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By John McGoldrick on

A Christmas jigsaw for clumsy railway staff

Why would a railway company give its employees a jigsaw for Christmas? Curator John McGoldrick explains.


As a last minute Christmas card, this object from the Museum’s small objects collection is pretty useful. The jigsaw was given by the Great Western Railway around 1935 as a Christmas present to employees, as a way of reminding them to handle parcels carefully. The childrens’ upset at seeing the dented locomotive smokebox door and detached wheels is plain.

‘Lost in Transit’ was cheaply made with a card backing and was difficult to put together (as the Museum staff who were around when we reassembled it for photographing will attest). Because of this, the jigsaw was only issued for one Christmas, and is now the rarest of all the Great Western Railway promotional jigsaws. Ours did arrive in once piece and is in perfect condition!

6 comments on “A Christmas jigsaw for clumsy railway staff

  1. It would be a great shame if after all the trouble that the NRM have gone to in getting all the 6 A4s together that one of them will not be painted in the original Silver livery, so come on NRM its not to late to do it. Bittern was painted in silver once.
    A great oppertunity not to be missed, it will never happen again having all 6 together, lets have one in Silver, please.

    1. Thanks for your comment Mike. Locomotives aren’t my collection area, but the main reason there won’t be a silver A4 for the reunion is that we only own one of them – Mallard – and the others are either privately owned or belong to other museums. I know it’s not quite the same thing, but we do have a stunning model of ‘Silver Link’ on display here in the Warehouse

  2. I have one of these jigsaws fully intact in its original box. If anybody could give me any more information about it I’d be very grateful

  3. I have just found the “damaged in transit” jigsaw, which belonged to my grandfather, a guard at the time.
    It is complete and in excellent condition in original box.
    Could you put a value on it please, and if I decided to sell the best outlet for it.
    I also have Caerphilly Castle, also complete and also difficult to put together (even harder as only the bottom is straight). This I assume is not rare.

    1. Derek,

      I also have one of these puzzles, in my case owned by my great grandfather also a guard. Did you manage to find an outlet for the sale and do you have any idea as to value.
      It’s an interesting piece so will keep it if worth less than £40.

      Many thanks


  4. I have a copy of this jigsaw in a box, with the original label. But it is made of wood. Does this mean it is not original or were there wooden ones too?

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