Kidderminster exhibition runs at full steam

Hundreds of people from across the country descended on Kidderminster’s Railway Museum to view photographs charting the history of rail.

Kidderminster exhibition runs at full steam

Barrie Geens of Kidderminster with a picture of the town’s railway station in the 1900s at the photographic fair

More than 200,000 images were available to view at the event, including hundreds of never-before-seen pictures added to the museum’s archive over the past six months.

Images dating back to 1862 were on display, and traders were also on hand for those looking to add to their photographic collections.

Barrie Geens, from Kidderminster, has been a volunteer with the Severn Valley Railway since 1970 and during that time worked as a stationmaster and signalman among his many duties. He volunteered to help at the photographic fair held at the museum and was particularly taken by a picture of Kidderminster’s mainline Station in the 1900s.

He said: “Those were the days when that station had a lot more character. It was taken down in the 1960s and replaced with something more like a shelter. The photograph was the type of picture people were looking for among those on display. 

“They wanted those which reminded them of the past and of the steam locomotives.”

The Railway Photograph Fair has been running at the museum for around 12 years. Curator David Postle said: “It is one of the biggest events of its type in the country now, it has built itself up from virtually nothing to what it is today.

“A lot of people have come from all over the place to come and see.”

“In our own archive we go back to 1862, and there’s some very early photos of diesel and steam rail as well as more modern ones, and it covers places in the north and south, and different classes of locomotive.

“If you are a bit of an enthusiast then this event is for you.”

The collection at the museum is being continuously updated, so that there are new images for the event’s regulars to view every time they visit. Mr Postle added: “We are improving the collection all the time – between our last event in July and this one the museum has put another 7,700 pictures into the archive, so there are some that have never been seen.”

Around 400 to 500 people walked through the museum’s door specifically for the event on Saturday, with some coming from as far as Milton Keynes and Manchester. Roger Carpenter, one of the stall holders at the event, became involved with railway photography initially as it helped his with his love of modelling, but he said eventually the photographs took over his attentions.

Mr Carpenter, 65 and from Highters Heath Lane, Hollywood in Birmingham, said: “I’ve been interested in railway photos for 40 to 45 years, having also been interested in railway research and having written several articles. But the photographs then became an interest in themselves. 

“It’s a self-financing hobby rather than any kind of business, which is a non-starter, and I’ve got collections of negatives going back to the 1890s, probably around 25,000 to 30,000 in all.”

The museum’s next Railway Photograph Fair will take place on Saturday, July 12, and will be free to enter.

Add your comment