One of, if not THE seminal P4 layout, Heckmondwike came about from an exchange of letters between Bob Essery and Cyril Freezer.
Essery, already convinced that P4 standards were the way forward, wrote to Freezer asking ‘How do I convince the hobby and in particular some of my friends that P4 is a workable standard‘. Freezer’s reply was ‘It’s no use writing theory, you have to build an exhibition layout, but it needs to be an impressive double track main line on a continuous run. Take it on to the exhibition circuit and show them but it must run at least as well as the best EM layouts’
As a result of this letter and a meeting with the North London Group, construction of the layout began in February 1974 and it attended it’s first exhibition over Easter 1976 at the Model Railway Club show in London. The layout attended it’s last public show in Bristol in 1978.
The layout featured in numerous magazine articles over the years, a list of which can be found on the North London Group website here.
Scalefour News Issue 100 contains an article, well worth a read, on the history of the layout by Bob Essery entitled ‘The Story of Heckmondwike and the Aftermath’.
The North London Group have kindly allowed us to show the video of Heckmondwike below. Please note that there are a couple of passages of silence in the video due to having to remove some copyrighted music.