Oldest toy train
A rudimentary model of Stephenson's Rocket that was made by a father for his son after seeing it chug past their home has emerged as the oldest toy train in the world.The simple wooden toy
was hand-crafted out of scraps of wood by the loving dad who whittled them into the shape of the legendary steam locomotive.
Made from sight in the late 1820s or early 1830s, the model is almost as old as the first real locomotives.
On the Antiques Roadshow to be broadcast this Sunday, expert Paul Atterbury described it as 'extraordinary.'
‘It's old bits and pieces knocked together to please a child, and it looks like a locomotive of the 1820-1830 period.
‘We're right at the birth of railways here - the Stockton and Darlington was opened in 1825.'
He added that the toy is clearly based on a locomotive of this time. ‘So if this is actually recording those very early years of railway history, it is an extraordinary document,’ he said.
The ten-inch long toy has four wheels attached to a block of wood, a cylindrical piece that may have been a stair banister for the boiler and a chair leg for the iconic blast pipe.
The unnamed family lived in a cottage that backed onto the Stockton and Darlington Railway in County Durham - the world's first public railway that the Rocket ran along.
It remained in the family until it was bought from them by current owner Tom Robson in the 1960s.
The retired schoolteacher has cherished it ever since and took it along to the BBC's Antiques Roadshow where it was identified as probably the oldest toy train in the world.
Expert Paul Atterbury said it could be worth as much as £5,000.
Mr Robson, 67, from Sunderland, said: ‘If my house was to catch fire this would be the first thing that I'd grab.
‘I love it. I've had it fifty-odd years.
‘I bought it from a gentleman whose family had lived in the same house for years.'
He added that it was made by a father for his little lad as he watched it chugging up and down outside his backyard. He simply copied what he saw, and that happened to be Stephenson’s Rocket.
‘I liken it to myself making a model of the first space shuttle for my son. You can't touch it, but just see it and observe it from a distance,’ he said.
‘I have just lived with it over the last 50 years and have kept it on a shelf,’ he said. He brought it along to the Antiques Roadshow thinking it might be worth around £30, but added that he intends to keep it and pass it on through his family.