engineer of miniature locomotives
The photograph from Steel's The miniature world of Henry Greenly page 160 claims to show Greenly (second from left of picture) standing next to William Stanier (LMSR) with locomotive engineers at Dalegarth on the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Clearly, Stanier was still on the GWR at that time. It might be Sir Henry Fowler to the right of him, but who were the others, and why (if it was) Stanier in the Lake District?
Greenly was born in Birkenhead 6 March 1876 and died in Heston (Marshall incorrectly stated "Heaton"), Middlesex, 4 March 1947. He was a pioneer of miniature passenger-carrying railways. In 1887 the Greenly family moved to London where he was educated at Beethoven Street School which he left at 14. After a period in a Bayswater jewellers he attended Kenmont Gardens Science School on a scholarship, between 1894 and 1897. In February1897 he became a draughtsman at Neasden works of the Metropolitan Railway under James Hunter, the chief draughtsman. During the mid-1890s he served on the Committee established to develop a national railway museum (which included Stretton and excludes Sekon, but which included John Ramsbottom). He left in 1901 to become assistant editor of The Model Engineer. In 1906 he became a consulting engineer in model subjects and for many years worked with W.J. Bassett Lowke designing locomotives for miniature railways in Britain and abroad. About this time he started a monthly magazine devoted to models, railways and locomotives which ended in 1916. He. then took up an appointment at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and was responsible for the invention of a flash eliminator for aircraft machine guns.
From 1919 he was associated with several firms in the production of model locomotives and railways. In 1922 he designed the Pacific Sir Aubrey Brocklebank for the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. W.J.K. Davies states that he "was a touchy but useful ally with a reputation for being charming to subordinates, but awkward and quarrelsome with his equals and superiors".. He was also associated with the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch 15in gauge line from its inception in 1926 until its completion in 1930. He was responsible for all civil engineering, and the design of locomotives and rolling stock. See Snell's One man's railway. In 1930 he returned to consulting work, but still contributed to model engineering journals. His books: Model steam locomotives, 1922, Model electric locomotives and railways, 1922 and Model railways, 1924 did much to establish model railways in Britain See: Steel, E.A. and E.H. The Miniature World of Henry Greenly, 1973. ODNB entry by W.J. Milner based on the Steel biography, but with added mistakes: notably transcription of board school into the somewhat different "boarding" school. Obituary Loco, Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1947, 53, 38..
Greenly correspondence concerning 10 foot driving wheels
E.A. Steel and E.H. Steel's The miniature world of Henry Greenly (1973) cites an extensive correspondence involving Sekon, Stretton, Greenly and others concerning the application of ten foot driving wheels to early broad gauge locomotives. In spite of this book containing at least one serious error (the transposition of Rugby to "Derby") this Chapter has been scanned (always a source for further wild errors) and is reproduced in full below (but without the illustrations):
The Enigma of the Mammoth Wheel
Henry Greenly's earliest literary endeavours began with a letter to engineering journals at the age of nineteen. His first letter was one of many in which he joined issue in a controversy involving well-known personalities in the railway world. On 2nd August 1895 there appeared in The Engineer a letter from Mr G.A. Sekon on the subject of early Great Western locomotives. His book, History of the Great Western Railway, had been severely criticised by Clement E. Stretton,* a railway engineer (KPJ: this claim made by Steel).! Sekon wrote:
Shortly after the publication of the first edition of my History of the Great Western Railway a Mr Stretton, for reasons best known to himself, wrote to the various railway and engineering papers stating that a) the North Star was built for an American Railway and not for a Russian line, as Sir Daniel Gooch, who himself made the drawings, had stated; b) that the Hurricane was the only locomotive ever built with ten-foot driving wheels; c) that the Thunderer was the only geared engine on the GWR at any time; d) that the Premier had seven-foot driving wheels and not six-foot as I stated. With regard to the North Star and the ten-foot wheels. I fully answered Mr Stretton in Engineering on 1st May 1895, but wishing to make the third edition as correct as possible, I wrote to Lady Emily Gooch and Mr Isambard Brunel (sic) asking for further particulars, but neither was able to find any documents containing additional information concerning the early GWR locomotives. However, Mr Bucknal, the locomotive superintendent at Weymouth, who joined the GWR as long ago as 1845 and has been an official of the locomotive department ever since, wrote me that the Ajax and Hurricane both had ten-foot driving wheels; while Mr T.R. Crampton, the celebrated engineer, obtained the Isis gold medal from the Royal Society of Arts for a paper on Large and Small Driving Wheels as applied to Locomotives which he read on 4th March 1846 and in which he stated that the Ajax had ten-foot driving wheels. Then Wood, in his treatise page 720, 1838 edition says: 'Mr Brunel. . . has ordered some (engines) with wheels ten-foot in diameter'. The GWR officials at Paddington most kindly made an exhaustive search to try to discover any particulars of the Great Western engines ordered by Mr Brunel and also for Mr Gooch's report to the director on these engines, but they were unable to find any documents on the subject, possibly because these papers were probably destroyed when the general offices of the railway were removed from the City to Paddington. Being unsuccessful at Paddington, search was made at Swindon and I have just received a letter from Mr J. Dunphy of the GWR, Paddington, in which he says; 'Mr Dean (Locomotive Superintendent) tells me he is unable to find at Swindon any book entries relating to the subject in question, but enquiries among the oldest officers and servants leads him to the conclusion that there were at least two engines with ten-foot driving wheels, and he has not been able to find anything tending to show that the statement made in Sir Daniel Gooch's diary (p. 34) as to there having been three engines with ten-foot driving wheels is not correct'. This establishes beyond a doubt that two engines, and most likely three, as stated by Sir Daniel. had wheels ten feet in diameter.
Then, as to geared engines, Sir Daniel Gooch says The Thunderer and two engines made by the Haigh Foundry Company were geared'. In the Railway Times for 25th August 1838, (p. 476) there is an account of one of the geared engines, built by the Haigh Foundry Company, taking five carriages to Maidenhead and returning to Paddington at a speed of 40 miles per hour. This engine then took the 5 pm train from Paddington to Maidenhead with 150 passengers at a speed of 36 miles per hour. The article goes on to explain the superiority of the Haigh geared engine over the Thunderer. The great fault of the latter appears to have been that it started with such a jerk that the couplings nearly always broke. Yet Mr Stretton says the Thunderer was the only geared engine on the GWR at any time. Then with regard to the Premier, Mr N. Wood, in his report to the GWR directors on the experiments he made, stated that the Premier had six-foot driving wheels; but Mr Stretton would have us believe she had seven-foot wheels.
Perhaps in the future Mr Stretton, before he takes upon himself the task of contradicting statements which, as it turns out, were absolutely correct about which he has much to learn, will be good enough to confine his remarks to actual and ascertained facts before he goes out of his way to criticise another book.
The name G. A. Sekon was the pseudonym of George A. Nokes, founder-editor of The Railway Magazine, London. Born on 5th January 1867, Nokes was educated at Hayes Grammar School and articled to a land surveyor in 1885. In 1910 he founded the Railway and Travel Monthly. His two best known books are History of the Great Western Railway and The Evolution of the Steam Locomotive published in 1895 and 1899 respectively. He died on the 19th February 1948 at the age of 81 years.
The wheels were now set in motion for a further discussion.
Writing from Holyhead on 10th August, Stretton replied at length.
Sir, Any person reading the letter of Mr G.A. Sekon would naturally come to the conclusion that I had written upon a subject without knowing the details. However, I have only to mention that I have in my possession official drawings of all the early classes of Great Western engines to prove that I have ample information. At the Chicago Exhibition of 1893 there were framed and shown the working drawings of the North Star; working drawings of the Vulcan and five other engines of the same dimensions; an elevation of the Premier and a statement that the Ariel was built to the same drawings. Then there followed a drawing of the Lion, built in 1838 by Sharp Roberts and Company,' also one of the Snake and a drawing of the Viper, both of the last two having been built at the Haigh Foundry. The Hurricane and the Thunderer were both shown upon a scale of half inch to thefoot. A photograph of Messrs Hawthorn's engine, the Sun, was also exhibited.
Now in view of this complete history, Mr Sekon actually states that 'the officials at Paddington are unable to find details'. Why does Mr Sekon go to Paddington. where there is nothing on the subject instead of going to Swindon where they have every drawing and details that can be wished for? Why does Mr Sekon not write to the Vulcan Foundry or the owner of the Haigh Foundry. or to Messrs Sharp? They have their old working drawings. . .
Stretton went on to observe that it was impossible for any person to have seen the Hurricane with ten-foot wheels in 1840 because they had already been replaced by eight-foot wheels and the boiler placed above the driving axle.
It was evident that the matter was not going to be left to rest. Sekon decided upon further action and sought an interview with Archibald Sturrock who, now retired, had been the first manager at the Swindon Works. It appeared, therefore, that in 1840 Sturrock had seen on a siding at Paddington both the Hurricane and an unnamed engine with ten foot wheels on a separate frame. There was also a third engine with the same size wheels, but with the boiler above the axle. On the strength of this information coming from such an authoritative source, Sekon did not doubt that he had reached the truth of the matter.
In the issue of The Engineer for the 23rd August, a Mr D.H. Littlejohn joined the protagonists with a letter providing further information, then on 30th August Henry Greenly's first letter appeared.
Sir. In reply to Mr Sekon. who has stated in various periodicals that the Great Western Company had two locomotives with ten-foot driving wheels and three geared engines. I positively contradict both statements. The only ten-foot locomotive on the GWR was the Hurricane. (See the Great Western Railway Magazine for June 1895). Mr Sekon says that the second engine was the Ajax. I have in my possession a drawing of this engine, but the wheel is only eight feet in diameter. This is corroborated by Mr John Wilkinson, locomotive foreman at Westbourne Park. London, who was employed in 1847 a few yards distance from the Ajax in the repair shed at Swindon. The driving wheels were spokeless.
As to the geared engines. the only one on the GWR was the Thunderer (Mr T.E. Harrison's patent, December 1836). Mr Sekon says the GWR had the Thunderer and two others constructed by the Haigh Foundry. His authority is a newspaper of 1838. As your readers know newspaper paragraphs of so long ago are untrustworthy, especially when it comes to technical details. I have copies of the drawings of the engines supplied to the GWR by the Haigh Foundry and a specification, but I cannot find any or mention of any cog gearing. The special feature in the engine is the four-eccentric Haigh Foundry valve gear. This is where Mr Sekon is again in error. The newspaper he quotes says 'geared'.
A driver who entered the service of the GWR in 1839 tells me that the Company only had two unusual locomotives, as the list exhibited at Chicago by the Company states, namely the Hurricane with ten-foot driving wheels and the Thunderer, a geared engine of 3:1.
Stretton requested Littlejohn to provide 'extracts from the drawings he had quoted' so he proceeded to provide details of two locomotives produced by the Haigh Foundry for the GWR in 1838, and stating:
These particulars and the drawings clearly show the construction of the engines in question and clearly prove Mr Sekon is quite wrong in his statements'.
Littlejohn wrote again on 6th September, and in the same issue was a letter from Stretton in which he said that:
the interesting information supplied by Messrs. Littlejohn and Greenly throws considerable light on the history of early Great Western engines and proves the absurdity of Mr Sekon's claims that 'officials don't know and can't find information, . . . Mr Greenly states that he has a drawing of the Ajax of 1838. I shall be glad to hear if that drawing gives a clear view of the driving wheels.
Curiously enough Stretton's enquiry is answered by Greenly in the same column of that particular issue of The Engineer. In point of fact his letter is directed against Sekon.
Sir, In reference to Mr Sekon's statements that there are no records or drawings of the early engines on the line. I have now before me an official drawing of the driving wheel of the Ajax. . . . As to the other Great Western engines, besides my own collection of drawings there are complete sets in the hands of the officials at Swindon.
He went on to mention collections in the possession of other gentlemen, namely, Messrs. Stretton, Baker, Bleasdale, and F. Moore.
Concluding, Greenly commented:
Yet Mr Sekon writes that 'nothing is known '. If so, why does he maintain that the Ajax had a ten-foot wheel, and the Haigh Foundry engines Snake and Viper were geared like the Thunderer, which implies he knows all?
In a later issue there appeared a letter from Mr James Watt-Boulton dated the 9th September.
Sir, I have read many letters in your pages of late about early locomotives, but as each week there is a contradiction of the previous information, one does not know what really has been done or what to believe. I have often thought that if someone to be relied upon could get some really authentic information about ancient locomotives, good would be done. There are still a few old engineers who have actually seen, and in all probability been connected with, the early locomotives, and as much as possible should be got from these old and original sources. I would say at once, as very soon these men will be like the locomotives, things of the past, and then another link will be lost. . . .With reference to the geared locomotives, I may mention that the first narrow-gauge locomotive was a geared engine, and I think my father (Isaac W. Boulton) may claim to be the pioneer of narrow-gauge lines, as his first engine was watched with keen interest at the time-1860-as to determine whether such a small engine would be of any practical use or not. . . . After this came the Tiny at Crewe, and then the Festioniog Railway was made.
And so the letters continued to reach The Engineer. On 20th September Henry Greenly returned to the correspondence in order to press home his point concerning driving wheels.
Sir, In reply to Mr Sheward, the Hurricane and Thunderer were constructed from designs of Mr T. E. Harrison (of the Stanhope and Tyne Railway) by Messrs. Hawthorn, Newcastle-on-Tyne, in 1838. He is correct in saying that the wheels of the Hurricane were for a long time 'standing about'. Mr Wilkinson. locomotive foreman at London, saw them. Then there was the Grasshopper, which was, in fact. the rebuilt Hurricane. Can Mr Sheward throw any further light on the subject of the Ajax and its wheels?
Mr Wilkinson, in 1847, remembers it standing in the repairing shed at Swindon, where it was employed. It had a boiler over the axles in the usual way, and eight-foot disc driving wheels. Does Mr Wilkinson remember it?
With reference to Mr J.W. Boulton's letter that if someone to be relied on did come forward and give all the truth, some would favour different families (note the Bury controversy). Your readers would see that if a man has a vast quantity of locomotive history and records, the fact that he knows more than others will lay him open to contradiction from those not so well informed. It seems so with locomotive history as other things.
This was followed by Littlejohn quoting Wood's Treatise on Railroads in which the author states that on the GWR 'Mr Brunel proposes travelling at a high rate of speed by making his driving wheels of a large diameter, and Messrs. Hawthorn are now constructing an engine with driving wheels ten feet in diameter'. Attention was also drawn to a framed drawing at South Kensington Museum of a ten-foot wheeled engine as it existed in 1838.
Here Greenly again intervened to state that the Hurricane was renamed the Grasshopper, yet it was said that 'the engine had received that nickname from its drivers.
The following week a communication was received from Mr W.O.E. Meade-King of Durham. He was of the opinion that Mr Littlejohn was mistaken in observing that the sketch published by The Engineer did not represent either the Thunderer or the Hurricane.
Sekon continued to press his case with confidence, and now quoted William Dean, Locomotive Superintendent of the GWR.
Enquiry among the oldest officers and servants leads me to the conclusion that there were at least two engines with ten-foot driving wheels.
This is followed by an account of a personal interview with Archibald Sturrock 'who gave me his recollections of the engines with ten-foot driving wheels'. Perhaps a most singular item of history was revealed when Sekon added:-
Lastly, under date 29th May, Mr Bucknall, locomotive superintendent of the Weymouth district, writes 'The ten-foot wheels of the Ajax and Hurricane were lent to convey the statue of the Duke of Wellington to Hyde Park Corner'.
Sekon continued at length to repudiate statements by Littlejohn and to quote a report made by Wood to the GWR directors in 1838 maintaining that the source of Wood's information was unquestionable; indeed it nullifled Littlejohn's statements. And so the correspondence continued unabated. Stretton, backed by Greenly and Littlejohn, was now joined by a new ally in W.B. Paley, who stated that many of the engines under discussion were employed on the Bristol and Exeter Railway from 1844 to 1849. In fact Gooch drove Actaeon from London to Exeter and back.** In the same issue (25th October 1895) the youthful Henry turned his attention once again to Sekon:
Sir, Mr Sekon in his last letter states that he has made ample research to obtain the true dimensions and descriptions of the early locomotives of the GWR. I beg to differ. Mr Sekon still maintains that the GWR in 1838 possessed three geared locomotives, viz: the Thunderer and two others, seemingly not named or numbered made by the Haigh Foundry Company, Wigan. This assertion is not founded on any information other than that given us months ago, i.e. quotations from a correspondent's letter to The Railway Times of 1838 and from Sir Daniel Gooch's Diaries, which cannot be called sufficient foundation for Mr Sekon's statements, when, as Mr Littlejohn says, the original drawings, diagrams, books and records of the makers can be, and have been inspected. . . .
The writer concluded by suggesting that when Sekon came to revise his book he should take the trouble to make 'much deeper researches to trace the true history of the first locomotives employed on the GWR. Sekon had made a mistake, therefore, why not admit it?'
By this time Sekon must have wondered who his antagonist could have been, but it was not until many months later that the two men were to become acquainted when the railway museum scheme was under discussion. Meanwhile Greenly continued with his researches, and on a visit to Westbourne Park sheds, sought out John Wilkinson, the foreman. Wilkinson quite definitely affirmed that the driving wheels of Ajax were never ten feet in diameter, or anything near it. So that it would appear that the young man still retained a strong position, having been advised by one who had had a close association with those early engines. In this he was aided by his father's contacts at Paddington, in the sheds and on the road. Here he was in contact with men who had actually driven the engines during those early days. Then there were the men in retirement who could be found on occasions in and about the railway premises, reluctant to be far removed from the scenes of their life-long endeavours. They were only too pleased to discourse upon those pioneering days.
Whilst the battle continued in The Engineer, similar letters were being poured onto the desk of the editor of Engineering. There the same familiar writers were to be found and among them, of course, was Greenly. In the issue for 16th November he wrote:
Sir, With reference to Mr Sekon's letter, it is useless for him to reiterate the assertions thai the GWR had more than one ten-foot wheeled engine. . . .
In The Engineer Greenly, and Stretton were joined by an anonymous writer signing himself 'Sextus'. Tired of the numerous correspondents fighting amongst themselves, Sextus simply wished to know more about the details of the construction of the engines, 'which they seem to know all about'. Greenly continued to reiterate that Sekon was wrong in the face of evidence in possession of the general manager at Paddington. It can only be concluded that he had himself obtained an interview with the general manager or a member of his staff, and had been shown books, drawings and diagrams that had been exhibited at the Chicago Exhibition.
Littlejohn was still demanding information from Sekon on the alleged ten-foot wheels and congratulating Greenly on pointing out that a drawing in Sekon's book showed the Premier with seven-foot wheels. Was it not absurd for an author to maintain that they were six feet in diameter? Another correspondent then announced that when he photographed the Vulcan in 1858 it was working the newly opened Twyford and Henley branch of the GWR.
In November 1895 there was a further flow of letters to The Engineer, two of them from Greenly!
Sir, I have a photograph by Mr Moore (of Finsbury E.C.) of No. 16 on the broad gauge, and on examining it carejitlly 1 cannot find any trace of any relation between it and the new No. 16 Brunel's I believe beyond the driving wheels. There is a report going the rounds of the GWR men that No.9, a seven-foot single, was originally compound: another report that it once had outside cylinders, whereas the truth is that it was once running with the valve gear outside the frames. If Mr Thompson can give us the truth as to the Armstrong class, I and other readers of The Engineer no doubt will be obliged.
In his second letter he replies to an earlier letter from the anonymous 'Sextus'. The subject this time is bar framing employed in locomotives.
Sir, In reply to 'Sextus' with regard to the framing of the early locomotives, Stephenson's Locomotion No. 1 Stockton and Darlington Railway, 1825, also his America, 1828, for the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company a full sized model of which, I believe, was exhibited at the Chicago Exhibition 1893 had bar framing. The Americans have claimed that bar framing originated with them, but it has been disproved by the above facts, for the America was the first engine in America, though not the first to run. The America arrived in New York on board the ship Columbia about the middle of January, 1829. The first trip performed in America was by the Stourbridge Lion on the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. This locomotive was ordered by Horatio Allen in 1828 and it had bar framing. . . .
Greenly mentioned the Rocket in this connection and so disproved Bury and Company's claim to the design of the bar frame. In so far as the Planet was concerned Greenly reminded the correspondent that this locomotive, built by Messrs. Stephenson and Company, was the fIrst to be fitted with sandwich frames, and for that matter the first to instal inside cylinders. He then continued by referring to a letter of Mr Stretton's mentioning the Great Western, the first of the Lord of the Isles class.
I enclose a drawing specially prepared by me for the GWR Magazine October issue, from a fast-fading photograph. It shows the Great Western as it was from 1847 to 1870, when it was condemned and scrapped. It was built in April 1846 with six wheels. It was rebuilt with four, four-foot leading wheels after breaking the leading axle. I believe it did not appear in this form until after the Iron Duke, which had a straight firebox, had left the shops. This interesting locomotive was the only one of its class which had the domed, or 'haystack' firebox. Your readers will see by the illustration that it is an entirely different engine to the one constructed in May 1888 . . . .
The purport of this letter indicates that Greenly must have pursued considerable research on the Great Western history in general. Where did the 'fast fading photograph' come from? Was it from an employee who practised photography in the 1850's? Greenly was now bent on obtaining further information concerning early GWR locomotives.
On November 22nd he wrote:
Sir, I am very pleased to see that Mr Stretton has given your readers a drawing of the Planet 1830 the same as on the Liverpool and Manchester sheet at South Kensington. as this engine included so many vital points in the construction of a locomotive. and was the first engine built with sandwich frames and a double cranked axle. It was a striking improvement upon the Rocket and Northumbrian class. . . .
With regard to the early GWR engines, would Mr W.B. Paley give your readers the date of the first goods engine constructed at Swindon for the GWR? It would oblige,
But the subject of disc wheels was not forgotten. A week later there appeared a letter from Thomas Hunt, who, when locomotive superintendent of the North Umon Railway obtained a set of disc wheels from Hicks of Bolton in 1839. In order to reduce the clanging of the wheels on the rails when running he had recourse to the cutting of numerous holes in the discs. Henceforth the noise was reduced if not entirely eliminated. 'Sextus' recalled an incident on the GWR in which a Pearson tank engine with nine-foot wheels was involved, 'I saw one once run into Taunton station with three spokes together broken away from the rim, and rattling. The driver told me they had been like that for some weeks'.
Still the correspondence ran on. In the new year of 1896 Sekon, unmoved from his stand for the ten-foot wheel found support from a new reader.
. . . In the discussion on the construction of locomotives in the Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers for 1849, VIII, Robert Stephenson said that he did not attach much importance to the size of the wheels. The ten-foot wheel had been abandoned on account of the d(fficulty in getting up the speed of trains at starting. . . . The following twelve individuals. I find, bear testimony that two or more locomotives with ten-foot driving wheels were built : BruneI, Stephenson, Snowball, Maudsley, Gooch, Sturrock, Dean, Wood, Sheward, Bucknall, Wyatt and Crampton.
So wrote John Wilson, who, when a boy, was present at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829. He was apprenticed to Mather and Dixon for seven years and thereafter remained with the firm until 1842. The next year he went to the LNWR works at Crewe. During his railway career he served at Edgehill and at Nine Elms (LSWR) London. In the light of his evidence it would appear that the scales were being weighted more in favour of Sekon rather than his opponents. When all facts are taken into consideration, he had been a young man working on locomotives construction at a time when the events under discussion were making history.
The correspondence has been quoted at some length, as it is undoubtedly of considerable historic interest, in as much as well-known figures in the railway world of the early nineteenth century were involved. However, amidst the numerous claims that were made it is strange that so little substantial evidence of early locomotive construction seemed to be forthcoming.
Sekon appeared to be on firm ground when he quoted The Railway Times of 1838. William Dean, locomotive superintendent of the GWR from 1877 to 1902 went so far as to make enquiries of the older members of his staff in order to seek authentic information. Stretton quoted official drawings. Archibald Sturrock was indeed a reliable witness in so far as he recalled having seen these early engines in service. Greenly admitted that the Hurricane had ten-foot wheels, but claimed that Ajax had wheels no larger than eight feet, James Watt-Boulton was evidently bewildered and so pressed for authentic information. A glimmer of light appeared when Sekon quoted Wood's report to the GWR directors in 1838. Then in his evidence to the gauge commission of 1845, Brunel reported that in the design of locomotives for his seven-foot gauge he had intended using seven- and eight-foot wheels, but on three of the engines ten-foot wheels had been fitted. Evidently the report was never made available to the public.
It may well be asked how it came about that nineteen year old Henry Greenly was able to make such a long contribution to a correspondence from experienced railway engineers? Here was a link in a chain of events in which he participated in no small part. For many years he had been in and around the precincts of Paddington and the Westbourne Park sheds, where he gained first hand knowledge from drivers, firemen and railway staff in general. He became accepted as 'old-man Greenly's son' and was quick to take advantage of exploring premises normally closed to the public. His father's knowledge of events on the GWR went back to the early 1850's and so he would have been associated with older colleagues who had entered the service under the great man himself Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Hence the young Henry must have learnt much railway history from his father. It was therefore with considerable confidence that he joined issue with other and more experienced correspondents in The Engineer and Engineering. It was this tremendous enthusiasm towards engineering practice and a youthful drive that was to guide him at all times. In the future ahead, however, Greenly's progress was to be on a single line of his own choice; albeit one of narrow gauge, and far removed from the broad gauge about which there had been so much discussion.
In the present age of interest in industrial archaeology greater care is taken in the preservation of historic documents, whereas at that period old drawings, prints and photographs were often discarded. It was not difficult, therefore, for the young man to gather together a collection of his embryo scrapbooks. Visits to a public library reading room in the City or the school library enabled him to study the numerous engineering journals and to follow the correspondence in those in which he was participating.
* Clement E. Stratton first lectured on railway engineering
in 1870. Books: The Locomotive Engine (1892) Safe Railway Working The Locomotive
and its Development History of the Great Western Railway
**Actaeon blew up at Gloucester during the 1850's.
Bassett-Lowke, Wenman Joseph
Born 27 December 1877 and died 21 October 1953 in Northampton. Manufacturer of model locomotives, and worked with Henry Greenly on miniature locomotives (1ft 3in gauge) for Ravenglass & Eskdate Railway. Marshall. A Trust has preserved his house at 78 Derngate in Northampton: this was decorated by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He was a member of the Fabian Society and a friend of George Bernard Shaw. ODNB entry by Robert Sharp.. David St. John Thomas in his Journey through Britain pp. 314-15 has some astute observation made whilst he was still a schholboy (at that time in Harpenden): "dapper, with an expensive tase in suits and ties... the first businessman he had ever met... Were they all as careful, nervous, and yet impatient?" Butterell and Milner's book would seem to be highly relevant, but has nver been seen by KPJ. See letter by Bill Briggs in Archive, 2012 (75), 39.
Butterell, Robin and
The Little Giant story. Chester. 2003. 215pp.