A very unique locomotive.....
The locomotive left the Boyne Engine Works, Jack Lane, Hunslet, Leeds on the 24th June 1912. It was delivered to Thomas W Ward’s Albion Works in Sheffield. Wards apart from being celebrated scrap metal recyclers [scrap men!] were into various forms of heavy engineering. The company had also become machinery dealers and a spin off from that was the buying and selling of industrial locomotives, usually used ones. Quite why they took delivery of a ‘special’ order loco from Manning Wardle is unclear. It may have been a frustrated order, or a loco built for stock. It was certainly of a heavy build and ideal for steel works or scrap yard use. It’s unclear on the records weather 1795 actually worked for Wards; if it did it certainly wasn’t for long. Manning Wardle’s factory records have it moving again to James Lysaghts steelworks at Scunthorpe on 13th January 1913.
At this point the records are vague. There are details of new parts including a set of steel tyres being ordered for the locomotive, probably while still at Lysaghts in 1914. But how long it remained in Scunthorpe is unclear. Mabbott’s book has it moving to the Wensley Lime Company Limited at Preston Under Scar in North Yorkshire during 1913. As the new owner is listed in the factory log as ‘Cargo Fleet Wensley Lime’ I doubt it moved that early. Cargo fleet did not purchase the Wensley Lime Co Ltd until 1920 when the quarry was mechanised. Up until that point Wensley Lime would have had no use for a loco, as the quarry was little more than a big hole in the corner of a farmer’s field! Having examined the records myself I can see how it would be easy to make this mistake. The records include a number of crossings out and are confusing. The date next to Wensley Lime most likely relates to James Lysaghts ownership, which is in the next column. There is another virtually illegible name in the record which could read Brums or Burns & Co Newcastle but there are no other details or a date. Anybody having any ideas please get in touch. I have very few pictures of the loco before 1957 and would be very interested in any others that exist particularly at Scunthorpe.
The next significant date for the loco, which is referred to in a number of books is 1936. This was the year that the loco was rebuilt by a company named Ridley Shaw & Co Ltd of Middlesboro. The company had previously been called Ridley T.D. and had built half a dozen locomotives of their own up to about 1920. The date of the rebuild was shown on the second works plate visible on the cab side; unfortunately I do not possess any of the original works plates although they do still exist. I now suspect that the loco moved to Wensley Lime in late 1936 after the Middlesbro rebuild.
The next date I can be sure of is May 1957 when the loco was moved to Irchester Quarries near Wellingborough. In 1957 the Preston Under Scar site had been modernised. The railway was replaced with a continuous conveyer belt system to feed the screens, making 1795 redundant. Wensley Lime had been liquidated in 1954 and the lease at Preston sold to the South Durham Steel and Iron Company Ltd, who were the owners of the Irchester quaries. It would not have been unusual for 1795 to have been scrapped, it was an old engine and plenty of similar ageing engines were scrapped due to the onset of dieselisation. Undoubtedly it was saved because it had a new boiler manufactured by Robert Stevenson and Hawthornes in 1948. Stevenson’s were at that point agents for Manning Wardle spares as they had taken on the goodwill of the business when Kitson’s closed in 1938. Interestingly South Durham had sent another loco Hunslet Number 2412/1899 from Irchester to Wensley Lime in 1949. 1795 found favour at Irchester and served there as number 14 until set aside for preservation in August 1969, a very admirable service life of 57 years.
Preservation was not a happy time for the loco. It did steam 3 times but due to the valves being on the wrong eccentrics never actually moved! Much excellent restoration work has been carried out, and I intend to complete this to the highest possible standard.
As you can see there are many gaps in the history. I would be grateful to anybody who can assist in helping to fill these with pictures or information.
Incredibly I have recently found colour cine footage of the loco working at Irchester in 1965. This has been converted to a VHS format and is available on the Ivo Peters collection volume 15.