|On display: the Great Central|
It's an early, rare and imposing piece produced as part of a promotional arrangement between Bassett-Lowke Ltd. and the Great Central Railway, and it's displayed behind our Bing/B-L GCR 1014 Sir Alexander locomotive, which was part of the same GC-BL production deal. As a historical aside, the high "spine" of the carriage has clerestory windows painted along the sides – the early Pullman carriages used this arrangement, with the overhead space allowing in extra daylight during the day, and also housing gas lamps for lighting during darker hours. This combination of wood, gas and flame was highly dangerous in a crash, and the shape of carriage roofs changed with the later introduction of electric lighting.
The purchase of the coach was funded by Audrey Gilkes in memory of her husband Michael Gilkes (1923-2014), one of the original founding trustees of the museum, who is much missed.