Bennetts Mews-1:76 (OO) Industrial railway UK

(Transferred from Google+ page of a similar name- April 2016 with  additional content) 


A model to represent the area of London (SE1) in which I stated work in 1961, with the added attraction of a fictional standard gauge industrial railway line!

The railway element is pure fiction but is set in the mid 50’s to mid 60’s in the area at the southern end of Blackfriars Bridge and eastern end of Stamford Street in London SE1.

It was in this area, still containing large areas of bomb sites from the Second World War, that I started work in  September 1961 in the Development Engineers Dept , Refrigeration Section, at 22 Stamford Street London SE1. The entrance to this department was through what had been the front of a terraced house. Up some stairs, out across the roof of Grocery Packing into another building, through a corridor past a small canteen and the Shop Planning section, then outside again across an alleyway  called Bennett Mews, on a steel footbridge one storey up., to another building. Above us the Electrical Section, below us the Mechanical Handling Section. (You could also exit to Rennie Street via another house which housed the Transport Dept & fronted on Rennie Street North)

An area of  care worn character and a great bunch of guys to work with & learn from- many happy memories. This will be my tribute to all those design engineers, architects and engineering and building tradesmen  (over 250 at that time) who worked to design, build & maintain shops, distribution depots, poultry & egg packing stations, abattoirs & farms operated by the company in that era.

J Sainsbury unlike some of their rivals at this time, did not use rail transport for transporting anything to their branches throughout London, South East England and the Midlands, although in more recent times they used container trains to bring Scottish beef from its Aberdeenshire suppliers..

If the company have had such a facility this would have completed what was my dream job for nearly 40 years! Thus ended 2 generations of my family working for J Sainsbury & 3 generations who had worked for grocers!

The Blackfriars area  bounded by Stamford Street, Blackfriars Road in the early 60’s contained the Head Office & Depot/Warehouse called Stamford House; Tress House in Stamford Street-Accounts, later Architects/Shop Planning Departments; Bank Chambers (over Midland Bank on corner of Stamford Street/ Blackfriars Road) housed Architects Dept;Wakefield House in Rennie St (South), housed Factory Engineers. Columbo Street – Staff canteen. Running Horses Yard, Blackfriars Road housed Factory Kitchen returns, admin and technical functions; Warehouse &  food packing was located in Rennie Street(North)  & partly opposite in Stamford House together with office functions & Directors floor.The Factory,  between Rennie Street (south) &  Paris Gardens adjacent to the grounds of Christ Church – production of meat & fruit pies, sausages, liver sausage, together with  bread used as part of the sausage filling; 13/15 Blackfriars was a J. Sainsbury counter service shop, actually in Stamford Street opposite what was then the main entrance to Stamford House. Bacon curing & Cold stores were located at Union Street off Blackfriars Road; Blackfriars Road -northern end  housed Laboratories, Training School & Personnel Dept;  In Rennie Street (North) opposite  the then side entrance to  Stamford House – Transport Dept with H&V section on a mezzanine  & the print room on top floor or was it the attic?
Delivery lorries (known as cars) parked in a series of bomb sites to the north of Stamford Street; Sail Street housed Motor Engineers covering the servicing, repair & cleaning of the firms transport fleet & was alongside and in arches under the south side of Waterloo station and approaches;   Lambeth Mews housed Engineers stores in converted stables(?) at rear of Lambeth Walk branch ; Offices/ Labs –various addresses in the western end of Southwark Street, 115 & 119 & a rifle range near to the Eastern end of Southwark Street for the Sainsbury Staff Association Rifle club, descended from the company’s Home Guard unit!


The railway layout is based on a small layout built by British Railway Modelling magazine called Ruston Quays & featured in several editions September/October 2015 and early 2016.

The layout size as planned in British Railway Modelling was 1830 x 530 split into two sections each 915 x 530

Bennetts Mews layout plan scan

Another consideration is to use Tim Horn baseboard kits to form a baseboard  in two sections to speed up the building process.

I have started listing stock required for this layout. The Sentinel Diesel shunters from Hornby, plus a Sentinel steam shunter from Model Rail/ Kernow seem likely candidates. A mixture of 1960’s & 1950’s goods vans also required! There is also a reservation in for the new Hornby Peckett industrial locos and the Janus diesel units by Oxford Rail (for Golden Valley Hobbies).


Home layout not for exhibition-but this may be reviwed
Additions July 2016/ December 2016/June 2017/ September 2017/ January 2018/June 2019/Revision- November 2019 -removed reference to MVRM/Updated Oct 2020/February 2022