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LMS Route: Rugby to Leamington Spa (Avenue)

LMS Route: Nuneaton to Leamington

LMS Route: Leamington to Weedon

Leamington (Avenue) Station: lnwrlave1380a

Close up showing two Private Owner wagons, A Baker and S & E Collier, both of Reading standing in the exchange sidings

Close up of image 'lnwrlave1380' showing two Private Owner wagons, A Baker and S & E Collier, both of Reading standing in the exchange sidings. In all probability these wagons are transporting coal from the North Warwickshire coal fields as both companies would be heavy users of coal. Up to the out break of the Second World War employing ones own wagons was very cost efficient for any business that depended heavily on transporting either coal or finished goods.

Neil Scriven writes, S & E Collier Ltd, Reading's largest brickmakers, were established at Coley in the mid 19th century moving to Grovelands, Tilehurst in 1870 where they operated until 1966. They were well known for their terracotta and ‘Reading Red’ bricks. Colliers also produced pottery marketed as ‘Silchester Ware’, which imitated the forms of Roman, Greek and medieval pots. Waterloo Kiln at Katesgrove was founded by John Poulton and produced Reading's silver grey bricks, ridge tile, chimney pots and moulded bricks. This kiln was sold to S & E Collier in 1908. From the 1920s clay was carried in buckets on an aerial cable from the Collier's clay pit near Norcot Road to their Grovelands brickworks.

Keith Turton writes: HERBERT BAKER Born in Bath in 1864, Baker started life as an engineering student and at age 17 had moved to Reading, to become a decade later a civil engineer. The `1891 census records him as aged 27,, the son of civil engineer Edward Baker, born Tiverton in 1838 and wife Ellen. Brother Hamilton was born in Reading in 1872, Father and both sons were recorded as civil engineers. In 1901 he was described as a gas engineer and living at 49 Eastern Road, Reading. unmarried and with a single servant.

This stage of his career as a gas engineer, may have steered him to the coal trade for by the 1911 census he had become a coal contractor, this time the census either corrects or contradicts him by giving his age as 44 and born in 1867, living at 89 Hamilton Road, Reading. In the meantime brother Hamilton had married with two young children and progressed in 1911 to the post of Assistant Engineer of a gas company. This is assumed as the Reading Gas Works and the strong possibility is that the two brothers set up their own business as Gas Coal Contractors. It appears that the surviving personnel records of the Reading Gas Company cannot confirm these appointments.

A solitary entry in the Great Western Freighter registers (no's 74987-9) records three wagons registered to H E S Baker, No's 110, 111 and 112, dated January 9th 1907. They were built, surprisingly by the small Penistone wagon works of W. J. Gittus That illustrated is obviously not one of these and the suggestion is that the main lettering is "H. Baker" Livery is suggested as black with plain white lettering.

S & E COLLIER Although only a part view, it is enough to identify this wagon as belonging to Reading's prime brick and pottery works which had been a family concern for generations dating to the early eighteenth century. There are no extant records of wagon ownership but the size of the company and its coal intake suggest a reasonable-sized fleet. That shown appears to be painted grey with white letters shaded b lack.