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2nd Jul, 2022

Stratfordian's labour of love captures golden age of steam

Ian Hughes 24th Mar, 2017

THE GOLDEN age of steam is captured in full colour – thanks to a son’s labour of love.

Stratfordian and ex-Flower & Sons’ brewery worker Tom Williams was an avid railway enthusiast who spent much of his spare time – before and after work, and at weekends – photographing steam trains in and around Warwickshire, and occasionally further afield.

He became well known for his extensive black-and-white photographic work which was donated to the National Railway Museum in York by his family after his untimely death at the age of 49 in 1980.

The collection, comprising almost 12,000 medium format and 35mm negatives of railway life during the last few decades of steam haulage, has since seen publication in many books and magazines across the world.

But his little-known 35mm colour transparency work was retained by his family, remaining largely unseen until now – with the

publication of new book T.E.Williams: The Lost Colour Collection Volume 1, featuring Tom’s colour images taken between 1954 and 1966.

His son Phil, a local graphic designer and photographer, has painstakingly cleaned and digitally restored around 1,000 of the 1,500 colour slides over the past three years. Some of the slides were sadly beyond saving, but Phil is confident he can restore most of the remaining 300 or so.

The photographs – showing a very different landscape and railway life as it was some 60 years ago – are mainly centred around Stratford, Warwick and Leamington, including lesser photographed locations, such as the ex-Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway, which was based in Old Town.

A further two volumes are planned for publication by by Irwell Press.

T.E.Williams: The Lost Colour Collection Volume 1 is available to pre-order via the publisher or from online suppliers including Amazon.

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