Official Opening

Official Opening



RCTS Archive and Library, Leatherhead by Peter Wilson

Saturday 6th October 2018, a dull and wet day, has become a significant date in the history of our Society. At 12 noon on that day a group including the Society President, members of the MC, invited members representing the branches, and invited speakers gathered in the rain for a ceremony to mark the Official Opening of the Society's Archive and Library in the former stationmaster's house at Leatherhead station.

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President Canon Brian Arman welcomed everyone and thanked all those members and their wives who had contributed knowledge, skills and sheer hard work to the project and to make this day a success. Special thanks were extended to Terence Jenner, who had steered the Society through the legal complications culminating in today's Opening. The President introduced our speakers, Paul Atterbury, well known broadcaster and writer of books on railway subjects, and Councillor Raj Haque, Chairman of Mole Valley District Council. Paul Atterbury declared his interest in continually seeking out suitable and unusual photographs for his working projects, and stressed the importance of libraries and museums in preserving objects and material, in this case railway oriented, and making them available for present and future generations. Paul then unveiled a plaque at the entrance to the building which declared that the RCTS Archive and Library was indeed there and that he had opened it. Councillor Haque welcomed everyone to the Mole Valley, congratulated the Society on what it had achieved and expressed great pleasure in seeing the former stationmaster's house being preserved and put to such good use. Chairman Gordon Davies presented RCTS ties and copies of the latest RO to the speakers.

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The assemble gathering then moved inside for light refreshments and the cutting of the cake by Paul Atterbury with the words "I now declare this cake open ...............". A further ceremony followed when the President, in the presence of our former Librarian of 14 years, Terry Silcock, and his wife, Beryl, named the large study room upstairs "The Silcock Room", and adhered a nameplate to the door.

libraryTerry Silcock Library Opening 06Oct18 not found libraryTerry and Beryl Silcock Library Opening 06Oct18 not found


Members made good use of the visit to renew acquaintances and explore the new storage and study facilities. The internal spaces occupied by the Society include two book rooms downstairs and four on the upper floor, kitchen and storage spaces, and an all-important downstairs toilet. Decoration is restrained, with a blue carpet and white painted walls, ceilings and woodwork throughout. Overhead lighting is good and all the rooms have windows letting in natural light. Ground floor windows are frosted to maintain privacy. Furniture throughout is brand new - bookstacks, chairs, tables, etc - and the wooden items are a light oak colour. Walls are adorned with framed paintings/prints of railway subjects and models of railway engines are on display. The Silcock Room has a fixed worksurface the length of one long side, is wired for electronic equipment and has windows overlooking the station platforms.

The study environment here bears no comparison with that at the former Library in Uxbridge, and, for those visiting by train on rainy days, it is just possible to get from the station platform to the Archive/Library without getting wet. Much has been said and written in recent years about the future of the Society's Archive and Library. It is to be hoped that many members who have not already done so will visit Leatherhead to see what has been achieved, to browse among the stacks, perhaps to make use of the study facilities in The Silcock Room, and give thanks to those who have made all this happen. There is still much to be done: a huge number of photographs to be sorted, for example, and the working timetables are not there (is there room for them?); but there is enough to appreciate the work that has already gone into the project.

The study environment here bears no comparison with that at the former Library in Uxbridge, and, for those visiting by train on rainy days, it is just possible to get from the station platform to the Archive/Library without getting wet. Much has been said and written in recent years about the future of the Society's Archive and Library. It is to be hoped that many members who have not already done so will visit Leatherhead to see what has been achieved, to browse among the stacks, perhaps to make use of the study facilities in The Silcock Room, and give thanks to those who have made all this happen. There is still much to be done: a huge number of photographs to be sorted, for example, and the working timetables are not there (is there room for them?); but there is enough to appreciate the work that has already gone into the project.

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Last updated: 22nd February 2019