Vol 14; No 22 Vic Mitchell

Non-Hampton & Richmond Borough related posts.
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Things you may not know, or didn’t know you knew!

Railway Historian

Railway enthusiasts come in different sizes, take the Rev W Awdrey and his Thomas, The Tank Engine books, but a Dentist? Such was the original day-job for Vic Mitchell, until he branched out into publishing railway books.
Vic Mitchell (1934-2021) was born Joseph Charles Victor Mitchell in Hampton, to Wilfred (a Dental Surgeon) and Amy. From a very early age Vic, as he preferred to be known, had an all-compassing interest in railways. The father of one of his friends was Chief Engineer of the Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway. Victor spent a lot of his spare time at Hampton Station, during which he became an unpaid assistant, having cab rides on steam engines, issuing tickets in the ticket office and spending time in the Signal Box.
On Victor’s 10th birthday, there was only one guest – Hampton’s Station Master!

In the late 1950s, Victor did his National Service with the RAF, marrying his wife in 1958. Four years later they moved to Midhurst, Victor opening up a Dental Practice in Petersfield. In 1972 he invented an Illuminated Probing Handpiece which gained him a Gold Medal at an Exposition in Geneva – there was also an appearance on Tomorrows World with a Composting Toilet!
In the early 1950s Mitchell had already got involved in what we now call ‘Heritage Railways’ particularly with the Festiniog Railway in Wales. In 1978 Mitchell published a one-off map of the London & South Western Railway, from his home Middleton Lodge and from such small acorns was born Middleton Press.
The first book was ‘Branch Lines to Midhurst’, which was self-financed to the tune of £5000, a not inconsiderable sum at the time. From that first book, over 600 titles have been published, making Middleton Press one of the best-known publishers of railway literature.

Vic, passed away in 2021, but the company carries on with members of the extended family still involved in the business, but now in new premises in Haslemere, rather than in the family home.
The Old Historian
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