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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 38 - Spring / Summer 1979

Peter Clarke (our Past Chairman) - A Short Autobiography

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E R Uphill - Peter Clarke - 6th June, 1977

Most of my father's side of the family worked on the railways, in the LNWR which became the LMS, and I suppose this is from where my lifelong interest in railways stems. Although my father did not actually work for the railways, he was brought up in a railway environment back in the 1890's, and no doubt some of this rubbed off on me. My active business life in chemical engineering has kept me abroad for long periods and also enabled me to travel extensively in Great Britain. This has sharpened my interest in the hobby and has given me the opportunity to further my outlook on railways and see it as a network, a whole picture.

I met your Secretary, Roy Miller, at the beginning of the War, and this friendship lasted throughout the war and continued on afterwards, both of us sharing a common interest in railways. The preservation aspect, I suppose, really owes its origins to the days when we used to visit the Eastleigh Locomotive Depot at the latter part of the War, and sat or stood on thousands of derelict engines. At this period my collection of railway relics commenced and continued during the years until the middle of the 1960's; this was the infant preservation bug. I went about getting the relics by writing to the public relations officers of the various railways who would route the letters to the right departments, and you could purchase almost anything you wanted for a very reasonable sum in those days, the relics being delivered to one's own house.

There has always been a home for me in Amersham and the seeds of preservation were sown with the start of collecting these relics. I became more actively involved in preservation by subscribing to various funds in the 1960's. This was further extended by joining the London Railway Preservation Society in 1963, and taking on the task in 1966, along with Roy Miller, of forming a depot for the Society. I became the Chairman of LRPS in 1968, and this of course culminated in the QRS being formed and taking the position of Chairman. The two societies were amalgamated in 1971, both Societies having similar aims.

Concurrently with the previous task of finding a site for the Society, it was the beginning of the end of the steam period. We decided we should endeavour to preserve a locomotive, and after considering locomotives on the Isle of Wight, and then Moguls on the Southern Railway, we finally decided to preserve a modern branch line locomotive, and this led to the purchase of an Ivatt locomotive in 1967, No. 41298. The engine was moved to the now defunct Longmoor Military Railway in 1967 and was ultimately transferred to Quainton in 1970. This was a working engine when we bought it, and it is still basically a working engine.

We formed the Ivatt Locomotive Charitable Trust in about 1967, thus ensuring the continued preservation of this and any further locomotives acquired by the Trust.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1979 and so does not reflect events in the 35+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Peter Clarke - A Short Autobiography - Quainton News No. 38 - Spring / Summer 1979

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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