Spotted a plaque on the outside wall of the bar on the main "down" platform at Reading Station, Berkshire, this afternoon. Rather touching, I think; presumably the sententious almost-verse epitaph was a local amateur product.
I remember a wooden memorial with the same words at the grave in the cemetery near the Forbury Gardens: I don't know if it's still there. I think the victim was a GWR employee.
"In memory of Henry West, who lost his life in a whirlwind at the Great Western Railway Station at Reading on 24 March 1840"
(There's a brief account of the maintenance and renewal of the wooden memorial, then the following, whose punctuation I may have got wrong, and which I hope will display centred:)
Sudden the change,
I in a moment fell and had not time
to bid my friends farewell
Yet hushed be all complaint,
'tis sweet, 'tis blest,
to change Earth's stormy scenes
for Endless rest,
Dear Friends prepare,
take warning by my fall,
so shall you hear with joy
your Saviour's call.
1 2 3
Mike Lyle typed thus:
Spotted a plaque on the outside wall of the bar on the main "down" platform at Reading Station, Berkshire, this afternoon. Rather touching, I think; presumably the sententious almost-verse epitaph was a local amateur product.

Obviously, the railways are good at this. Bromsgrove churchyard contains an elaborately decorated pair of grave stones for the driver and fireman who died when the boiler on their steam locomotive exploded at Bromsgrove on 10th November 1840.
There are photos and transcripts at:
http://www.miac.org.uk/stjohns.htm . I used to walk past them on the way to school if I cut through the churchyard.
One of the poems reads:
My engine now is cold and still
No water does my boiler fill.
My coke affords its flame no more
My days of usefulness are o'er.
My wheels deny their noted speed
No more my guiding hands they heed.
My whistle too has lost its tone
Its shrill and thrilling sounds are gone.
My valves are now thrown open wide
My flanges all refuse to guide.
My clacks all through once so strong
Refuse to aide the busy throng.
No more I feel each urging breath
My steam is now condens'd in death.
Life's railway's oe'r each station's past
In death I'm stopp'd and rest at last.
Farewell dear friends and cease to weep
In Christ I'm safe in Him I sleep.
Oh, wow, the same site shows an early photo of the hotel where I worked as a porter for nine months before going to university: http://www.miac.org.uk/worcshotel.htm . Wandering around this stunning building in the middle of the night with all the keys and nobody else awake was an interesting experience for a 19-year-old. I drove past a couple of years ago - it was all closed up and looking very sad.

David
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Mike Lyle typed thus:

Spotted a plaque on the outside wall of the bar ... presumably the sententious almost-verse epitaph was a local amateur product.

Obviously, the railways are good at this. Bromsgrove churchyard contains an elaborately decorated pair of grave stones for thedriver and fireman who died when the boiler on their steam locomotive exploded at Bromsgrove on 10th November 1840.

Do you think there was a specialist anonymous railway-disaster poet, held in instant readiness in those early days? (Somewhere in the Guardian last week there was a drawing with "Let me through! I'm a poet!" I haven't dared try that one yet.) If it was the same scribe, he'd obviously got a bit more regular, metrically speaking, if a lot more fantastickal in his conceits, in the months since the Reading disaster.
No match for McGonagall, though. Or for those marvellous unknown American rail-smash songsters. "They gave me my orders in Monroe, Virginia, sayin' 'Steve, you're way behind time...'"
Oh, wow, the same site shows an early photo of the hotel where I worked as a porter for nine months before going to university: http://www.miac.org.uk/worcshotel.htm . Wandering around this stunning

Now that's what I call a pub.
Mike.
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Mike Lyle typed thus:

Actually, in the mid 70s it was on its uppers, and a couple of the bars were being used by locals as their pub. We even had a Men Only bar - women were not permitted to enter during opening hours, not even to serve. There was a coal fire and no noise.

I felt a little guilty at the time when I nicked a set of glass ash- trays with an image of the hotel on the bottom (in a variety of colours). I'm glad I did now, although I don't know where they are. Probably in the loft.

David
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with the definite article.
Spotted a plaque on the outside wall of the bar on the main "down" platform at Reading Station, Berkshire, this ... West, who lost his life in a whirlwind at the Great Western Railway Station at Reading on 24 March 1840"

The Forbury (adjacent) memorial was there last time I walked through St Laurence's churchyard. I can't find Henry I's grave there though (nor can anyone else, mind), but they're digging just now, but likely only for ornamental reasons.
Nodding to English language, I presume Forbury is named for the part of town before (spatially speaking) the abbey. R.I.P. Hugh Faringdon, the last abbot, who came to a sticky end. Incidentally, some liberated abbey barn timbers make a fine nave roof in St. Mary's. If that was just a barn, what a church must the abbey have been!
Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
the Omrud biped:
One of the poems reads: My engine now is cold and still No water does my boiler fill. My coke affords its flame no more My days of usefulness are o'er.

Nothing to do with the railways, but this reminded me of one of the classics.
My nookie days are over, my pilot light is out.
What used to be my sex appeal is now my water spout. Time was when, of its own accord, from my trousers it would spring; But now I have a full time job to find the blasted thing. It used to be embarrassing, the way it would behave, For every single morning it would stand and watch me shave. But as old age approaches, it sure gives me the blues To see it hang its withered head, and watch me tie my shoes.

Peter Moylan peter at ee dot newcastle dot edu dot au http://eepjm.newcastle.edu.au (OS/2 and eCS information and software)
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I remember a wooden memorial with the same words at the grave inthe cemetery near the Forbury Gardens: I don't know if it's stillthere.

The Forbury (adjacent) memorial was there last time I walkedthrough St Laurence's churchyard. I can't find Henry I's grave therethough ... a fine nave roof in St. Mary's.If that was just a barn, what a church must the abbey have been!

"Forbury" isn't in the Ox Dict of Eng Place-names, irritatingly. Wasn't Henry I buried in the Abbey Church itself? (When I moved to Wales, I took a little wallflower from the Abbey walls and transplanted it: lasted for years.)
They were brave buggers, some of those abbots, weren't they?

My then solicitor, when I congratulated him on becoming the senior partner, pointed out the window of his fine office and said "There's the next stop!" The office had a fine view of that cemetery.

Mike.
Mike Lyle typed thus:

driver Do you think there was a specialist anonymous ... way behind time...'" Now that's what I call a pub.

Actually, in the mid 70s it was on its uppers, and a couple of the bars were being used by ... a variety of colours). I'm glad I did now, although I don't know where they are. Probably in the loft.

Fascinating run of posts there gents, interesting reading, thanks.

DC
Mike Lyle typed thus:

Spotted a plaque on the outside wall of the bar ... presumably the sententious almost-verse epitaph was a local amateur product.

Obviously, the railways are good at this. Bromsgrove churchyard contains an elaborately decorated pair of grave stones for the driver and fireman who died when the boiler on their steam locomotive exploded at Bromsgrove on 10th November 1840.

And for (non-rhyming) epitaphs to heroes be sure to visit Postman's Park in London.

John Dean
Oxford
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