One of my favourite parts of my job is image research. We’re lucky to have a fantastic photographic collection here at the National Railway Museum, and you can see thousands of examples on our website. Through ssplprints.com we can also see the collections held by our sister museums, the National Media Museum in Bradford and the Science Museum in London.
Because of the way our images are catalogued, you can always guarantee that a search for one thing will bring you some entirely unexpected results. Here are a couple of my favourites:
While searching for images of King George V, I came across this fantastic image of elephants being unloaded at the King George V dock in London. My favourite part is the caption: ‘The animals had a rough voyage, having been given repeated doses of brandy to help them on their way.’ I’m not sure how much brandy you need to sedate an elephant, but I’m guessing it’s more than a nip.
I can’t remember how I stumbled across this image of the Glynne Arms in Himley, Staffordshire. Unsurprisingly, the pub was better known as ‘The Crooked House’. This image is from the Great Western Railway’s official image collection, and was probably taken for use in their brochures advertising holiday travel. (If you fancy stopping by for a pint, the pub is still in operation).
Finally, when looking for images of a range of railway jobs I found this chap, who’s holding some alarm signal chain, presumably before it was fitted to the carriage behind him. I love the small insight into the working world of the railways that the official company collections can give us – and I also think that he looks as bemused as I was when I came across the image!