Saturday 2 September 2023

Inspired by True Events - Building the Albion Hotel at Singleton

"Inspired by true events" is a caption often seen on movie and TV screens of late. Basically, it means that the script writer has adjusted or amended a true story by altering events or adding different characters which to increase the drama and/or romance of the film. I, for one, am often cynical about these alteration, but if I'm honest, I must also recognise that such changes are also the essence of prototypical modelling. And my latest foray into scratch building underscores the concept of prototypical rather than prototype.

In my most recent post, I made reference to the Albion Hotel, a building which is located just north of Singleton railway station on John Street. I presume that this proximity was the prime reasons for its original construction. My research managed to locate a number of hotel surveys, including a few photos, which had been published by the ANU. These show that the Albion appears to have been built well before 1926 but went through a significant number of changes over time, with probably the most significant occurring some time between 1960 and 1981when a major extension was completed on the western side. These changes are apparent in the two photos below.

I opted to build the 1960 version and have assumed that the extension was not completed until some time after 1973, the upper limit of my modelling time period. The key features I wanted to capture were the shape of the side walls, the awning, the large KB sign and the tiled roof line at the front.

Unfortunately, as I realised later, the KB sign only appeared on the eastern side as there are windows on the western side. But it's the western side that faces the operator. Oh well, that's an example of when inspiration trumps fact! (No political pun intended)


The model was primarily constructed from styrene with brass wire for downpipes and external plumbing. Doors and windows are Tichy products. The windows are oversized but are what I had to hand at the time. The signage and interiors came from the internet. Unfortunately, the large KB signs are not the exact ones in the 1960s photo but are probably close enough. The chimneys came from a good mate who recently acquired a  3D printer. He has also printed a few other items beyond the scope of this article but they will probably be the subject of a subsequent post. A balcony railing has yet to be fabricated.

The sign on the awning was produced using PowerPoint and incorporates a fictitious name of the licensee. This name, William Clarke, comes from my family history, a maternal great great grandfather. He was a publican in Birmingham around 1890. Incidentally, before that he had spent about 20 years on the footplate as a locomotive driver, although, a family story indicates that he was fired from that job for drunkenness.  Still, he was the obvious choice.



The hotel can't be fixed into its final position until the backdrop and ground cover have been finalised. And not to mention the level crossing, hopefully with sensors activating flashing lights, immediately behind the hotel. But that's a challenge for another day!



  1. Phil, that model is so good it is making me thirsty! Cheers, Don

    1. Don, thanks. I'd better speak to the publican about putting some money over the bar. Cheers Phil

  2. Fantastic result Phil! A couple of empty kegs out the back, the stale aroma of beer wafting through the doors and it'll be like a step back to the 1960's!

    1. Thanks Phil. There is more work to do once the building has been placed on the layout including a palling fence and associated items such as empty kegs. Not sure how I will achieve the aroma of stale beer though, perhaps a glass of beer left permanently underneath the layout. cheers Phil