John E. Chacksfield
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The elevation of an Author to a specific page does not indicate, any particular merit, it merely shows that a writer has achieved a certain critical mass. Nevertheless, the Chacksfield books are (1) readable, (2) appear to be reasonably accurate, but (3) feature woefully inadequate bibliographical skills which means that "scholarly" cannot be applied to the works. They are not nearly as good as Geoff Hughes' biography of Gresley from the same publisher. Moreover, Chacksfield does not cite either of Griffith's somewhat less bibliographically limited books on the locomotive engineers of the Great Western and LMS railways. It is normal for an author to recognize those who have ploughed somewhat similar fields. This deficiency must also reflect upon the publisher: Oakwood Press as these books fail to meet the previous standards set by this publisher. The Author has since written biographical works on Mitchell, the aeronautical engineer..
The Coey/Cowie brothers. all railwaymen.
Usk (Mon.): Oakwood, 2003. 176pp. (Oakwood Library
of Railway History 124)
Also includes some material on Alexander McDonnell and his locomotives built whilst he was in charge at Inchicore.
C.B. Collett: a competent successor. Usk (Mon.): Oakwood, 2002. 160pp.
Collett is a difficult subject as he was a retiring person and appears to have little real interest in locomotive design. The bibliography is insufficiently developed. Reviewed by John Marshall in J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2003, 34, 260 (critical of writing style and bibliography)..
The Drummond Brothers: a Scottish duo. Usk: Oakwood, 2005, 168pp. (Oakwood Library of Railway History 133)
Some evidence that author is another Nock, that is a writer who does not read: obviously unaware of the significance of David Hendrie in the affairs of the Highland Railway, but some excellent biographical materail of the sort unearthed by Sean Day-Lewis on Bulleid (Dugald Drummond suffered severely during his stay in the impoverished Inverness). Alternative (mainly positive) view by John Marshall: J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2006, 35, 316..
F.W. Webb: in the right place at the right time. Usk: Oakwood, 2007. 144pp.
This is by far the best of Chackfield's biographies as it makes it abundantly clear that Webb did not take out patents to extend his personal income, but to protect the interests of the Company for which he worked. His salary was considerable, any income from his Patents went to the LNWR. On the very vexed issue of compounding Chacksfield has little to add that is new and tends to follow the usual damning line, except in that it is accepted that some designs were better: the Alfred the Great 4-cylinder compounds, for instance. Chacksfield suggests that many of the foremen at Crewe had public school backgrounds and may have even been at Eton: Reed suggested that Darroch's Etonian background (and he was not a foreman) was unusual...
Richard Maunsell: an engineering biography. Usk (Mon.): Oakwood, 1998. 160pp
The bibliography suffers from a lack of bibliographical citations: thus Phil Atkins' important paper is untraceable (press here for details); the key paper by Cock is not listed; and Nock's major book (one of his few major) is ignored. Nevertheless it is excellent for personal details and for covering the two Irish designs accurately (even citing a contemporary source for the 341 class 4-4-0. Some good material on Ernest Joynt..
Ron Jarvis: from Midland Compound to the HST. Usk: Oakwood, 2004. 176pp.
An excellent biography spoiled by the usual bibliographical limitations: the Author appears to have had excellent assistance from the Jarvis family. There is a minor blemish on page 93 where "the LNER had expanded its trans-Pennine electrified line" [the electrification had to wait for several years until British Railways completed the LNER Project]. The book contains much useful information, especially on the modified Bulleid Pacifics, and also on some unlikely topics, such as the LMS three-car streamlined diesel railcar, but serious error on 39 where name Haworth is transcribed as Hayworth.
Sir Henry Fowler: a versatile life. Usk(Mon): Oakwood, 2000. 168pp.
Foreword by H.A.V. Bulleid
Sir William Stanier: a new biography. Usk (Mon.): Oakwood, 2001. 168pp.
An excellent biography which only fails in that it does not include a full list of his publications as listed herein this website.