The Family Saloon
built by the Great Northern Railway
Number 807. Built Doncaster in 1912.
To allow wealthy families to travel in privacy between their London houses and their country estates, the old railway companies offered "family saloons". These special carriages could be attached to the regular scheduled trains so that the whole family, the servants and all their luggage could travel together.
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This car was built in 1912 as such a family saloon. The large centre room was the "family room" where the ladies and children travelled. To one side of this was the "gentlemen's" or "smoking room", and the family toilet. At the other end of the coach there was originally a 3rd class compartment for the servants, a 3rd class toilet and a luggage area at the very end (hence the double doors). All this area has now been replaced by a library, although the servants' call indicator is still in place over the door leading through to the family room.
The Great Northern Railway was very strict about its design criteria, one being that 3rd class accommodation must always be narrower than lst class. Thus we have the unusual design detail that the Family Saloon was built narrower at one end (for the servants) than the other.
The Queen of Scots returning to Edinburgh
As the requirement for private carriages diminished, the Family Saloon was used less and less and eventually fell out of use. It was sold by British Railways in 1972, having latterly been used as a work-study office. The Family Saloon is finished in varnished teak - the Great Northern Railway had since the mid 19th century built all of their carriages out of solid teak.
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