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First Train through Micheldever Station

Watercolor The First Passenger Train from London to Southampton

...a crowd of spectators, bunting hanging above the station and a Union Flag flying...

The first passenger train from London to Southampton passed through Micheldever Station on the 11th May 1840 and was captured in this atmospheric watercolour by local artist Richard Baigent.

Despite the painting’s unfinished nature it captures the importance of the occasion showing a crowd of spectators, bunting hanging above the station and a Union Flag flying above the station building. This would have been a momentous event and one can only speculate as to the effect the billowing steam and the sound of the pistons had on the spectators.

The event was probably of even greater significance to the London and Southampton Railway Company as the opening had been delayed. The section to Basingstoke was completed on the 10th June 1839 and the Winchester to Southampton section at the same time but the section between Basingstoke to Winchester was delayed leaving a gap in the journey! This delay was caused by the line having to be diverted from the route originally planned.

Richard Baigent was born in Portsmouth in 1799 and was apprenticed to the artist Richard Livesay, drawing master to the children of George III. When Livesay moved to Winchester in about 1820 Richard moved with him. In 1824 Richard was appointed drawing master at Winchester College, a position he held for nearly 50 years whilst also specialising as a freelance landscape artist. Baigent died in 1881.

Quick Facts

  • Painting medium watercolour
  • Accession number WINCM:A.1562
  • Painted by Richard Baigent
  • Date painted 11 May 1840
  • Painted at Micheldever Station
  • Made of paper and paint
  • Dimensions Height 22.5cm, Width 32cm

Facts

  • Richard Baigent was also involved in civic affairs and was elected a Freeman of the City of Winchester in 1831, served as a parish overseer and became the first registrar of births, marriages and deaths in Winchester.
  • The London & Southampton Railway bill came before Parliament in 1834 and became an Act of Parliament in the same year.
  • The London terminus was Nine Elms and the first section to Woking Common was opened on the 21st May 1838 having been brought forward 11 days to benefit from the Epsom races.

Did you know?

Micheldever Station was originally known as Andover Road Station.

Gallery

Back of watercolour The First Passenger Train from London to Southampton
Portrait of Richard Baigent in 1836 by Mr Bird
Micheldever Station in 1873 by William Savage

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