4-6-0 King George V in sterling silver

Images and details courtesy David Coombe

Here we have a rather unique museum piece. This sterling silver replica of King George V is a faithful scale model of the locomotive, constructed from drawings of the prototype at the time of building. It was entirely hand-made over a period of 6 years by craftsmen in Jersey. The two major builders involved were goldsmiths Derek Uren and Richard Blampied. Other work was carried out by engraver Keith Ainsworth and goldsmith Aaron Bowey.

The locomotive is 27cm (10 3/4") long [i.e. a 4mm scale model, ed], and is comprised of 659 separate parts. In place of the brass and copper fittings, 883 grams of 18ct. yellow and red gold has been used. Two brilliant-cut diamonds, total weight 0.25ct., are set into the lamps. The tender holds 179ct. of sapphires which represent the coal. All the valve gear and wheels are in working order, and the model will roll on the track if desired. The plinth is made of Sonokeling wood (part of the Rosewood family).

The original King George V locomotive was designed by C B Collett and was the first of the GWR 'King' class locomotives. Completed in 1927, it was completely restored in 1968 by Hereford cider makers H P Bulmer Ltd. The loco now forms a static display at Steam Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon.