The Trust was established in 1983 to keep the archives of the Leeds Model Company and R. F. Stedman & Company. Today the Trust provides a service of spares, repairs and technical advice to LMC enthusiasts and continues to promote interest in and appreciation of the products of The Leeds Model Company, founded by Rex Stedman in 1912, and which ceased to trade in 1967.
David K. Peacock, Co- proprietor, Trustee and Archivist
Marcus D. Peacock, Co-proprietor and Trustee
Reginald Frederick (Rex) Stedman
A remarkable record from 1939
Full marks to Pathe News for this fascinating look at the Leeds Model Company
in 1939 manufacturing Bakelite coaches and assembling locomotives. I am further
indebted to Peter Zwakhals of the Dutch HRCA,- very much an LMC enthusiast
himself, who brought this remarkable piece of archive material to my notice.
More superb remastered lithos
Rob Horton of Wessex Transfers has once again excelled in producing re-mastered lithographs of the LMC GWR panelled coaches for the 'Launceston Model Company’ - conveniently LMC = this Tasmanian producer of high quality heritage graphics spent many months under the constant scrutiny of local LMC enthusiast David Cooke before the artwork was ready to print.
Four litho sets are now available, the suburban coach, the suburban brake coach, the corridor coach and the corridor brake coach, replicating the LMC originals which were first released in 1927. In 1935 LMC put out a new set of lithographs for the GWR coaches, The cause of the change was the 1932 fire which either burned or water damaged much of the stock including the panelled coach lithos. The new patterns featured the ‘button’ GWR crest rather than the coats of arms of London and Bristol and the full coat of arms of the company. These have been faithfully reproduced on the re-mastered papers.
Shown here is the suburban brake set. Papers are £10.00 per coach set, with £3.35 for first class post in a tube. Up to four papers can be sent for the single postage charge.
A Lucky Escape!!
Rex Stedman built only two models of the LNER K 3 2-6-0 locomotives. One was for Frederick Rush, the other went to Australia with the Hordern layout. Today the Hordern loco, rescued by chance from a junk shop, is restored and back in Australia. The other K3 had an even luckier escape, before it ended up in the Trust archive.
I am indebted to Bill Truin for bringing an article in the Model Railway News (1953) to my attention. In it, Frederick Rush writes of his 0 gauge LNER models and in particular mentions the K3, which he had last illustrated in the magazine in 1937. He writes, “ This model was the only one of my pre-war stock to survive the Bristol blitzes and, as a reward, has been provided with a chimney more like that of the prototype than was the original; it is still clockwork, but is scheduled to be rebuilt and fitted with an electric mechanism and fine scale wheels as soon as time permits.
The loco was certainly re-motored with a Bonds mechanism, but kept its standard scale wheels. It is now skated for stud contact and operated regularly for visitors to the Trust layout. A lucky escape indeed, and perhaps the small dent on the boiler is after all due to bomb damage, not careless handling!
Super Detail Signalling
Signals were the first products manufactured by Rex Stedman when he set up the Leeds Model Company in 1912. Signal parts were listed continuously from then until the company was wound up in 1967. Company built signals came in two standards, Standard and super detail, the latter made to order only. Examples of both types are held in the archive.
The need for a dozen or so signals for the re-creation of the 1922 layout (see below) called for an equal re-creation of the super detail signals. Sufficient parts remain in the Trust inventory to provide the necessary requirements from finials to bases. Close by, my good friend and neighbour possessed both the skills and patience to put together the example shown here. More on the signals and on progress with the layout to follow.
A new remastered litho
There a very few of the original LMC lithos which are not held as papers in the Trust archive. One of these is the NE bogie box van. Introduced by Rex Stedman in 1929, it was missing from catalogues from 1946 onwards. Several attempts have been made to reproduce the original papers but none until now has succeeded in creating the ‘right look’. Most recently and under the critical eye of David Cooke, Wessex Transfers in Tasmania have finally come up with a very fine reproduction indeed.
Shown here on an original body the effect is a most acceptable representation of the original. A small number of sheets of the lithos has been run off and these are available from the Trust at £12.50 per sheet including post in a tube (small parcel rate).
A surprising variation!
The LMC 0-4-0 saddle tank (the Donkey) was one of the longest lived models in the Company range, in production from 1920 to the mid 1950s. In that time there were more than a few changes to the model, but here is one I have never previously seen.
The roof on a smoker fitted model attached by clips, with wires soldered to the cab sides to support the roof edges. The usual format has the roof sliding into folded guide bars, so how many Donkeys were made like the one seen here? There is little doubt this is an original item, the transfer if poorly applied over the clip is the witness to this.
Rex Stedman made his first model of the American Scherzer type rolling lift bridge for his 1922 layout at the Model Engineering Exhibition. From his collection of papers in the archive it is clear that this type of bridge had
long fascinated him. The 1922 bridge was then featured in catalogues from 1924 until 1932, offered for Gauges 0 and 1 at £22 and £30 respectively. In the 1932 catalogue only the 0 gauge version was on offer at a reduced, but still, for the time, high price of £15.
There is no record in the archive of how many Scherzer bridges were sold, but one, which we believe was used for the model railway at Chessington Zoo, was 'rescued' by John Hart when the layout was dismantled, and rescued again by Peter Sturt when John's grand model railway collection was finally dispersed. This bridge is shorter than the 1922 version but otherwise incorporates all of the features of the Scherzer design. As can be seen in the photograph it is in need of restoration which will proceed, and it will be ready for incorporation
into the re-created 1922 layout detailed below. Grateful thanks to Peter Sturt for looking after this possibly now unique relic of LMC model engineering, and for his kindness in passing it over into the custodianship of the Trust.
Contact continues with the AIMREC group concerning the presentation of the Leeds Stedman Trust collection and ephemera in the new Museum to be built at Ashford. We have been asked to consider the feasibility of re-creating for 2022 the LMC layout used for the 1922 Model Engineering Exhibition.
This was set up for clockwork operation. Practical concessions, to use electric power, modern track, and to introduce additional loops for train make up and storage, make the project both feasible and attractive for operation not only with LMC products but also for B-L, Hornby and compatible products of other manufacturers. We are particularly fortunate that the Scherzer lifting bridge used on the original layout is preserved in safe hands and available to us.
'The Leeds Model Company 1912 -2012'
This book can only be obtained directly from the Leeds Stedman Trust. If you wish to obtain a copy please use the Contact page on this website. The book is priced at £19.95 per copy plus £2.55 post and packing.
The book (128 pages), with both colour and black and white illustrations and with 24 chapters and 19 appendices, covers every aspect of the company history and products. An accompanying DVD has two video programmes, 'The Leeds Stedman Trust' made for the Gauge 0 Guild by David Peacock and Jack Ray, and 'Augurswell and Great Blessingsby', the Trust layout, made by David Peacock and Chris Pettit. The disc also carries as a CD a high quality photograph of every locomotive and item of rolling stock held in the Trust archive
Reviewers have said…..
….nothing is missed out and it is written in an easy to read style, with plenty of pictures…. a much needed book by an expert on the subject. I strongly recommend it. Pat Hammond, Train Collectors Society
….a definitive history of the LMC ….a most welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in the history of model railways. ….excellent value too.
John Ingram, The Bassett Lowke Society
…well constructed and the illustrations are generally of high quality….there is much here to grab your interest….I ended up reading it cover to cover.
John Kneeshaw, The Gauge 0 Guild