Steamindex home page
Many enthusiasts manifest themselves in their writings. Many of the fortunate ones were also railway employees: some were employed in the public relations and publicity and were natural writers: one thinks of George Dow and D.S.M. Barrie. A few were professional engineers, some were on the design side (Cox and Holcroft) and others on the operating side (Dunn and Dick Hardy). Many were more difficult to place: C.J. Allen was a materials inspector, Nock worked for a major supplier of signalling systems. Ian Carter has written a book British railway enthusiasm, reviewed by KPJ in Backtrack. Denis Dunstone's For the love of trains has been purchased by Norfolk Country Library as someone must have noticed that the frontispiece shows Weybourne station with B12/3 No. 61572 standing in front of the main bibliographical collection on railways in Norfolk (the station bookshop). Photographers, like H.C. Casserley, have their own file.
This page is mainly intended to fill in the gaps with people like Alan Pegler and Tony Marchington who have contributed greatly to the preservation of remnants from the steam age. It is hoped that earlier enthusiasts may also be brought to light: Marchington and Pegler need not be paradigms there was T.R. Perkins who travelled the length and breadth of Britain and the chance find of a librarian (Appleby Miller).
Author of book about trainspotting and trainspotters, with a Foreword by Brian Blessed. Includes many pictures of the species, including some where swarms were observed. Also includes shed bashing, school parties and special trains.
Aickman, Robert Fordyce
Born 27 June 1914 at Hampstead, London, the only child of William Arthur Aickman, an architect, and his wife. Aickman's childhood, was unhappy, although the family lived in a substantial house, Langton Lodge, at Stanmore, Middlesex. Aickman attended Highgate School and began to be interested in writing there, but he did not then go up to Oxford or Cambridge, as might have been hoped. He entered a period of youthful drifting, writing some theatre reviews for the periodical The Nineteenth Century and After, but eventually finding himself alone at Langton Lodge after his mother left his father, who then fell terminally ill and ended his life in a nursing home. Aickman was eventually rescued from the severe depression this isolation caused when he began to attend the queue for tickets at London's Covent Garden Opera, and acquired a series of female friends and lovers. The outbreak of the Second World War brought this lifestyle to an end, but he declared himself a conscientious objector and won total exemption from war service. On 5 September 1941 he married (Edith) Ray Gregorson (1913/141983), a secretary whom he had met through the opera queue, but more from sympathy than love. They set up a literary agency together, and moved to 11 Gower Street in Bloomsbury, which was to be Aickman's home for much of his life. They divorced in 1957, and she later became an Anglican nun. In 1946 Robert and Ray Aickman, with Tom (L.T.C.) Rolt and Rolt's wife, Angela, set up the Inland Waterways Association, to preserve and enhance the canals of Britain, which were at that time in such a state of neglect as seemed likely to end in their ultimate disappearance. Aickman was chairman and Rolt secretary, and the organization quickly gained momentum and influence, becoming in many ways a model for the many campaigning pressure groups of post-war Britain. Aickman remained active and superbly energetic in the waterways campaign until 1964, and although his autocratic style of leadership provoked much dissension, it is nevertheless agreed that the salvation of Britain's canals owes more to him than to any other person. Rolt has written at length of how he to resign from the Association and in part turn his energy towards the preservation of the Talyllyn Railway. In 1951 Aickman and Elizabeth Jane Howard published We are for the Dark, a volume of six ghost stories, where each contributed three, but did not identify who had written which. Aickman was eventually to publish eleven more volumes of what he called strange stories, and he succeeded in giving new life to what had been classically an Edwardian genre. Between 1964 and 1972 Aickman edited the first eight volumes of The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories, to all but the sixth of which he contributed learned and stimulating introductions. His other published works included two fantasy novels and two volumes of autobiography, and many stories and plays remained unpublished. He was an inveterate leader and joiner of organizations relating to his interests in transport, theatre, orchestral music, opera, and ballet. Aickman was a shy man, who blossomed in public life: constitutionally solitary, he derived lifelong solace from relationships with women. He died at the Homeopathic Hospital, Camden, London, on 26 February 1981. At odds with the modern world, he left a permanent mark on it through his two disparate but oddly linked fields of endeavour. ODNB biography by C.A.R. Hills
Asher, Leslie Lewis
See brief obituary in Locomotive Mag., 1941, 47, 244: authority on Somerset & Dorset Railway; resident of Bath
Barnett, Arthur Lionel
Born in Southport, educated at Hutcheson's Grammar School and, in medicine, at Glasgow University. Author of books on Hull & Barnsley Railway and railways in the Yorkshire Coalfield. Former President of the RCHS. Died, aged 99 on 19 August 2007. Obituary J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2008, 36, (201) 49.
Brailsford, Lionel Edward
Co-founder of the Stephenson Locomotive Society with Frank Burtt. Born in Croydon on 14 May 1875.Educated at Selhurst Park College, Joined London City Bank, later part of Midland Bank. A devout churchman. Died 1956. See Backtrack, 2009, 23, 564. and Stephenson Locomotive Society. A Centenary celebration, 1909-2009. 2009.
Brown, Kenneth [Everard]
Born in Bedford on 19 August 1879; died 1 June 1958. Solicitor. President of the Railway Club. Member of delegation to Nuremberg to celebrate Centenary of German Railways on 7 December 1935 (Locomotive Mag., 1936, 42, 15). Ottley lists 7 papers..
Born 1905; died 1993. diaries published as Diary of an early trainspotter: notes from the 1922-1941 diaries of the late Reverend Harold Carson; compiled by John Carson published 2010.
Charlton, Thomas Malcolm
Cobb, Michael H.
1916-2010: Michael Cobb was born in Hendon in 1916. He was educated at Harrow, then Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he studied mechanical sciences. He joined the Royal Engineers as a regular officer, was sent to Europe in 1940 and rescued on the last boat to leave the town of Dunkirk itself. Asked what he felt, he replied, "Having had nothing to eat for several days, extreme hunger." He spent several years in the Fort William area training commandos in Airborne Operations, principally map reading and orienteering. The personal highlight of this period was being allowed to fire, and then drive, engines on the Mallaig line. From Scotland he went to North Africa and the Far East. En-route he survived the torpedoing and sinking of his troop ferry in the Mediterranean "an interesting experience." After the war he began surveying for the Army. A Colonel by then, he became Commanding Officer, 42 Survey Engineer Regiment in Egypt and Cyprus in the 1950s, and was Commandant, School of Military Survey 1956-9. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in 1964, he retired from the Army in 1965 and worked in cartography until retirement in 1971. His magnum opus, The Railways of Great Britain: a historical atlas, was first published in 2003 following 18 years of research effort. It eatned him the 'Railway Book of the Year' award in 2006, and enabled him, aged 91, to become the oldest-ever recipient ofa PhD from University of Cambridge in 2008. He died in East Devon on 23 June 2010, aged 93.
Obituarist first met Michael Cobb in the early 1980s when he came into the Exeter Central Library, asking to be given a list of 'reputable' [?] railway histories, and was referred on to him. From this inauspicious beginning a friendship developed, ultimately involving our wives, and on my retirement, continued with fortnightly visits to Exeter, where he received a regular update on progress of the 'Atlas', latest sketches, and enquiries. When his wife died Michael relied on his visits to keep in touch with R&CHS developments, particularly the Chronology Group. Perhaps the proudest aspect he felt regarding the 'Atlas' was how few errors there were [in spite of his careful proof reading, there were spelling mistakes, which occurred in the computer printing] as regards dating. He reckoned that after all the letters seeking to prove him in error were dealt with, the fina1 figure was 0.4%. Can that be bettered? Funeral at Honiton on the 8 July . I shall miss him very much. Don Steggles. Bull. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2010 (427)
Cust, Sir Charles
Born on 27 February 1862; died 19 January 1931. Equerry to King George V since 1892. Claughton locomotive named after him which frequently hauled the Royal Train. Had also driven locomotive: see Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1931, 37, 65.
Elton, Sir Arthur Hallam Rice
Born in London on 10 February 1906, the elder son of Sir Ambrose Elton, ninth baronet (18691951), barrister, of Clevedon. Elton died in Bristol on 1 January 1973. He was educated at Marlborough College. From there, together with John Betjeman, he cycled to Swindon to haunt the Great Western Railway yards and buy the first items in his collection of books on locomotives and industrial machinery. At Jesus College, Cambridge, he took third classes in the English tripos (1926) and the second part of the moral sciences tripos (1927), and acquired his other major passion, the cinema, as a film critic for Granta. In 1927 Elton became a scriptwriter for Gainsborough Pictures, working in London and Germany. Four years later he was recruited by John Grierson for the Empire Marketing Board film unit (later absorbed by the General Post Office film unit), and joined the group of enthusiasts who created the British documentary film movement. He will be remembered for recognizing the importance of film as historical evidence in his address The film as source material for history in 1955 (Aslib Proc., 7/4, 1955). Elton was a tireless advocate of the need to preserve film as carefully as literary source materials and he served as a governor of the British Film Institute, 19489. Elton was a lifelong collector of industrial art, artefacts, and literature. Edgar Anstey said that a constant theme in his life was a love of order and he reduced to order his unique collection of pictures, prints, books, and objects recording British industrial development. After his death the collection, valued at over £250,000, was passed to the Ironbridge Museum in Shropshire. Elton had sponsored exhibitions in industrial art and archaeology before they became fashionable in the 1970s. In 1968 he revised and reissued Art and the Industrial Revolution, written by his friend Francis Klingender and first published in 1947. ODNB entry by D.J. Wenden, rev. Sarah Street. Vanns. Witness to change
Fellows, Reginald Bruce
1871-1948. Roman Catholic priest. London to Cambridge by train, 1845-1938 [Ottley 1186]. Ottley 7940: A railway library: a list of railway books which was a very early Oakwood Press publication (1935). Member of the Railway Club. Letter to The Times 16 March 1932 entitled Non-stop express runs which began with Paddington to Didcot in 1845; Euston to Rugby in 1857; Kentish Town to Leicester in 1868; King's Cross to Grantham in 1876... King's Cross to Edinburgh in 1928.
Frost, Kenneth Albert
Ken Frost, an eminent railway historian as well as a local history expert, died on 23 March 1999 after a long illness. Writer of numerous articles in the Railway Magazine, Railways South East, Great Eastern Railway Society Magazine, Essex Countryside and Backtrack, he also produced two books in the 1960s on the Romford-Upminster Branch and Southend Pier Railway, the latter being updated and republished in 1990. Ken was a thorough researcher and he could challenge or dispute some previously accepted facts and through his determination, caused some of these 'facts' to be rewritten. Ken was a member of numerous societies, including Hornchurch & District Historical Society, Great Eastern Railway Society, The Railway Club, East of London Family History Society, Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line, Friends of the National Railway Museum, National Trust, Railway Development Society, and The Railway & Canal Historical Society. His passing leaves us with a great void that will be hard to fill, but he left us with an immense legacy of his researches. D.J. Carson, Backtrack, 1999, 13, 389.
Kinloch, Alexanderv D.
Owner of Farnborough Miniature Railway see Locomotive Mag., 1937, 43, 244-5From the Railway Magazine, January 1965: 'The Surrey Border & Camberley Railway was, in its early days, the Farnborough Miniature Railway, built to the 10.25" gauge for a London merchant banker, Mr. Alexander Kinloch. The F.M.R. was begun in 1934 and by 1937 had about one mile of track. It proved extremely popular and its control was transferred to the S.B.C.R., a limited company. The railway was extended and finally had about two miles of track, of which about half was double. The main line ran from Farnborough Green, near Frimley Station, in Hampshire, on the Southern Railway, to Camberley. It was completely signalled. Motive power included five 4-6-2s, two Garratt 2-6-0+0-6-2s and an 0-6-0 tank engine. The S.B.C.R. did not take all the locomotives of the F.M.R. Passenger stock consisted, generally, of open bogie carriages seating eight people. The railway was closed soon after the outbreak of the second world war and the company passed into receivership, most of the track and rolling stock being sold.
Layland-Barratt, Captain Sir Francis Henry Godolphin
Born 11 Dec. 1896. died 16 May 1968. Educated Eton; Royal Military College, Sandhurst. Grenadier Guards. Served WW1 when wounded, MC, invalided 1917. County Councillor, Devon, 1928. Lived at Torquay Manor. Direct of GWR. See Gt Western Rly J., 2010 (76). 205.
Author of one of the significant Regional histories. Letter about his boyhood in Surrey reveals much about how his enthusiasm developed: see Backtrack, 2014, 28, 701.
McAlpine, Sir William
Born 12 January 1936. Educated Charterhouse. Military career in Life Guards. Has sufficient financial resources to be able to play at trains on the grand scale. Associated in ownership of Flying Scotsman and Pendennis Castle. Website with McAlpine's own description of his railway enthusiam
Owner of the Oxford Molecular Group and Cambridge Combinatorial, and sometime employer of one of KPJ's sons-in-law (and therefore impacted upon KPJ's movements), and sometime owner of Flying Scotsman. See Nicholson.
Miller, R.N. Appleby
Rly Mag., 1943, 89 (548), 378 recorded the death on 21 June 1943 of Mr Appleby Miller, a Librarian (FLA) on the staff of Newcastle Central Library. He was a member of the Stephenson Locomotive Society and contributed an article to The Engineer (18 September 1931) Link in the history of the locomotive concerning an early George Stephenson locomotive.
Monkswell. 3rd Baron (Robert Albert Hardcastle
Born 13 December 1875. Educated Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, but did not take his degree. Entered Foreign Office in 1900 and served in Madrid, Washington and Peking: he was known as Dozey Collier. The Times obituary notes that his real love was railways not diplomacy. On death of his father in 1909 he left the Foreign Office to pursue his own interests, but served in the Royal Artillery during WW1. He was a prominent member of the Railway Club. His first wife came from Colney Hall, near Norwich. He died on 14 January 1964. Rly Arch., 2012 (35), 27 and subsequent for extracts from his Notebooks recording locomotive performance both from the train and on the locomotive, Author of French railways published in London in 1911 (not in Ottley) and The railways of Great Britain published in 1913 (Ottley 493): both available as e-books (they are guides to the major railways) and Railways and their future (Ottley 493) which is possibly polemical. He was a frequent speaker in the House of Lords.
Photographs taken by Professor Charles Mowat in July 1932. He began his photography in 1936 when aged 15 and at Marlborough School, but in 1934 took up a post in Chicago teaching English history and did not return to Britain until 1958 and died in 1970. His friend, Charles Clinker, placed his photographic collection into the care of Brunel University: see Steam Days, 1992 (34) 287
Born in 1932: educated Sherborne School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. Historian especially of ships and navigations, but also interested in railways. Artist. Died 2003. Obituary Grahame Boyes J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2004, 34, 636..
Patmore, J. Allan
Former academic (interest in landscape) and David St. John Thomas writer: see Journey through Britain pp. 534-5: otherwise invisble in bibliographical desert: so arid that it doesn't recognise that its has a landscape. Born 14 November 1931. Educated Harrogate Grammar School; Pembroke College, Oxford. Professor of Geography, University of Hull, 197391, Professor Emeritus, since 1991; Vice-Chairman, Sports Council, 198894. Railway enthusiast.
Payton, Robert Nigel
Born in Solihull on 27 August 1911. His mother died in childbirth and he was brought up by Kate Griffiths, a nanny, who stimulated an interest in railways which remained with him throughout his life. He was educated at a prep school in Colwall and at Sherbourne where Turing was a fellow pupil. He obtained a clerical position on the LMS early in 1930 and eventually became involved in traffic control, but sought early retirement in 1970. He died at Audlem in 2007. His youngest daughter, Ruth Moston, arranged for the transfer of his photographic collection to the Stephenson Locomtive Society. Backtrack, 2014, 28, 144 and letter from Ken Veitch on page 253.
Pegler, Alan Francis
Born 16 April 1920; died 18 March 2012. Educated Radley and Jesus College (but had to leave to manage family firm when father died) and friend of Trevor Bailey and Jo Lever (fellow enthusiasts whilst at Cambridge: see Rly Wld, 1971, 32, 432). For a long time was Chairman of the Northern Rubber Co, whose factory is still visible from the ECML as the train races through Retford. For many years entertained railway enthusiasts by the motive power employed on his works outings. These included Northern Rubber.s dining special to Blackpool in 1952, with 480 passengers and this led to him joining the Eastern Regional Board as a part-time non-executive in 1954. Another of his specials ran from Leeds to London hauled by preserved Atlantics. Henry Oakley and No 251 from the old York museum driven by the famous Hoole and Hailstone. The run was spectacular: 80 mile/h down Stoke Bank. Alan stuck up a close friendship with Bill Hoole, Bill joining Pegler on the Festiniog, In 1959, Bill Hoole took Sir Nigel Gresley on a SLS special from London to York. Demand for footplate passes was high. To solve the impasse, Alan, as a Board member, was asked to occupy the fourth position in the cab. How could he refuse? Alan remembers the exciting run; the train exceeded 100 mph north of Hitchin on the down, and set a post-war speed record of 112 mile/h on the return. Pegler acquired Flying Scotsman in 1963. See Nicholson. Pegler was also associated with the re-opening of the Festiniog Railway . Control of the Festiniog passed to the preservation team in June 1954, with Pegler as its first Chairman. See also David McIntosh The Flying Scotsman..
Pennoyer, Richard Edmands
Died 17 November 1968 (Obit. J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1968, 58, 407). Born in California in 1885. Graduate of the University of California, then studied at Bonn, at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques in Paris and at Oxford. Joined the American Diplomatic Serive in 1912. He became Second Secretary under the American Ambassador in London in 1914. In 1919 he became Chargé d'Affaires in Lisbon and took an active part in preserving the Beyer Peacock locomotive Dom Luis of 1862. He was in the United Kingdom during the 1926 General Strike when he drove a locomotive and became a personal friend of Gresley. In 1935 he was a judge and inspector of the Saar Plebicite and shortly afterwards resigned from the Diplomatic Service and became a British citizen. During WW2 he served in the Ministry of Supply and in 1951 was one of the organizers of the transport side of the Festival of Britain. His friendship with Gresley led him to ask for the bell used at King's Cross shed which had belonged to the Lovett Eames, a Baldwin locomotive brought to Britain to demonstrate the Eames' vacuum brake. It was presented at a luncheon hosted by Sir Ralph Wedgewood and Sir Nigel Gresley during which Pennoyer advocated the 2-6-2 type and Gresley that this was one of the things which had turned him towards the V2 design. Pennoyer knew many locomotive engineers in many countries, including Dr Giesl Gieslingen.
Perkins, Thomas Richard
By 1932 Perkins, a "chemist" (presumably pharmacist) from Henley-in-Arden had managed to travel over all passenger carrying lines in the British Isles. He was married, but he and his wife took separate holidays (as she stayed behind to look after the shop)..
Tourret, R. Mr. T.R. Perkins: track-basher extraordinary. Br. Rly J, 2008 (74).74-9.
Locomotive Mag., 1932, 38, 450 noted completion of his task
Director of SECR who gave Invicta to City of Canterbury: see Locomotive Mag., 1908, 14, 116 Also in Dawn Smith (but does not mention Invicta).
Scott, Samuel S.
Death on 26 September 1932 of Mr. Samuel S. Scott, of Stockport, aged seventy-three will be an especial loss to those who knew him through his hobby of collecting detail, of the history of the locomotives of the former L. & N.W. Ry. and its early tributary companies. As a guard working on the Euston and Manchester expresses, he had good opportunities for observation, and these he supplemented bv research in libraries and enquiries from old railwaymen, The railway officials also afforded him facilities for going through the old records at Euston and elsewhere. Although he took great pride in his records he was always willing to assist in clearing up obscure points in regard to locomotive history. Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1932, 38, 413..
Born on 17 September 1933; died 20 December 2013. Read engineering at St. John's College, Cambridge; worked for de Havilland Airctaft at Hatfield, but from 1962 to 1996 was a Fellow of Wolfson College where he established the Cambridge Advanced Course in Production Methods. Published The Crampton locomotive (Oakwood Press: 1983) which Miles Macnair calls a classic (Backtrack, 2015, 29, 415).
Steel, William O. (Bill)
Dr. W.O. (Bill) Steel was an entomology lecturer at Imperial College and model railway enthusiast. died in 1969 aged 51. Essery described how they rescued the LMS Engine History Cards from burning at Derby Works during the summer of 1966 or 1967 (both members of the LMS Society) . Portrait with short description of this appeared in Steam Wld, 1991 (51) p. 55:
Robert Alexander Baron Schutzmann von Schutzmansdorff was born on 6 May 1924 and died 19 January 2015. He was an Austrian-born British inventor and television presenter usually known as Bob Symes. He life long interest in railways included helping to set up private railways in Switzerland and across the United Kingdom. He established The Border Union Railway Company in 1969, to restore, maintain and introduce new services along the then recently abandoned Waverley Line between Edinburgh and Carlisle. His interest in model railways included a 300 metres long Gauge 1 railway in his garden at Honeysuckle Bottom, near East Horsley, Surrey, followed by a 10¼ railway. His family opened the railway every year to raise funds for the BBC's Children In Need, where visitors could take tea and cake and also see his collection of vintage tractors. Telegraph obituary 31 January 2015.
Thompson, William Briggs
Died 13 December 1962 aged 95: educated at Rugby and Oriel College, Oxford, and was called to the Bar in 1892. Until his retirement at the age of 90 he was a familiar figure at the Law Courts where he reported law cases for The Times and he edited Commercial Cases, a series of reports for the use of business men. Although not an engineer by training his greatest interest was, perhaps, the steam locomotive and he was known by many railway chief officers both in this country and abroad. It is not without interest that his grandfather bought Stephensons Rocket from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and used it for hauling his coal trains. After his grandfathers death his widow presented the Rocket to the South Kensington Museum. Thompson was a regular letter writer to the Locomotive Magazine and was prepared to challenge other letter writers of considerable standing, such as Holcroft. Thompson, had been an Associate of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers since 1918. Obituarty: J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1962, 52, 498.
Letter on French compounds. Locomotive Mag., 1945, 51, 109
Draughtsman who recorded his observations in Journal of the Stephenson Locomotive Society. See Fell and Hennessey Backtrack, 2009, 23, 646.
Waterman, Peter Allan [Pete]
Born 15 January 1947 (Who's Who) Made his tin from managing stars in popular music. Has shown an interest in acquiring diesel locomotives and running trains. For a time had a stake in Flying Scotsman. Considerable amount of material relating to him on the Internet, but little of it relates to his railway enthusiasm.
Webster, V. R[ay]
Obituary notice by Paul Karau (Br. Rly J. (37) p. 352) records that Ray Webster was born in Reading in 1912, was educated Reading School, became a textiles salesman, served during WW2 in Leicestershire Regiment, rose through ranks to Captain, retrained as teacher, taught geography, became headmaster, retired 1972, died 3 March 1991. His diaries are one of the joys of British Railway Journal. .
The Diaries of V.R. Webster. [Part 1]. 262-4.
Begins with a brief autobiographical introduction which includes the presumption that the author was writing a book ["when writing this book"]. Includes diagram of SECR station at Reading and illus. of 2-4-0T Shanklin at Ryde Esplanade on 29 May 1922. Part 2 page 293.
The Diaries of V.R. Webster. Part 17. Br. Rly J., 8, 297-308.
Subtitled the Chronicles of a Welsh tour beginning on 25 July 1931 using a GWR Circular Tour Ticket.
Whitworth, William H.
See also as photographer; Died 21 April 1957 aged 66. Educated Manchester Grammar School. Dental surgeon in Cheetham, Manchester. Enthusiastic member of Stephenson Locomotive Society and RCTS. Photographer of LNWR and LYR locomotives. Portrait of him in cab of LNER No. 10000. Rly Wld., 1957, 18, 189.
1863-1933: historian of London's railways: see Rly Wld., 1988, 49, 134 (includes portrait)