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 was 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.
A loco coal empties train, showing 700 goods number 327. The coal yard begins to come into view here with Mayo’s office next to Semley’s plate layer hut. The signal is the down home number 2. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.
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 297 which carries the minor road in the background from the village towards the bottom of the steep hill up into Shaftesbury.
This sepia tone view shows the double fronted home of the Dairy Manager which is sited part way up the overbridge embankment for bridge 298. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.
The stables were sited at the junction of Station Road and the Shaftesbury to Warminster road which can be seen running behind the building. Hugglers Hole appears in the middle distance looking north west. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.
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. OS field 77 appears behind this view, looking directly north. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.
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. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal
A mixed goods train passes under bridge 297 which carries the Shaftesbury to Semley Road over the L.S.W.R. main line. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal
The milk factory can be seen over the station roofs in this view of Semley as the 1.32PM Templecombe to Bulford train arrives on time at 1.53PM. The whole train is the work of Chris Wesson and the original photo is by Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.
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!
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 also been drained, to allow more dairy pasture. The road to Semley village emerges in the background, having passed the gable ended village hall, winding its way towards the village common with the white painted Bennett Arms on the left and Saint Leonards Church on the right. The short horned Devon cows in the foreground are by Preiser, painted by Mike Baker. Original by Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal
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 followed this first thumbnail as I worked into generating the view as it would have appeared a hundred years ago.
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.
A canopied engine tows a living van over bridge 298 in the direction of Shaftesbury. Philip Hall/Model Railway Journal.