Heritage Railway


By 1971, the opening of the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) hugely captured the imagination of the public of the adjacent West Midlands conurbation.

Two years after steam haulage ended on the national network, local people could again not only thrill at the sight of their beloved steam locomotives polished to pristine condition, but ride behind them too.

Much of the newspaper coverage at the time showered credit for the success of the revival on the flamboyant Conservative South Worcestershire MP Sir Gerald Nabarro, who was portrayed as a driving inspiration behind the project.

In doing so, he became a hero to the generation of rail revivalists, not least of all a Solihull schoolboy who followed the unfolding drama with bated breath at every twist and turn.

I was therefore astonished that summer, when on a family outing to the Cotswolds, I saw that graffiti artists had targeted the bridge carry what is now the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway over Station Road in Broadway. They had painted the name Nabarro followed by a swastika.

Who on earth would want to think such a thing, I wondered? What wrong has he done to anyone?

Twice election winner

Born in London’s Willesden Green on June 29, 1913, the son of an unsuccessful shopkeeper, who was educated at London County Council schools, Gerald David Nunes Nabarro ran away to join the Merchant Navy.

Honourably discharged in 1937, he entered the timber supply industry, where he made his fortune. He also served in the Territorial Army from 1937 and at the start of the Second World War he was commissioned as an officer in the Royal

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