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By Alison Kay on

Diagrams, deers and decor: lighting represented in railway engineering archives

Our archive collections shed light on historic railway carriage interiors.

The Wolverton Works archive contains thousands of drawings of carriages, wagons and early locomotives. It also, rather surprisingly, contains a large number of light fitting designs. This is because as well as just the engineering of the vehicles, the works also produced fittings for inside them.

These fittings were bound to be decorative and exuberant; the works produced private carriages for wealthy individuals, first class carriages and even the carriages for the royal family such as this deer shaped dining car bracket below.

Drawing from the Wolverton Works archive
Reference: WOLV 3-6-20
Drawing from the Wolverton Works archive
Reference number: Roll 53

These drawings show the design process behind some of these lights.  A ‘directional photometer’ was used to measure how light was reflected off different lampshades and the result is pretty striking.

Drawing from the Wolverton Works archive
Reference number: WOLV 6/1446
Drawing from the Wolverton Works archive
Reference number: WOLV 6/1444

You can come and see the Wolverton archive for yourself. The archive catalogue is listed on this page under ‘Wolverton Works’ and details of how to come and view material in Search Engine can be found here

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