Issue Date: 14/06/2011
Issue Name: Thomas the Tank Engine - The Centenary of Rv W Awdry
Producer: Buckingham Covers
From the moment Thomas the Tank Engine first rolled into our lives in 1946, he has been entertaining young and old on his locomotive adventures. 2011 sees us celebrate the centenary of the birth of Thomas' creator, Reverend Awdry, and we couldn't hide our excitement when we heard about Royal Mail's special Thomas the Tank Engine issue! Celebrate the centenary of the creator of the locomotive that choo-choo'd his way to our hearts with our stunning first day cover.
Thomas the Tank Engine - A Short History
When Reverend Awdry first created Thomas, the engine existed only as a wooden toy made for his son Christopher. Thomas wasn't originally based on a prototype, and the initial stories were only an accompaniment to the toy. However, after Awdry's wife encouraged him to publish the stories, the publisher of the second book hired an illustrator named Reginald Payne, for who'm Awdry selected a real locomotive to work from, thus creating the iconic image of Thomas which remains relatively unchanged to this day. Although Thomas was the most popular character in the Railway Series, he did not actually feature unil the second book of the series.
After Britt Allcroft discovered Awdry's Railway Series following research done for a short film for the Central Office of Information about the resurgence of interest in steam railways, she became completely absorbed. She met with Awdry, with the idea of turning Thomas into a television series, who although initially reluctant, eventually agreed. Britt spent three years to finance the production, which included mortgaging her house and using her life savings, and her dream eventually came true when the first episode of Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends aired in the UK in September 1984. The series was imensely popular, and was originally narrated by Ringo Star.
Want to see our all the covers in our 4th Series? View them all here
A small number of these covers have been personally signed by Britt Allcroft, the woman who risked everything, including remortgaging her house and using her life savings, to bring the world of Thomas the Tank Engine to life.