We have recently received a number of notes about the painter David Shepherd's visit to Nine Elms:
Barry Quince asks:
I have a print of Nine Elms by David Shepherd the two locos in the painting are 73155 and 35040. I know 35040 is wrong, I think this was put right when the print was re-issued. I just wondered if anyone working there remembered seeing David Shepherd at the depot?
Alan Newman has replied:
I can shed some light on to the painting in question. The Standard class 5 featured was 73169 I have no idea why the number was changed. 73155 lasted right up to the end and left 9E under her own steam, and there is plenty of photographs available to confirm this fact. The painting clearly shows the locomotive has been made ready for hauling dead. I am not aware of any locomotive being repreived once in this state.
In August 1966 I worked 73169 with Bert Hooker on the return working of the 8.30am Bournemouth. Coming up the bank from Winchester I noticed the wakefield lubricator was lifting above the framing on my side of the loco. At Basingstoke Bert examined the motion and found the top piston guide to be very loose. Bert worked the engine gently to Waterloo, we then took her to Nine Elms. Bert went and fetched the Foreman fitter who took one look and said the engine was finished. 73169 was now consigned to the scapman. The fire was dropped out and the engine placed down the end of 15 road.
This is where David Shepherd spent over a week working on his fabulous painting.
Doug Richards (former Nine Elms list clerk) emailed:
Yes I recall seeing David Shepherd at Nine Elms when he was doing his paintings. During his time there he would store his canvas, paints etc. in the list office where I worked with the late George Rowe, the senior list clerk. On several occasions he scrounged a cup of tea from us as we always kept the large heavy black kettle on the boil on a gas ring sat on the window ledge. I can also recall watching David Shepherd doing some preliminary sketches over the 'old shed'. From my memory he was happy to chat with you and explain what he was doing as well as asking questions about the activity in the shed.
Brian Aynsley has written:
I do remember seeing David Shepherd painting at Nine Elms. At the time I thought he was a bit nutty, standing amongst all the rubbish and painting filthy dirty and rusty engines, however, some years ago I saw a large print of the picture that he painted and I bought it. I love this picture as it shows exactly what the depot was like in the last days of steam, not very nice but atmospheric, if nothing else.
Geoff Burch has added:
I have to point out that as well as the 35040 number being wrong, 73155 is also incorrect. She wouldn't have been painted by David at Nine Elms with her rods off waiting to go to scrap as I can definitely confirm that I was the fireman on her on Sunday 9th July 1967 from Guildford to Salisbury (double headed with 73118).
Peter Austin has written:
I have been reading the emails regarding David Shepherd, and once again the years rolled back! At the time I was heavily involved with the Bulleid Group raising funds to purchase 34023 Blackmoor Vale. I recall one occasion when we were working on Blackmoor Vale in a very unofficial capacity, David Shepherd was in the shed, as I recall he was working on a painting of 34002 Salisbury which was on the adjacent road to Blackmoor Vale. I believe the painting features both locos, at the time David was more "aligned" to the Group purchasing 35028 Clan Line, and as a result there was a good deal of rivalry and banter between the two groups, akin to which "Bulleid" was the most successful, some of which really needled the Bulleid purists like myself. However at the end of the day each Society achieved their goals and both locos were purchased and ended up making the journey from Nine Elms together with 41298 to their first home in preservation at Longmoor, on the military railway system. With regard to David Shepherd at Nine Elms, he was very approachable, certainly "different", maybe a little ecentric, he exuded personality and was a person who was fun to be in company with, his long hair and very casual laid back attitude, he really epitomised the sixties style and era. Almost a cult figure amongst us loco preservationists! Thinking back, "Gung Ho" would be a very apt way to describe him.
Going back to the painting at Nine Elms of 34002 and 34023 a DVD was distributed in The Railway Magazine a few years back, featuring an interview with David and the Editor, the first part of which takes place on the site of Nine Elms Shed, exactly where the turntable used to be! Parts of the Depot retaining wall still exist as can be seen in the DVD. The painting I refer to is actually shown in the film, as are other references to Nine Elms. I really recommend this DVD as there are many clips of the Depot from old film, photos, sketches and paintings, unfortunately not available through retail outlets. The DVD gives a very good illustration of "David Shepherd at Nine Elms" and portrays those eventful and sad days, towards the end of steam in July 1967 very accurately.