Reginald frederick Stedman


The Trust was established in 1983 to keep the archives of the Leeds Model Company and R. F. Stedman & Company. Today the Trust provides a service of spares, repairs and technical advice to LMC enthusiasts and continues to promote interest in and appreciation of the products of The Leeds Model Company, founded by Rex Stedman in 1912, and which ceased to trade in 1967.

David K. Peacock, Co- proprietor, Trustee and Archivist
Marcus D. Peacock, Co-proprietor and Trustee

Reginald Frederick (Rex) Stedman
1893 -1959

Latest News

Be on your guard! (or on your guard’s van).

Life is full of surprises, and so are model railways.  Having gone into print on so many aspects of the Leeds Model Company productions, I remain on my guard ready to be surprised - and wrong - on any one of them!  This time I am indebted to my good friend Alan Cliff for uncovering the latest surprise in the post 1945 all metal long wheelbase brake van. I had  been told and always believed without checking that this model was constructed throughout from tinplate. A common repair on the van is re-soldering  of the roof tie, and that confirmed time and again that the roof is certainly tinplate. A friend had suggested to Alan that the vans were made from brass. A check with a magnet on the supposed ’brass’ van  showed the roof and ends to be tinplate, but the sides were non magnetic.  Nor is this a one-off. I have now checked the archive model and it is the same, an exploratory scratch on the inside of the van confirming - brass!  The model depicted here also proved to be the same.  

So, what are we to make of this discovery?  The Leeds Model Company were ever driven to economise on materials and, after the brass framed mechanisms of the 1920s were replaced by the zinc die cast designs, brass was very little used. Having thought about it I believe that the answer lies in the forming of the ‘planking’ on the van sides.  Producing the grooves by scoring on flat tinplate would remove the protective tin leaving the underlying steel vulnerable to corrosion. This would not be a problem for brass. Producing the grooves by pressing the tinplate - as is done on the short brake van, (A magnet test on this van shows it to be all tinplate), would require a relatively expensive press tool. The length of the long wheel base van’s sides might also be outside the capacity of the LMC’s presses.  Either way the solution to use brass, and cut the planking grooves makes sense. 

Latest 1006In my book on the Leeds Model Company I refer (page 54) to a moulded resin model of the long wheelbase brake van which I have in the archive, and shown here. This replicates exactly the dimensions of the metal van.  One suggestion is that it represents an unsuccessful attempt by LMC to economise further by moving from the necessity to use brass and hand building of the metal model to the lower cost resin and less labour intensive assembly of a fully moulded vehicle.  The  lack of success is evident on the model, the van end and other areas of the resin breaking up during curing.
What is the correct explanation of all this?  We shall probably never know, but remain on guard for the next revelation! Long wheel base

I am indebted to David Beveridge for further information on the long wheel base vans. His model shown here, with the exception of the duckets and axleboxes is wholly of tinplate construction. The ends clearly show they were press formed, and in effect closely resemble those of the short wheelbase van. Visual comparison strongly points to them being from the same tooling! The planking on the long tinplate sides is not so well expressed, suggesting that the end sections were separately pressed.

Leeds Model Company - the first adverts

Although Rex Stedman founded the Leeds Model Company in 1912, it was not until February 1915, that the company was introduced to the model press, specifically the monthly ‘Models, Railways and Locomotives‘.  In the archive I hold extracts from the ‘Trade Notes’ section of the magazine which run through to 1919. Advert
I am now indebted to my good friends in the Dutch HRCA, Hans van Dissel and Peter Zwakhals who have provided me with copies of adverts which appeared in the magazine from February 1915 through to February 1917. These appear in the Leeds Model Company section of their website,  I recommend this very fine website to you.
The very first advert, reproduced here, shows some handwork in the drafting of the title.  This was soon replaced by fully typeset pages. Read sequentially these adverts show the gradual build up of the LMC product range and the progressive engagement of sales outlets up and down the country. They are an important addition to the Trust archive.

Painting and Weathering

Repainting of LMC locomotives is frequently a necessity to preserve their condition and restore them to their original appearance. Made from tinplate and at the time they were produced not too much being known about pre-treatment for a durable finish, many models turn up with blistered or flaking paint, or outright rusting. The Leeds Stedman Trust has never baulked at repainting to match as closely as possible the original factory hand painted finishes.

But what of models running (probably with a change of wheels) on contemporary layouts, from any of the scale model locomotives to the finely moulded Bakelite coaches and wagons? The original clean glossy or satin finishes may well not suit the ambience of a layout where for more realism service grime and weathering are the order of the day. Graeme Simmonds who specialises in painting and weathering is a recent and very enthusiastic convert to 'The Stedman Style' and LMC models. Click his website on our LINKS page to see what he has done with a basic 0-4-0 ST, and read on his blog an appreciation of Rex Stedman and his

It is always a pleasure to see LMC models, whether 'original' or weathered at work on modern layouts. Long may it be so!

Another variation

Over the years we have had many of the Leeds 0-4-0 saddle tanks - the donkeys - pass through our hands. Here however is a variant never seen before.  The bold ‘LMC’ transfer suggests that it may have been a works modification but…?
The smoker oil tank is fitted firmly to the rear of the cab by the four screws visible in the picture. The tank is filled with oil via the screw plug. The on/off switch is set firmly into the top of the smoker unit and is accessed through the enlarged single rear window. The whole job is neatly done. The cab roof, which does not need to be removed, is integral with the body and has two ridges. So is this a customer or a works modification?  Has anyone else seen the like elsewhere?

'The Leeds Model Company 1912 -2012'

This book can only be obtained directly from the Leeds Stedman Trust.  If you wish to obtain a copy please use the Contact page on this website. The book is priced at £19.95 per copy plus £2.55 post and packing.

The book (128 pages), with both colour and black and white illustrations and with 24 chapters and 19 appendices, covers every aspect of the company history and products.  An accompanying DVD has two video programmes, 'The Leeds Stedman Trust' made for the Gauge 0 Guild  by David Peacock and Jack Ray, and 'Augurswell and Great Blessingsby', the Trust layout, made by David Peacock and Chris Pettit. The disc also carries as a CD a high quality photograph of every locomotive and item of rolling stock held in the Trust archive

Reviewers have said…..

 ….nothing is missed out and it is written in an easy to read style, with plenty of pictures….  a much needed book by an expert on the subject.   I strongly recommend it.    Pat Hammond, Train Collectors Society

….a definitive history of the LMC ….a most welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in the history of model railways. ….excellent value too.
                              John Ingram, The Bassett Lowke Society

…well constructed and the illustrations are generally of high quality….there is much here to grab your interest….I ended up reading it cover to cover.
                               John Kneeshaw, The Gauge 0 Guild

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