Thornycroft Sidings - Initial ResearchThere are three things we need to know in order to make representative model buildings for our model railway layout; the size of them, architectural details and their function.
What made our project viable was the recent publication of aerial photos of the Thornycroft factory at Britain From Above. Together they give a good 360 degree view of the factory as it was in 1928 and 1939. From these we can see positioning of buildings, some architectural details and all manner of manufacturing materials and vehicles spread about the site.
The footprint area of each building was calculated from old scale maps of the location but calculating building height is another matter and without architectural plans we must scale from suitable photographs. Our Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway reference book has a few photos. Scouring the web revealed more and in particular those at Commercial Motor Archive, Grace's Guide, Hantsweb and the Thornycroft Register, which has many photos of vehicles staged in front of the factory buildings.
We discovered on Hantsweb that Hampshire County Council Arts & Museum Service has an archive of Thornycroft photographs that are viewable in Winchester by appointment. We arranged a visit and were given hospitality and sight to hundreds of rare images, many of which were commissioned by the museum at the time of the factory demolition in the 1990s. I was surprised to learn that the factory buildings existed at all in the 1990s because we have lived in the borough since the 1980s and have no recollection of every seeing them! The photos gave many building details, in particular intricate interior architectural details were revealed. Whilst we are not modelling interiors to any large extent the interior shots do help our understanding of building construction.
The bigger challenge is identifying the function of every building from the smallest office to the largest warehouse or factory. Hantsweb gives an overview of what functions were provided but does not relate them to identifiable buildings. Commercial Motor Archive gives much detail about the Timber Shed but it seems for the rest the question may only be answered by speaking to those who worked there.