Object of the month

February 2024

This week is National Apprentice Week and in celebration of this we are highlighting some of the amazing pieces of work produced by apprentices at the British Rail Apprentice Training School in Swindon.


Many of the pieces date from between 1962 and 1984 when the Apprentice Training School was in operation.  The school took an annual intake of about 120 young people and gave them practical and theoretical engineering skills which would prepare them for a career both in the railways and other engineering industries.

British Rail lion and wheel logo in brass and copper

As part of their studies the students made practice pieces to show off their technical skills, and they were undoubtedly assessed on what they made.  The types of apprentice pieces are varied, ranging from turned wood candle sticks, to iron scroll work plant holders.  One of the more unusual and interesting pieces is a dodecahedron consisting of individual pieces of metal soldered together to form a perfectly formed shape.  Many of the apprentice made pieces were put on show at the school to showcase the skills of the students.

Soldered metal dodecahedron

Images of the Apprentice Training School can be seen and bought on the STEAM Picture Library.


Turned wood candlesticks


Ornate metalwork sign


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