The Naming Ceremony
Wadebridge had her naming ceremony at Wadebridge station on 31st October 1945. This photograph of the event was provided by by Hugh Paul, the grandson of Cllr C H Paul, who was the Chairman of Wadebridge RDC in 1945 and who officiated at the naming ceremony.
Cllr Paul is the gentleman fourth from the left (facing the camera) in the photograph.
The following report (Padstow was also named on 31st October 1945) appeared in the "Western Morning News" for 1st November 1945:
'Wadebridge' & 'Padstow'
Greater Haulage Capacity
Railway history was made at Wadebridge and Padstow yesterday when naming ceremonies for two of the latest Southern Railway (Westcountry Class) engines were performed. The engines were named "Wadebridge" and "Padstow."
The Hon. Clive Pearson, chairman of the Locomotive Committee of the Southern Railway, apologised for the absence of the general manager (Sir Eustace Missenden) and Chairman (Col. Gore Brown).
The Westcountry Class of engines, the younger brother of the heavier "Merchant Navy" Class, was a post-war production of the Southern Railway, designed by the chief mechanical engineer, Mr O. V. Bulleid, said the speaker. They were built in their own workshops. The Westcountry Class met the particular requirements of the West of England lines and gave a lead in the very latest of locomotives. It was an engine of considerably greater haulage capacity than they had been able to employ in the West of England in the past.
Proud as the Board of Directors and management were, he assured them that the Southern Railway had great ambition, and there was no complacency. They sought the highest efficiency in every department. One of the oldest railways in the country was that opened between Wadebridge and Bodmin in 1834 and it was very fitting that one of the new engines should be named "Wadebridge".
He invited Mr C. H. Paul (chairman of the Wadebridge Rural Council), who was accompanied by Messrs N. Mutton (vice-chairman), C. J. Strout (former chairman) and W. E. Blackwell (clerk) to perform the naming ceremony.
Mr Paul wondered what their great Cornishman Richard Trevithick would have said at the sight of the fine engine. It would ply between Exeter and Padstow. He congratulated the railway and designer of the engine on the excellence of their work.
Mr Paul then drove the engine for a short distance.
Councillors and others were entertained to lunch.
Later the party travelled to Padstow, where Mr L. B. Saunders (chairman of the Padstow Urban Council) named the second engine "Padstow.".
The official naming photograph, signed by Sir Eustace Missenden, Col. Gore Brown and O V S Bulleid.
Notes on the reverse of the naming photograph.
In keeping with the tradition at the time the Council was presented with a three legged coffee table made by apprentices of the Southern Railway and bearing the locomotive's shield and a plaque with a suitable inscription. Once again we are grateful to Hugh Paul for these photographs:
The coffee table and the plaque commemorating the naming.
One small anomaly seems to be that the newspaper report and the notes on the reverse of the photograph refer to Wadebridge RDC, whereas the plaque on the coffee table refers to Wadebridge UDC!