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Sixty years and counting: Grantham station photographs on their diamond anniversary

Above: Some of the staff at Grantham station on Thursday 5th September 1963.

by John Clayson

In the early 1960s my Dad and I travelled regularly to Grantham railway station.  I was thrilled to watch the locomotives, a mix of steam and some brand new diesels, while Dad found ideal subjects for his hobby of photography in the station, its trains, staff and passengers.  Apart from the trains and locomotives, many of the photographs are studies of people: railway staff going about their business, passengers, trainspotters - in fact anyone who happened to be about.  There are portrait or group photos taken at the request of people on the station who we came to know.

We lived in Leicester where my father ran a cycle shop.  Thursday was the city's 'early closing day' for shops (under the Shops Acts of 1911 and 1950) so, if the weather forecast was promising, we usually would catch the 12 noon 'Midland Red' bus to Grantham via Melton Mowbray (leaving Mum in charge of the shop for the final hour until closing time at 1pm).  Occasionally we made the homeward journey by train, via Nottingham, and on at least one occasion the outward trip was by rail too. 

It occurred to me recently that it's a little over 60 years since those visits began, so I've decided to prepare a selection of pictures taken on each of our trips which I'll post here on, or close to, the diamond anniversary of the date they were taken.  I've missed the 60th anniversary of the first few visits (in August 1961, and May and June 1962), so I will 'backfill' those in time.

I wish to gratefully acknowledge the help and advice I've received from many people who have, over a period of time, supplied extra information about the photographs.  With this support, extending back more than a decade, I've been able to establish when most of the photos were taken, some of the train workings illustrated and the names of many of the people who appear in the pictures.

Special thanks are due to:

  • Grantham Museum (especially between 2008 and 2010, under Lincolnshire County Council management);
  • The LNER Encyclopedia website, particularly the many contributors to the 'Returning to Grantham' thread which I started in March 2010;
  • The Pacific Workings Archive (Tommy Knox);
  • The people of Grantham and the surrounding area who have supported and encouraged our Tracks through Grantham project since 2013.

So let's get going.  Just follow each link to go to the selection of pictures from that date, and return to see photos from later visits as they are added:

The next date:  Thursday 16th August was our last trip to Grantham in 1962, and we didn't return until 18th April 1963.  I'll therefore use the period until April 2023 to 'backfill' by publishing groups of pictures selected from photographs taken on three visits, listed above, whose 60th anniversaries had passed before I began to publish this series of pages.  They'll appear at intervals of approximately two months.  Look out for 'Thursday 24th May 1962' around late January 2023.

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