No 1941 represents the third stage of carriage development on the GWR, from the broad gauge papier-mâché bodies through the short 30ft coaches to the larger Dean bogie carriages being built in the last ten years of the 19th century. This coach is 46ft long, has 8 compartments seating 10 passengers in each. Lighting was by gas provided from tanks under the coach chassis. There is no provision for a corridor and no provision for any lavatory. The gas lamps were tall and to provide space in the compartments the central section of the roof was raised forming what is known as a clerestory roof, so keeping the lamp clear of the passengers' heads. The carriage is mounted on Dean centreless bogies, which are supported at the corners of the frames and not in the centre as is normal. In 1901 it cost £812.0s.0d to build.
Introduced in the 1890s they replaced earlier coaches and being built in hundreds with many variations, they formed the basic coaches until newer designs appeared in the first decade of the 20th century.
Some of these carriages lasted in passenger use until the late 1950s, following which a few spent further time as departmental coaches as did 1941. 1941 was discovered at Newport (Gwent) in a marshalling yard, and after purchase was moved to Canton Depot for work to continue. It now boasts a full complement of 8 fully restored compartments, completely reupholstered in ‘Brown and White star’ moquette from the early 1900s
This in its day was the standard third class coach, now it is one of only two in existence. The other, No. 1357, is awaiting restoration here at Didcot.
This lovely vehicle is normally on display in the carriage shed but very occasionally escapes for a run on the demonstration lines.