Stationed at Slough

Is there anything better than a Victorian station with a stuffed dog?

I hate Slough. I love stations

However much I dislike Slough, it provides a fantastic train artery. If I am sitting on one of its station platforms I am either heading off on an adventure towards the countryside of the West, or East into my old friend Paddington, from where I can access the throng of London and the rest of the country

I love adventures, and this is a route steeped in fond memories. In the eighties I used to finish work at 8.30 on a Sunday night and frantically ‘tube it’ from Bond Street to Paddington to catch the 9.10 train to go home to Bath. One Sunday, a passenger called Solomon sat next to me. He spent the weekend with his family and then worked Monday to Friday in Penzance. We got on so well that it became our weekly routine to seek each other out, and sit together drinking gin and playing backgammon

One Wednesday, as my late-afternoon return train from Bath emptied onto a Paddington platform, an announcement came over the tannoy: ‘Would Mr Brown meeting Mr P Bear please go to the Lost Property Department’

On the repetition it was cut short: ‘Would Mr Brown meeting Mr P ….’

Must have been a new guy. Hundreds of passengers sniggered

But, I digress…

Last Sunday C and I headed to Olympia to visit a customer at a trade show. As we waited for our train to arrive at Slough, C asked if Station Jim was still around, and suggested we go and pay our respects

Station Jim was a sick stray, adopted in the 1890s by the station staff. Taught to cross the tracks only by the bridge, he apparently took the occasional train journey but was always spotted by staff at other stations and sent home. For the most part he was happy just to collect donations for local causes, and he seems to have led a pretty good (if short) life. Upon his sudden death at home one evening in 1896 the station staff and local residents paid for him to be ‘stuffed’ and mounted on display on Platform 5, where he remains, proudly dressed in his collection harness station jimHowever gruesome this Victorian behaviour sounds, he must have been very loved, don’t you think?

One hundred and twenty years on he’s still in pretty good nick and he looks very noble. He has a very prominent spot on the main platform to Paddington, so that new people still see him for the first time every day – not something that a simple plaque could have achieved

And those of us who have ‘known’ him for years continue to visit

 

 

Author: poshbirdy

Art deco/ art nouveau maniac enjoying a deep and meaningful relationship with alcohol

13 thoughts on “Stationed at Slough”

  1. I am from London and spent most of my school and working commuter life there but London Bridge and Victoria were most usually my destinations. It’s almost unfair that one station can lay claim to both a stuffed dog and a fictional bear. Perhaps, if we do some research, we can come up with other train station treasures.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think we were all probably on the same train at some stage in the 80’s, I was working in Lonodn in the late 80’s. Loved this story, well done you, a simple tale about a train station has made me laugh and smile, brilliant

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great story. Station Jim must, indeed, have been well loved. I remember visiting Paddington at the age of 16 and going to see the world’s fattest cat in the ladies loos. I am sure I’m not imaging it. I think he was called Tiddles, or something equally as inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Surely taxidermy should be compulsory in all railway stations? Beats looking at endless posters for the latest blockbuster paperback.
    My wife tells me that her friend did the ‘landscaping’ at slough station. Not sure if she is referring to concrete or soil. I’ve not been, I couldn’t comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I LOVED this story … I have never met Station Jim though I have been through Slough a thousand times on the train to and from Padders. Thank you for the introduction and thank you for the lovely story of your 80s commute (we were probably on the same train a few times btw 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

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