Steam Railway : Remembering railway photographer Arthur Cawston

Published Mon, 2016-07-11 17:16

I was fortunate enough to meet Arthur Cawston, one of the country’s leading railway photographers, on several occasions before his untimely death several years since, and on our last meeting he was kind enough to give me four albums containing his prints.

This article is an excerpt from a feature that appears in Steam Railway magazine this month. For more on Arthur Cawston’s work, pick up your copy of Steam Railway magazine today.

Born in 1907, he grew up in the south London suburbs at Orpington, where his interest in railways started at an early age, and by his own admission the arrival of the 'King Arthurs' on the Southern in 1925 made a big impression on him.
After studying at Oxford, in 1927 he taught briefly at a Newton Abbot boys school before training in 1929 at the Theological College at Wells. In December of that year he was ordained, after which he worked at parishes at Grantham, Folkestone, Maidstone and Margate.
Living and working near some of the main express routes gave him the opportunity to see and photograph many of the premier trains of the day, and at a time when the pre-grouping classes of locomotive were still in abundance, but the new and more powerful locomotives of the “Big Four” were being built to work the newly introduced prestige express passenger trains.