Swindon & Wolverhampton
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Chief draughtsman at Swindon in the 1850s. T. Houghton Wright: In the Days of Gooch. Rly Mag., 1898, 3, 345-52.
Barton, John Henry Theyer
Born in Coln Rogers, Gloucestershire in 1886. Educated at Cirencester Grammar School. Apprenticed at Swindon. Joined Buenos Aires Pacific Railway in 1908. In 1930 became Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Entre Rios and North Argentine Railway. From 1947 until his retirement in 1949 he was General Manager of that railway. Died 18 Decemeber 1957..Obituary J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1958, 48, 152..
Burrows, George Henry
Born 16 January 1870; died 27 July 1923. Apprenticed at Swindon Works from age of 13. Became Chief Draughtsman in December 1905. IMechE obituary (1824). Prepared the drawings of the tapered Belpaire boilers for Churchward based on John Player's Brooks Locomotive Works design. See Rutherford Backtrack, 2008,22, 748.. See also Swindon superheater: Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1910, 16, 240-1. Portrait in Railway reflections series: Backtrack, 1998, 12, 50.. Died in 1923 Rutherford Great Western 4-6-0s. Was Maurice Burrows his son? Possibly in group photograph with Hawksworth at Swindon Backtrack, 2013, 27, 278.
27181/1908 Improvements in flue type superheaters, with George Jackson Churchward and Clifford Charles Champeney. Applied 15 December 1908. Published 15 December 1909.
4209/1908 Improvements in steam boiler superheaters. Applied 25 February 1908 (Priority 4 April 1907) Published 4 February 1909.
Born Liverpool on 15 December 1829. Died 24 March 1896. Had been Locomotive Works Manager for 30 years: retired in 1895. Had been apprenticed at Edge Hill and Crewe Works. Then worked for Pearson & Co., Marine Engineers and at the Vulcan Foundry. In 1855 he joined GWR under Joseph Armstrong at Wolverhampton and went with him to Swindon. Nock, Peck and online..
Champeney, Clifford Charles
See Swindon superheater: Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1910, 16, 240-1.
27181/1908 Improvements in flue type superheaters, with George Jackson Churchward and George Henry Burrows. Applied 15 December 1908. Published 15 December 1909.
4209/1908 Improvements in steam boiler superheaters. Applied 25 February 1908 (Priority 4 April 1907) Published 4 February 1909.
120,995 Improvements in the manufacture of weldless three link coupling chains for railway and similar vehicles. with Frank William Marillier. Applied 12 December 1917. Published 5 December 1918.
Divisional Locomotive Superintendent at Newton Abbot from 1927. Photographic albums formerly owned by him held at Great Western Trust at Didcot. Letter: Amyas Crump Backtrack, 2008, 22, 125.
Clothier, Alan Cary
Born 10 January 1928. Educated Sexey's School Bruton. Draughtsman at Swindon responsible for design of double chimneys fitted to King and some Castle class in final period of steam: see Durrant p. 129. Shed master Cardiff East Dock 1955; Technical Assistant to Superintendent MPD Newton Abbot 1957; Works Study Officer MPD South Wales 1958; Divisional Maitenance Engineer Newcastle 1965-78. Cornwell Whos who. Frequent contributor to Great Western Railway Journal. Active on 82045 preservation at Bridgnorth.
Premium apprentice at Oswestry Works (illustrated paage 112 of Green's Cambrian Railways) and according to Green achieved a position of responsibility at Swindon. Presumably son of E. Colclough, Works Manager at Oswestry.
Possibly in group photograph with Hawksworth at Swindon Backtrack, 2013, 27, 278.
K.J. Cook: Charles Crump was the GWR Running Superintendent and Outdoor Assistant to the CME [Collett], a charming man but rather inclined to be permanently somewhat pessimistic and he was very worried. He came across to see Hannington to discuss his troubles and then they both came into my office to unload them on to me. After a good deal of discussion, I said I thought there were two alternatives. If Crump could get the CME to withdraw the cuts we had to make, well and good, but I did not think that there was any likelihood of this. The other alternative would be a slow and laborious job but I thought it would ultimately attain its end. Holcroft's Locomotive adventure includes two photographs in which C. Crump (junior, the one who went to Swindon is present) and senior are present. There is also an E.S. Crump who went off to the Punjab as a railway engineer..
Chief Draughtsman under Churchward. According to Peck he died on 4 April 1925 aged 50. He was succeeded by Hawksworth. Deverell was closely involved in the design of The Great Bear. Rutherford noted that when Deverell was Chairing a meeting of the Junior Engineering Institute for a paper given by W.H. Pearce he stated that "As Great Western men we are proud of our four-cylinder engines". Portrait in Railway reflections series: Backtrack, 1998, 12, 50. Possibly in group photograph with Hawksworth at Swindon Backtrack, 2013, 27, 278.
Mentioned by Nock in GWR steam: one of two senior draughtsman responsible for operating Swindon dynamometer car: worked with E. Pearse. But despite the very serious attitude adopted towards their work, Dumas in particular was a great character. There is a cartoon of him in the Swindon archives showing him packing his bag: 'Ready for the "double-home"', as the title went, and into a tattered old Gladstone bag was going nothing but a nightshirt and the maximum number of bottles of beer that could be got into that bag. To be out with him on a 'double-home' was always something of an adventure. He was a widely read and well travelled man, and whatever the hour his young protéges had to be taken round and shown the sights at their staging point, even if it meant, as on one wartime task, shinning up a monument in order to read the inscription by lighted matches in the blackout.
Ell, Samuel O.
Developments in locomotive testing. J. lnstn Loco. Engrs, 1953, 43, 561-91. Disc.: 591-633; 729-34.. (Paper No. 527)
Some design problems of diesel locomotives. J. lnstn Loco. Engrs, 1966, 56, 543-92. (Paper No. 685)..
Based on tests with King class 6001.
Locomotive testing in the fields of design and economic operation. Proc, Br. Rlys. (West. Reg.) Lond. Lect. & Debating Soc., 1952/53, Paper No.4. 16 p. 4 illus., 5 diagrs.
Biography (mainly Westwood)
Although the last years of the GWR did not produce any outstanding locomotive designs, behind the scenes there was a good deal of research and debate. Samuel [Sam] Ell, in particular, made real advances in locomotive testing, with constant steaming at high rates of evaporation. Much of this work involved front-end design, and Ell in the early 1950s showed that without recourse to double chimneys it was possible to increase maximum power output by a precise adjustment of the blastpipe proportions. He found that the maximum steaming limit of a Manor 4-6-0 could be doubled, and that of an LNER V2 2-6-2 more than doubled, in this way. His successful coordination of stationary plant testing with line testing (Controlled Road Testing) solved problems which later would exercise the minds of British Railways engineers. That Ell's previous solution to these problems was unknown to them was subsequently blamed on Great Western secretiveness. see also Durrant Swindon apprentice.
Evitts, Philip S.
Swindon premium apprentice from 1931: left Swindon in 1936. Contributor to enthusiast literature through letters. Latterly lived in Truro..
Flewellen, Geoge Henry
Was a locomotive inspector at Newton Abbot and was present on the footplate on the City of Truro's hazardous race through Devon on 9 May 1904 when 77 mile/h was achieved before Totnes coming down from Rattery and around a 100 was achieved on the descent from Whiteball. He accompanied No. 5000 Launceston Castle during its test running on the LMS and on page 213 Nock of Fifty years of Western express running quotes C.J. Allen's description of Flewellen boarding the Castle on a wet morning at Euston: "stalking up the platform and mounting the high footplate of the Castle complete with bowler hat and umbrella just as he was entering the office.". In an interview on his retirement (reported in Singapore Free Press on 26 August 1926) he stated that he had accompanied King George V on the footplate when he drove the locomotive at Swindon being told what to do by Head Locomotive Inspector Flewellen. He claimed to have travelled on the footplate on four consecutive days from Swindon to Paddington, then down to Plymouth, back to Paddington and home to Swindon covering 472 miles each day. He owned a small car which he liked to drive.
Followed Samuel Carlton as Works Manager Peck.
Hale, Benjamin J.
Foreman travelled with Lord of the Isles to Columbian Exhibition in Chicago and was away from January 1893 until 11 January 1895. In 1912 he was made chief foreman of the machine shop. He retired in 1932. Peck.
Apprentice at Swindon from 1900; in 1919 became assistant divisional locomotive superintendent at Old Oak Common, district locomotive superintendent at Bristol in 1931 and locomotive running superintendent at Swindon in 1931. (Locomotive Mag., 1941, 47, 163). Involved with Clayton (SR), Bulleid (LNER) and Hornbuckle (LMS) in 1934 design for proposed Sentinel-type one-man operated coal-fired shunting locomotive. Rutherford, Backtrack, 2002, 16, 515: skeletal diagram p. 516...
Chief assistant locomotive draughtsman in late GWR period: see Durrant Swindon apprentice
On August 14th, 1922, almost exactly ten years after commencing an apprenticeship at Swindon, K.J. Cook' moved from the Drawing Office to the Locomotive Works to report to R.A.G. Hannington the Works Manager who himself had only been in that office less than a month.
He had been a pupil in the Works at Swindon after which he spent a period as InspectorJunior Assistant to W.A. Stanier who was then Locomotive Superintendent of the Swindon Division, prior to War Service in the Railway Operating Department.
Cook had not met him until reporting to him and his assistant R.H. Grey on his appointment from the Drawing Office. Hannington was a charming man, quiet and friendly, and extremely easy to work with. Cook was pleased to be associated with him for fifteen years until he met an untimely death diving into a swimming pool while visiting his daughter at school one Saturday afternoon. His death was a mystery to me until sometime later Mrs Hannington told me all about it. He was such an expert swimmer and diver that one would not be surprised at his diving into two feet of water if he knew it was that depth. On that occasion he dived in with both hands at his side and although the water was five feet deep, he hit the bottom with such force that he was killed instantly. I had heard that when on Divisional duties it was not unknown for him to bathe in a high level locomotive water supply tank. He also took his morning cold bath in a pond in his garden, if necessary breaking the ice to make a way in.
Early in 1919, on his way home on leave from France, he travelled down with Churchward who told him that he wanted him to go to Worcester as Divisional Loco, Carriage and Wagon Supt, and asked him how soon he could be demobilised. Hannington said he would go up to the War Office the next day, which he did, going to various offices and departments and seeing various Staff Officers but they all rejected his advances. Typical of him, he thought it seemed hopeless but would make one more try, knocked at a door and peered round. Within, there was a corporal sitting at a table who immediately sprang to attention and asked what he could do for him. When told that he wanted to be demobilised, the corporal replied "Yes Sir, certainly" and in ten minutes he was out!
Hannington was in the Worcester Division until 1922 when for a short period he came to Swindon as Manager of the Carriage and Wagon Works and then, when Stanier moved from Locomotive Works Manager to become Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer, Hannington moved to take charge of the Locomotive Works. He had therefore only been in the Works in that position a few days before Cook was appointed to assist him.
The work of the 'Assistant to' Works Manager appeared in the past to have been principally connected with maintenance of plant, layout of shops and preparation of schemes as required. But there was now in view the introduction of a scheme for better control and progressing of locomotive repairs and the routing of components through their processes back to the locomotives for erection.
Richens (Rly Mag. 1967, 113, 496) noted his skill as wheelsmith in broad gauge days.
Ireland, Ernest Grorge
Associated with Great Western Railway throughout the whole of his professional career. After serving his apprenticeship in the works at Swindon he gained further technical training and practical experience in the laboratories and drawing offices until 1899, when he was made assistant superintendent in the locomotive, carriage, and wagon department at Swindon. From 1903 to 1906 he occupied a similar position at Wolverhampton. He was then promoted to be superintendent of the same department at Worcester, where he was responsible for the running and maintenance of all vehicles. Seven years later he became superintendent of the Swindon division, and during his tenure of this appointment he had the additional responsibility for the transport of troops and their equipment between Salisbury Plain and the South Midlands during the war of 1914-18. His final position was that of superintendent of the Newport (Monmouthshire) Division, where he was in charge of locomotive, carriage, and wagon running and maintenance. He continued to hold this appointment until his retirement at the close of 1932. Mr. Ireland was elected a Member ofthe Institution in 1920. His death occurred on 30 March 1943. IMechE obituary,
Chief Draughtsman at Swindon at time of Churchward taking over (Nock). By 1913 had become Works Manager and in that year promoted to assistant to locomotive superintendent (Locomotive Mag., 1913, 19, 2) . Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272..
Superintendent Old Oak Common moved to be in charge Wolverhampton Division: Locomotive Mag., 1913, 19, 2.
Draughtsman in Swindon drawing office where he was encountered by A.E. Durrant.
Carriage Works Manager; 1902-1920. Began his career on the Bristol & Exeter Railway. Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272.
Mattingley, F[rank] C.
Chief Draughtsman at Swindon. Represented Swindon on the design team which schemed the British Railways Standard locomotives. Cox British Railways standard steam locomotives noted that "at Swindon F.C. Mattingly [sic] was a pure-bred Great Western man, nurtured in the unbroken traditions of that line, and uncontaminated hitherto by any foreign thinking on locomotive design. G. E. Scholes was his chief assistant, a man of the utmost integrity and objectivity with whom it was a delight to work. Initialled Swindon drawings as FCM: see letter from Mike Cassey in Gt Western Rly J., 1, 131..
Initialled Swindon drawings as EJN: see letter from Mike Cassey in Gt Western Rly J., 1, 131 and Philip Atkins Before they were famous Backtrack, 2013, 27, 722,
Worked with C.K. Dumas as one of two senior draughsmen responsible for operating Swindon dynamometer car.
Swindon fraughtsman who developed Stephenson valve gear for Churchward and developed the scissors gear for four cylinder locomotives which was challenged by Deeley: see John C. Gibson. Possibly in group photograph with Hawksworth at Swindon Backtrack, 2013, 27, 278.
Peck, Alan Stanley
Entered Swindon Works as an apprentice in 1936. WW2 service in RAOC and REME. Briefly worked in Newport Motive Power District, but otherwise all service at Swindon
The Great Western at Swindon Works. Oxford Publishing. 1983.
Reviewed in BackTrack, 2000, 14, 250 by Mike Blakemore and given five richly deserved stars. Needless to say not available in Breckland City Library: Reprint of valuable work first published in 1983 with second edition in 1993. "It is a classic study of the development of a great railway town and the author looks in detail at its origins and the growth of Swindon Works to their position of pre-eminence, with a host of outstanding illustrations. See also books. see also Durrant Swindon apprentice
While The Great Bear was still being tested, W.N. Pellow came to the Swindon in 1908. He had started his service with the Great Western in May 1904 at the St Blazey Works and sheds in Cornwall as an apprentice in engine-turning, fitting, and erecting. Pellow was a Cornishman. St Blazey, the headquarters of the former Cornwall Minerals Railway, was a very suitable starting point. There were still a number of machines in the machine shop, so that he got early experience of boring and drilling, lathework, planing, and shaping machines. With these, quite heavy overhauls were undertaken on the fleet of 0-6-0 tank engines based on the area. In 1908 Pellow was transferred to Swindon Works to finish his apprenticeship under Churchward, and he immediately took advantage of the opportunities offered there for technical education. He did well and, as a result, he entered the Swindon drawing office early in 1912 under George Burrows. In the drawing office a small team of men had been built up, known as the 'Experimental Gang', whose principal task was to ride on locomotives in service, observing the effects of various experiments and re-porting on them to Churchward. For Churchward, stated Pellow (via Rogers), was very cautious and would not put any ideas or schemes or a new engine into general use until proved in practice over a period of general working. The prototype of a new engine or carriage, for instance, was tested under all kinds of service conditions before he would recommend to the Board that a number of such a type should be put into service. When Pellow went to the drawing office the Experimental Gang were still busy watching and experimenting with The Great Bear and submitting their findings to an intensely interested Churchward. These lengthy tests were brought to an untimely end by the outbreak of the First World War, and before normal conditions could be resumed on the railways Churchward had retired. The following is from Rogers' Steam from Waterloo.
I [Pellow] remember the 0-6-0T engines of the Cornwall Mineral Railway, having worked on repairs to quite a few of them in my early days; although by that time the engines had been re-constructed to work as single units. My father remembered them working as pairs with only a limited supply of fuel and one set of footplatemen; but they never made very long journeys in those days. They would haul empty wagons up to the various clay pits and bring down loaded ones to St Blazey yard, where trains of clay were made up for despatch to Par Dock or the port of Fowey. They did the work for which they were designed very well. After some years the engines were fitted with extended frames at the rear, which carried a coal bunker, and also with a covered-in cab, a buffer beam, buffers, and drawgear; so that they were able to work as single units. Some were sent to other parts of the system and worked on dock lines and in other areas where sharp curves existed.
The work of the Motive Power Department. British Railways (Western Region), London Lecture and Debating Society. 1952
Contribution to Discussion on
Rudgard, H. Organisation and carrying-out of examinations and repairs of locomotives at running sheds in relationship to locomotive performance and availability. J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1947, 37, 130. (Paper No. 464)
Lattery Chief of Motive Power on Western Region
Became Locomotive Works Manager, Swindon in 1947. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1947, 53, 107..
Rea, Minard Christian
Rea was manager of the works under Gooch. He was an Irish gentleman of the highest order, who was most kind to all of us, whom he called "the boys." He died of tuberculosis at the early age of thirty-six, and was buried in St. Mark's Churchyard, New Swindon, regretted by all who knew him, T. Houghton Wright: In the Days of Gooch Rly Mag., 1898, 3, 345-52.
Robinson, James Armstrong
Born in Carlisle in 1854. Began railway career as apprentice under his father at Chester. Eventually he rose to become works manager and divisional superintendent at Wolverhampton, but before that had held similar position at Newton Abbot works. Latterly was Churchward's outdoor superintendent at Swindon. Retired in 1920. David Jackson's J.G. Robinson. Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272.
Father of John George Robinson and James Armstrong Robinson. Born in Walbottle, Northumberland in 1830. Joined Newcastle & Carlisle Railway and whilst working at Carlisle married Jane Armstrong, a farmer's daughter from Walby in 1854. In June 1857 he joined George Armstrong on the Shrewsbury & Chester Railway at Shrewsbury. He then moved to Wolverhampton with Armstrong. In 1869 he moved to Chester to take charge of the GWR shed and shops. In 1876 he was promoted to be locomotive, carriage & wagon superintendent of the Bristol Division from which he retired in February 1897. David Jackson's J.G. Robinson described him as a true morth country gentleman standing well over six feet in height, weighing almost 20 stones and complete with huge bushy beard. He died in 1904 (portrait in Jackson)..
Scholes, Gilbert E.
Scholes was the chief assistant to F.C. Mattingley. Cox British Railways standard steam locomotives noted that Scholes was "a man of the utmost integrity and objectivity with whom it was a delight to work: portrayed on Cox page..
Sly, Arthur C.L.
Served apprenticeship at Swindon. Involved in BR Standard designs and in diesel hydraulics. Initialled Swindon drawings as ACS: see letter from Mike Cassey in Gt Western Rly J., 1, 131.Ended up at Design Centre, Derby (Chacksfield: Ron Jarvis).
Smith, Sid J.
Initialled Swindon drawings as SJS: see letter from Mike Cassey in Gt Western Rly J., 1, 131. Appointed Chief Draughtsman following Hawksworth's promotion following Stanier's departure. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev. 1932,38, 1.
Tony Sterndale worked in the Drawing Office at Swindon Works in the late 1940s. It was a fascinating but sad era, in which the old company was displaced by the nationalized concern. It was also a period when a number of older locomotives their lives prolonged by the needs of the recently-concluded war were finally withdrawn. Tony Sterndale photographed the locomotives old and new that were to be seen around the Works grounds, and some trains on the adjoining main lines, providing a fascinating record of the last days of the Great Western and the first months of the Western Region in the locality. His visits to other places on the western region also generated some interesting photographs, and these are included
Great Western Pictorial No. 3 - The Tony Sterndale Collection. Sue Sterndale. Wild Swan. 2006
Durrant, A.E. Swindon apprentice (1989) stated that was principal assistant to Ell when involved in controlled road testing.
Assistant to District Locomotive Superintendent Wolverhampton to take charge of Worcester.Locomotive Mag., 1913, 19, 2.
Locomotive Mag., 1913, 19, 2. head of running department retired at end of 1912: formerly manager Stafford Road works: Dawn Smith. Aged 55 in 1902; born Newcastle and trained Wolverhampton; chief draughtsman at Swindon: 1885-7 (Peck). Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272..
Williams, Alfred Mason
Born 7 February 1877; died 10 April 1930 was a poet who lived in the vicinity of Swindon. He was almost entirely self taught, producing his most famous work, Life in a Railway Factory (1915), at night after completing a day of hard physical work in the Great Western Railway works in Swindon. He was nicknamed The Hammerman Poet. He was born in Cambria Cottage in the village of South Marston, the son of a carpenter, and grew up in poverty after his father abandoned his wife and eight children. He became a farm labourer at eleven, and then, when he was fifteen he entered Swindon railway works, where he worked in the Stamping Shop for the next twenty-three years. He married in 1903, Alfred pursued a demanding schedule of full-time work and private study. He published his first of book of poems in 1909, Songs in Wiltshire, but his health declined and he left the factory in 1914. Alfred Williams produced a total of thirteen books but died in poverty in 1930 in South Marston. Life in a Railway Factory has been described as undisputed as the most important literary work ever produced in Swindon, about Swindon. Wikipedia (6 October 2011).
Head of running department in succession to Waister: Locomotive Mag., 1913, 19, 2.: Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272.
Wright, Frederick George
Born 1862 and died Swindon on 7 April 1938 (Marshall). Apprrenticed at locomotive depots at Gloucester, Swindon and Bristol. F.G. Wright was Chief Draughtsman at Swindon from 1892 to 1896 when rapid developments were taking place in boiler design. According to Marshall was reposible for much of the design work for the Dean 4-2-2s. He subsequently became Assistant Works Manager, and from 1903 Chief Assistant to Churchward. The design of Old Oak Common locomotive works was due to him. See Rutherford, Backtrack, 12, 153. Ivor Lewis (Backtrack, 2013, 27, 432) suggests that Wright's design ideas found expressin No. 3297 Earl Cawdor which had strong similarities to Great Eastern designs of that period. Group photograph with Churchward: Backtrack, 2013, 27, 272.
Elder son of T.H. Wright: appointed Manager of Swindon Works in 1901 in succession to G.J. Churchward: Rly Mag., 1901, 8, 378.
Wright, T. Houghton
In August, 1851, Wright started in the Swindon Works as an articled pupil to Daniel Gooch: see his In the Days of Gooch. Rly Mag., 1898, 3, 345-52. The men with whom he worked first were two Scotchmen one Charles Whitton, the other George Thompson, the former a great chewer of tobacco, the latter a taker of snuff. My first occupation was tapping nuts preparatory to them being fixed in the cylinders and steam chests, as this was the work my then mates were engaged in, and they did this piecework, and I fancy made a good profit out of it. After about three or four days, in my enthusiasm, I ventured to grind a cold chisel, but unfortunately went to the wrong side of the stone, consequently the small finger of my right hand was nipped off. There were not any Factory Acts in those days or else I should have had to be reported. This caused me to take temporary employment in the drawing office. The pupils in his time were Joseph Bourne, a very dear friend of his, E.W. Briscoe, H.B. Rotton, W.L. Holt, G. Anderson, chief draughtsman, and Frank Topham, of the clerical staff, all of whom are gone to the majority. Died 21 August 1908: Locomotive Mag., 1908, 14, 154. May have been in charge of locomotives on the Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway from July 1886 until December 1892 (but at £30 per annum this must have been no more than acting as signatury). RCTS Locomotives of the Great Western Railway Part 10