Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Snailbeach District Railways

Back in the early 1980s I worked in Birmingham on 2/6 a week. This taught me many valuable lessons - notably, not to work in Birmingham on 2/6 a week.

One of the best sources of free entertainment was the city art gallery. Because it has a superb collection of Victoria art, I developed an interest in the Pre-Raphaelites.

As Disgruntled Radical observes, the immensely enjoyable drama series Desperate Romantics concentrates on the three major figures of the Brotherhood: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Millais and Holman Hunt.

But there were seven members in all. Back in the eighties I could have reeled them off for you; these days I need Wikipedia to refresh my memory.

The other four members were Dante Gabriel's brother William, Thomas Woolner, James Collinson, and Frederic George Stephens.

But what is the connection with Snailbeach and the Shropshire lead industry?

The Snailbeach District Railways were one of many narrow gauge and minor railways operated by the famous Colonel Stephens. That is, Holman Fred Stephens, the son of Frederic George Stephens (and presumably named for Holman Hunt).

Read more about the Colonel and his wonderful collection of improbable railways at The Colonel Stephens Railway Museum.


Edis said...

Ah yes Birmigham gallery - the only place an adult unaccompanied by a very small child can say with a straight face 'lets go and see the Pretty Baa-Lambs'.

Frank Little said...

I declare a family interest. The Weston, Clevedon & Portishead, of which my great-grandfather was an official, was one of the many railways taken over by Colonel Stephens.