Tag Archives: Museum Depot

A Big Day at the Depot – Part One

Open Weekends at the Acton Depot of the LTM –  held twice a year, they are a fabulous opportunity for the public to see “behind the scenes” of the Museum. It would be true to say that the vast majority of the museum’s collection is actually held at Acton. To some extent this is down to space available in the main Covent Garden building; there are also considerations of restoration, preparation and overhaul of exhibits, all of which are done at the Depot. So it’s a treasure trove!

As the sharper-eyed amongst you may have spotted, this year is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the world’s first underground railway, from Edgware Road to Farringdon. Inevitably this meant that the open weekend had an “Underground 150” theme. In the yard at the rear of the Depot could be found Metropolitan Railway No. 1, stationary but in steam, together with recently restored Metropolitan Carriage No. 353 and a milk van. Joining No. 1 on a short stretch of 1 foot 11½ inches gauge track laid especially for the event was Ffestiniog Railway steam loco number 2 “Prince” providing engine rides.

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Depot Open Days could not function without a tremendous amount of support from the museum’s volunteers. Many of them were to be found in the yard helping with stewarding the huge numbers of visitors wanting to get “up close and personal” with the special displays. My photos were taken on the Sunday of the event, which was busy enough, but I’m told that the Saturday was the busiest open day ever.

You can also see that Metropolitan Electric Loco No. 12 ”Sarah Siddons” was on display, and while not as popular as the steam locos the opportunity to visit the driver’s cab was still quite a draw. Again, volunteers were to the fore in helping the public get the best from their visit.

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Finally, as part of the 150 theme, a number of London-themed model railway layouts were on display. Who would have thought it would be possible to model Metropolitan No. 1 or “standard” tube stock so accurately from the ubiquitous bricks?

Dave Olney, Volunteer

New Digital Learners Explore the Museum Depot

This week saw the start of a new project with a group from Oaktree Community Centre on the South Acton estate.  Over the next 5 weeks we’re going to be exploring the museum’s collections online and at the Museum Depot in Acton. The group will be learning new digital skills and we’ll be finding out what they think of the collections. We’re doing it in partnership with Acton Community Forum who are part of a national “Community Capacity Builders” project which helps get local people online.

For our first session we headed to the Museum Depot for a tour by volunteers Jon and Richard. We had lots of postitive feedback from the group. One person described the tour as ‘an absolute joy and treat. There was so much to absorb. A real history of London and the suburbs.’  Another person said ‘I found it very interesting as it was my first time at a museum and I really enjoyed it.’  The volunteer guides enjoyed it too,  Jon told me ‘it was fun to be a part of a project for the local community.’