The Collections of Fiona Forsythe B.A., M.Sc. Econ., M.C.I.L.I.P. and

Robert. N. Forsythe. M.A. Dip. I.A. Cert. Ed.

This document introduces the principal collections accessible through us. In early 2009 major changes took place at the Forsythe Collection and this page is now a point of entry to collections in EIGHT locations, six of which are public institutions.

The prime collection is that of Transport Publicity materials largely but not exclusively of post-war British Isles interest. This has been re-located to the care and ownership of the National Railway Museum York Search Engine facility.

Core areas now located at York are: British Railways 1948-1997 with its sub-themes like British Transport Hotels, British Railway's Shipping, Motorail, Paytrain, Intercity, Network South East, the All Lines timetable; other private railways also the national network post-privatisation, European Railways with France, Holland and Ireland well covered; there is public road transport and aviation publicity; shipping within which subjects especially well covered include British Waterways Board, Isle of Man Steam Packet, Sealink, Coast Lines and constituents, Caledonian Steam Packet, Macbraynes, Liverpool and North Wales Steamship Company, P&A Campbell White Funnel; the publicity of Industrial Archaeological heritage; and tourist/interpretation brochures collated by county.

The collections retained by us include Model Railways. This is a large but very eclectic collection, two of its few consistent themes being Mark One Coaches and Goods Brakevan Models. That collection largely relates to our model railway history researches and that in turn supports a very large collection of railway modelling magazines and catalogues.

There is a substantial photographic collection mostly on 35mm colour transparency. In the main this dates from 1970 onwards and covers railway, waterway/shipping and omnibus subjects plus a good selection of topography. It is supported with a poster and postcard collection and that in turn includes a substantial pre 1922 railway element. Another supporting element is the ticket collection. Inevitably perhaps there is a stamp collection. This contains most Royal Mail issued FDCs from 1970-2004 and also a substantial airmail cover collection relating to the British Empire inter-war. The themes of the philatelic collections are partly inherited from our parents.  It also includes Uncle Cyril's material (see below).

The library is largely a working library to support our interests but viewed as a collection, it is particularly strong in David and Charles publications. The publicity of transport publications, the BR magazine and certain railway guidebooks are also retained in our library. Maps are an important sub-interest and there is a substantial collection over many scales and dating back to Ordnance Survey first editions. An ongoing project is the use of Library Thing to catalogue the library retained here. In the end the total entered is likely to reach five figures of monographs.

Work with the North Pennines and W. H. Auden ensures both these interests are well covered. Our materials are also an entry point into the Nash collection of Kate Robinson.

We are also an entry point to four collections of Forsythe family material in public hands. This is of interest to family historians, East Anglian, Sri Lankan and maritime history students, all of whom will find significant content. A small Sri Lankan collection from Robert's father James is in the Cambridge University Centre of South Asian Studies. A large collection of James Forsythe MBE's papers is in the Norfolk Record Office. Both these links take you to listings. The NRO material has substantial pre-cursor content to the Forsythe Collection at York including the initial correspondence which first established our own collection in 1972. It also covers related family material recovered from as far afield as Canada. It includes for instance my great grandfather's 1851 passport. There is a previous deposit of James Forsythe papers from the 1960s and early 1970s held by the Great Yarmouth "Time and Tide" museum.

The fourth element is just one album but a treasure nonetheless. "Uncle Cyril" who I do remember although he died in 1964 was my father's only sibling Frances' husband. He had a very respectable naval career, mainly in Submarines and also as a royal equerry. The airmail collection mentioned previously has many items connected to him. If you search on Cyril Coltart Royal Navy numerous hits now come up. They should include this family album. As Frances aged, my father arranged its donation to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich (as it then was). This took place in 1983. A summary of Coltart links is here.

Thanks to my wife's side of the family, a substantial McMurray photographic archive on glass plates from the Kirkcudbright Gatehouse of Fleet area of South West Scotland is in the Stewartry Museum at Kirkcudbright.

A reasonable conclusion is that family history will appeal. This is the case and thanks to my sister Jayne Tracey and a friend Jill Armsby a massive family history exercise has been undertaken. Essentially the Forsythe line takes us back through Norfolk, London (and Ceylon), Bath, Ulster (where my grandfather William was born Carrickfergus 1860) and eventually to Finnarts Farm Loch Ryan (a bit ironic given my wife's Gallovidian ancestry). If you are a Forsythe, a Huddleston, a Chester, a Crawford, a Harbord, a Carter, a Durlacher, a McFarlane, a Bambridge, a Wootton, a McMurray, and a Campbell there may be some connection. We are not up to answering very detailed enquiries but can try to point to resources as we have found them.

Mrs Forsythe nee Harbord about 1830

There is a collection of family paintings like this.

   Email . R N Forsythe, 16 Lime Grove, Prudhoe, Northumberland, NE42 6PR, UK.

   Phone/fax (+44) 01661 834511.