Tuesday, 8 March 2011

All Aboard...The Hogwarts Express!

You may or may not know that I adore Harry Potter. And so, when my wonderful boyfriend Mark, told me we were going to see and go on the Hogwart's Express I smiled so much my face nearly broke. The train was visiting The National Rail Museum in York - which train lovers and haters should all go to, there's something for everyone - and even though we had to wait for ages in a queue in the biting cold to board the train, it was worth it.

To coincide with the Hogwart's Express visit, the museum had also put on a show for children involving a man dressed as Dumbledore performing magic tricks and an owl display. I loved the owls but I also found something I loved that was non-Harry-Potter-related tucked away in a corner - a stuffed railway collection dog called "Laddie". According to the information provided by the museum, railway collection dogs were common in large stations in England between the late-19th and mid-20th centuries. They were looked after by the station staff and performed tricks in exchange for money for railway charities.

"Laddie" - the lovely dog in photo above - was born in 1948 and worked in Wimbledon Station from 1949-1956 collecting money for the Southern Railwaymen's Homes in Woking. He collected over £5000 during his working life and when he retired he went to live with the old people at the Home he had collected money for. He died in 1960, was stuffed and returned to Wimbledon station with a donation box. He collected for the homes again until 1990 when he became part of the National Railway Collection. There's still a little donation box at the bottom of the glass case so Mark and I donated some money, and if you ever see him make sure you give him something too!

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