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Evensford

"Kestrel" climbs Evensford Bank with an early morning goods.

The author H E Bates was born in Rushden, Northants, England. In some of his novels, Evensford is recognisably Rushden. When I was modelling in 4mm, I had a terminus to fiddle yard layout and Evensford station was the terminus on the Midland main line, set in the mid-1930s with the right number of rivets, etc. It was geographically placed where Rushden is situated.

When my garden railway started to grow from an LGB Toytrain, I wanted to stay with a Midland theme and my idea is that Evensford is served by the Midland main line with an exchange station and a 3 foot gauge railway going off into the hills. "Hills," you ask "... hills? There are no hills around Rushden." No but this is not Rushden, this is my fictitious version of Evensford and I can have hills if I want. Otherwise, I would not need a narrow-gauge railway to run in the hills.

The Evensford and Midland Railway was born. The Midland Railway has a controlling influence and that's why there is no messing with the corporate colours etc, although the EMR General Manager can be a bit of maverick...

Here is H E Bates' description of Evensford from "Love for Lydia".

The town had grown swiftly from a long stone street and eight hundred people and an open brook in 1820 to a place of fifty boot factories, ten chapels, a staunch Liberalism and ten thousand people in 1880; and a town of Rotarian and Masonic circles, many gleaming fish-and-chip shops and a public library, of golf clubs and evening classes, of amateur operatics on winter evenings and sacred concerts on Sunday afternoons, in 1929. Long rows of bright red brick, or houses roofed with slate shining like steel, had rapidly eaten their way beyond the shabby confines of what had been a village, beyond new railway tracks and gas works, obliterating pleasant outlying farms and hedgerows of hawthorn and wild rose, to stop only where the river-valley took its steep dip to wide flat meadows that were crowned in turn by the iron-ore furnaces I could see flaring at night along the escarpment beyond. Gauntly, in a few generations, a valley-side had been transformed; a sky line of factory chimneys and railway viaducts, gasometers and chapel cupolas, temperance hotels and bus depots had marched in, replacing old horizons of cornstack and farm and elm. Continually new roofs spawned along clay hillsides, encrusting new land, settling down on the landscape in a year or two with the greyness of old ash-heaps under rain.

In the centre of all this the Aspen house stood in a circle of land diametrically split by great avenues of lime and chestnut and elm. The town had been kept away from it by the barricade of a stone wall a mile long and a perimeter of great trees. Outside the barrier men crawled with despondence into and fled with a sort of hungry distraction out of opaque-window factories and their dark bloom of leather dust. Odours of burning leather hung on all Evensford streets, in puthering clouds, on windless afternoons, after waste had stoked the fires.
H E Bates
1905 - 1974
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