Craven carriages





This web site presents information on Craven (LB&SCR) carriages that have been surveyed at the Bluebell Railway Carriage and Wagon Works, Horsted Keynes. All drawings copyright Ian M. White.


The above shows, from left:


Luggage brake third No. 221 (originally Second; number unknown): drawing


Second No. 35: drawing


Second No. 204 (originally First No. 38x): drawing.


Luggage brake No. 94: drawing



Models and Paintings


In the long term it is planned that one of the specialist kit makers will produce 4mm scale kits to facilitate the modelling of these four carriages. Meanwhile, models of other Craven-era LB&SCR rolling stock can be seen running at exhibitions over the next few months. For details of one exhibition layout featuring the Victorian LB&SCR, see the web site for East Grinstead Town.


Ian MacCormac has produced 4mm scale brass etches for a common type of 1850s first, and the longer 1860s first (his photo; 1860s on left; 1850s on right). See also The Brighton Circular 24 (1): 46, for Simon Turner’s drawing of the common style of 1860s first.


There is an 1862 painting by Augustus Egg which gives a very good idea of the original appearance of the interior, despite it being painted in southern France (painting – bright copy; dull copy). Contrast that with a painting of the interior of an LB&SCR open-sided third of the 1850s (painting). The similarity with French stock is hardly a surprise; in 1854 the LB&SCR Board Minutes reported an order to purchase two first class carriage bodies from France, each of types running on different French railways, so there was clearly an exchange of design ideas.



No. 204



This carriage was a garden shed near Bexhill, East Sussex. It was encased in various forms of panelling.


The following photos were taken by Sheina and John Foulkes on the preliminary site visit in May (their copyright):


  1. Photo. This is a general view of the interior looking towards the intact end wall; the other end has domestic modifications. Note the domestic window; other doors and quarter-lights are largely intact.
  2. Photo. Note the lovely sinuate timbering under the quarter-light.
  3. Photo. Note the words “No. 204 Second” on the garnish rail, the deep boarding on the door, and the vestiges of the seat rails.
  4. Photo. Each door has this style of hit and miss vent at its top.
  5. Photo. This is all that has been seen of the exterior. Note the large garter mark.


A site visit by Ian and James White early in June resulted in substantial clearance of the garden wall elevation, confirmation that the carriage is LB&SCR, and identification of the design. Selected photos (copyright IMW) follow:



  1. Photo. The carriage as it appeared from the roadside.
  2. Photo. The carriage, as seen from the front garden (house side).
  3. Photo. Clearance of heavy ivy growth on the other (garden wall) side exposed the Stroudley period garter; the words “London Br…” are clearly visible.
  4. Photo. This door handle still turns!
  5. Photo. Each door waist panel shows traces of the word “Second” in the Stroudley manner.
  6. Photo. A general view of the intact exterior on the garden wall side. Note the false louvers above each of the “lunar” quarter-lights. The vent bonnet that would have covered the hit and miss vent has been removed. The paint remnants are probably the “mahogany” colour which would have been applied in the Stroudley era.
  7. Photo. The vent bonnet from the hit and miss vent.
  8. Photo. Note the grab-handle holes and the up-curved mouldings below the waist and adjacent the bottom-side; these are restricted to the carriage ends.
  9. Photo. A false louver.
  10. Photo. Moulding detail just below the cant-rail.



  1. Photo. The “entrance” end showing the domestic door which has replaced 2/5 of the panelling; paint on this door suggests it may have been made from interior (inter-compartment) planks of T&G. Note the curve of the original roof. At each end there are three layers of the roof, namely a roof hoop, cut ends of the roof boards, and a roof strake.
  2. Photo. The bottom of each corner post is cut to form a curve (see photo 5 above of exterior curved moulding).
  3. Photo. Interior view showing the domestic window which largely replaces two compartment sides on the house elevation.
  4. Photo. Interior view showing some of the intact garden wall elevation.
  5. Photo. As above.
  6. Photo. Note the use of iron “knees” (brackets) to fix the posts to the bottom-side (Nos 94 and 221 did not use these but instead each post to bottom-side joint was fixed with a large iron “pin”, the large head of which was visible externally); these iron knees were used for No. 35 and are also typical of Stroudley carriages.
  7. Photo. These ornate mahogany brackets were found in the carriage; they are almost certainly domestic but they have an uncanny resemblance to cast iron luggage rack brackets and will therefore be retained with the carriage in case they are shown to be part of it.


In July the site was cleared, the carriage dismantled and transported to Horsted Keynes.



  1. Photo. The carriage (house side) with the cladding and vegetation removed.
  2. Photo. The step end (road end).
  3. Photo. The roof was removed and the fine structural details of the interior framework (from which all panelling was removed decades ago) is revealed in the sunlight.
  4. Photo. Dismantling in progress.
  5. Photo. As above.
  6. Photo. Arrival of the “flat pack” at Horsted Keynes.
  7. Photo montage. The apparently intact non-house side of the carriage had to be transported in two sections as the bottom-side and the cantrail were too fragile to hold the full 19ft together in one piece. The two pieces were photographed and this composite produced (vent bonnets, removed for safe transport, were also digitally replaced on two of the doors).


Some details:

  1. Photo. End mouldings at the step end.
  2. Photo. Step base.
  3. Photo. The large knee holding the bottom-side and bottom-end timbers.
  4. Photo. A fragment of the “American cloth” or “oil cloth” that would have clad the interior walls.




The carriage is 19ft long and 7’4” wide; all compartments are identical in length and seat support rail height, so it was a “first” not a “composite”. The carriage surveys indicate a three compartment first built between 1858 and 1866; however, it was described as being 19’6” long. This carriage would have been regarded as of the same “diagram” despite being a few inches shorter. In 1869 it was reported that there were 156 of these, 4 painted “lake” and the rest varnished.


There is no known GA drawing of exactly this type of carriage.


The carriage number is misleading. A carriage designated second class in a list compiled in the 1870s says the number belonged to a carriage built in 1852. As this carriage is clearly not that old, we must assume it was still running as a first at the time of that survey, and was later re-numbered into the second class series (when the 1852 No. 204 was either scrapped or re-classified as third).


A more detailed discussion of the age of the carriage will be provided in The Brighton Circular following more comprehensive survey of the carriage. Details have dated it to 1866 and these will be discussed there.




July 2011