Collection highlights


The signs and notices collection contains approximately 250 accessioned items of cast iron, metal, wooden, marble and enamel. These range from large station running-in boards to small wagon plates. Items of significance include two large enamel running-in boards for Chedworth and Swindon Town stations.

  • Chedworth Station Enamel Sign

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    This large enamel sign was the running-in board for Chedworth Station in Gloucestershire.  It dates from the early 1900s.

    This type of sign was used on the Midland and South Western Junction Railway.  The railway ran between Cheltenham and Andover and provided a north-south route to the south coast.  It was taken over by the Great Western Railway in 1923.

    Chedworth Station was downgraded to a halt in 1925 and eventually closed in 1961.

  • Cornish Riviera Sign

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    This enamel sign was one of the many forms of advertising the Great Western Railway used to promote travel to Cornwall.  It dates from the early 1900s and would have been displayed at stations on the GWR network.

    The GWR promoted Cornwall’s mild climate and sold it as a health resort.  They gave it the name the Cornish Riviera and likened it to the Mediterranean.  A once remote part of the country was now (and still is) a popular tourist destination.

  • GWR Locomotive Tender Plates

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    STEAM holds a collection of Great Western locomotive tender plates.  These plates were fixed to the back of a tender and had a unique number.  They were oval in shape and made of cast iron.  They carried the company’s name, place and year of manufacture, tender number and the water capacity of the tender in gallons.

    Tenders were interchangeable between locomotives.  A tender that was attached to a newly built engine would not necessarily stay with it during its working life.  So just like the engine the tender had its own identity in the form of a number. The tender plate also noted the tender’s water capacity, whether it be 4000, 3500 or 3000 gallons.  This ensured the tender had the correct amount of water needed for certain engine classes.

  • GWR Mechanics Institute Library Sign

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    This sign was once on the wall of the GWR Mechanics Institute in Swindon.  It advertises the opening hours for the Institute’s lending library.  The sign is made of brass and dates from about 1890.

    The lending library at the Mechanics Institute was one of the first public lending libraries in the world.  It was available to all GWR employees and their families.  The Institute opened in 1854 and also housed a theatre, reading rooms and games rooms.

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