12th November 2019 · From Rookie Journalist to Grumpy Old Man

Presenter: David Percival

For our November meeting we welcomed back David Percival with another presentation in which he outlined his career in railway journalism starting with Ian Allan.

He described his commute from Knebworth to Hampton Court where the journey home involved a brisk underground journey from Waterloo to Kings Cross and he sometimes missed his preferred train home but took the opportunity to take photographs whilst waiting for a later train. When told he could subsidise his income with getting pictures published at 10/- a time, he invested over a week’s salary on a new camera. This had the desired result and many of his pictures were published in Railway World and the Loco spotters handbooks.

The job gave him the chance to attend various railway events and he always jumped at the opportunity. The launch of the Class 309 Clacton units was one such event.

The units were superb but the coffee in the waxed paper cups was too hot to drink and melted the wax. He later joined W H Smiths where he became responsible for producing the

staff magazine but still got to travel around never missing photographic opportunities.

After a final change of career, retirement gave him the chance to publish some of his work in several books which really highlighted the range and quality of his photography.

The “grumpy” part of David’s talk focused on page layouts in various railway books where pictures did not align and captions were sometimes factually incorrect and not adjacent to the pictures they referred to.

It was a thoroughly entertaining and informative talk with some really evocative pictures from all around the country enjoyed by a larger than normal attendance.