Published in 1958 by © Hugh Evelyn Limited, London; drawn by E.W. Fenton.
By 1945 Britain was broke. It owed huge sums to the US yet needed to reconstruct a country ravaged by war, whose industry was geared to war, whilst reabsorbing 4 million demobbed servicemen and women. Modernisation of the railway was not a priority. That is why the age of steam rolled on in Britain for another 20 years and accounts for the deep nostalgia felt for steam locomotion today. When these prints were made there were many steam engines on the British Railways network. The change to diesel (apart from the Southern routes electrified before the War) was under way. The death of steam was recognised, but how to satisfactorily commemorate the Steam Age was not. The first 10 of these prints were published in part to commemorate that age before it was gone. The Railway Museum at York had the largest collection of steam locomotives (as it does today). But 60+ years ago there were other engines scattered about the country in railway sidings, at platforms, in paint shops and elsewhere that confronted the British Transport Commission with the problem of what to save and where to save it at a time of continuing austerity.
The prints measure 43.5 cm w x 25.5 cm h (17″ x 10″) allow slight variation from the printer’s cut 50 years ago. Shown here are corrected photos of the prints – slight distortion may show.
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