Monday, 26 November 2012
Where is Henry West?
Horrors! Albeit I've spent half my life this month on the train, I've only just noticed that the memorial plaque to poor Henry West, has become a casualty of the Reading Station redevelopment project. It's vanished from its usual place on Platform Seven. I checked behind the trolley park, even wondered if he might be hiding behind two newly installed vending machines, but, sadly, the nail holes in the wall beside them gave the game away. Young Henry, him of the fulsome and flowery epitaph, has vanished as completely as the 1840 whirlwind which claimed his life. Funnily enough I'd been reading about the building of the first rail stations earlier in the day at an exhibition in Woking, another town that came about directly as a result of the setting up of the new rail network and which provided one of the early routes into London. Ah well, there's always his memorial at St Lawrence's Church, but I do hope they replace the notice somewhere on the station once the work is completed. It seems fitting, somehow, that as our transport services move further into the 21st century, we should still remember those who helped set them up in the very beginning.