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David Holman

Richard Chown

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Just noted on RM Web that the great Richard Chown has passed away. Obituaries are accumulating for the pioneer of Irish broad gauge in 7mm scale. Castle Rackrent was very much the inspiration for my Arigna Town layout, but Richard started his back in the early 1970s when there was less than nothing available & everything was built from scratch. The system eventually grew to over 200' in length with eight stations and was very much operated to prototype practice. It was a delight to meet him at Manchester back in December and a complete honour to run his model of Lissadel [in early SLNCR livery] on my layout.

Innovative in all sorts of ways, his obituaries will be well worth reading, not least because he was by all accounts a lovely man and a real character.

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Hi David

 

Thanks for the heads up, I guess he must have been ill, since I never got a reply to an email I sent him about a month or so ago.

 

It is sad that he is no longer with us, I have a feeling I would have liked him.

 

I don't want to sound like I am a buzzard circling about his estate, but I do hope that some one will take good care of his models and his collection for the time being and that his paperwork and Irish notes get passed over to the IRRS.

 

Too many people I have meet and since died, have not left instructions as to what to do with their models and archive material after they have died. I don't know what Richards domestic situation was, but I hope he has some good modelling friends which will help guide his family into making the right decision.

 

Colin Rainsbury

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David

 

Thanks for passing on this sad news.

 

I only met Richard once when he turned up at a talk I was giving on modelling to the IRRS London. He brought a couple of his locos which were just superb. I had no idea Castle Rackrent grew to such a size!

 

Re Colin's comment on notes etc, I can only express my relief that my late friend Lance King eventually made a will and a treasury of Irish photographs is in IRRs possession.

 

I hope that Richard left a similar instruction so that a lifetime of knowledge is not lost.

 

My condolences to any family he may have had and to his friends. We have indeed lost a master of his craft who happily turned it to matters Irish!

 

Leslie

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Posted (edited)

I do very much agree with Colin R.

 

I have seen disgraceful examples of the relatives of a deceased person going totally against their wishes and disposing of their possessions in a way they didn't want.

 

Moral of the story: do what Seniorjhb did, and what I plan to do and have already made preliminary arrangements for: give stuff away as you grow old so that its new owner has it before you snuff it.

 

I have already disposed of a very considerable amount of archive stuff which was either superfluous to my needs or interests, or duplicated material.

 

I would (personally) only give material to archives or organisations which would make it freely available to researchers or display it, or both. I would not let it near any organisation which would secrete it away, never to be seen again - and, unfortunately, such bodies exist.

Edited by jhb171achill

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I have been a great fan of Richard Chown's work ever since Castle Rackrent 1st appeared in the Railway Modeller over 40 years ago, I once saw the original layout at an exhibition somewhere in Angus.

 

It will be interesting to see what happens to the layout, it is unusual by British standards having regular operating sessions and a crew of operators who ran a timetabled service or sequence of passenger, mail and goods trains through several stations from Castlerackrent to Port Láirge (the fiddle yard).Most of the buildings structures and track layouts are based on the North Kerry with the principal intermediate station Moygraney and interloper from Kiltimagh on the WLWR northern extension.

 

The whole succession business is becoming a minefield with a generation of modellers' passing on and fewer people remaining who share the same interest together with a considerable duplication of historical material that becomes a burden to the beneficary.

 

The age profile of our local modelling group is getting older with the problem of dismantling layouts and disposing of a lifetimes collections of model railways, books and documents as people pass away.

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Eight, I think, JB - check out the obituaries section of RMWeb. There are lots of photos, plus links to other sites, including Richard's own.

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I remember seeing it in a Railway Modeller about 477 years ago..... it was way, way, ahead of its time - a true masterpiece.

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Only 42 years JB, the March 75 Railway Modeller in fact. I cut out the article and still have it.

16 feet long, it still looks the business, even by today's standards. WLW 2-4-0 Galtee Moor was one engine and 0-6-0 Shannon the other. Fully lined, as you'd expect.

So glad I was able to meet him.

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Posted (edited)
Only 42 years JB, the March 75 Railway Modeller in fact. I cut out the article and still have it.

16 feet long, it still looks the business, even by today's standards. WLW 2-4-0 Galtee Moor was one engine and 0-6-0 Shannon the other. Fully lined, as you'd expect.

So glad I was able to meet him.

I'm so saddened to hear of Richard's death. I was fortunate enough to have met him on a number of occasions and to have visited his home. I had the absolute pleasure of helping to operate Castle Rackrent too. It was a most enjoyable experience and frightening too. It ran to a timetable, all trains were listed for their operation at each station, and everything was signalled as if it were on a proper railway, bell codes etc. Oh, you also had to signal in at your station using the appropriate bell codes to the box on either side of you - before you did anything at all to do with trains.

For anyone who is not familiar with Richards's work - please see the link I have included below. Hopefully it will allow you to view:-

 

https://highlandmiscellany.com/2014/06/03/last-train-to-castle-rackrent/

 

 

It was both a pleasure and a privilege to have known him.

 

David J. White.

Perth and District Model Railway Club.

Edited by Old Blarney

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