The Penny Salon Micro-Gallery at Ongar Station

Free admission! Gallery open whenever trains are running!

The Penny Salon Gallery Award winning Malcolm Root Painting


Latest Exhibition

27 December 2019 - 23 February 2020: Snow and Steam.

Snow – it wouldn’t be winter without it. So take the magic of snow and add the spectacle of steam. If you get sun as well the results can be stunning. Judge for yourself in this exhibition of some the best of steam railway photography by Geoff Silcock taken over the last six decades. But snow doesn’t just inspire railway photographers. See also a selection of photographs and artwork with a countryside or transport theme – but all with the added element of snow!

You can expect an all welcoming fire in the original Ongar Station hearths, when snow pictures again cover the walls of the Penny Salon from 27 December and into 2020. One of its two resident photographers, Geoff Silcock, presents the third SNOW AND STEAM presentation and exhibition. With more than 35 A3 and larger sized framed pictures, many of the images will be on show for the very first time in public, with many originally seen in the pages of specialist magazines. 

You don't need to be a steam or photographic buff to enjoy the two of the greatest elements to be seen in photography, with Geoff's stunning prizewinning black and white and colour images of snow and steam taken over five decades.

Arrow in the Snow - on display in the Penny Salon Gallery Silhouette in the snow - on display in the Penny Salon Gallery

Images on show date back to the very early 1960s, and from the time when Geoff was initially apprenticed in the photographic Industry. These include 3 black and white everyday pictures all taken within 20 minutes of each other on the Monday after a snow-storm had overwhelmed his local Harringay West Station in North London the weekend before. These images from 1961 can now be seen in exhibition together for the first time, plus the Malcolm Root F.G.R.A . original colour painting, that was based on 2 of the 3 combined, and which appears alongside the original prints as a comparison.

The latest image in the overall snow and steam exhibition was taken 56 years later, and shows the North Weald station approach after a blizzard had partially abated, with appropriately an Epping and Ongar Railway steam- hauled "Santa Special" train approaching from the whiteout around it.

Snow and Steam in the Penny Salon Gallery at Ongar Station

Between 19 and 23 February there will also be a ‘pop-up’ exhibition of Thames shipping photographs to highlight the publication this month of Malcolm Batten’s latest book ‘River Thames shipping since 2000: Passenger ships, ferries, heritage shipping and more’. This accompanies the earlier book ‘River Thames shipping since 2000: Cargo shipping’. The author will be on hand at the Penny Salon to talk about these and to sign copies of any of his books if required. Books are expected to be on sale in the gift shops at North Weald and Ongar stations.

Malcolm Batten book

There will also be an album exhibition of Malcolm’s photographs of London Country buses in service and in preservation throughout the week to tie in with the bus rally on Sunday 23 February. 

Coming Next

Following on at The Penny Salon from 4 April 2020 until early May will be the first presentation of Esoteric Steam by Geoff Silcock. With another 30 new images expected for the first time in exhibition, the colour and black and white photography will present steam trains in their many moods and surroundings, again from the 1960s and 1970s, and then on into the 21st century, reflecting the brave new age of heritage railways, that was encountered mainly in Geoffs role as Supremo of his home-spun photographic charter group "Sentimental Journeys" at over 42 heritage railways.


Future Exhibitions

An interesting and entertaining programme of presentations is planned for the future. Watch this space or our news pages for further details.


The Gallery

The Epping Ongar Railway opened the ‘micro-gallery’ at Ongar Station on Saturday 27 May 2017. The gallery is in the Ladies Waiting Room at the station. A railway volunteer and professional photographer who specialises in steam photography, Geoff Silcock, has worked alongside the Epping Ongar Railway Volunteer Society members to transform the room into a place to display photographs and pictures. Mr Silcock has worked with local photographic and historical societies to bring a programme of interesting and relevant exhibitions to the Railway.

Penny Salon ExhibitionThe free bijou exhibition area has been named "The Penny Salon" and will be open whenever trains are running to provide interest for passengers.

The output of "The Penny Salon" consists partially of the well established work of Eastender Reg Batten, who achieved his 100th birthday before he passed away in 2014. Reg spent much of his leisure time from the 1930s until he was well into his 80s, recording images from the now bygone world around him, especially from around Essex; Malcolm Batten is the custodian of his fathers work, and continues the family tradition, with countless photographic images published in magazines, plus several articles to his credit, and with published books on related transport subjects; and Geoff Silcock, with well over 50 years overall involved in the pursuit of his passion for especially steam trains, including  its related photography and railway journalism content, with over 100 published articles in specialist magazines over the last 25 years... Plus he assures everyone that he also found the time to spend over 45 years in the photographic "D&P" profession from the early 1960s...

The inaugural month through to 18 June 2017 hosted The Essex Monochrome Society with Black and White images mainly from in and around Essex, including steam trains. This was followed by an exhibition by the Ongar Historical Millenium Society titled "The Railway Comes to Essex". "Bygone Essex" was the third exhibition to be held in the gallery, and a further selection of Reg Batten's iconic images will appear in a future exhibition. The 2017 season concluded with a selection of images from by long- time steam photographer, troubadour writer, and former Sentimental Journeys charter organiser Geoff Silcock, entitled Steam in the Frame, taking viewers on a journey from 1961 right through to the present day Epping Ongar Railway. 


Fry's Chocolate Cabinet

Fry's Chocolate CabinetThe c.1890s "Frys Chocolate" glass cabinet,that was gifted to the Epping Ongar Railway, and refurbished by Malcolm Batten forms an important part of The Penny Salon's presentation of artefacts allied to the main displays.


Why "The Penny Salon"?

The name "The Penny Salon" is taken tongue in cheek from the c. 1865 built station rooms other use as its original Ladies Waiting Room.