To celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway has created a unique exhibition exploring royal rail travel, from the very early days of steam and the Great Western Railway, through to the present day.
Entitled ‘The Royal Road’, the exhibition shows many items from the STEAM Collection, not on permanent display. These include the original clock from Queen Victoria’s Royal Waiting Room at Windsor Station and original fittings from Queen Victoria’s Royal Saloon, as well as a surprising number of documents, notices and artworks relating to royal travel. The original notes of Queen Elizabeth II to the Royal Train inspector are among the selection of royal pieces.
Right, On 15 November 1950 the Queen, at that time Princess Elizabeth, visited Swindon Works. Whilst touring the Works she performed the unveiling of the nameplate of the newly built locomotive No. 7037 Swindon. She also watched a casting commemorating her visit being made in the Foundry.
Felicity Jones, Curator at STEAM, said: “We have thoroughly enjoyed researching and creating this display of unique items to mark this special year of celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
“Queen Victoria’s first journey on a train of any kind was on the Great Western Railway line, from Slough to Paddington in 1842. It is fascinating to think that STEAM has links with Queen Victoria’s first rail experience. As well as the many royal items on display, our new exhibition tracks royal rail journeys and also royal visits to railway stations. These include those made to Swindon Works by King George V and Queen Mary in 1924 and by Princess Elizabeth in 1950.
“One of my favourite items appearing in the exhibition is an original drawing of Queen Victoria in her Royal Saloon. The drawing dates from around the 1840s and shows the Queen amidst the luxury of her carriage. We are unsure who the artist is but we like to think they were with Queen Victoria when the picture was drawn.”
Children can follow the royal connections with STEAM’s Royal Road Children’s Activity Trail, starting next week for February Half-term. The five-page trail invites young visitors to ‘Come and explore a world of Kings, Queens and Palaces on Wheels!’
The Royal Road exhibition and trail runs from 8 February until 31 December and is free with normal admission. The Royal Road Children’s Activity Trail is available to download free from the STEAM website or it can be purchased for £0.75 from STEAM Reception.
STEAM Normal admission: £6.40 for adults and £4.25 for children under 16. Children under 3 go free and Swindoncard holders can get a discount on admission prices.
STEAM is open every day between 11.00 am and 4.00 pm during winter.
Find out more about what’s happening at STEAM at: www.swindon.gov.uk/steam or call 01793 466637/466646
Pictured, the Royal crest is moved into place at Steam Museum Swindon by Elaine Arthurs, STEAM Collections Officer and Museum Curator Felicity Jones.
Images from ©Calyx Multimedia, 41, Churchward Avenue, Rodbourne Cheney, Swindon, SN2 1NJ
01793 520131 MOB: 07836 205196
Click here for the 1950 Pathe Newsreel of Princess Elizabeth unveiling an engine in her name