Bexhill 1940: Winter Wartime Model Railway

Bexhill 1940: Winter Wartime Model Railway

The brainchild of our Patron, internationally renowned actor and performer Eddie Izzard, the Bexhill 1940 Winter Wartime Model Railway is the centrepiece of our new Bexhill in WWII gallery – and the second to join the museum’s collection.

Lovingly built by Bexhill Museum’s own team of model railway enthusiasts to Eddie’s design, both layouts feature a score of well-known historic Bexhill and Sidley landmarks, some still with us, others long gone

view of the model railway

The Winter Wartime Model Railway: Eddie Izzard talks to Lucy Cotter of Sky News.

The snow in Devonshire Road, Bexhill, during the winter of 1940 which was the inspiration for the model railway

Eddie’s father, John Izzard, was evacuated from Bexhill at the outbreak of World War II aged just 12. He returned during the winter of 1940 to find the town blanketed in snow. Decades later Eddie paid tribute to John's wartime experience by designing and funding a marvellous re-creation of Bexhill as it was at that time.

The N-gauge model even shows John, who sadly died before he could see the finished work, as the home-coming evacuee schoolboy outside the family home, 1 Laburnum Cottages, Ninfield Road, Sidley.

Two years of work have since gone into the project with more modelling to recreate the town's seafront anti-invasion defences in 1940. The model includes landmarks such as the Town Hall, Bexhill Hospital, and Bexhill West station, later cut off from the national rail network on the recommendation of the 1963 Beeching Report.

Long lost landmarks like the Egerton Park Lido and the Metropole Hotel are recreated, and there is a working model of Hoad’s Mill, a famous painting of which by L.S. Lowry now hangs in the Musuem’s Sargent Gallery. Visitors are given a presentation about the railway by one of our volunteers, covering all the fine details of this painstaking work.

Watch videos of the Winter Wartime Model Railway

Click to see a larger version