George Frank Burtt

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Burtt  (more often known as Frank Burtt) was born in Greenwich on 22 March 1871 and died in Brighton on 22 August 1949. Educated Colfes Grammar School, Lewisham and West Kent Grammar School (Marshall). Apprenticed under Stroudley at New Cross Works. Moved to Drawing Office, Brighton 1892 where he remained until he retired in 1932. He was an extremely energetic man and during the labour shortage of WW2 he went back to Brighton works and was employed photographing new construction and also developing and printing x-ray photographs of boiler plate welds, and finally as librarian, completing in all 51½ years' railway service, and serving under no less than six C.M.E.s: W. Stroudley, R. J. Billinton, D. E. Marsh, L. B. Billinton, R. E. L. Maunsell and O. V. S. Bulleid. He was a founder member of the Stephenson Locomotive Society and of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers. Very important locomotive historian, although R.J. Billinton insisted that his work should remain pseudonymous. He was one of Ian Allan's pioneering authors of most excellent slim locomotive histories. Fred Rich (Steam Wld, 2005 (217) 23) called him a "fiery little man" and gives details of how he took official photographs involving newly assembled locomotives and the staff involved. Many are reproduced in his 1946 study of Brighton locomotives. His involvement in the founding of the Stephenson Locomotive Society is celebrated in Backtrack, 2009, 23, 646.
Burtt took a leading part in the formation of this Institution of Locomotive Engineers. The original secretary was T. H. Baxter, but after a few months he obtained a colonial appointment and Burtt was appointed in his stead. He acted as honorary secretary, treasurer and publisher until 1922. The growth of the Institution necessitated his relinquishing the secretaryship in that year but he retained the position of honorary publisher and treasurer until a whole-time paid secretary and treasurer was appointed in 1931. For his services to the Institution he was made an Honorary Life Member and presented with a purse of gold and an illuminated address signed by all the Past-Presidents under whom he had held office. Obit  J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1949, 39, 386. .

Paper
Some French Train Services and Locomotive Performances (Paper 19).

Books
It would seem that Burtt assisted the Ian Allan in getting started.
LB&SCR locomotives: an up-to-date survey from 1870. Staines: Ian Allan, 1946. 57p.
Clear and concise work: Burtt worked for the LBSCR. From the bibliographical standpoint the book is interesting in that it is clear that neither the author nor the publisher knew much about pamphlet production as  there are six blank sheets "for notes" (at a time of extreme paper shortage!).
The locomotives of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway, 1839-1903. London, 1903.
See Ottley 6678 for a full account of this book which began life as a series of periodical articles, and all of which were published pseudonymously as Burtt was an employee of the LBSCR.
S.E. & C.R. locomotives, 1874-1923. London, Ian Allan, 1947. 46 p. 36 illus., 16 tables.
A clear and concise work.
London & South Western Railway Locomotives 1873-1922. Ian Allan, 1948
Cross Channel & Coastal Paddle Steamers. Richard TIllIng, 1934
Steamers of the Thames & Medway. Richard Tilling, 1949

Porttrait: Group photograph at Swiss Locomotive Works, Winterthur on 2 June 1930. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1930, 20, Plate (between pp 466-7)

2013-11-16