A land­scape in minia­ture

Landscape (UK) - - Contents -

Un­der blue skies, a steam train puffs its way through the peace­ful coun­try­side. Rum­bling over a bridge, its Lon­don-bound pas­sen­gers catch a glimpse of a bus stopped on the road be­low, its driver dis­em­barked and deep in con­ver­sa­tion with a farmer fill­ing his horse-drawn bowser from the river. Push­ing on, the train passes graz­ing sheep and horses, fields of ripe crops and harvest-time ac­tiv­i­ties, be­fore draw­ing into a vil­lage sta­tion. This is Pen­don Parva, in the Vale of White Horse, but de­spite all the signs of ac­tiv­ity, no pas­sen­gers will alight. For Pen­don Parva is an imag­i­nary vil­lage sit­ting in a model land­scape, painstak­ingly built, largely from card, to cap­ture a slice of ru­ral life in the vale in the 1920s and 1930s. Known as the Vale Scene, this in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic lay­out is the cen­tre­piece at Pen­don Mu­seum in Long Wit­ten­ham, Ox­ford­shire. Mea­sur­ing more than 69ft by 30ft (21m x 9m) and cov­er­ing more than 1,991sq ft (185sq m), it is the on­go­ing re­al­i­sa­tion of the dream of one man, Roye Eng­land. It speaks of a deep con­nec­tion to the world it repli­cates, made all the more re­mark­able by the fact Roye was not born here, but half a world away, in Perth, Aus­tralia. Ar­riv­ing in Ply­mouth in 1925 as a young man of 18, he boarded the Star Class lo­co­mo­tive West­min­ster Abbey to travel

A painstak­ingly-cre­ated model land­scape en­cap­su­lates the essence of a ru­ral Ox­ford­shire vale in by­gone times

Great Western lo­co­mo­tive Princess Alice, a Star class num­ber 4050, crosses a bridge above a bu­colic scene. This is part of an on­go­ing project by modellers recre­at­ing au­then­tic de­tail of the Vale of White Horse in the 1920s and 30s.

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