Stephen Alley and others associated with Sentinel, notably son, and  Doble

Alley eventual founder of the Sentinel business, was born in Blessington, Co. Kildare on 22 February 1840 (his father was a surgeon). Aged fourteen he was apprenticed to Forrest & Barr, Glasgow marine engineers, and then to A.& J. Inglis. He was then employed by Edward Hunt, a Glasgow patent agent and then by Neilson Bros (not to be confused with Neilson & Co.). In 1868 Carruthers & Alley, Consulting Engineers was formed, but by 1874 Alley was on his own.

In 1875 he joined with John Alexander MacLellan to establish the Sentinel Engineering Works in Bridgeton, Glasgow. In 1880 the firm moved to Polamdie. The company built prefabricated ships for export (there is an interesting mention in Hughes & Thomas to rubber seals being used at the joins between the sections of the hull) and marine machinery. This last included both engines for paddle steamers and for auxiliary machinery. A crane for removing ash from the stoke holds is mentioned. He was involved in the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888 and died on 23 March 1898 when his son, Stephen Evans took over the business.

Stephen Evans Alley

In 1898, at the age of 26, he took over his father's business in association with MacLellan in Glasgow, and in 1903 he took over Simpson & Bibby of Horsehay and moved their manufacture to Glasgow where the Sentinel steam lorry (waggon) was developed. At about the same time MacLellan retired to near Newton Abbot and took up farming and died on 14 April 1915 aged 61. Industrial disputes and lack of space caused the firm to deverlop on a "green field" site at Shrewsbury, and Alley acquired a London office. The Sentinel Waggon Works produced its Super-Sentinel which manifested itself in road tractors and trucks, and as railway locomotives and railcars.


with Simpson 1380/1904

Vertical boiler with superheater used in lorries and locomotives until 1951: capable of being used on 1 in 6 gradients.

Engine (low speed)
with Simpson 4248/1905
poppet valves

There are further Alley & Simpson patents relating to the design of steering, wheels, etc which are not applicable to the eventual railway activity.

Rutherford (Backtrack, 1998, 12, 387 (page 389)) cites UK Patent 408,316 of 6 October 1932 for multi-cylinder bogie locomotive with Doble boiler (as built for Colombia metre gauge)

Not in Marshall

Daniel Harrison Simpson
Son of William Simpson, senior partner in Simpson & Godlee, textile millers in Manchester. Took out several patents with father and W.L. Bodman for road vehicles. His uncle, H.E. Simpson, was Managing Director of the Horseshay Iron Works. George Woodvine was apprenticed at Horsehay and became Simpson's Assistant. He an Woodvine joined Alley at Polmadie and later assisted in the establishment of Sentinel Waggon Works in Shrewsbury where he was General Manager then Managing Director..


Flash boiler
4486, 1898
18,290/1902. Improvements in or relating to steam generators. Applied 20 August 1902. Published 20 August 1903.

Rotary engine? mentioned in Hele-Shaw paper: Proc. Instn Mech Engrs., 1901?

with Alley 1380/1904

Hughes, W.J. and Thomas, Joseph L. 'The Sentinel': a history of Alley & MacLellan and The Sentinel Waggon Works. Volume 1. 1875-1930. 1973. .

Arthur Thomson
Closely involved in the design of the Super-Sentinel Waggon, and thereafter with the Sentinel locomotives and railcars. He was apprenticed with David Rowan, marine engineers, in Glasgow and joined the Polmadie plant in1915. In 1917 he became Alley's personal assistant and worked with him in the Sentinel London office. He was co-patentee, with Alley, of one of the patents relating to the Super Sentinel (24,984/1919). He became Assistant General Manager of Sentinel Industrial Locomotives, with an office in Chester from 1925, but this could not be justified and in 1928 this activity was combined with that of the Railway Department at Shrewsbury. Not long after this he left to join the United Steel Companies, and later Stewarts & Lloyd.

George Woodvine
See introduction to book by Hughes and Thomas 'The Sentinel' volume 1 by J.G.R. Woodvine which relates George Woodvine's contribution to the establishment of steam lorry production initially in Glasgow (at Polmadie) from 1910 where he was Works Manager and then at Shrewsbury from 1915.

William Heslop Woolnough
Inventor of water-tube boiler used in three railcars supplied to LNER in 1932 also extant steam articulated railcar ex-Egyptian State Railways at Quainton Road in Buckinghamshire (see RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Part 10B Fig. 72). Served in Royal Navy during WW2.


420,906 Improvements in or relating to steam generators. Applied 1 June 1933. Published 3 December 1934 with Sentinel Waggon Works Ltd
384,723 Improvements in or relating to fire-grates for boiler or other furnaces. Applied 16 September 1931. Published 15 December 1932 with Sentinel Waggon Works Ltd
388,799 Improvements in or relating to steam boilers and feed-water apparatus therefor. Applied 25 August 1931. Published 27 February 1933 with Sentinel Waggon Works Ltd
328,342 Improvements in or relating to steam boilers. Applied 1 February 1929. Published 1 May 1930.

A.C. Hutt
Chief designer at Shrewsbury, formerly with Gas Light & Coke Co.

Abner Doble
Born in San Francisco, California on 26 March 1895; died Santa Rosa, California on 17 July 1961 (Wikipedia 2017-01-05). Associated with the development of the steam-powered automobile, especially in the USA: this used a liquid-fuel fired flash-type boiler. Also used on railway vehicles produced by Sentinel in late 1930s, notably a shunting locomotive for the LMS using liquid fuel and the railbus for the Southern Railway. See Comyns-Carr. Trans. Newcomen soc., 1997, 69 p. 177 et seq. and J.A. Crabtree The automatic control of small boilers. Trans Newcomen Soc., 1970, 43, 93-112.

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