Joseph Hamilton Beattie

Born in Ireland on 12 May 1808 (his father was an architect in Londonderry: (see Coakham) and died [of diphtheria] in Surbiton on 18 October 1871. Beattie was educated in Belfast and then trained under his father as an architect (Marshall).  Ellis: Twenty... "Martinets are going to be fairly conspicuous in this book" is how the Chapter on Beattie begins] Bradley called him "austere". A hot-tempered Irishman and prolific inventor, Joseph Beattie took charge of the locomotives of the LSWR  from 1 July 1850 following John Viret Gooch's departure for the Eastern Counties Railway. He had worked for Locke on the Grand Junction Railway and joined the LSWR as an Assistant Engineer in 1838 at £200 per annum. H.M. Le Fleming (Concise encyclopaedia).. 

Introduced his patented firebox onto the County Down Railway through his friendship with W.R. Anketell. He also communicated with the highly successful Sir John Macneill on this issue.

Beattie was one of the first British locomotive superintendents to abandon the single driver locomotive (in 1859) in favour of the 2-4-0. Under the influence of Beyer, whose firm built most of the LSWR locomotives, his designs slowly grew more pleasing to the eye. He devoted much time and energy to improving the locomotive boiler, registering many patents. He was a pioneer in designing fireboxes to burn coal instead of coke: this involved the development of extremely complex fireboxes with internal partitions and with holes to admit air into the fire/s. He also experimented with feedwater heaters, soon realizing that the exhaust steam used to provide the heat must be kept from actual contact with the feedwater. He retained a low centre of gravity for his locomotives after some his contemporaries had abandoned this quest. Hewison (Locomotive boiler explosions pp 48-50) considers one very serious explosion which afflicted a Beattie locomotive at Basingstoke on 10 October 1857.


Some locomotive inventions of Joseph Beattie. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev.,. Vols 41 and 42.

8741/1840 16 December 1840: Locomotive engines, carriages, chairs, and wheels used on railways, machinery and their construction.
13,782/1851  22 October 1851: Construction of railways, locomotive-engines and carriages used thereon; machinery by which some of the improvements are affected.
Omnibus claims: axles, points, switches...
69/1853 11 January 1853: Economizing fuel in the generation and heating of steam.
259/1854 1 February 1854: Furnaces, treatment of steam.
2129/1855 24 September 1855: Furnaces and boilers for the generation of steam; apparatus for the application and treatment thereof.
2175/1855 Railway wheels and axles: 29 September 1855.
??/1858 Locomotives. 19 February 1858
938/1859 14 April 1859: Means of preventing locomotive engines and carriages in motion on railways leaving or running off the rails.

Other references to

Bradley, D.L. Locomotives of the L.S.W.R. Part 1. RCTS 1965.
H. Ellis, The South Western Railway(1956).
Ellis, C.H. Joseph Hamilton Beattie. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1944, 50, 48.
The original material for the same Author's Twenty locomotive men. This contains some additional illustrations.

William George Beattie

William George Beattie succeeded to his father's post upon his father's death (he had joined the LSWR as a draughtsman in 1862). He was not a success and was forced to resign in 1877. He died in London on 28 May 1918. John Marshall. 


559/1864. Locomotive [spark arrestor]. 5 March 1864.