This carriage body was located in a back garden in Coulsdon (as seen in the photo on the right), in a position where it could not be recovered complete. However, the ends and other components from this coach were obtained in 1998 initially to provide reference material and spare parts for the other vehicles in our LBSCR Stroudley train, and those component parts are now carefully stored.
Being a slightly different design from our suburban brake thirds, No.949 and No.676, in having full height partitions and luggage racks, and with the recovered sections being in better condition than No.676, it is thought that the latter might remain as a museum piece, whilst No.725 might in due course be the preferred candidate for restoration as the second Stroudley brake, providing a contrast with No.949.
Originally oil lit, having partitions (unlike the suburban versions) it originally had two oil lamps, placed in cut-outs in the top of the roof-hoops above the inter-compartment partitions, to light the three passenger compartments. A third lamp was provided in the guard's compartment. The carriage was later converted to gas lights, with one lamp per compartment, and shaped pieces of timber used to cover the resulting holes in the roof hoops between compartments.
The interior of the brake van carried the lettering "Set Train 2.EX" - this was one of three sets, each of 16 loose-coupled Stroudley carriages listed in a formation plan of February 1918, seating 700 third-class and just 32 first-class passengers. The meaning of "EX" is currently a matter of conjecture, and could refer to extra sets, or other special use such as military or civil contingency.
Right - surviving partition and luggage rack, showing also the covered-over hole in the roof-hoop which originally accommodated an oil lamp, before dismantling and recovery to the Bluebell in 1998.
Further Reading: LB&SCR Carriages, Volumes 1 & 2, Ian White, Simon Turner and Sheina Foulkes, Kestrel Railway Books, 2014 & 2016.