According to Lowe the firm originated in 1881 as factors (Rolt) in Glasgow as James Kerr & Co. (James Kerr appears to have been a gifted man who died young). Association with Stoke began through contracts placed with Hartley, Arnoux and Fanning (which was taken over in 1893). Some 1500 locomotives were constructed at the California Works until manufacture ceased in 1930. Lowe lists most of the standard types (many were for the narrow gauge) constructed, but does not give a full list. Tom Rolt was an apprentice at the works in the period prior to closure. Some standard gauge designs were manufactured, notably 4-4-4Ts for the Metropolitan Railway, fifty 4F 0-6-0s for the LMS and 25 57XX 0-6-0PTs for the GWR.
Rolt is an important commentator on Kerr Stuart as the firm folded whilst he was serving a premium apprenticeship thereat. He had gone there to work under Kyrle Willans who had gone to Stoke as the firm's chief development engineer.
Ten outside-cylinder 0-6-0Ts were constructed for the Inland Waterways & Docks Department in 1917 and allocated Works Numbers 3066-75. They were intended for the Port of Richborough and Southampton. They were disposed as War Department surplus following WW1 and several reached Nationalization either through the NCB or British Railways.
Townsley, Don. Rly Bylines, 1998, 3, 228-33.
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