Above: Cleaner Peter Wilkinson in the cab of Class A3 locomotive No.106 'Flying Fox' at Grantham Loco in May 1948.
We have been saddened to hear that Peter Wilkinson passed away last Sunday, 19th February, at the age of 90.
From the earliest days of our project Peter was a great friend of Tracks through Grantham and he supported our project in many ways. He always shared a word of encouragement when we chatted at our meetings, which he attended regularly.
Peter began his working life at Grantham ‘Loco’ in March 1948 as an engine cleaner, progressing to fireman until, in August 1954, he left the railway to follow a career in the police. When we got to know Peter in 2011, shortly after our project began, he delighted in recalling the formative six years of his life spent on the footplate at Grantham. He kindly allowed this entertaining and keenly observed story to be published on our website (see below).
Peter had many interests, and he lived a very full life. Mel remembers exploring the Lincolnshire countryside with him:
I first met Peter at one of our Tracks through Grantham railway events and I found him to be a very interesting man to talk with. Apart from the relatively short time that he worked on the railway he would also tell me about other periods in his working life. Like many others he was called up for National Service and later joined the Police force and went on to become the Harbour Master in Lincoln. Throughout his life Peter had a great love of aircraft and was an accomplished model maker. Peter's original family home was in Welbourn, Lincolnshire and, as I then lived in the next village, I was keen to hear about his personal memories and knowledge of the area. His father was a blacksmith in Welbourn and, when Peter was a child, he would sometimes accompany his father on 'shoeing' visits to a stable a few miles away at Temple Bruer. However, he could not remember the exact location. During one of our telephone conversations he brought the subject up again; so I said that we ought to try and find it. On one of the occasions that he came over to my house at Temple Bruer we decided to do just that. Arming ourselves with an old ordnance survey map, we made a few local enquiries. Eventually we did find the remains of the former stable block, and of course Peter was absolutely delighted to have finally solved the mystery. For posterity a couple of photographs were taken of him standing outside. Peter was a kind, thoughtful gentleman and I will never forget him. His book 'My Lincolnshire Life' (published privately by his family) is a fitting testament to a life well lived.
Peter Wilkinson’s funeral will be held at Lincoln on Tuesday 21st March. There’s a link to the family notice giving full details here.
Below are links to the pages on the Tracks through Grantham website where Peter relates the story of his railway life, supplemented by photographs he took while at work.
Mel and John