Near Beaconsfield, which is just outside of London, is a peculiar model village which is a perfect recreation of 1930s Britain.
Bekonscot Model Village and Railway was originally built by businessman Roland Callingham because his wife couldn’t bear having his model railway set up inside the house. Apparently, there was an ultimatum that either the railway went or she would. Being a canny person who knew the advantage of pleasing his wife, Mr Callingham purchased a vacant block near their home, and did move his model railway outside, together with a series of radical modifications.
These days Mr Callingham’s hobby has become a major fund raiser for charity and attracts thousands of visitors.
The village is actually a one and a half acre plot comprised of six miniature towns and gardens that are serviced by a large model railway that has ten separate lines. Over 200 buildings have been constructed that are occupied by 3,000 villagers with about 1,000 animals mooching about in the fields and parks.
The main area is beautifully landscaped with grass, box hedges, miniature shrubs and flowers, all of which are interspersed by a network of footpaths that run between the different scenes. There is also a covered terrace at one end provides an excellent birds-eye view of the whole area which covers 1 acres.
Each town has its own character and personality which recreate the activities of 1930s Britain, hence features range from coal mines to great castles, aerodromes to farms, docks to cable cars. There are even racecourses in situ and escaped convicts are permanently on the run.
One village has a zoo, complete with exotic animals, another is a fishing village containing a busy port. Various activities take place, including cricket matches, a church wedding and even a polo match.
There are two railways operating. One if a Gauge 1 model railway which is strictly for looking at, and the other is a narrow gauge railway which takes visitors on rides.
The model railway runs a scaled ten miles, and is built on a scale of 1:32. The trains can be programmed to run to a strict timetable, or the set timetable can also be over ridden if the signalman decides. Goods trains and expresses use passing loops to bypass platforms, whilst local passenger trains are sent off to stop everywhere across this massive garden railway.
Bekonscot is open seven days a week between February and November. Opening hours are from 10am until 5pm.