Teddy Boston on Pixie's footplate

The late Rev. Edwin Richard "Teddy" Boston (1924-1986) at the controls of his 2' gauge engine "Pixie". His church of All Saints, Cadeby is visible in this scene from the the early 1970s. Many, many thanks to Simon Lomax for this image.

In 1962, Anglia Television's Dick Joyce visited the Rev. Boston at Cadeby to film a segment about Teddy and the workings of his light railway. Dick Joyce interviews Teddy about his passion for railways. The clip has been restored by the East Anglian Film Archive and can be viewed on their website - clicking the image below will take you there.

About Anglia: Rev. Boston's Railway, Cadeby, Leicestershire (1963)
East Anglia Television clip of the Rev. Teddy Boston

British Pathé made a small feature about Teddy Boston and his OO gauge model railway in April 1967. Click the image below to watch the clip on British Pathé' Archives' preview page:

RAILWAY VICAR

Better yet - watch Teddy Boston himself riding the footplate of P2012/41 (a Peckett 0-4-0) in this Youtube clip! (Discovered with thanks by stalwart SiF member Skarloey123 in June, 2007).

Also included in our featured playlist are two vignettes, the first one documenting Cadeby's last open day on the 15th of May, 2005 before closing its doors forever. See if you can spot Trevor ;-)



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 Church of All Saints, Cadeby
A recent view of the church of All Saints in Cadeby - mostly 13th Century. Teddy's gravestone is the cross visible to the left.

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Follows the Foreword to Teddy's autobigraphy Font to Footplate by the Rev W. Awdry. Used with the approval of Audrey Boston.

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Sadly, with the news of the Reverend E.R. Boston's death, on 1st April 1986, this Foreword must take on the nature of an obituary.

The Boston hospitality at Cadeby Rectory was unbounded and delightfully unconventional. A visit there was always a memorable experience.

At Cadeby anything might happen and usually did! A Pixie ran to and fro among the trees, and from time to time a Thistledown smoothed out rough places in the drive. We would go on shopping expeditions to Market Bosworth using a steam roller or traction engine by way of transport, parking, as a matter of course in the town centre. Nobody batted an eyelid, they all knew and were fond of their Rev. Teddy Boston. There was never a dull moment at Cadeby Rectory. Crises might loom, and disasters threaten, but Teddy and his wife Audrey surmounted them smiling, taking everything in their stride.

It is some 38 years since we met Teddy. Characteristically he called without warning at our Cambridgeshire Rectory. He had heard that I was building a model railway and asked if he might see it. He was delighted to see Thomas and Percy (at that time my only two engines) at work, and later on in the year he operated the line for me at our Garden Fete. A year or two afterwards, when Curate of Wisbech, he arranged a footplate trip for me on one of the last surviving Wisbech and Upwell steam tramway engines, and was thus partly responsible for the introduction of Toby to my series of "Engine Books". We went together on many railway expeditions, gathering material for these books and he was delighted to find himself featured as "the Fat Clergyman" with myself as "the Thin one", in some of the stories.

I have read the proofs of this books with enjoyment, but feel that like the Queen of Sheba at the court of King Solomon, I knew that "...the half had not been told..." This was perhaps because of Teddy's own modesty. Teddy was "a man of many parts"; his music, his brass-rubbing and all his other interests were so wide ranging as to enable him to contribute something constructive on almost any subject you might raise in conversation.

In thinking of our Teddy it is important to ralise that despite the impression that this book may seem to give, he was a Parish Priest first and a steam enthusiast second. He never forced religion on anyone; but his sincere faith and devotion was there for all to see, coupled with his impish sense of humour. Many of the thousands who visited Cadeby during the 26 years he was there, and who first came for steam alone, nevertheless have found their way to God through contact with Teddy.

Teddy Boston was a great and lovable man, doing a great work in his own inimitable way. We, and all his many friends, are the poorer for his passing.

Rev W. Awdry
Rodborough, Glos. April 1986

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The Cadeby Light Railway and Brass Rubbing Centre is now closed to the public until further notice.

This writer had the opportunity to visit the Cadeby Light Railway at the delightful village of Cadeby in Leicstershire on a glorious autumn day in September 2004. At that time, there were hints that the Museum in its present form would not last for much longer. The last open day, attended by over 1,000 people, was eventually held on April 14, 2005 (many thanks to Ryan Healy for sharing this with us in form of an article in the Railway Magazine). Since Teddy's death in 1986, his widow Audrey Boston has maintained a regular schedule of such days, but now, at the age of 73, she has decided to seek a buyer for her house, the Old Rectory.

"The Collection is not for sale," she said in interview. "It will go into a Boston Trust and could be loaned to the person who buys the property in the hope that some or all of the railway can be retained on the same site. I feel I owe that much to Teddy."

We can only hope that this will come to pass. In the meantime, here are some of its star attractions, which we may one day see again under new proprietorship:

A narrow gauge steam operated railway, one of the smallest full-size passenger carrying railways in the world.

Cadeby Light Railway
(Cadeby Light Railway as it runs from the back of the Rectory and plunges into deep foliage. Inset: Pixie. Taken Sept 2004)

A large 00 gauge model railway demonstrating G.W.R. running in 1935.

Teddy Boston's GWR layout
(A "Dean Goods" on a corner of Teddy's GWR layout. Note the 2' gauge loco on a flat truck top right. Image © British Pathe 1967)

A Foster agricultural engine ‘Fiery Elias’and a miniature 5" gauge passenger carrying line;

The Boston Collection which won the Leicestershire County Council’s Heritage Award for 1990.

Cadeby Museum exibits
(A very small selection of the exhibits inside the museum, Sept '04)

The late Rev. Wilbert Awdry donated his model of the Mid Sodor Railway to the museum as well as a hand-painted map of Sodor.

A Brass Rubbing Centre, in the 13th century Church, has over seventy replica brasses.

Additional details about these Cadeby treasures, including more pics of the Rev. Boston's extensive 00 layout can be found here - documented by a member of the the Team Triplet tandem cyclist club.

Lastly, here is an article about the Rev. Boston in the 5th August 1986 issue of The Times of London:

Danger Signal
Shock news for unreconstructed Thomas the Tank Engine devotees: the Fat Clergyman's collection of railway memorabilia may be split up. The Rev Teddy Boston, inspiration for the Fat Clergyman in the anthropomorphic tales of steam trains written by his friend, the Rev W. Awdry, died this spring. A fellow puffer fan, he had built up a collection of railway relics, including a traction engine called Fiery Elias, and a road-roller called Thistledown, in the garden of his rectory in Cadeby, near Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. But with Boston's death there are plans to merge his parish, which could result in selling the rectory and the dispersal of the collection. His widow, Audrey, still waiting to hear if she can stay in the rectory, says that she is determined to keep the collection - which is currently open to the public on the second Saturday of every month - together. Awdry says he backs her to the pistons.
Copyright (C) The Times, 1986

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The Rev. Teddy Boston's gravesite in Cadeby

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