Having completed our EM layout Walford Town, we began thinking about our next project. Many of the group were already modelling P4, and there was a general consensus that the new club layout should be to these standards. In contrast to Walford Town, a steam era layout was preferred, and a period of circa 1908 had general support. However, there the agreement ended. The great diversity of interest amongst the members was such that no one railway company was of interest to more than one or two of us.

One of the group had an embryo layout which he had started in the '80s and then abandoned. It was decided that this would be brought to the clubrooms for those who had not yet modelled in P4 to work on. Whilst skills were being developed on this test track, the search for consensus on the "proper" layout would continue.

 

Our chosen location for the layout is Clarendon, the terminus of a long since defunct branch situated off the West London Railway north of Kensington Addison Road. The branch was built by the LNWR in the 1880s. As the West London Railway was part owned by the LNWR in partnership with the GWR, LSWR & LBSCR, it could be assumed that these companies along with the SECR, District Railway and the Metropolitan Railway, could be considered as have running rights on the branch to gain access to this part of London. Competition from electric tramways etc, caused traffic to decline before the First World War which lead eventuality to closure in the early 1920s. House building in the 1920s & 30s had completely obliterated all traces of this railway but at the beginning of April 1987 the resident at No. 23 Armstrong Road, East Acton, unearthed a permanent way chair belonging to the L&NWR when digging his garden. Using the existing services for Addison Road in the early 1900s the main destinations are Clapham Junction or Euston. Other destinations within the London area could be Broad Street, Southall, Victoria and Waterloo. There may also have been specials from places further afield.

Many of the buildings are based on actual buildings. The station building and station master's house are copies of those that existed at Cannonbury Station on the North London Line in Islington. The picture below on the left shows the buildings at the turn of the 19th/20th century. Sadly the station itself has been demolished and replaced with a modern ticket office but the station master's building still exists and more detailed photographs were taken to help the construction of the model shown on the right.


The goods shed and goods reception buildings are based on typical LNWR structures. The signal box is a standard LNWR and is adapted from two London Road Models kits (see article in MRJ Number 101). The factory is based on a wood distillation plant at Speech House. The platelayers' hut is a copy of the one at Rose Grove. The engine shed is based on the shed at Aylesbury. The gas showroom is a copy of one at Wantage. The other buildings on the embankment are made from Howard Scenics kits with much extra detailing.

During the research, someone came across Addison Road in West London. This station was served by trains from the L&NWR, GWR, L&SWR and LB&SCR, and as this covered the interests of more than half the group, it was worthy of further study. However, Addison Road was a large station and not a realistic project in itself. But suppose history had been different and one of the companies, say the L&NWR, had built a more modest station in the area, surely it would have attracted exchange traffic with other companies in just the same way.

Encouraged by the progress of construction on the test rack, and not wanting to waste the good work carried out, thoughts began to turn towards enlarging it into a proper layout. Additional space was allocated in the clubrooms and plans were soon drawn up and budget agreed. Thus Clarendon, the substitute Addison Road, was born.

The layout has been constructed by club members, many of whom are members of the Scalefour Society .  These members have formed the South Warwickshire Area Group (which is one of the Area Groups within the Scalefour Society) and is part of the Leamington & Warwick Model Railway Society.