AN anonymous reader recently brought this chunky little item to our attention; a rare memento of the fabled Great Western Railway, and a tangible connection to our own neck of the woods.
Despite its dull appearance, it is in fact a brass plate, tarnished and partly split, but almost as clearly marked as the day it was made well over a century ago.
Its owner tells us that it was dug up in Swindon, Wiltshire, back in 1986, when the old Great Western Works there was being demolished after almost a century and a half. Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Daniel Gooch had established the works at Swindon as a convenient mid-way point between London and Bristol, for the repair and maintenance of the GWR's rapidly growing fleet of engines. It expanded rapidly and soon Swindon was building its own locomotives.
This plate was probably removed from rolling stock made at the Great Western's Stafford Road Works just outside the town centre, and lost following repairs or breaking up at Swindon.