Railway workers from Bury St Edmunds reunited for the first time in almost 60 years

Three generations of railway workers are reunited. Pictured, left to right, are Rodney Mortlock, Ros

Three generations of railway workers are reunited. Pictured, left to right, are Rodney Mortlock, Ross Taylor, Stephen Kirin, Ben Walsh and Dick Young. - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

Staff who worked on the railways in Bury St Edmunds have been reunited for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Rodney Mortlock, left, and Dick Youngs with the model Rodney built.

Rodney Mortlock, left, and Dick Youngs with the model Rodney built. - Credit: Photo: Keith Mindham Photography

It has come after one of them saw an article in the East Anglian Daily Times about funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project at the town’s Moyse’s Hall Museum celebrating the history of the town’s railway station and the artist Sybil Andrews entitled “Mind The Gap”.

Rodney Mortlock spotted the story and contacted the director of the project Alison Plumridge who arranged the meeting.

And he has also lent an 8ft model of the locomotive sheds, where he worked, that took him two-and-a-half years to build.

Mr Mortlock, who now lives in Trimley St Mary, worked on the railway at Bury in 1958 and at the opening party of the exhibition he was able to reunite with his former colleague Dick Young who he had not seen in 59 years.

The exhibition uncovers the hidden histories of Sybil Andrew’s railway poster designs and life at the station for staff and passengers from its opening in 1847 to the early 1990s.

Alison said: “It was very moving to see the look of joy and recognition on their faces as they met up again for the first time since working together in 1958 and they have both been talking about it ever since.”

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They were joined by three other railway workers from Bury St Edmunds, Ross Taylor, Stephen Kirin and Ben Walsh, in reminiscing about life at the station. Between them they had worked at the Bury station from 1948-2017.

Excerpts of interviews with Mr Mortlock and Mr Young have been included in the exhibition and visitors can add their memories too.

Meanwhile, Smiths Row will also be organising an informal event on railway history in February.

The exhibition at Moyse’s Hall has come about following a grant of £34,800 from the HLF which will

help to mark the 170th anniversary of the rail station and the 25th anniversary of the death of poster designer Sybil Andrews.

The museum used to house the railway’s parcel office and the exhibition includes original posters, artwork and historic railway artefacts.

There is also a private collection of a unique log book which details shipping material in and out of the goods yard from the 1920s through to the Second World War.

At the station illustrated panels reveal the hidden lives and memories of passengers and workers forged there in particular the women who worked in the refreshment room, the Railway Mission and the East Anglian artists whose designs epitomise the Golden Age of rail travel.

This is exemplified by the life and work of the railway poster designer Sybil Andrews (1898-1992) and marks the 25th anniversary of her death.

Bury St Edmunds Station Supporters Group and Greater Anglia are giving in-kind support to the project and organisers are keen to involve the community in the project.

If you can help or if you have stories or artefacts related to the station or Sybil Andrews contact Alison on 07505 746477 or email Alison.plumridge@smithsrow.org

The exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum continues until February 25.

Opening hours are Mondays to Saturdays 10am to 5pm (last entry 4pm) Sundays noon to 4pm (last entry 3pm). It is closed during the Christmas and new year break and reopens on Tuesday, January 2.