Pendon Museum

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Pendon's White Horse Hill
Engine shed on the Dartmoor scene
John Ahern's Madderport

Pendon Museum, located in Long Wittenham near Didcot, Oxfordshire, England, displays scale models of typical scenes on the Great Western Railway (GWR) of the 1920s centred on working scale model railways. The museum's main object is to create a typical village in a representation of the Vale of White Horse as it might have been in the 1920s and 1930s. Isambard Kingdom Brunel happened to build a railway line through the Vale which is why it appears in the village scene but, as part of the concept, the trains are also representative in detail of those travelling that line in those years.

It is not a 'model railway layout' in its usual sense as the trains run at scale speed with a realistic interval between each. Founded by the late Roye England, the museum is run by a group of volunteers and is open to the public most weekends and holidays.


Vale of White Horse[edit]

The main display and ongoing project at Pendon is a scale representation of the Vale of White Horse as it was in the inter-war period. The scene is centred around the 'typical' village of Pendon Parva, which is served by a railway station on the main London to Bristol GWR main line that runs through the Vale, and another on the M&SWJR that became one of the constituent companies of the GWR in 1923. The topography and the village layout is fictional, but every building and significant feature is an exact model of a real building from the Vale of White Horse.

Dartmoor branch[edit]

On the ground floor of the museum a model representing a Great Western Railway branch line on Dartmoor, originally built in 1955 to showcase the trains being built for the Vale scene, is operated for visitors. The main focus of the Dartmoor scene is a model of Brunel's timber Walkham Viaduct built by R. Guy Williams.

Madder Valley[edit]

The museum includes displays of individual models, modelling methods and railway artefacts. The museum also displays Madder Valley, a pioneering model railway built by John Ahern.


The model trains are hand-built, to represent individual locomotives, carriages and wagons as exactly possible, based on surviving records and photographs. Operation consists of a sequence of trains, showing what one could have seen passing by on a summer day and night, in the mid-1920s. This sequence is based on timetables of the period. They are all modelled in 4mm to 1 foot scale (1:76), and run on track of 18mm gauge, a combination known as EM gauge.


The museum is located at Ordnance Survey mapping six-figure grid reference SU542935.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°38′16″N 1°13′06″W / 51.63770°N 1.21822°W / 51.63770; -1.21822