In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams
In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams
In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams
In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams

In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams

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In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited Stephen Williams
 
In Search of A Dream The life and work of Roye England Edited by Stephen Williams
217 Pages
Soft Cover.
Copyright ??

CONTENTS
Introduction .1
Chapter 11906-1925. EMBRYO: THE AUSTRALIAN CENTRAL RAILWAY .7
Chapter 21925-1931. FOUNDATIONS: THE GREAT BRITISH RAILWAY19
Chapter 31931-1934. THE ACTUAL BEGINNING39
Chapter 41934-1948. THE GUILD OF ST. AIDAN IN THE DIFFICULT YEARS63
Chapter 51949-1953. THE NEW APPROACH75
Chapter 61953-1954. PENDEN - WHITHER?89
Chapter 71954-1958. PENDEN MODELS AND THE HOSTEL95
Chapter 81958-1959. MORE UPS THAN DOWNS ..111
INTERLUDE - THE BATTLE OF THE SIGNAL120
Chapter 91960-1961. PENDON MUSEUM TRUST125
Chapter 10 1961-1963. LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS?133
Chapter 11 1963. THE DEPTH OF THE TROUGH .147
Chapter 12 1963-1967. THE STRUGGLE TO REPOSSESS155
Chapter 13 1967-1971. BREAKTHROUGH: PENDON, HENDON, CRENDON171
Chapter 14 1972-1974. THE NEW MUSEUM .181
Chapter 15 1974-1979. SO MUCH AHEAD .189
Chapter 16 1980-1987. LIGHT AND SHADE .205
Epilogue1987-1955. THE FINAL YEARS .215

Introduction
This book tells the story of the life and work of a remarkable man. As a young man, Roye Curzon Cursham England came from his native Australia to Britain. Initially, the purpose of his visit was to patent an invention he had made for the automatic control of model railways, but that goal was soon superseded by an altogether greater ambition - to capture a portrait of a rural England that was fast disappearing and to preserve it in miniature form - in a model village of hitherto unimagined accuracy and detail, complete within a landscape of fields and woodlands and with a representation of the main line of the Great Western Railway running through the scene. The inspiration for this dream-like project was the once-beautiful Vale of "White Horse, which Roye first visited soon after his arrival in England, and which he subsequently made both his physical and spiritual home. Out of this enterprise grew the world-famous Pendon Museum of Miniature Landscape and Transport that Roye established at Long Wittenham, Oxfordshire from 1954.
The story that is told in this book is semi-autobiographical and it weaves together several parallel strands. Much of the later part of the story is intimately concerned with the struggles to create Pendon, although it is not a history of Pendon per se, since many have contributed to that project and this account is an individual story, albeit that of the Museum's founder. Secondly, the book also presents one man's reflections upon the changing world in which he lived; of the despoilation of the countryside (as Roye saw it) in the name of 'progress'; of the heyday of steam railways and the eventual demise of steam-hauled services; of greater matters too - not least the Second World War, which left a profound mark upon Roye, as it did for so many of his generation. Then, thirdly, it is an account of Roye's life - the places that he went, the people that he met, the things that he did and just occasionally, some insights into the way he thought.
This latter aspect is, however, perhaps the most frustrating element, for whilst Roye left many thousands of words in diaries, correspondence and, not least, his monumental `Saga of Pendon' (from which much of the text of this book is drawn), he tells us relatively little about himself as a person. To help the reader better understand the subject of the book, therefore, I am setting out in this introduction some additional notes that throw particular light upon Roye, as a man, elements that might not be too apparent from the main story but which are important to understanding this unusual and, at times, most complex of persons.
ROYE'S CHARACTER
I first met Roye in April 1978. As a keen modeller myself, I had beaten a path to the doors of Pendon Museum and, like so many before and since, had gone away captivated
Roye, photographed during the earliest days of the Pendon project, coupling some of the rolling stock on the
Dartmoor model railway.L. KENT
by the quality of the work and the sheer vision of the project. Determined to do more than simply marvel, I offered help and, in accordance with normal Pendon custom, assembled a demonstration model to show what I could do. Thus, one afternoon, I found myself approaching the door of a rather anonymous bungalow in Steventon, anxious yet eager with anticipation at meeting this great modeller, whose work I had so admired over many years.
Roye was not what I expected. Tall, remarkably young-looking for his age (then 71), he greeted me politely, if a little formally, and with just a hint of shyness. He spoke quietly and I sensed immediately that here was a gentleman in every sense of the word. Then I showed him my model and I felt an immediate change. He relaxed, his gentle sense of humour gradually surfaced, and in no time we were 'talking modelling'! His enthusiasm for the finer points of my work and the polite, but firm, manner in which he pointed out the areas that were not so convincing, seemed to confirm that he knew exactly what he wanted and how to encourage others to meet that goal. He showed me the model on which he was then working (Packer's smithy from Childrey) and I can still recall the thrill of actually handling a Roye England masterpiece. He explained how I could improve the demonstration model I had brought and, as we talked, I found his effect was genuinely inspirational. I left the house that afternoon wanting to model for Pendon and, especially, to model for Roye. I also experienced another of his great qualities that same afternoon, for after he had satisfied himself that my work was sufficiently competent and I had accepted his invitation to model the almshouses from Lyford, his gratitude at my willingness to help him further his dream was both sincere and overwhelming. The uncanny ability to inspire people to help the Museum and his genuine sincerity were two of his greatest strengths.
For the next eight years, we corresponded (or spoke by phone) often and met frequently at the Museum where (amongst many things) Roye taught me to drive and comment upon the trains on the Dartmoor layout. I also read for the first time his 'Saga of Pendon', through which I came to appreciate some of his other qualities. He was, throughout almost all of his long life, a tremendously active and hard-working man, quite dedicated to his project and firm in his commitment to those things in which he believed. He was meticulous (probably to a fault) in virtually everything he did, with a passion for detail that sometimes meant the broader picture became blurred. He was also extremely loyal towards those whom he felt deserved his support and it is clear that he valued friendship particularly highly. At a rather difficult meeting at Pendon on one occasion, Roye was criticised by someone for too readily seeing good in people, but to expect anyelse would have been to misunderstand completely one of Roye's most basic beliefs.
Far a man in the public eye (and known to many people both through Pendon and outside), Roye remained throughout his life a rather private person. There were many aspects of his life that he kept to himself, even from people he knew well and who no doubt thought they knew Roye well! He disclosed much within his diaries and other writings that he willed to Pendon at his death and, as a result, some of his actions and beliefs have become better understood. But in many situations where he may have held strong views, he often remained silent. In some respects this was a weakness, for in later years especially, many things at Pendon went against Roye's preferred wishes, but he seems often to have been reluctant to make an issue of it. I never saw him visibly angry, nor heard him raise his voice, even when it might have been better for the outcome had he done so.
Roye never married, even though many of his attributes as a person would have made him a good and caring husband. He occasionally spoke to close friends about a girl he had once known in Australia to whom he felt some attachment, but there is no reference anywhere within his `Saga' to romantic attachments, except to an unfortunate incident when a secretary he had employed began to show amorous intentions that Roye felt unable to reciprocate. Her advances cost the poor woman her job, yet Roye didn't shun the company of women and was quick to acknowledge feminine beauty when he saw it. There is one brief reference to marriage in some private reminiscences that Roye wrote in 1948 that perhaps gives a clue to how he felt and which suggest that a failure to find a partner in life may at some times have been a disappointment. He wrote:
`It is difficult to see oneself- but I do know that I have [an] artesian well of affection which is simply bursting to be freed and to inundate someone for the rest of one's life. I might make a difficult husband in some ways, but given the right companion, I know I should make a loving one.'
The opportunity, however, seems never to have arisen and perhaps therefore of necessity, Roye was obviously someone who could be content with his own company.
ROYE'S PARENTS

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