A typical Victorian booking office has been constructed in the Bluebell Railway Museum showing the equipment used and tasks undertaken by the booking clerk.

The Booking Office

Learn about and experience the work of a booking clerk

Bluebell Railway Museum Booking Office

Museum Booking Office

In the south east corner of the museum preservation waiting room is a display booking office.

If you look inside you will see many of the items that were used in a booking office in years gone by.

Today we simply buy tickets for travel from the railway ticket offices unless we buy them online or from a machine in the station foyer.

In the past a booking office did a lot more than sell tickets to travel.

Letter Scales in the Museum Booking Office

Starting 1891 railways operated a letter postal system for 93 years.

In the days before a national telegram service the railways would undertake the service using their telegraph system.

By the end of the 19th century the railway companies had the whole railway network covered by telegraph.

The actual Morse code messaging and tape printout was normally done in a back office.

Bluebell Railway Museum Parcels and Luggage

The normal way to send and receive parcels was by the use of the booking office.

Long distance travellers would send luggage ahead of their travel to be at their destination ahead of them.

This again would be done at a booking office unless the station had a special parcel office such as the one that was in the forecourt of Newick & Chailey Station.

Bluebell Railway Museum Candle Stick Telephone

When telephones were introduced they were only available to the wealthy and mostly in towns.

The railways made use of their telegraph system to introduce telephones and would make calls on behalf of passengers when required.

Bluebell Railway Museum Tariff Books

Tariff books were quite large to accommodate the many rates for travel, parcels, luggage, telegrams and for parcel delivery points beyond the stations.

Before the days of printed tickets they were hand written on paper permits and in addition the details copied into a hand ledger. Buying a ticket was not a fast process and often tickets were bought well in advance of travel.

Bluebell Railway Museum Station Bell

Before the days of public announcement systems the large brass bell was used to announce to passengers the approaching departure of a train.

It gives a very loud ring.

Ask a steward to let you give the bell a ring or to let you clip your souvenir ticket.

The list of items in the booking office can be seen on the south wall adjacent to the booking office.

If you would like a closer look at the items please ask a Steward.

Younger visitors will find items such as a typewriter, a dial telephone, a ticket date stamp machine and a balance scale very unusual.

©Bluebell Railway Museum 2019 5.0

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