I've been pondering over the last couple of days about the use of backscenes. These are obviously not a new thing; The Rev was using them in 1949 according to the Wild Swan book. But are they really necessary? Off the top of my head I can think of only one well known layout that left them off , that being Rice's Butley Mills and there must be a lot more. And that underlines my point - if I didn't register that there wasn't one, did it matter?
The reason for this questioning is the long problem of the home v exhibition layout, the issue being that if it's rear operated (which I tend to favour) then if stuffed and mounted at home you are viewing the grotty back, or more to the point the back of a piece of hardboard. Not very visually pleasing. If we remove the fishtank boxing that has become so popular in recent years and have no backscene at all, then the layout becomes, to all intents and purposes, double sided; viewable from the now open rear at home, and from the opposite during the 5 days of the year that it's on public display. Or what about de-mountable backscenes that can be swapped back to front?
What are trying to achieve with backscenes and why?