At this award-winning exhibition, you will meet the ordinary people – from lacemakers to locomotive drivers and engineers – who built the modern world from their kitchen tables. Made with curiosity and experimentation in mind, these models hissed, smoked and steamed their way through a century of rapid technological change.
Brass, Steel and Fire features several of the oldest model locomotives in the world, lovingly handmade from scratch in the nineteenth century. Brought together for the first time in this exhibition, these intricate and inventive models provide visitors with a glimpse of the skill, passion and joy found in making the world in miniature.
Among the nineteen models on display is the world’s oldest model locomotive, Salamanca, on loan from Leeds Museums and Galleries, and Topsy, on loan from Ffestiniog Railway in Wales, which helped spread narrow-gauge railways around the world. A model of Fire King, made in the 1840s by apprentice Josiah Evans who used his experience to later build full size locomotives, is one of three rare models on loan from the Rahmi M. Koç Museum in Istanbul, Turkey.
A spectacular artistic display of almost 200 tools used to make model locomotives welcomes visitors into the exhibition. The tools were used for many years by model maker Keith Dodgson, who donated the tools for the display shortly before he died.
Brass, Steel and Fire explores the stories behind many unique locomotive models, revealing who made them and why.