Library news

The library is now open again to personal visits.

Collections

Books and magazines

A book catalogue and a magazine catalogue are available as Microsoft® Excel spreadsheets or Adobe® Acrobat® files, both formats are searchable. The files may be downloaded from the links below.

A large quantity of magazines (mostly professionally bound) are available in the Archive and Library. These include The Railway Magazine, The Railway Gazette, and many Heritage Railway and Railway Society Magazines. We also have magazines from “The Big Four” and professional bodies.

There is a collection of foreign language magazines, most of which are not at Leatherhead. Those available at Leatherhead are listed in the Magazine Catalogue

The Library collections are extensive and it is not possible to produce full printed catalogues at an economic price. A paper copy may be consulted in the Archive.

The Railway Observer

Two compete sets of each year from Issue 1 of (When it was called “The Railway News”) to the current issue are held in the Archive. One set is for reference only, the second set is available for loan.

Many bound volumes and single copies of RO issues for many years are available for sale from the Archive and Library, please enquire if you wish to purchase specific issues.

All indices to the Railway Observer have been scanned and are available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. The file is, however, too large to e-mail (87MB). If members require individual years, they can be extracted from the file and sent by e-mail. For this service, a donation to the Society would be appreciated.

Paper copies of the indices are bound in the relevant volume of the Railway Observer. There are also three separate volumes just containing the indices from 1928 – 2005.

Book catalogue

Magazine catalogue

Working timetable (WTT) collection

The Library holds a major collection of working timetables, traffic notices, appendices, rule books and other official documents together with a large collection of public timetables most of which are available on loan to members.

The collection was started in the 1950s, and its size has now become so large that it has become necessary to divide it into two.  These are the Pre-1970 and the Post-1969 Collections.

The Pre-1970 Collection is held by Roger Green. Enquiries by e-mail please – wttpre1970@rcts.org.uk

The Post-1969 Collection is held by Kurt Sickelmore.  NB. current WTTs are not held in the collection.  Enquiries by e-mail please – wttpost1969@rcts.org.uk

The Working Timetable collection is not currently at Leatherhead. The size of the collection requires a large amount of shelf space to be created before it can be moved to our Archive and Library.

Accident Reports

A considerable number of accident reports are held. Early reports from the Ministry of Trade or
Ministry of Transport are present as paper copies. Some current copies of reports from The
Railway Accident Investigation branch (RAIB) are held as PDF files.

A list of reports may be downloaded here.

IMG_4075-1200

Rail tour itineraries

We have a comprehensive collection of the itineraries of RCTS Rail Tours, a set on paper and also scanned as PDF files. We also have many (300+) itineraries of commercial and other Society’s Rail Tours.  These are being scanned and kept as PDF files.  However due to copyright restrictions, these are only available for viewing in the Library.

A list of RCTS Rail Tours may be downloaded here

Sale items

The Archive and Library holds many surplus books, magazines (bound and unbound volumes) including ROs and RCTS out-of-print publications, which are offered for sale at Leatherhead.  If items are to be posted to the purchaser postage cost will be advised in each case and payment will be required prior to despatch.

Rules

Visiting

Please –

  • Record your attendance in the attendance register, noting times of arrival and departure
  • Leave all bags in the reception area and coats on the coat hooks.
  • In the event of a fire or emergency alert, follow the fire and evacuation procedure and vacate the building immediately in an orderly manner.
  • Take care on the stairs and in opening and closing doors. (There are strong closure springs on the first floor doors!).
  • Do not prop doors open unless it is absolutely necessary and you have permission from the person in charge (it may be a fire hazard).
  • Always treat other users and volunteers who staff the archive and library with respect.
  • Treat all library stock, furniture, and equipment with care. Do not hesitate to ask for assistance if you need help in accessing or using any library stock or facility.
  • Assist in keeping the tea and coffee area clean and tidy. A donation towards the tea and coffee would be appreciated.

Donations towards the cost of maintaining the library are always welcome.

Loans

These rules apply to personal or branch (Library Box) loans.

  • A current RCTS or affiliated Society membership card must be shown when borrowing items.
  • Non-members may NOT borrow items, but can visit and view the collection.
  • Loan items must be returned by the due date (normally 6 weeks from the date of loan).
  • Repeated late returns may mean you are refused future loans.
  • Lost or damaged items MUST be replaced at the borrower’s cost.
  • The person in charge has the authority to refuse a loan if necessary.

Please note that some rare, old and/or valuable items are not able to be loaned to members, but can be consulted at Leatherhead.

Volunteering

<<There should be a section explaining the importance of volunteering and the kind of jobs available

A detailed description intended for our volunteers is available HERE.

Helpers' email group

The RCTS Library and Archive has a group E-mail on Groups.io.  This group is free to join for all RCTS Members.  Non-members may also join at present but this may change in the future.

https://rcts.groups.io/g/Library

To subscribe to the group please send an e-mail requesting an invitation and stating your name and membership number to:

Library+owner@RCTS.groups.io

When you receive the invitation – simply reply to it.

The group is intended for:

  • Announcements
  • News
  • Discussion

...of all matters relating to the Archive and Library.

A user guide to groups.io is available at:

https://groups.io/helpcenter

Official opening

Members-Library-Opening-06Oct18-Andy-Davies
By Peter Wilson

Images by Andy Davies

Saturday 6th October 2018, a dull and wet day, has become a significant date in the history of our Society. At 12 noon on that day a group including the Society President, members of the MC, invited members representing the branches, and invited speakers gathered in the rain for a ceremony to mark the Official Opening of the Society’s Archive and Library in the former stationmaster’s house at Leatherhead station.

President Canon Brian Arman welcomed everyone and thanked all those members and their wives who had contributed knowledge, skills and sheer hard work to the project and to make this day a success. Special thanks were extended to Terence Jenner, who had steered the Society through the legal complications culminating in today’s Opening. The President introduced our speakers, Paul Atterbury, well known broadcaster and writer of books on railway subjects, and Councillor Raj Haque, Chairman of Mole Valley District Council. Paul Atterbury declared his interest in continually seeking out suitable and unusual photographs for his working projects, and stressed the importance of libraries and museums in preserving objects and material, in this case railway oriented, and making them available for present and future generations. Paul then unveiled a plaque at the entrance to the building which declared that the RCTS Archive and Library was indeed there and that he had opened it. Councillor Haque welcomed everyone to the Mole Valley, congratulated the Society on what it had achieved and expressed great pleasure in seeing the former stationmaster’s house being preserved and put to such good use. Chairman Gordon Davies presented RCTS ties and copies of the latest RO to the speakers.

Paul Atterbury
Paul Atterbury cutting the cake

The assemble gathering then moved inside for light refreshments and the cutting of the cake by Paul Atterbury with the words “I now declare this cake open ……………”. A further ceremony followed when the President, in the presence of our former Librarian of 14 years, Terry Silcock, and his wife, Beryl, named the large study room upstairs “The Silcock Room”, and adhered a nameplate to the door.

Terry and Beryl Silcock naming The Silcock Room
Terry and Beryl Silcock naming The Silcock Room

Members made good use of the visit to renew acquaintances and explore the new storage and study facilities. The internal spaces occupied by the Society include two book rooms downstairs and four on the upper floor, kitchen and storage spaces, and an all-important downstairs toilet. Decoration is restrained, with a blue carpet and white painted walls, ceilings and woodwork throughout. Overhead lighting is good and all the rooms have windows letting in natural light. Ground floor windows are frosted to maintain privacy. Furniture throughout is brand new – bookstacks, chairs, tables, etc – and the wooden items are a light oak colour. Walls are adorned with framed paintings/prints of railway subjects and models of railway engines are on display. The Silcock Room has a fixed worksurface the length of one long side, is wired for electronic equipment and has windows overlooking the station platforms.

The study environment here bears no comparison with that at the former Library in Uxbridge, and, for those visiting by train on rainy days, it is just possible to get from the station platform to the Archive/Library without getting wet. Much has been said and written in recent years about the future of the Society’s Archive and Library. It is to be hoped that many members who have not already done so will visit Leatherhead to see what has been achieved, to browse among the stacks, perhaps to make use of the study facilities in The Silcock Room, and give thanks to those who have made all this happen. There is still much to be done: a huge number of photographs to be sorted, for example, and the working timetables are not there (is there room for them?); but there is enough to appreciate the work that has already gone into the project.

The study environment here bears no comparison with that at the former Library in Uxbridge, and, for those visiting by train on rainy days, it is just possible to get from the station platform to the Archive/Library without getting wet. Much has been said and written in recent years about the future of the Society’s Archive and Library. It is to be hoped that many members who have not already done so will visit Leatherhead to see what has been achieved, to browse among the stacks, perhaps to make use of the study facilities in The Silcock Room, and give thanks to those who have made all this happen. There is still much to be done: a huge number of photographs to be sorted, for example, and the working timetables are not there (is there room for them?); but there is enough to appreciate the work that has already gone into the project.

Timeline

Plaque-Library-Opening-06Oct18-Andy-Davies
By Andy Davies · written 27th October 2018

An initial version of the business case for proceeding with the leasing of Leatherhead Stationmaster’s House was produced in May 2016 by Andy Davies and Bob Green, but the Management Committee (MC) were reluctant to approve it at that stage, due to the amount of expenditure that was included.

On 9th February 2017 the MC paid a visit to the Leatherhead premises in order to view the completed refurbishment work on the building interior. It was considered that the building work was of excellent quality. This also showed that certain costs included in the original business plan were unnecessary (For example £4500 for floor coverings).

At the June MC meeting I was appointed “Chief Archivist” and then circulated my request for volunteers to assist with running the archive. A sufficient number of people responded to this request to give the MC confidence that we would be able to run an archive at Leatherhead.

In September 2017 Amey TPT (the leasing company acting for Southern Railway) were contacted by our Chairman to introduce himself and advise TPT of changes to the project team. The discussion also established that TPT/Southern were happy to give the RCTS the option of a break to the lease at the 6 year point of the 12 year lease, something considered necessary in case the leasing costs were found to be beyond our means.

A final business case was prepared by the Society Treasurer and presented to the MC at the September 2017 MC meeting. The meeting then formally agreed that the Society proceed with signing of the Leatherhead lease. Southern’s solicitors were informed and an ‘Early Access Letter’ was provided prior to the signing of the lease.

Network Rail then became involved resulting in some changes to the original terms of the lease. It is very likely that the amendments have come about due to the time lag since the original terms were agreed and the inclusion of a break clause as sought by ourselves.

I am now pleased to inform you all that the Early Access Letter has been signed and I have taken possession of the keys to the Stationmaster’s House at Leatherhead Station.

We will now proceed with equiping the building with appropriate furniture and moving the Uxbridge Library, and the stores at Stockport, Stevenage and Northampton to Leatherhead.

I have some volunteers, from my previous request for assistance, but additional help will always be appreciated, please contact me if you can assist.

Once the Early Access Letter was signed and I took possession of the keys to the Stationmaster’s House at Leatherhead Station, the situation changed rapidly. A time line of events in 2018 is as follows:

8 March – Early Access Letter signed

16 March – Keys collected

March – Library furniture quotation updated following measurement of the rooms

1 May – Manuals for the building received

30 May – Quotation Accepted

12 June – Final site survey by FG Library Furniture’s Managing Director

25-26 June – Furniture installed

24 July – Fire Extinguishers installed

25 July – Stockport store packed in boxes

31 July – First delivery from the Stevenage store

5 August – Stockport Store delivered

28-29 August – Uxbridge Library moved

29 August – Uxbridge cleared

4 September – Northampton store moved

7 September – Uxbridge keys handed back

9 September – Second delivery from the Stevenage store

Remainder of September – Tidying and Sorting

30 September – Kitchen Cabinet assembled

30 September – Portable Appliance Testing

5 October – Computer and Plaque installed

5 October – CLEANING

6 October– The Grand Opening

Following the Grand Opening we have now set some initial dates for opening and visitors are welcome, although it is best to confirm that the archive will be staffed for you visit.

Ongoing tasks are to: Continue sorting the books and archive material, stock check, catalogue new items, photographs – Catalogue and Scan (a Huge Task!), publicity and advertising, sell duplicated or unwanted items, decide on our policy for periodicals.

I have some volunteers, from my previous request for assistance, but additional help will always be appreciated, please contact me if you can assist.