I was born in Folkestone and amongst my earliest railway memories are of journeys to St Albans and Bournemouth to visit relatives. We later moved to Hythe and frequently visited the RH&DR when I became fascinated to observe Walschaert’s valve gear in motion (I still am). In 1938 we moved to Sandown, Isle of Wight, and I fell in love with the Island’s railways.
It wasn’t until the early 1950s, when I began working in Woolwich, that my interest in London’s complex railway system really started. I obtained my first 35mm camera (an Ilford “Advocate”) in 1955 and started to explore London’s railways in earnest, using photographic walking permits then obtainable from all Regions except the Western.
In 1958 I acquired a Zeiss Super Ikonta with its superb Tessar lens and I always used Ilford film. Advantage was taken of the numerous society rail tours available those days in an attempt to cover as much of the railway network as possible, with rare bits being “griced” with the aid of brake-van permits. I ceased taking monochrome photographs when steam traction was withdrawn in the 1960s.”
We are sorry to hear that Tony Bennett passed away on 21 October 2011.