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LMSS Masthead

John Edgington
Died September 14th 2017

During the 1970s and early 1980s hardly a railway book about the LMS or its constituents was published which didn't have some acknowledgement towards John. When I first got to know him around 1970 John worked at the Public Relations and Press Office at Euston House having started on the LMS in some form of office capacity. A day trip down to London on the Manchester Pullman in 1971 was a real delight. I was researching pre-Group goods wagons and John had said come and have a look at what we've got on file. When I got there out came prints of official photos and we had a jolly day talking about LMS Society matters and other developments. A visit to Bressingham c.1972 cemented our relationship when I sent him a print of a photo I'd taken of him examining 6100. We exchanged Christmas Cards for 40 years after that.

Several stories come to mind, John wasn't a modeller but somehow Smokey Bourne got him to construct a Ratio kit when the Society had a weekend at Brean Sands Holiday Camp where there was a modelling week/end. When David Jenkinson was appointed Education Officer at the NRM the first person he wanted on his staff to help organise and run the Library and Photographic sections was John. So he had to resign from his railway job and become a civil servant, leave Rickmansworth (free travel to work each day) and move to York. A day at the NRM in summer 1981 looking for photos for what became L&Y Miscellany (OPC) in the company of two such knowledgeable friends showed how far the LMS Society had its influences. Despite helping loads of others John only wrote one book, jointly with Phil Atkins – North London Railway: A Pictorial Record (1979), published by HMSO, leafing through my copy showed it signed by both gentlemen. To say John was thoroughly knowledgeable about railways is the greatest understatement of all time. If he thought something was wrong he would very gently explain why and it was always backed up by a reference. Hence, he was consulted on lots of issues by lots of authors and when he retired and Bob Essery started Midland Record and LMS Journal his input of observations and corrections was greatly valued. You knew if John said it was alright, it was.

I know less of his personal life except that he was an only child, he was a Brummie and very proud of it; he'd got into railways at a very early age and joined the RCTS. This brought him into contact with several learned locals such as W Leslie Good and Bill Stubbs (and probably Cam Camwell and Bill Potter) and he took up photography, gravitating quite quickly to good quality equipment, though stationary subjects were his favourite. A few months ago I met John Ryan after a gap of ten years and somehow we got round to mentioning JE, when JR was looking for somewhere to stay whilst completing a railway apprenticeship it was JE who managed to find him some 'diggings' – round at his own digs. John never married nor spoke of family, he was happy doing what he was doing. He was a true gentleman, ever happy to help anyone. Two things I will always remember, after one LMS meeting I dropped him and David Tee off in York (David was spending the night with John) and off they went to Baker Street like two conspiratorial schoolboys – now there's a thought and… the eyebrows, John's had a mind of their own! The privilege of knowing him was all mine, heaven knows what he thought of a 25 year old upstart LMS Society member way back then!

John's funeral was held at York Crematorium on 23rd October 2017 where the LMS Society was represented by Michael Byng, Peter Tatlow, John Miller, Michael Blakemore, Glynne Waite and myself.

Noel Coates

John Edgington at Low Moor Shed

John (on far right) pictured probably at Low Moor Shed. The loco is 12427 (ex L&Y of course) which, at 31/12/47, was shedded at Low Moor. There's the hint of the row of houses which were behind the shed (still there although the shed is long gone!!) from the roofs and chimneys. 12427 was renumbered in late 1948 which puts the occasion as a late LMS or early BR jaunt to bash a few sheds in the West Riding.

John Edgington with LMS Society at Foxfield Light Railway, October 1976

John pictured with a group of LMS Society members during a visit to the Foxfield Light Railway in October 1976.

The members are L.to R.
George Russell, Don Field, (NOT KNOWN), John Edgington, Peter Bunce, Noel Coates, David Ibbotson, Ken Hopkins, Bill Davis, Dr Jack Hollick, Smokey Bourne, Bernard Holland, Mike Peascod, Richard Foster, Geoff Holt, Greg Fox, Peter Robinson, Graham Warburton and Roy Anderson.
Front row, Nelson Twells and Don Rowland
plus Mrs Greg Fox, the Fox children and some of the Foxfield Railway Staff (in caps).

Photo contributed by Bill Davis.

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