History of Leatherhead Station – Home to the RCTS Library & Archive Centre

14th December 2021.   Presenter: Andy Davies

This evening we welcomed Andy Davies the Society Archivist to our Hitchin meeting ably assisted by Irene Rabbitts. The evening was split into two parts, Andy first talked to us about the History of Leatherhead station from its inception in 1859 through to its function today as a working station and home to the Society’s Library and Archive Centre. Originally Leatherhead had two stations serving various companies including the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway and the Epsom, Leatherhead Railway over the years these smaller companies merged into the LBSCR. The two stations a little distance apart eventually became one, the track was electrified as early as 1925, much of the original track and yard remained in place until the 1980’s but signal box remained until 1987. The station building was listed in 1997 so structural care was important. The RCTS took control of six rooms in the station building in 2017 following internal refurbishment, our library then opened in 2018 all stock coming from various storage facilities around the country. The Society was formed in 1928 with the first Library opening in 1935, Terry Silcock was librarian from 1979 to 2011 working from his enlarged garage / storage facility in Harrow, currently all books and photographs have been sorted and catalogued, with much archived material still to do including several members old spotting books which contain some very historical facts. Part two was part of a photographic collection of a chap named Sievwright (Andy would welcome any information about this gentleman if anyone knows of him as the photographs were found amongst some of the archives). They consisted of many Eastern Region locomotives working into Liverpool Street and Stratford and contained the majority of the work-horse classes in the period around 1948 – 1952 including a few pictures of A4’s at Kings Cross and Britannia’s working to and from Norwich, a fascination collection with many memories. Most of the photographs were taken at Stratford, Romford, Chadwell Heath and the Liverpool Street areas.

Dave Elsdon

Branch Secretary