Some years ago now, I read an article by George Woodcock, it was called ‘Tyranny of the clock’. It concerned itself with the way the invention of the mechanical clock paved the way for all manner of modern ills, from clocking on to clocking off. Life, bought and sold, by the second, by the hour, by the week – watching the clock. The nightmare of ‘time interval signaling’, hope the Bobby’s watch isn’t running fast. No slow clocks today – time’s so fast we measure it with atoms.
Here we are, about to start a new year and the clocks are all ticking. And, as Big Ben strikes out the old and rings in the new we look back on 1936, the year No. 5690 Leander rolled out of the workshops and into railway heritage, though no one knew about the heritage bit, in 1936. In 1936, 5690 was just the next number in the series, more would follow, not all with tragic / heroic names though. (In Greek mythology, Leander was Hero’s lover – he drowned, she killed herself because he’d drowned, is the short version) It all happened, or not, a long, long, time ago in a land far, far away.
Quite a few of Leander’s class mates were named after lands far, far, away lands which, today, have very different names – Gold Coast and Tanganyika, where are they now – Google knows, Google knows everything? There was a time when to read a book, particularly one containing knowledge / information, you might be seated reading it, but the book itself was chained to wall and you would, in all probability, have had to walk miles, lots of miles, to where it was kept. Now I can find 1,867,257 possible answers on the creation of Tanzania or the birth of Ghana in about the same time as it takes to say, ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’ – gosh that’s quick
In our mini time warp, No.5690 Leander is crossing Oldbury Viaduct with a beautiful rake of 1930s LMS coaching stock, carrying the Royal Scot boards – could at least have put express lamps on the engine!
Happy New Year to you all – and thanks for reading.