are taken by the two local carriers.


Smoxborough, West Norfolk


Smoxborough is a small village in the district known as the Achings in West Norfolk. It is known chiefly as the centre of lavender cultivation in the district and for the manor, Smoxborough Hall, the ancestral home of the Acton-Tichingfelds. The moated Hall dates from the Fifteenth Century, construction commencing in the 1480s, after Sir Edward Tichingfeld was granted a crenellation licence in 1482.


The Acton-Tichingfelds were an old recusant family. According to Thornton's Ecclesiastical History, during the Eighteenth century the family was obliged to build a high wall around their estate to discourage the by then frequent attacks by their Protestant villagers. Later historians consider that the villagers' motivation was, at least in part, economic, as the Acton-Tichingfelds had taken advantage of the Enclosure Acts to gain a monopoly over lavender cultivation in the district, by which means they were able generate considerable wealth through their sales of mixed dried, naturally fragrant, plant material to provide the interiors of the day with a pleasant aroma. They cite as evidence for this theory the battle cry of the local Church & King mobs; "No Potpourri!"


The parish church is dedicated to St John the Evangelist and is largely in the Perpendicular style. It is noted for the fine Fifteenth Century Tichingfeld family chapel. The benefice is in the gift of the Rokewood family of Aching Hall.


The Tichingfeld Arms provides comfortable, if bürgerlich, accommodation for the genteel traveller, and has the great advantage of stocking Aching Ales. The novelist Anthony Trollope visited the Achings briefly in 1874 while researching his work Is he Popenjoy?, a tale that drew upon a well-known impersonation scandal that affected close cousins of the Acton-Tichingfelds. Trollope stayed at the Tichingfeld Arms, where it is believed he worked upon the draft of his novel, until he was asked to leave.


A local carrier will convey goods and advance luggage to and from Castle Aching station as part of the weekly round. The West Norfolk Railway provides a horse 'bus service around the Achings. Travellers may enquire of the Stationmaster, Castle Aching, or the Landlord of the Tichingfeld Arms for further details.


During the 1850s a manufactory was established on the Castle Aching Road outside the the village boundary devoted to the production of Dr Gulliver's Lavender Health Biscuits. The factory has expanded considerably since the purchase of the business by Huntley & Palmer of Reading in 1895. The sale was the culmination of a 10-year campaign by George Palmer of that firm to obtain the secret recipe after tasting one of the lavender biscuits at the Grand Hotel, Birchoverham next the Sea in 1885. Eventually he was successful, but only after he agreed to purchase the business and on condition that the manufacture continued at the Smoxborough works. This undoubtedly helped Huntley and Palmer to gain a Royal warrant from the Prince of Wales, also very partial to a nibble it would seem, and these fine comestibles are now sold throughout the world under the name of Royal Sandringham Lavender Biscuits.


The West Norfolk Railway


Castle Aching, and the region of West Norfolk generally, is served by, and has largely prospered as a result of, the West Norfolk Railway Company (or WNR for short), which has improved communication both within the county of Norfolk and with the wider world beyond. One of a number of small, independent lines, in the County, it has retained its independence largely because it would be intolerable to either of its neighbours were it to be absorbed by the other. One neighbour, the Great Eastern, which had absorbed the former Eastern Counties Railway and the Lynn and Hunstanton Railway in order to serve the area, owns a significant minority stake in the WNR and is its supporter. The WNR's other neighbour, with which relations are equally cordial, is the Midland and Great Northern Railway, which was constituted in 1893 and which represents the progressive amalgamation of several former independent lines, including the Eastern & Midland and the Lynn & Fakenham.




The railway, among the first to be built in this part of Norfolk, arrived at Castle Aching in 1855, one end of Birchoverhams & Achings Railway. Soon to be renamed the Castle Aching & Birchoverhams Railway, the line was built to link these two populous and agriculturally rich districts of West Norfolk. This was of especial benefit to the Achings district, which now had easy access to the market at Birchoverham Market, and the enthusiastic support and investment of one of the district's principal landowners, Lord Erstwhile of Aching Hall, who was key to the realisation of the railway scheme. From Castle Aching in the south, the line ran broadly north with stations opened at Massingham Magna (where a spur subsequently linked the WNR to the Lynn & Fakenham railway, later part of the Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway), Hillingham, Flocking, Birchoverham Market and Birchoverham Staithe on the coast. Between Birchoverham Market and Birchoverham Staithe, the West Norfolk's line was subsequently crossed by the independent West Norfolk Extension Railway, a part of the Lynn to Hunstanton Railway absorbed by the Great Eastern Railway. Birchoverham Staithe was a small port on the north coast of Norfolk, but had shown signs of progressive silting to the channels through the mud banks to the docks. In 1862 a decision was made to seek an alternative outlet to the North Sea and a branch line was built to the coastal village of Fakeney to the east, via Birchoverham Town, Middle Walsingham and Halte. Also in 1862, from a junction just north of Castle Aching, a short branch line was constructed to the east to the market town of Achingham, a town of considerable consequence in that part of the county, which had been bypassed by the original route. Following this expansion, the railway company adopted the title "The West Norfolk Railway" in 1863.


The West Norfolk Railway's local network expanded during the remaining decades of the Nineteenth Century. These decades saw a considerable rise in tourism across the UK and the West Norfolk constructed a spur north-west from Birchoverham Market in order to serve the burgeoning and fashionable seaside resort of Birchoverham next the Sea. This produced considerable revenue for the West Norfolk, both from passengers using its services and also from the significant through traffic from other railways that the resort attracted. The Midland Railway, the Great Northern Railway and their jointly owned Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway were able to run through services from the Midlands and the North via South Lynn. The Great Eastern Railway ran through services from the south via Ely and Cambridge, and the from the North along the Great Eastern and Great Northern Joint line via March.


An attempt by the West Norfolk to develop Shepherd's Port, on the west coast, as a rival to Hunstanton, failed however. The West Norfolk, which had upgraded and extended its line to the nearby coal port at Wolfringham Staithe for the purpose, lost heavily as its investment in infrastructure, new stock and the construction of Shepherd Port's Grand Hotel, did not produce the expected returns. This could not have come at a worse time for the West Norfolk, which had built a number of new lines, some of considerable length, during the preceding decade and a half, and had been obliged to borrow significantly in order to do so and to finance the additional stock needed to run these routes. Towards the end of the century the West Norfolk had also needed to renew a considerable mileage of the original 1850s-1860s permanent way. Thus, the failure of the Shepherd's Port scheme was very nearly the straw that broke the camel's back. The failure of Shepherd's Port marked the turn of the century as a time of straightened circumstances for this generally prosperous line, though the company's finances had largely recovered by the mid 1900s.


The West Norfolk had built several other lines during the 1870s and 1880s. To the west of the mainline, at the Achings end of the original route, it built new routes to the west. Here, at Aching Constable, the West Norfolk developed a substantial locomotive, carriage and wagon works, as well as a station. From here a branch led north west to the coast at Wolfringham (crossing the Lynn & Hunstanton Railway), a tramway, jointly owned and managed with the Great Eastern Railway, went west to the port of Bishop's Lynn, and to the south west a line was built in a sweeping curve round to the south east, down through the Thetford Forest, and terminating over the border in Suffolk at Bury St Edmunds (Mildenhall Road). A spur was built from the northern end of this line to Trinity Hallsend to make an end-on connection with the Great Eastern at Magdalen Road. This made an easy connection with Great Eastern routes from March and Wisbech, Cambridge and Ely, and King's Lynn. Further south along this route, another junction led to the West Norfolk's longest and most ambitious extension, a drive eastwards to reach the County town at Norwich West station.


Castle Aching Station & Facilities


Castle Aching station was constructed in 1855 in a Neo-Jacobean style that was a reasonably popular revival style for railway architecture of the period, regardless of company or region. Similar examples can be found, for instance on the South Eastern Railway's Medway Valley line (Wateringbury and Aylesford, 1856), and at Alston, the terminal station on the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway's branch from Haltwhistle (1852). Alston makes a particularly interesting comparison, because in common with Castle Aching, it features a train shed and through engine shed.


The building is constructed using stone quoins infilled with local carstone rag. The overall effect is, in the words of Nikolaus Pevsner in volume 2 of his guide to Norfolk architecture, "not bad". Both the engine shed and the station buildings were extended in the 1870s. The style of the original structure was maintained, but brick quoins were used. The single platform has been extended, twice, to its present length; once in the 1870s, and again in the 1880s, the extensions being constructed of wood. There is a small goods shed and weighbridge office in the yard constructed in a style to match the station.


There are three sidings to the yard. One serves end and side loading docks and the livestock pens. One serves the goods shed, there being cranes both in and outside the shed. The third generally handles coal, lime and feedstocks. The offices of several local traders occupy the yard, including Israel Turner, coal merchant, and a representative of the West Norfolk Farmers Association.


The main running lines, including the loop lines, were all re-laid to bullhead in 1898. The sidings, however, retain the original vignoles rail, spiked directly to the sleepers. The WNR persists in the practice of laying fine ballast across the top of its sleepers in the station area.


As at Alston, the lines terminate with a turntable, with locomotives using the table to run around their trains. The original 40' turntable, supplied by Lloyds, Foster & Co, has been extended in order to accommodate small 4-4-0 locomotive types, such as the Midland & Great Northern C Class and the West Norfolk Railway's own Sharp Stewart bogie passenger class. At Castle Aching the platform, loop and shed roads all converge at the turntable. Tender engines employed on the mainline need to turn, so combining the turning and the running round of locomotives is efficient. The West Norfolk also turns its tank locomotives, such as those employed on the Achingham branch. The explanation, which may be apocryphal, traditionally given for this practice is that it was insisted upon by the wife of one of the Directors in the 1870s on the ground that locomotives travelling bunker-first offended her sense of propriety.


Locomotives of the West Norfolk Railway


The WNR grew to require a substantial fleet of locomotives, though it never designed and built its own locomotives but relied in the main upon purchasing the designs of private locomotive builders, primarily those of Sharp, Stewart & Co, but also Neilson & Co and Beyer Peacock. Locomotives were, however, maintained and rebuilt by the West Norfolk at its Aching Constable works.


The WNRs earliest locomotives came from a variety of builders, including several from E B Wilson, but later the company tried to standardise its mainline classes using Sharp Stewart designs. These were not always available in the quantities required within the time the WNR needed them and recourse was made to Beyer Peacock on a number of occasions when Sharps could not supply. Branch line engines tended to be purchased ad hoc as need arose from a variety of sources and the brief financial crisis around the turn of the century led the company to cease to order new locomotives for a time and to have recourse instead to second-hand purchases. All this meant that, despite the emergence of three standard classes of which there were several examples, West Norfolk motive power remained pleasingly varied and characterful.


Locomotives of the West Norfolk Railway - In service in 1905 (withdrawn locomotives in italics, followed by year withdrawn) - Listed by date entering service


1856: 2-2-2 E B Wilson of 1854, WNR No. 1 1877

1856: 2-4-0 E B Wilson of 1854, WNR No. 2 1877

1856 0-6-0 E B Wilson of 1854, WNR No. 3 1872

1856: 2-4-0WT E B Wilson of 1851,WNR No. 4 1878

1857: 0-6-0WT E B Wilson of 1850, WNR No. 5 1875

1857: 0-4-0ST Neilson & Co of 1856, WNR No. 6 1878

1857: 2-2-2WT W Fairbairn & Sons of 1850, No. 7 1867

1859: 0-4-2 Todd, Kitson & Laird of 1838, WNR No. 8 - 5' 1874 - stationary engine at Aching Constable - placed in working order and sold to the Norfolk Minerals Railway in 1895

1859: 0-4-2ST Sharp Stewart of 1859, WNR No. 9 1899 - sold to the Norfolk Minerals Railway in 1899

1861 0-6-0 Thwaites & Carbutt of 1861, WNR No. 10 - 4’6” 1901 - leased to the Norfolk Minerals Railway in 1889, sold to the NMR in 1899

1861: 0-6-0 Sharp Stewart of 1861, WNR No. 11 - 4’6” - same type as Cambrian SGC and Furness D1

1861: 0-6-0 Sharp Stewart of 1861, WNR No. 12 - 4’6” - same type as Cambrian SGC and Furness D1

1862: 2-2-2T Neilson & Co of 1862, WNR No. 13 - 5’ - standard gauge version of loco supplied to the Dublin & Drogheda Ry

1863: 0-6-0 Sharp Stewart of 1863, WNR No. 14 - 4’6” - same type as Cambrian SGC and Furness D1

1863: 0-6-0 Sharp Stewart of 1863, WNR No. 15 - 4’6” - same type as Cambrian SGC and Furness D1

1864: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1864, WNR No. 16 – 5’6" - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1864: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1864, WNR No. 17 – 5’6" - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1867: 4-4-0, Neilson & Co of 1866, WNR No. 7 - 4’6½” - Smaller version of Cowan's GNoSR K Class

1872: 0-6-0T Sharp Stewart of 1872, WNR No. 3 - as also supplied to Furness and Wrexham, Mold & Connah's Quay Railways

1872: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1872, WNR No. 18 – 5’6" - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1872: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1872, WNR No. 19 – 5’6 " - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1874: 0-6-0 Beyer Peacock of 1874, WNR No. 20 – 4’9” - Ilfracombe Goods type

1875: 0-6-0 Sharp Stewart of 1874, WNR No. 4 - 4’6”- same type as Furness D1; ordered by FR, not purchased, went to WNR

1877: 0-4-2T, Neilson & Co/SW Johnson of 1877, WNR No. 1 - same as CV&HR GER T7 derivative

1877: 0-6-0ST Fox Walker of 1877, WNR No. 2 - same as supplied to Great Yarmouth & Stalham Lt Ry

1878: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1878, WNR No. 5 – 5’6" - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1878: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1878, WNR No. 6 – 5’6” - same type as Cambrian SPC and Furness E1

1878: 0-4-0ST Beyer Peacock of 1878, WNR No. 21 - similar BP's own Gorton works shunter - sold to Kelsby Light Railway in 1919 and preserved as No.3 Peter

1880: 0-6-0 Beyer Peacock of 1880, WNR No. 22 – 5’ - standard BP similar to McDonnell 101 Class

1880: 4-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1880, WNR No. 23 - 5’ 6 ½” - same type as Cambrian SBC and Furness K1

1883: 2-4-0 Crewe Type of 1857, ex Lancaster & Carlisle, WNR No. 24 – 5’1” - 3 sold by LNWR, the other 2 went to the E&MR

1883: 4-4-0 Beyer Peacock of 1883, WNR No. 25 – 5’7” - similar to LSW Adams 380 Class 'Steamroller'

1887: 4-4-0 Sharp Stewart of 1887, WNR No. 26 - 5’ 6 ½” - same type as Cambrian SBC and Furness K1

1895: 2-4-0 Sharp Stewart/Melton Constable of 1874, ExCMR-E&MR, WNR No. 8 – 4’7” - Purchased from M&GN

1899: 0-6-0T Sharp Stewart of 1874, ExCMR-E&MR, WNR No. 9 - Purchased from M&GN

1901: 0-6-0T Brighton Works/W Stroudley A1 of 1874 (No. 65), WNR No. 10 - Purchased from LB&SC


Agriculture and Industry in West Norfolk




The chocolate box, to modern eyes, countryside of West Norfolk belies the fact that this is the fertile land that saw the agricultural revolution yield the abundance of produce necessary to support England's industrial and urban growth. In the county Thomas William Coke, the first Earl of Leicester, promoted new farming methods such as crop rotation and soil nurturing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, heralding a new dawn of agriculture combined with science. This made West Norfolk a rich, productive and prosperous agrarian economy in the Nineteenth Century and the railway arrived just in time to allow West Norfolk farmers to exploit new and distant markets.


The area is a mix of arable and pasture, with the richness of the land attracting a seasonal migration of cattle herds from Scotland for fattening up, or finishing, prior to market. Norfolk short-horn sheep are reared locally, in addition to cattle. While most herds are for beef, some diary herds take advantage of the ability to move milk and other diary product swiftly by rail whilst still fresh. Among the crops cultivated in the Achings is lavender. To the east of the Achings is a land of abundant fruit orchards. Much of the fruit crop is able to take advantage of the Bishop's Lynn tramway to reach where it can be marshalled for rapid onward transport by rail to London or to the Midland conurbations. Egg production has seen a significant increase and there is now an egg dépôt serving as a collection point for local farmers for sale and onward distribution. The dépôt is to be found in the yard at Achingham railway station.


Agricultural production was also boosted by developments in soil fertilisation. Initially the Achings supplied fertiliser from the local coprolite beds, which operations utilised a horse-worked tramway pre-dating the WNR, but latterly guano has been imported and processed at Bishop's Lynn by the Norfolk Fish Oil & Guano Company, which had secured the Heligoland Guano Concession.


Such developments helped to spur the exploitation of areas hitherto regarded as unfit for cultivation, such as the Model Farms of the West Norfolk Soil Amendment Company on Birchoverham Heath, served by a narrow gauge railway that links the farms together and with the West Norfolk Railway.




The area is known for quarrying and aggregate extraction, including sand, gravel, carstone and chalk. Iron ore is also extracted and calcinated locally at kilns at Wolfringham Warren. Many of these activities, extraction and processing sites, are linked and served by the Norfolk Minerals Railway, which runs inland of the western coast, broadly parallel to it, before it turns to descend to the coast and link with the West Norfolk Railway at Wolfringham Staithe, where mineral product can be transhipped and coal supplies obtained.


Subterranean sulphur argued for the presence of shale oil deposits, which led to the setting up, prospecting, drilling and processing of shale oil around the turn of the Century by Norfolk Oilfields Limited. Despite significant investment, no oil of a commercial quality was ever obtained and the scheme was subsequently exposed as a fraud upon its investors.


The fish oil and guano processing plant at Bishop's Lynn has already been mentioned. More fragrant local manufactories include jam and the noted Royal Sandringham Lavender Biscuits (by appointment to HRH King Edward VII).


There are a number of local foundries and agricultural engineers. A small such operation is found at Castle Aching.


Finally we should not forget brewing. Castle Aching itself has a small brewery, located opposite the railway station, supplying local hostelries with its Aching Ales. At Achingham substantial rail-served maltings are found behind the railway goods yard.


Certain bulk necessities are imported, most notably Baltic timber, via the port at Bishop's Lynn, and coal, which has two principal routes to West Norfolk; by rail, often from the South Yorkshire fields via the GER-GNR Joint Line, and by sea, brought from the Durham coalfield via collier brigs to Wolfingham Staithe and thence by rail to the points of consumption or distribution.


Ecclesiatical History of West Norfolk


Church Organisation


The parish lies within the diocese of Norwich, which was extremely large and unwieldy, compromising over nine hundred parishes. The Bishop of Norwich for the years 1857-1893 was the Hon. John Pelham DD, third son of the Earl of Chichester and a product of Westminster School and Christ Church Oxford. He was content to preside over a diocese of this size. His main contribution to the story of the railways of West Norfolk was his absolute refusal to bow to evangelical pressure from within his church, or, indeed, from without it, to oppose the running of Sunday services by the West Norfolk Railway, whose Directors, also high-churchmen, were generally unsympathetic to the strictures of sabbatarians.


Bishop Pelham's successor, John Sheepshanks, Bishop of Norwich 1893-1909, a Cambridge man, was born in Belgravia the son of a Coventry clergyman, and educated at Coventry Grammar. He served a missionary in British Columbia in an attempt to bring God to the Canadians. He was doctrinally also High Church, but he exhibited a different approach to the running of the diocese. On his installation in Norwich, he was noted for his austere living arrangements and reforms. In terms of diocesan administration, he created new posts, taking advantage of the revival of suffragan sees that had begun in the 1870s to appoint assistant bishops. While Bishop Sheepshanks reserved much of the administration of the eastern part of the diocese to himself, north-west Norfolk, south Norfolk and west Suffolk, and east Suffolk were to benefit from suffragan appointees. The diocese of Norwich had suffragan sees of Ipswich and of Thetford, which were created by the Suffragan Bishops Act 1534 but the sees had fallen into in abeyance after just one incumbent until Thetford was next filled in 1894 and Ipswich in 1899. Pursuant to the Suffragans Nomination Act 1888, it was possible to create new suffragan sees and that of Aching & Lynn was instituted in 1894.  The parish fell within the archdeaconry of Lynn, which was created from those of Norwich and of Norfolk on 28 August 1894. 


Other denominations


In Castle Aching, in addition to the church there are thriving Baptist, Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist chapels and one particular oddity in the form of the sole remaining congregation of the True and Justified Brethren of Memon, known as Memonites, a particularly obscure and unhygienic sect, long in decay.


Military History of West Norfolk


Birchoverham Heath is the site of the regimental dépôt of the West Norfolks, a regular army infantry regiment, whilst Castle Aching and Achingham have drill halls constructed for the use of volunteer troops who were later formed as volunteer battalions of the West Norfolk Regiment.


The West Norfolk Regiment


In the Nineteenth Century there were two county infantry regiments associated with Norfolk; the 9th (East Norfolk) Regiment of Foot and the 54th (West Norfolk) Regiment. The latter Regiment was raised in Salisbury by John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll in 1755. The regiment was deployed to North America for service in the American Revolutionary War in 1776. In 1782 the regiment was designated the West Norfolk Regiment and given the number that would be carried by the regiment until the Childers Reforms of 1881, 54th.


The regiment served in Flanders in 1794, against the forces of the French Republic. In May 1800 a second battalion was raised. Both battalions took part in the unsuccessful Ferrol Expedition in August 1800 and the subsequent equally unsuccessful attack on Cádiz in October 1800. Both battalions then embarked for Egypt for service in the French campaign in Egypt and Syria. The battalions amalgamated in 1802, no doubt the result of reductions in forces made following the Treaty of Amiens with Napoleonic France. Following the resumption of war, the second battalion was re-raised in 1803. The first battalion saw action in South America in 1807, before moving to Swedish Pomerania in 1810 and the Waterloo campaign in 1815, where its role was restricted to the capture of Cambrai in the aftermath of the battle. The second battalion saw extensive service in the Peninsular War before being stationed in Ireland.


Throughout the Nineteenth Century both battalions of the regiment saw extensive overseas service including the Fifth Xhosa War in South Africa, the First Anglo-Burmese War, the Anglo-Sikh Wars, the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny (where the fortunes of the first battalion reached their lowest ebb with the devastating fire on board the troop ship SS Sarah Sands), the Anglo-Zulu War, the Second Afghan War, the North-West Frontier, the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Sudan campaigns and the Second-Anglo-Boer War, in which the volunteer battalions also participated.


As a result of the Childers Reforms, the regiment lost its number in 1881 and became the West Norfolk Regiment and barracks were provided for it on Birchoverham Heath.


West Norfolk Militia & Volunteer Formations


The drill halls of Castle Aching and Achingham were built to accommodate men of Volunteer Rifle movement in the 1860s. The volunteers were raised in 1859 in response to the perceived threat of a resurgent Third Empire France. The Volunteer Act of 1863 inter alia authorised volunteer units to acquire land for training. Often the land was gifted by a wealthy landowner and public subscription provided the means to construct a drill “shed” or “hall”. At Castle Aching the castle demesne has long-since passed into the hands of a wealthy Whig family, the Rokewoods, who had built a fine Palladian house in parkland abutting the village. In 1864 George William Rokewood, Lord Erstwhile, scion of this house and a founding director of the West Norfolk Railway, donated the land for the drill hall, which was built around the surviving tower of one of the castle's three bailey gates in 1865. The location was particularly convenient due to the railway, which allowed a unit of West Norfolk Rifle Volunteers to recruit from around the Achings district, and not least from the workforce of the West Norfolk’s own Works at Aching Constable.


The Norfolk Militia was created at the time of the Seven Years war, and the first regiment raised pursuant to the Militia Act of 1757. By 1758 it comprised the 1st Battalion Western Regiment of the Norfolk Militia (West Norfolk Militia) and the 2nd Battalion Eastern Regiment of the Norfolk Militia (East Norfolk Militia). In 1797 a 3rd Battalion of the Norfolk Militia was raised, disbanded in 1798 but re-raised in 1803.


In 1881 the West Norfolk Rifle Volunteers and the West Norfolk Militia combined to form the 3rd and 4th (Volunteer) Battalions of the West Norfolk Regiment. The 2nd and 3rd battalions became the volunteer battalions of the East Norfolk Regiment (the former 9th of Foot).


On the north-west coast, the West Norfolk Artillery Militia was formed in 1853, and a volunteer coastal artillery unit remained at Birchoverham next the Sea until well into the Twentieth Century.


Some other local places


Achingham, West Norfolk


A well-built market town and parish situated in the shallow valley of the River Lesser Ache in West Norfolk, Achingham has a railway station at the terminal point of the West Norfolk Railway's Castle Aching to Achingham branch. The population in 1901 was 2,907.




Achingham was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, noted as having a population of 150. King Henry III granted a Royal charter in 1250 and Achingham has been a market town ever since. The parish church of All Saints dates from the Fourteenth Century, and replaced the old Saxon church.


Achingham has long been associated with two activities, printing and bell-founding. Fakenham's historic association with printing dates to 1803 when a Freeman of Norwich, Stewerley Chadderton, came to Fakenham and began a small printing business. Bell-founding has an even longer pedigree in the town, the business originating in the Fourteenth Century and carried on by the Tailor family since 1784.


In June 1859 a public meeting was held in the Corn Hall for the formation of an Achingham Rifle Volunteer Corps. The Reverend Raleigh made a short speech urging people to join. About thirty men did, the eldest an elderly fat banker of 70 years, and the youngest a seventeen-year-old. They were kitted out in a grey uniform. The Corps met regularly for drill and exercise. In 1881 the Corps became part of the Third (Volunteer) Battalion of the West Norfolk Regiment, men of the battalion serving during the late war in South Africa.


In more recent years (1901), our gracious monarch, King Edward VII, has re-formed the county Yeomanry, and the Achingham Troop of C Squadron of the Norfolk (King's Own) Yeomanry, Imperial Yeomanry, is located in the town. Several members of the troop transferred from the Norfolk Troop of the Loyal Suffolk Hussars, having seen service in South Africa.


Public Establishments


Achingham Cottage Hospital

Achingham Rural District Council

Achingham Union Workhouse


Corn Hall

County Court, Corn Hall

County Police Station

Imperial Yeomanry

Post Office

Reading Room & Library, Corn Hall

Volunteer Fire Engine House

West Norfolk Regiment, volunteer battalion


Economic Activity


The town holds a livestock market on Tuesdays and a general market on Saturdays. Wednesday is early closing day.

The town hosts a number of industries and other businesses, principal among which are:

Achingham Argus, newspaper (published Fridays), Market Street

Achingham Egg Consortium, station yard

Achingham Gas Works

J W Barrett, livestock auctioneer

Capital & Counties Bank

R W Dewing & Co, malsters, Station Road

T R Goggs, flour & corn merchant and miller (steam & water), Bridge Street

R J Sillett & Son, seed merchants and malsters, Station Road

Joshua Tailor & Co, bell founders

Wyke & Coxham, print works


The Birchoverhams (Market, Town, Staithe, Next the Sea), West Norfolk


The Birchoverhams are a group of towns and villages forming a district in West Norfolk that runs inland from the north Norfolk coast marking the course of the River Birch.


Birchoverham Market


A small town and the commercial and administrative centre of the Birchoverhams, Birchoverham Market is very pleasantly seated in a valley sheltered from the sea, in a rich agricultural district. The town lies in the parish of All Saints, the church being of flint and dressed stone dating from the Early English and Decorated periods. The living is held by a Rector and is a substantial one; it is in the gift of The college of scholars of the Holy Trinity of Norwich, in the University of Cambridge. There has been a market in the town since at least the Twelfth Century, though by the middle of the Nineteenth Century the fortunes of the town were in decline and it look set for a picturesque obscurity until the coming of the Birchoverhams & Achings Railway, later the West Norfolk Railway, led to the revival of its fortunes. Today the town is bustling and the population of the parish was recorded as 1,712 in 1901.


Birchoverham Town


Birchoverham Town has the distinction of being a village and home to the parish church of St Cuthbert, yet is in size a mere hamlet, smaller than Birchoverham Staithe, together with which it forms the civil parish of Birchoverham.


The church of St Cuthbert dates from Norman times and is most unusual in having a central tower.


Birchoverham Staithe


A rather larger hamlet than Birchoverham Town, at about a mile distant from it and next to the creek-side harbour, comprising mainly modest cottages and quayside warehousing, boat-building and chandlery.

‘Staithe' is an Old English word meaning 'landing place'. The original settlement was Birchoverham Town, which lies a mile or so inland and was once a busy inland port situated on the navigable River Birch.


Like many of the North Norfolk rivers, the Birch has since silted and declined. By the early Eighteenth Century, Birchoverham Town had faded into bucolic obscurity, while the Staithe continued to see significant coastal shipping traffic, which benefitted from connection with the Castle Aching and Birchoverhams Railway in the mid-1850s. As early as the 1860s, however, silting of the harbour area was preventing newer and larger vessels from entering the harbour. 


Today (1905), the Staithe still benefits from fishing and coastal shipping, but is restricted to the smaller sailing vessels that ply the trade.

The fishing and trading folk of the Staithe benefit from a public house, the Fisherman’s Rest, the rather more commodious Viscount Nelson, an inn on the main coastal turnpike road.  The parish of St Cuthbert maintains a chapel and a Reading room.    


Birchoverham Next the Sea


Traditionally a fishing town, Birchoverham Next the Sea was first mentioned in the Doomesday Book. Today (1905) the Old Town clusters round a creek to the west of the low cliffs that house the modern town.  There is still a very active fishing fleet based at the town and the town maintains a lifeboat station. There is a fisherman’s Institute, reading room and mission chapel.


Blessed with fine beaches at the foot of the cliffs, by the 1860s, Birchoverham Next the Sea had begun to attract its first aristocratic and upper middle class tourists, no doubt due to the frequent visits of the Prince of Wales (now our blessed Sovereign, King Edward VII), who was instrumental in the development of the town’s golfing links.


Having, in 1855, built a railway from Castle Aching to Birchoverham Market, the principal town in the district, and through it to the harbour at Birchoverham Staithe, the West Norfolk Railway obtained Parliamentary powers to build an extension by forming a junction north of Birchoverham Market station to the cliffs above the beaches, making it convenient for the burgeoning resort and leading to its considerable growth. The station was opened to passengers in 1875.  


The railway has brought visitors in significantly greater numbers. The town now enjoys a pier (1897), at the end of which is the Jubilee Pavilion, which attracts the finest performers in the worlds of light opera and music hall and holds frequent dances. In addition to the plethora of small and medium hotels, villas for rent and boarding houses, the town boasts the Grand Hotel, a large establishment offering the highest standards of comfort and refinement to an international clientele. A public horse-tram provides a convenient way to traverse the length of the resort and, together with numerous ‘cabs and the private horse ‘buses provided by the principal hotels, connects with the railway station.  


Birchoverham Heath


A previously barren wasteland to the south of Birchoverham Market, that the engineers of the Castle Aching & Birchoverhams Railway had to cross. The Birchoverham Turnpike was built across it in the Eighteenth Century and it became a haunt of highwaymen and footpads for a time. The area has since seen some development. 


To the north of the heath, in sight of the town, is the Jubilee Barracks, headquarters and barracks of the two regular battalions West Norfolk Regiment, opened by HRH the Prince of Wales in 1887. 


Extensive areas on the southern portion of the heath are now under the care of the West Norfolk Soil Amendment Company, who are in the process of bringing the land into production.  The company's model farms are linked by a modest narrow gauge railway system with exchange sidings alongside the WNR mainline.


Bishop's Lynn, West Norfolk


Bishop's Lynn, or Len Espiscopi, is an English seaport and market town in West Norfolk, located on the east bank of the River Great Ouse, south of the outflow to The Wash. The town is concentrated between the Wooton Old Creek to the south and the River Great Ache to the north. It is closely associated with its immediate neighbour to the south, King's Lynn.




The Hanseatic League, a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe, had come to dominate Baltic maritime trade and by the Fourteenth Century Lynn was becoming rich on the Baltic or German trade, making it the busiest port in England at that time. Constricted between the Purfleet to the north and Mill Fleet to the south, the Mediaeval town was in need of expansion when, in 1422, Bishop Fordham of Ely established the "newe towne" between Wooton Old Creek and the river Great Ache to provide additional docks and warehouses. In 1481 Bishop Morton authorised a market and commissioned the church of St Audrey. Trade built up along the rivers and canals that stretched inland and the town expanded between the two waterways. When the Bishops of Ely lost jurisdiction over Lynn to King Henry VIII in 1537, the new town, a separate parish, was not included and remained within the possession of the Diocese, and it, alone, retained the name of Bishop's Lynn. Under separate jurisdiction, Bishop's Lynn was determined to hold its own against its larger neighbour to the south, an attitude that prevailed throughout the early modern period. In point of schools, colleges, guildhalls, hospitals, almshouses and churches, Bishop's Lynn proved itself determined to match King's Lynn. The ultimate expression of this policy of parity was when, in 1685, the architect, and former Mayor of King's Lynn, Henry Bell, was obliged to provide Bishop's Lynn with virtual duplicate of the Custom House he had designed for King's Lynn.


By this time, however, the Lynns had declined in status as ports. From the Sixteenth Century they had suffered from the discovery of the Americas, which benefited the ports on the west coast of England, and the growth of the port of London. By the Seventeenth Century, Bishop Lynn's trade was primarily the export of wheat and the import of iron and timber. In addition, Bishop's Lynn had a share in the importation of wine from Spain, Portugal and France. There was also an important coastal trade, as bulk goods were more quickly and economically moved by sea than land. In the Eighteenth Century the increase in agricultural production resulting from the agrarian revolution in West Norfolk saw produce exported to London by sea. Later, the increased demand for coal created by industrialisation and urbanisation lead to coal from the Durham coalfields entering the port. Bishop's Lynn also developed a significant ship-building industry. Nevertheless, the port had ceased to grow and, while the nearby ports of Wisbech, Mereport and King's Lynn continued to prosper, it may be said that in the Eighteenth and for much of Nineteenth, Bishop's Lynn slept. When the railways came to King's Lynn in the 1840s (the Lynn & Dereham), Bishop's Lynn was neglected and, later, bypassed by the Lynn & Hunstanton Railway in 1862.




From the 1870s Bishop's Lynn began to benefit from an expansion of the railway network and, therefore, of trade, that was coming to the area. The opening of the Lynn and Sutton Bridge Railway (1864) increased traffic, as did the development of nearby Sandringham as a Royal estate. At King's Lynn the increase in traffic led the Great Eastern to replace the Lynn and Dereham's original wooden station of 1846 with a new one in 1871-2, and in 1875 it built a goods line north to the docks at Bishop's Lynn. Exports from further afield could now be embarked at Bishop's Lynn, while goods brought ashore there could be distributed more widely.


The Bishop's Lynn Improvement Act of 1880 finally heralded the expansion of the town's docks to the north of the Great Ache and provided capacity for the new generation of coastal and ocean-going steam screw vessels, boosting the port's capacity and utility considerably. From the 1880s the Scottish Herring Fleet began to call at Bishop's Lynn on its annual autumnal migration down the east coast. A new import was established by the Norfolk Fish Oil and Guano Company which had purchased the Heliogland Guano Concession in 1882, which proved to be a shrewd move because the Imperial German government was obliged to honour this 50-year concession after the isle transferred to it in 1895. The company established a processing plant at Bishop's Lynn.


In the meantime, a scheme had been proposed in the 1870s to improve access to market for fruit growers and farmers in the lands to the east and south east of Bishop's Lynn in order to militate the effects of the developing agricultural depression. This led to a proposal for a tramway, jointly owned and managed by the Great Eastern and West Norfolk Railways, to connect the district to the West Norfolk Railway's lines inland to the east, but also extending west to Bishop's Lynn. Authorisation to construct it was enshrined in the Great Eastern Railway Act 1881 and the line was opened in 1885. Bishop's Lynn was, at last, connected to the nation's railways in the sense of gaining the longed for passenger service and a railway as common carrier. Much seaborne trade continued to be handled by the GER harbour branch. The tramway facilitated the export of West Norfolk produce via the port and the importation and distribution of goods such as Baltic timber to the West Norfolk region. The population of the town in 1901 was 6,542.


(c) 2019 James Hilsdon, all rights reserved.

Material published on this web page is copyright James Hilsdon and may not be reproduced without permission. Copyright exists in all other original material published on the internet by James Hilsdon, either under that name or under the nom de plume 'Edwardian'



Hmm, I again linked the url for Post #1, but those legs appeared again!


It seems I have to quote the post to get it to come up, or just embed as a normal Link


EDIT: Third time lucky?



No, legs again!






Edited by Edwardian
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I'm getting the legs too - I wasn't previously but that may just have been because they were slow loading. I've had this on other threads, with a random photo from the topic being thrown up. It may just be that the software has an algorithm by which it selects what it thinks is an interesting photo, or maybe the software has a particularly Edwardian fetish for bare legs?

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15 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

I'm getting the legs too - I wasn't previously but that may just have been because they were slow loading. I've had this on other threads, with a random photo from the topic being thrown up. It may just be that the software has an algorithm by which it selects what it thinks is an interesting photo, or maybe the software has a particularly Edwardian fetish for bare legs?


Keep that up and Hilda may appear .......... 

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44 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

I'm getting the legs too - I wasn't previously but that may just have been because they were slow loading. I've had this on other threads, with a random photo from the topic being thrown up. It may just be that the software has an algorithm by which it selects what it thinks is an interesting photo, or maybe the software has a particularly Edwardian fetish for bare legs?


Unlike the Victorians who would have prudishly covered up their table legs, (A myth?, there appears to be no evidence of this).

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23 minutes ago, rocor said:

Unlike the Victorians who would have prudishly covered up their table legs, (A myth?, there appears to be no evidence of this).

If it was done at all, it was done at at the "ankles", and designed to protect the lowest parts of the legs against damage from brooms, etc, but not out of faux-prudery.

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41 minutes ago, Regularity said:



"The West Norfolk also turns its tank locomotives, such as those employed on the Achingham branch. The explanation, which may be apocryphal, traditionally given for this practice is that it was insisted upon by the wife of one of the Directors in the 1870s on the ground that locomotives travelling bunker-first offended her sense of propriety."

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1 hour ago, Edwardian said:


"The West Norfolk also turns its tank locomotives, such as those employed on the Achingham branch. The explanation, which may be apocryphal, traditionally given for this practice is that it was insisted upon by the wife of one of the Directors in the 1870s on the ground that locomotives travelling bunker-first offended her sense of propriety."


Apocryphal. According to reported conversations with elderly WNR drivers, it was because the locomotives were at that time in such a poor state of repair that it was next to impossible to shift the reversing lever over.

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11 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:


Apocryphal. According to reported conversations with elderly WNR drivers, it was because the locomotives were at that time in such a poor state of repair that it was next to impossible to shift the reversing lever over.


Unlikely, or, perhaps, equally unlikely.


The WNR tended to run tender engines up to the '70s, when the Achingham and Wolfringham branches went over to modern tank locomotives, so not likely to have deteriorated so far!


0-6-0T Sharp Stewart of 1872, WNR No. 3 

0-4-2T, Neilson & Co/SW Johnson of 1877, WNR No. 1

0-6-0ST Fox Walker of 1877, WNR No. 2 

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3 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:



Brining together several recent themes...

Looks like it needs a good wash in salt water

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15 minutes ago, Edwardian said:


Unlikely, or, perhaps, equally unlikely.


The WNR tended to run tender engines up to the '70s, when the Achingham and Wolfringham branches went over to modern tank locomotives, so not likely to have deteriorated so far!


0-6-0T Sharp Stewart of 1872, WNR No. 3 

0-4-2T, Neilson & Co/SW Johnson of 1877, WNR No. 1

0-6-0ST Fox Walker of 1877, WNR No. 2 


Actually, one might say that the practice started with a single-wheeler tank acquired for the then (1862) new branch to Fakeney.


The above three were acquired specifically with the view to replacing tender engines on the Achingham branch (1862) and to provide for the Wolfringham branch (probably mid-'70s)  

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19 hours ago, Shadow said:

Just went back to look at page 1 and came across the picture of the old Drill Hall, instantly reminded of the buildings at St Wilfreds Priory in Arundel.







We have, I recall, touched on the architectural similarities between flinty Norfolk and flinty Sussex.  The latter very much Undiscovered Lands for me.


That is a really lovely building.


Next order of business, Brother Nearholmer raised a query on the Parish Council earlier today. 



As it tends to the legitimate, as opposed to the usual, business of this topic, I've posted a link and reproduce the response.


The following chronology can, I think, be derived from the lengthy text now on the edited first post, but to sum up conveniently for the benefit of us all,  


Thoughts, so far, on chronology are:


- CA to Birchoverham Market 1855.  On to Birchoverham Staithe 1856


- Branch CA to Achingham 1862


- Branch Birchoverham Market to Fakeney 1862


- Birchoverham Market to Birchoverham-Next-the-Sea 1875 (BNTS's is similar to Cromer's development, but 2-3 years ahead)


- Wolfringham Harbour/Staith c.1876


- Bishop's Lynn Tramway 1885


- Attempts to develop Shepherd's Port 1890s?


There are obviously other routes to consider.


This at least maps the locomotive acquisitions to some extent and gives them some hope of logic (!) 


It should lead to some pleasing architectural variety, with:


- The CA route to the Birchoverhams lined with Jacobean Revival stations



- The branches of 1862 with something more utilitarian and stripped-down classical



- The GE-joint tramway with modest W&U inspired facilities.



- Birchoverham-Next-the-Sea perhaps up for something rather more exuberant. 








Edited by Edwardian
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Although hardly in common use on a small Norfolk line, parishioners might like to know that ECJS No.12 has returned to Locomotion at Shildon.

It is marshaled behind No.1621 and looks magnificent.




I was able to walk through the corridor today, while assisting some colleagues, and could admire the lincrusta decorating the walls. Rather strange however is the lincrusta ornamenting the lavatory.






Was this to make third class passengers feel at home in a brick-built privy?







They certainly did not have much space to feel at home in!


(I hope that such subjects do not lower the tone of this informative and august thread. Although perhaps some of the more recent political content might be best used in such a facility. Provided of course that it does not fall into water-troughs and thus clog up locomotive injectors!)

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9 hours ago, Edwardian said:







- The CA route to the Birchoverhams lined with Jacobean Revival stations














That picture reminded me of something of no interest to anyone apart from me probably.


Briefly, NSW station buildings pretty much follow a standard template, at least in the Sydney region - single story brick or weatherboard, additional rooms are added or subtracted depending on the needs and size of the station but they all look pretty much the same.


 - Except at Emu Plains at the foot of the Blue Mountains where someone decided that what was needed there was a 2 storey Victorian gothic/Jacobean/tudor  structure just like the one you posted but with air conditioning - good on them I say.





As you were.


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