Steam trains Sewing machines an Eid

Steam train at Moorgate Tube station London
Steam train at Moorgate Tube station London

Being home alone while Helen is on a weekend coach trip /song a long I needed Ian Visits website to rescue me by pointing me in the direction of an event to take a look at. 2 things took my fancy a Seeing machine museum in Tooting and the Eid festival in Trafalgar square I had a plan.

I was up early and and checked the logistics as I had breakfast, it turns out the festival starts at 12 and the museum opens at 14:00 not ideal for me I wanted am early start. I umed a and ahed a bit then spotted that the last steam train event on the London underground would be this weekend as part of the 150 anniversary of the tube, I now had a revised plan.

I arrived at Berkhamsted station bought a ticket and the train was already pulled in when I got to the platform perfect timing, the plan was coming together.  The 08:31 train was quite busy but not at Berko so I easily got a seat by the window. It was a day train and skipped a few stations on the way in and arrived at  09:05.We passed through some reason on the way but nothing enough to dampen my enthusiasm.

Eid Festival Trafalgar Square London

I was running late the as I only had 15 minutes to get to Moorgate and it helps if you get the Bank line rather the the one that does not go through Moorgate, so I got off the treason that I just managed to catch and starved the journey back to Euston and got back on the Bank branch of the Northern line to Moorgate, once again jumping on just as the doors closed. At Moorgate I headed for the the Hammersmith and City line, the train was running late so I saw it since slowly into the station under steam. There were quite a few train enthusiasts there but not as many as I would have expected. Suitable pictures were taken and posted on Facebook. I had a chat to a policemen who was in my field of view, I had seen him worrying in his now pad and thought he might be a train spotter. My next stop would be Trafalgar square and I figured a trip round the circle line would be best as the trains depart from the next platform over from where I was stood.

After a pleasant journey with a seat I got off at embankment and walked up to Trafalgar Square where the festival was still in preparation. I had an hour to waste so o headed to the National Portrait Gallery I had a vague idea that the BP portrait award was on, I was not to be disappointed. If you are ever in London it is worth a look, it always amazes me how people can paint and it is only when you are within 6 inches of some of the detail that the brush strokes are evident. I have caught it a few times over the years and have always left in awe. I still had time for a coffee before 12 and it was welcome as the last one I had was for breakfast. The National Gallery cafe would be the venue which severed great coffee but tired looking Chelsea buns. The cafe has a queue up part and a table service with waiters in white shirts with aprons, something Helen would enjoy.

London Sewing Machine Museum

I hung around at the top of the square waiting with the masses for the festival to be opened. When it was my first mission was to find something to eat, there were plenty of stalls to chose from I had a Dahl rice and vegetable curry which I eat sat in a cordoned off arrears that the public seemed to think was out of bound but the security guards said otherwise so me and another couple had a whole table each with table cloth and an chiefly view of true stage. The cities were very nice work just the right amount of spice. Google provided me with a bus option to the sewing machine museum, number 88 followed by a 249 to Tooting Bec. The 88 was interesting as it went round the back of Westminster on small streets but past lots of Government offices such as the Home office. I changed at Clapham common, which I had never appreciated the size of it is a massive piece of green real estate. The locals were making the most of it some resting others playing sport tag rugby and volley ball the less common ones that I saw. I got off the bus at Tooting Bec about 20 minutes before it opens. It was not obvious where it was so I had to get my phone out and check the building number.

Shoes at the London Sewing Machine Museum

I went over to the building about 5 minutes early an Asian looking lady was there who asked me whether this was the museum. Then the owner of the museum arrived and said it would be another 5 minutes before it would open. The museum is owned by the the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co. and is a real gem of a specialist museum. The ate literally hundreds  of old sewing machines from miniature ones to industrial table top ones on display in glass cabinets in two large rooms and a few side rooms. I spent so me time looking around an taking some pictures, it was surprising how specialised some of them were built for a single purposes such as joining carpets or stitching eyelets in leather. There were photos and letters on the wall from presidents of sewing machine manufacturers on the walls up the stair way the owner had and/or is a big player in the sewing machine market. The owner looked quite an old and I hate to think what might happen when he is not around to look after it. There should be some scheme like the listed building scheme to preserve the collections that are worthy of preservation. I picked up a copy of ISMACS News the official journal of the International Sewing Machine Collectors’ Society to read on the journey home. By the way if you want to visit the museum is open from 14:00 to 17:00 every first Saturday of the month, its website is here.


I jumped on a bus but then decided that the tube would be quicker and jumped off the bus at South Clapham where the Northern line goes to Euston without the need to change lines. I got talking to a guy who was interested in photography and said I should take some pictures of the people to in the carriage, explained that I preferred landscape photography he seemed a bit out of it and it was hard to hear what he was saying over the noise of the train, so I was glad when he got off a few stops later. I spent the rest of the journey using the Virgin WiFi at each station to purchase a battery case on Ebay for my mobile phone as I regularly run down the batteries on a trip to London because I use the GPS a lot for navigation and use the screen a lot for writing this blog post.

I got the 15:34 from Euston which arrived on the platform at the same time that I did with a fresh coffee. I got a take away curry from Waitrose, yes my second of the day, and went home for an early night, tomorrow I am back in London to watch Mr T do a Triathlon at or around the Excel exhibition Centre.