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By Karen Baker on

Hidden Treasures: a sneak peek behind the scenes

Take a peek at some of the incredible objects from our archive which will be on display at our Hidden Treasures event.

We are taking part in the Collections Trust’s Hidden Treasures event this Bank Holiday (22-27 August). You will have an opportunity to get up close and personal with some of our less known and less seen railway treasures on twice daily tours we are running throughout the event.

Some of the treasures we are lining up for you include the famous “Backhouse letter”. John Backhouse wrote back to his sisters describing and illustrating the first ever train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

John Backhouse letter at the National Railway Museum
15 Year old John Backhouse writing home to his sisters describing a train on the Stockton and Darlington Railway. 1825

And we will have out our earliest item (1795) which is a manuscript of the 1797 published edition of John Curr’s coal viewer that we have in the library.

 Title page of The Coal Viewer and Engine Builder's Companion at the National Railway Museum
Title page of The Coal Viewer and Engine Builder’s Companion This ms. volume led to the earliest known printed account of an iron railway, giving details of iron plates, sleepers and points, and the wagons running on them, and detailed instructions on how to manufacture them. It describes the various kinds of ‘jinney’ used at pits to wind laden wagons to the surface.

Plus some of our notable engineering drawings, early timetables and tickets.

Close up of Rocket's boiler manufactured by Robert Stephenson & Co. 1829. National Railway Museum
Close up of Rocket’s boiler manufactured by Robert Stephenson & Co. 1829.

Aside from the Treasures on show you will also get a chance to see and hear about the vast collections that are looked after in our stores by staff who work with them everyday.

See our vast photo store of over 1.7 million images. National Railway Museum
See our vast photo store of over 1.7 million images
Over 1 million drawings stored here at National Railway Museum
Over 1 million drawings stored here
Our archive and library stores at the National Railway Museum
Our archive and library stores

If this has whetted your appetite, please come and join us. The tours are free but you will need to book as we have a limit on the number of people we can accommodate in the stores. For more information on bookings, please see our website here. At present there are places available every day during the event, but these are getting snapped up so, to avoid disappointment, it’s a good idea to book your tour sooner rather than later!

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