During the late Victorian period the railways had become the general carriers of passengers and their luggage, parcels and trade samples. Passengers could have several trunks and boxes resulting in their luggage spaces becoming filled very quickly, so the railways provided more space in separate vehicles. In many cases the first of the longer bogied vehicles were luggage vans.
Number 933 is an example of a Dean designed luggage and parcels van, of which many variations were built. This example has two large compartments separated by a guards compartment. The large compartments are served by two pairs of double doors on each side to assist in the quick loading and offloading at stations. No corridor connection is provided to other coaches of the train as this was a relatively new invention, nor does the carriage have a clerestory roof as the gas lamps used in this vehicle were much smaller than those in passenger compartments.
Several hundred of these vans were built and used in all trains to all parts of the railway system, some even getting as far as Aberdeen. They always returned to the owning company's metals however. Others found regular use on milk and newspaper trains, some even spending years on the same service.
933 did not suffer the same fate as most, and remained in service until the late 1950s before becoming an office inside Hockley Goods shed, something which started its preservation, for out of the elements its security was assured. Arriving at Didcot in 1976 it has remained under cover and is now undergoing full restoration to its original external livery.
No. 933 has now been substantially rebuilt with the floor area and the lower areas of the side framing having been replaced or repaired and the guard's vestibule and sliding doors reinstated. The doors (all 18 of them) were found to be in very poor condition and have been rebuilt along with the overhaul of all the necessary hinges and locks. The vehicle has been painted in the fully lined chocolate and cream livery typical of the period.