We take a look at the beautiful model railway layout which was built by Maggie Gravett and by her husband Gordon Gravett. It is the famous, award-winning model railway layout showing a little town in Brittany, France, in the early 1960’s. It was written, that they needed seventeen years for making this wonderful miniature world. And, the time was worth it.
Please, Gordon, would you like to tell the story of this model railway layout to the viewers of Pilentum Television?
The layout is based on a small metre gauge railway in Brittany. We've called it “Pempoul”. The name is purely robbed from a small hamlet where there was a sheet we used to stay in, so it doesn't have any sort of bearing on a real railway or that the real railway in the area. But the “Réseau Breton”, which was quite a sizeable system for a metre gauge railway in Brittany, offered us the opportunity to do something a little bit different.
Maggie, as you know, Pilentum Television is based in Germany. And, for a German model railroader it is more or less typical constructing a German model railroad scenery. But you are living in Great Britain. Why did you choose the French railway system for model railroading? And, please, explain to the viewers of Pilentum Television, how did you start building this amazing layout? Where did you get the inspiration from?
We start to work on it, we had to look at papers and pictures and maps and all sorts of things, because we knew not a thing about this railway. A lot of the British Railways we knew. A little bit about or could find out about that the French one. The Internet wasn't bad, but not that good and nothing was being built commercially. So we knew, it would have to be totally, totally hand-built. Everything you saw, had to be hand-built.
Maggie, please, tell me, railway modelling by hand was the only way to catch the essence of this French small town life. How did you learn to make such unique buildings?
I started to get involved doing buildings. I didn't like the plastic buildings because they didn't represent, what I wanted them to represent. I wanted funny things. I want to strange things. I wanted sheds with roofs that had holes in and it's a little bit more difficult, when you've got a ready-made or kit ready to make. So, I used to build. I still do build my buildings right from scratch.
I guess, the viewers of Pilentum Television want to know some more of railway modelling. Please, tell us a bit of you passion.
You can build a square box as a building, put a roof on it, make it look beautiful, but somehow, you don't feel like anybody could live in it because it's just something missing. And very often you can't even put your finger on it and then you change the color scheme. Slightly you put a dent in a front door. You break a window in model form and suddenly - it looks like it's been lived in. And, I think that that is, what we both try to achieve.