Winter Wartime Model Railway gets a TV airing

Bexhill Museum’s Winter Wartime Model Railway features in a new TV series. The model is the brainchild of actor and comedian Eddie Izzard, who is the museum’s patron.

Modeller Steve Chatfield films making some fine adjustments.
Modeller Steve Chatfield filmed making some fine adjustments.

It depicts Bexhill in December 1940. Eddie’s father, John, was evacuated from the town in 1940 but returned in December that year, aged 12, and always remembered the unusually heavy snowfall. Eddie designed the layout, which has been put together by museum volunteers working when the museum is closed to the public. The project has taken three years to complete.

The modellers feature in the series Hornby – A Model World, which is showing on the Yesterday TV channel. The ten-part series follows how the Hornby company, based in Margate, research, make and market their models. Each episode also includes a segment on other models and modelmakers – which is where Bexhill comes in.

The episode featuring Eddie in Bexhill is scheduled to be in episode two to be shown next Monday (18 Oct) at 9pm and repeated on Thursday 21 October at 8pm. Yesterday TV can be found on the following providers: Freeview – Channel 26, Virgin Media – Channel 129, Freesat – Channel 159 and Sky (UK) – Channel 155.

Eddie adds a little extra snow to the model seafront.
Eddie adds a little extra snow to the model seafront.

The modellers, led by project manager Ken Bywater, are filmed working on the layout. Filming started a year ago during a break in the Covid lockdown. Eddie is filmed later putting the final “snow” on the model seafront.

The model is in the Bexhill in World War II Gallery, one of four galleries in the museum. Visitors are given a presentation by one of the museum’s volunteers which highlights the stories behind the layout.

Eddie’s childhood train set is also on display in the Motoring and Transport Gallery. There is also a Costume and Social History Gallery and a gallery highlighting natural history.

Eddie’s latest film, Six Minutes to Midnight, is also featured in a special exhibition. The film is set in a school for the daughters of high ranking Nazis and German aristocrats, which actually existed in Bexhill in the 1930s.