Badge related news and articles

Thursday 24th March 2011

Miller Train badges part 1

The Society of Railway Servants Orphanages Train Badges 1930

The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants was a trade union established in 1872 for the benefit of railway workers. The union did much good work before it became known as the N.U.R. (National Union of Railwaymen) in 1913. Two orphanages were established for the offspring of rail workers-one at Derby and one at Clapham

The SRSO at Clapham-Woking:

The Southern Railway Servants' Orphanage dates back to 1885 when Canon Allen Edwards, supported by the workers of the London and South Western Railway, opened an orphanage in Clapham for the offspring of railwaymen. The institution moved to the 9 acre Woking site in 1909 - a £24,000 budget provided a home for 150 fatherless children.

The Orphanage was primarily funded through voluntary contributions, the bulk of which came from the employees of the Southern Railway. It also called upon the public to donate at Flag Days and at railway stations where dogs with collecting boxes publicized its work.  

The Southern Railway Servants' Orphanage initially accepted children over the age of 6 who had lost their railwaymen fathers. Many were not orphans however - financial concerns forced the mothers to choose an orphanage upbringing for their children. Mothers would visit their children at the Orphanage but this could be as infrequent as once a month. Typically, the children remained at the Orphanage until the age of 14 (later 16), leaving the institution with a hand-picked outfit and a guarantee of welfare support until the age of 21.

The RSO at Derby:

The Railway Servants Orphanage in Derby was established in 1875. It provided a home for around 150 fatherless children. It became ‘St Christopher’s (Railway Servants orphanage) in the 1960s.

The 1930s Railway ‘Boom’

 In the 1930s railways developed rapidly. A speed war between the LMS and the LNER for services to Scotland saw a rise in new stylish locomotives and an equivalent rise in the interest of young boys and grown men in anything to do with railways. The RSO & SRSO discovered a new way of raising money on the back of this enthusiasm.

 The idea of raising money by selling badges was well established through annual ‘flag days’ these flags were usually paper items. The craze for enamelled badges that could be sold for 6d was a development possibly unforeseen until the 1930s.

1) Badges were sold at stations generally for 6d and were mounted on a card explaining the charity. The cards altered slightly through the thirty years.

RS on card

The three cards shown above are all for the Derby orphanage. This changed its name sometime in the late 1950s early 1960s to ‘St Christopher’s’ as shown by the card far right.

Miller on card

Miller on card


A special card was issued with the A4 Pacific loco Dominion of Canada issued in 1937-On 28th June 1937, Stanier’s streamlined Coronation Scot of the LMS set a new record of 114mph. Two days later, a press & publicity trip for the LNER's new "Coronation" service pulled by 4489 Dominion of Canada attempted to regain the record. Unfortunately, it only managed to reach 109.5mph on Stoke Bank! However in 1938 Mallard regained the record at 125mph which is still a world record for a steam loco.

The blue Coronation Scot loco was also issued on a special card for the equivalent LMS service. 

Badges were extremely popular and were reproduced many times over the thirty year period. At least 32 different basic loco designs were produced (plus designs for railway ships and company logos)and with variations this figure rises to around seventy (not including the ships or logos).The differences were the result of  colour variation, tender lettering, gilt or silver finish and different manufacturers backstamps.

1) Restrikes of designs  sometimes included altering the tender logo from the pre-war  big four company logo  LMS,LNER,SR, or GWR to the post 1948 British Railways logo.

Tender detail from the red Coronation Scot design.

Miller Train LMS logo  Miller train BRS logo


2) Restrikes sometimes were done using a different base metal and thus giving either a silver or gilt finish

Chrome gilt


3) A few locos were issued in all chrome or all gilt finish as well as an enamelled version





4) As well as the loco badges designs were made with the company logos and also railway ships and there were four badges for the R.H.D.R.. Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway.

Part 2 to follow soon.

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About the author

Frank Setchfield is the author of The Official Badge Collectors Guide from the 1890s to the 1980s and has written countless articles on badges for various publications.

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