Whenever I go to Euston, I always pay my respects to Robert
Stephenson. His statue, ejected from the Great Hall during the great vandalism of
the 1960s and re-erected out in the open, is the one small survivor of that splendid
building. The great man, now facing Railtrack House, is surrounded by chaos,
corruption and dishonesty. But he still retains his Victorian dignity, proof that
things were not always as they are today. As I pass by, I touch my cap to him
(not literally, of course) and think, “Yes, you did well”.
This thought occurred to me when I was invited to write an editorial. I decided
I should write something the editor would never write himself, and as I have long
felt that the LNWRS has been very fortunate in its editors, I shall write about that
and hope it will be published. To single out the role of editor may seem unfair to
the many excellent officials and committee members the Society has and I hope they
will forgive me. But on the whole the reputation of the Society depends on its journal.
Just as famous newspapers have ‘great editors’, so the Society has had three great
editors. First was David Clarke. Society publications before his editorship are best
forgotten but he immediately produced a journal of the highest standard and continued
to do so for some years. He also produced the first portfolios virtually single-handed
and laid a sound foundation for what followed.
Next came Clive Taylor, who changed the format but kept the same high standard. From
his contacts in Crewe he obtained some particularly interesting material and for many
years not only edited the magazine but also arranged production and distribution, an
enormous task as the membership was increasing, and wrote an excellent portfolio. He
might be expected to be worn out by all this but he seems just as youthful today as
when he first became editor.
Now of course we have Mike Williams. He again changed the format but kept the
standard high and somehow even finds colour pictures of LNWR subjects to put in the
modern publication we now look forward to four times a year. The amount of work he
does, like his two predecessors, is enormous.
These three men have played an important part in making the Society what it is today.
So whenever you meet them at a Society function, touch your cap to them (not literally,
of course – that would embarrass them, as they are modest men all) and think to
yourself, “Yes, you have done well”.