Historical ticket collection
Occasionally old tickets which were issued for travel either to or from Culham come to light. We are fortunate enough to have been able to form a small collection which is on view at the station and is featured here with a short description of each ticket.
These cardboard tickets were called 'Edmondson' tickets, after their inventor, and were date stamped using special machines of which we have two working examples in our collection. You can read about Thomas Edmondson and his invention in a fascinating article written by Geoffrey Skelsey, which was first published in ‘Backtrack’ Vol.22 No.8, January 2008, and is reproduced here by kind permission of the Editor.
We are not sure when the Great Western Railway began using Edmondson type tickets, having seen April 1845 and 1846 mentioned. Certainly they would not have been in use when the Old Ticket Office first opened in 1844, and it is possible that their introduction may have taken some time to spread across the whole system.
19th April 1898
It is difficult to see what the endorsement on this ticket is for, but best guess is that it is for a bicycle. Issued at Culham for a trip to Didcot this ticket did not have the price written on it.
10th April 1899
A First Class fare from Didcot to Culham looks to have been 11d (less than 5p nowadays). It would not be unusual for destination stations and fares to be hand written on tickets as stocks of pre-printed tickets could only be held for popular destinations and ticket types.
27th January 1902
This ticket cost the princely sum of 2d (less than 1p!) and was for PARLY (3rd class) travel from Culham to Radley, the next stop down the line. There used to be First, Second and Third class accommodation on trains with vastly differing levels of comfort (or discomfort) between them. Even so, ticket prices were beyond many and so the government enacted the Railway Regulation Act, which took effect on 1 November 1844. It compelled the provision of at least one train a day each way at a speed of not less than 12 miles an hour including stops, which were to be made at all stations, and of carriages protected from the weather and provided with seats; for all which luxuries not more than a penny a mile might be charged. These were known as Parliamentary trains and whilst obeying the letter of the law they tended not to follow the spirit as they were often timetabled to run at inconvenient times.
22nd January 1933
The overprinted C emphasises that this is a Cheap Return for use on the day of issue and by certain trains only. This ticket was for use between Oxford and Culham.
This undated ticket is for Third Class travel between Culham and Oxford at the Government agreed rate.This type of ticket was for use by personnel on military service and would have had a large GR printed on left portion. Possibly dating from around the 1940s but old ticket stock was still being used up several decades later.
4th November 1942
This is an unusual ticket for several reasons. Issued by the L.M.&S.R. it is a First Class single for travel from Manchester(London Road), the destination 'Culham GW' is written in ink, as is the intermediate station of Wolverhampton. What makes this ticket more unusual is that it is specifically for a Navy Army & Air Force Officer on Duty, in all probability travelling to RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill).
8th March 1944
Another overprinted ticket, being PR it denotes a Privilege Ticket. For Third Class travel from either Abingdon or Culham to Radley it cost 3d (just over 1p). This type of concessionary ticket would have been available to staff and sometimes members of the press.
This Third Class return ticket issued by British Railways(S) appears unused and is therefore undated. It is overprinted with a red letter 'L' emphasising that the ticket was intended for use by a member of the Armed Forces travelling to and returning from leave. Possibly this might have been someone stationed at RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill) intending to return home to Southampton but who didn't use the ticket. This would date it as being between 1948 (when British Railways came into being) and 1953 (when RNAS Culham closed). Although this could be as late as 1960 when the Admiralty ceased to have a direct interest in the site at Culham.
4th November 1951
As this ticket dates from early BR days it is an example of old stock being used up. A Third Class monthly ticket from Paddington to Culham, it cost 15/6 (about 76p).
28th May 1953
Dating from early BR days, this is another example of old stock being used up. A Southern Railways Third Class single ticket from Ford in Sussex to Culham, via Victoria and Paddington. The GR overprint reinforces that this is a Government Rate ticket for use by personnel on military service, presumably travelling to RNAS Culham (HMS Hornbill).
29th May 1959
Costing just 11 pence, this First Class single ticket is for travel from Culham to Didcot. One more example of old GWR stock being used up at Culham.
22nd May 1962
Costing just 3 pence for a 2nd Single to the next stop up the line, this ticket to Appleford Halt is marked 'British Transport Commission' on the back with the (W) on the front denoting Western Region. This body operated from 1st January 1948 to the end of 1962. It was created by the post-war Labour government as part of its nationalisation programme to oversee railways, canals and road freight transport in Great Britain.
The different classes of ticket became a bit confusing as many railway companies had effectively phased out Second Class, retaining just First and Third class. However, on 3rd June 1956 British Railways stopped using the designation of Third class, having just First and Second class tickets. Effectively Third became Second as it took quite some time for the number 3 to be changed on coaching stock, if at all. Today we know only of First and Standard classes on the railways in Britain.
10th June 1963
A 2nd Class 'British Transport Commission' single ticket for travel between Abingdon and Culham, a journey which would have involved changing trains at Radley. Abingdon station closed for passenger traffic on the 9th September 1963, so this could have been one of the last tickets issued for this particular journey.
15th June 2019
We have produced special souvenir tickets for visitors to the Old Ticket Office. This one is stamped with the date of the 175th anniversary celebrations open-day using one of the refurbished Waterlow dating machines in our collection.