As with most model railways, including the very best examples like Martin Finney’s 4mm ‘Semley for Shaftesbury’, there is nearly always some aspect that the builder will strive to improve still further, and Martin is no exception to this. As soon as that is refined, then something else becomes the focus, and so on. Other than the constant additions to the fleet of incredibly finely made P4 rolling stock, the model itself is done, and I’m very happy to have contributed to this outstanding historic record.
Model Railway Journal’s issue No 254 is edited by Gerry Beale, and it includes an excellent photographic tour of Martin Finney’s P4 model of ‘Semley for Shaftesbury’. The photography has been done by Philip Hall, Peter Swift, Gordon Gravett and Mike Baker, with some views in the eighteen page feature also taken by Martin.
The last of the ten stylish Drummond T14 class ‘Paddlebox’ 4-6-0s No 462 heads a down train past Semley’s small coal yard, and is about to pass under the brick arch of Bridge 267 which carries the minor road in the background from the village towards the bottom of the steep hill up into Shaftesbury.
Many of the landmarks are dairy farms, and these will be included in very low relief, appearing between the hedgerows and treelines looking north over the common land, and the main road to Warminster. The village of Sedgehill is just visible to the north west, and Semley Village hall has been done in low relief to the other side and behind the arched road bridge at the eastern scenic break. This shows the working out of the gently sloping contours, overlaying the ‘Generate a Panorama’ outline.
A 2D backscene rear panel appears behind Semley’s small stone and timber L.S.W.R. signalbox and corrugated parcels office. The fabulous P4 layout now has it’s most recent detail work in position. and the telegraph pole, station staff, barrows and parcels complete the scene to the very highest standard of presentation. Photo courtesy of Martin Finney.
In 1911 there were still three Coal & Coke merchants in Semley, working presumably from the station. James Wescott & Sons office appears in the extreme right of this view, with a Midland Railway van and a car blocking Station Road just behind the gate. Semley lies within the Wiltshire butter country, and its clay soils provide extensive pasture with only a small proportion of arable land. Small dairy farms did remain characteristic of the parish in the late 19th century but by 1912, many of the smaller holdings had been merged into larger farms. Whitebridge farm (to the left of this view), was sold in 1865, becoming part of the lands of Walter Shaw-Stewart, receiving a new farmstead and additional buildings designed for cheese-making.
A sepia view of the western end of the station in 1912, with the buildings of the Salisbury, Semley & Gillingham Dairy to the left. The railway crossed the northern part of the parish as it followed the River Sem past the village to turn south-west. It was opened at the point where it crossed the Warminster to Shaftesbury road, and the buildings were accessed by a new road (just behind the wooden fencing in the centre of the picture), which ran along the north side of the railway, linking the Warminster road with the minor lane leading west into Shaftesbury from Semley church, crossing over the railway just beyond the platforms at Bridge 267. The Railway Hotel, north of Station Road, was opened in 1865 (in the same year as the railway arrived), and the late 19th-century house visible to the east of it became part of the expanding dairy.
Two roadways have been blended into the landscape, with the nearest descending from the road bridge off to the left, and the other lower station and dairy approach obscured behind. They converge in perspective just behind the small grey stone outbuilding at centre right. The dairy cottages can just be seen behind the large tree at extreme left.
This 1901 OS map of Semley shows the quite easy field boundaries looking north over the station and dairy. The fields are numbered, and those are pigsties and a little food store for waste at the other end of field 441, just a little bit away from the other buildings!
East Knoyle appears in the distance, looking north in the direction of Salisbury over the LSWR main line, this close up appears as the lines leave the station environs, heading east into Wiltshire’s open country.
A rebuilt Bulleid pacific races towards Semley’s inner home signal in the 1950s. The field line in the background with the three landmark trees appears on Semley, and it is beyond this hedgerow that my work begins. This section of the model has recently been re-worked, ready for a 3D portrayal of miles of quiet dairy farming country stretching as far as the eye can see.
The L.S.W.R. West of England main line ran through a drained cutting in the open country to the east of Semley station, passing the village to the north and on towards the next station at Tisbury. Some of the naturally occurring pools here, south of Chaldicott’s farm have been drained, to allow more dairy pasture,
OS field 77 behind the approach road, looking directly north.
It’s 1912 on the LSWR main line, done without compromise in P4. A great deal more research and work has gone into the lineside dairy and its surroundings since this picture was taken. The superb Mike Jolly 4mm scale prototype buildings maintain the consistently high standard, and the backscene must reflect the same level of historical accuracy.
A different overview of the yard approach, with G.W.R. Cattle stock and timber offices in the foreground. Behind the fence, Station Road leads away to the right, north east towards Semley village, Tisbury and Teffont. As it rose up to cross the line, the road then climbed to Shaftesbury, three miles to the south of this point.
Quiet dairy farming country on the Wiltshire/Dorset border. A series of progressively more detailed studies will follow this first thumbnail as I work into generating the view as it would have appeared a hundred years ago.
Semley has quite a low viewing height like this photo by Barry Norman, so the featureless level skyline will appear below the rooftops. A view blocking overhead pelmet obscures any higher elevations, so the tops of the rear panels don’t need to be very high on this one.
With an overcast sky approaching from the east, the conditions change gradually to a slightly hazy, sunshine break at the model centre view, between light showers, with another squall moving away west. Old house in the middle distance is done at reduced scale, helping the distance suggestion.
The dairy stables, with the Shaftesbury to Warminster road behind.