As regular readers will know I’ve been struggling with the description of my model railway layout and have been thinking about a name for it. After some research and thought here’s what I’ve chosen.
“All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.”
If you’ve read some of the previous posts on my model railway project you’ll know I’m getting fed up with finding alternative ways to refer to it. Without a name, I can only refer to it by the terribly naff ‘my layout’ or with a description. And there are only so many ways of saying ’19th Century Cornish Tin Mine themed model railway’ 🙁
Additionally, although I’m still in the early stages of it’s construction I’m starting to think of bigger plans for it in the future and I want something that has it’s own identity for which a name is obviously critical.
So after some pontification I’ve picked a stage name for my layout – see there are those words, again!
But it’s not a name I just plucked out of thin air.
I researched hundreds of names. Considering all the usual suspects for model railways – station names etc; names with era or theme context – Wheal Busy, a play on the mining aspect of my layout, was a favourite amongst Twitter followers, and nearby location names.
After a while however I came to three hard rules that any name picked must meet:
1. It must be relevant to the location
2. It must be short
3. It needed to be different and ideally unique
And this whittled my candidate list down to three which stood out.
St Blazey, Strike 1
My layout is imaginatively designed around St Blazey in Cornwall so St Blazey would have been an obvious one. But while being place relevant and meeting rule 1, there are other model railways that reference it and St Blazey itself is a sizeable railway site so it could be confusing, breaking rule 3.
Tywardreath, Strike 2
Researching the area also revealed a nearby name of Tywardreath. This has geographical significance but was a bit long, not the easiest to pronounce and at 11 letters in length fails rule 2.
Not looking good.
My final find was Landreth, sometimes Landreath, which I came across while reading up on Tywardreath. This was the Cornish name for the settlement at St Blazey. This had lots of potential.
It certainly met my three rule criteria.
- Location Relevance, Tick
In centuries past the settlement that became St Blazey was known as both St Blasye (as it was in spelt in the midlde ages) and also by the Cornish name, Landreath. A road in nearby Par, which also features on my layout, Landreath Place, also points to this alternative name for St Blazey.
- It’s Short, Tick
Just 9 Letters. Much better.
- It’s Different, Tick
A Google search of Landreath model railway revealed no Google matches and Landreath on its own showed nothing vaguely competing. If I decide to do something grander with it, the name won’t hinder this.
Bingo. Landreath it is: it’s got geographical relevance; it’s succinct and it’s different.
The Etymology Of Landreath
The origins of the word Landreath, aka Landreth, come from the geography and what its terrain meant for people in the area.
In old Cornish, Landreth apparently means “sanctuary on the sands“.
This fits perfectly with a narrative of the area from the St Blazey Town Council website. This describes this part of Cornwall as “An ancient river valley, enveloped by the hills on the south coast of Cornwall,” and which “provided the site for the settlement which became St Blazey. The parish spread around the wooded hills and followed the track way which man developed to cross the river. Contours of the land were formed as the river met the sea and the summits of the wooded hills were adapted as early occupation sites. People of the Bronze and Iron Ages discovered and used the area for refuge and settlement.”
So Landreth/Landreath, later St Blayse and later still St Blazey, was named due the sanctuary the hill top locations would have given amongst sands from the river and nearby coast.
So there we have it. My layout is now called Landreath and I can finally stop saying ’19th Century Cornish Tin Mine Themed Model Railway’, ‘Cornish model railway’ or other long winded variants. Say hello to the Landreath model railway. Hurrah!!!
And come back soon for further updates on the Landreath layout – see, that’s much better 🙂
> A final, personal, note: I spend a huge amount of time testing, photographing, writing and researching techniques for these articles and pay for all the running costs of MRE out of my own pocket. If you found this article useful you can support me by making a donation on my fund-raising page. Thanks and happy modelling, Andy.
Footnote: There are other names and locations with similar names, notably Lanreath, which are not the same. Landreath, aka Landreth, is the correct one for St Blazey.
If you’re looking for previous post on the layouts before they became Landreath, see Three Names, One Layout.
Andy is a lifelong modeler, writer, and founder of modelrailwayengineer.com. He has been building model railways, dioramas, and miniatures for over 20 years. His passion for model making and railways began when he was a child, building his first layout at the age of seven.
Andy’s particular passion is making scenery and structures in 4mm scale, which he sells commercially. He is particularly interested in modelling the railways of South West England during the late Victorian/early Edwardian era, although he also enjoys making sci-fi and fantasy figures and dioramas. His website has won several awards, and he is a member of MERG (Model Railway Electronics Group) and the 009 Society.
When not making models, Andy lives in Surrey with his wife and teenage son. Other interests include history, science fiction, photography, and programming. Read more about Andy.