Llandovery Station Bookstall

When producing “Rails Through The Heart of Wales” I was actively looking for early images of the railway. The captioned image, from the DC Harries collection, taken in 1900, was on the back of the programme for the 1993 celebration for the lines 125th anniversary. I like the detail shown of the station at Llandovery and the bookstall, so contacted the National Library of Wales for this, and other images.

I spent a couple of hours in the reading room browsing the wonderful collection of images they have, and the staff located the image. However, upon inspection, it was not the same image. Look at the first two images and you will notice some differences. The one from the 1993 programme appears to have been taken a short while after the other one – the platform has almost dried out with no puddles. Also there are different people on the platform, the level crossing gates are closed, and the chap with the bookstall has put more stock out on display.

After an intensive search, the library have said they cannot find the original of the first image, which is somewhat confusing, as it is credited to them.

It’s unusual to find photographs of this age taken in multiples like this – they are all on 8×10” glass plates, and at the time it was an expensive business. We also found another image, somewhat fuzzy, that appears to have been taken from the other platform, but at present I only have a low resolution version of that – see below.

We pondered the reasons why there are the two images, and came up with a possible one, that the photographer took the first image, didn’t like the result, with all the small boys peering at the camera, went for a cuppa until they left, then came back and did the second one with the passengers in the background…

The station canopy is clearly shown in the photos, however it was removed many years ago. Rumour has it lurking in a corner at the National Railway Museum, though this is not confirmed. The station has an active community café and meeting place in the station building, and they would really like their canopy back, so if anyone from the NRM knows of its whereabouts, please do get in contact.

Thanks for reading. Check out my other posts on travel, heritage railways and more.
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