John Chester Craven

Marshall records that Craven was born in Leeds on 11 September 1813 and died in Brighton on 27 June 1887. He was apprenticed ar Robert Stephenson & Co. then at Fenton, Murray & Jackson of Leeds. He then worked at the Sun Foundary in Leeds, followed by a time at Maudslay & Co in London before returning to Leeds where he eventually became Works Manager at the Railway Foundary. In November 1842 he was appointed locomotive foreman at Miles Platting on the Manchester & Leeds Railway under James Fenton. He became outdoor superintendent under William Jenkins where he demonstrated that locomotives could haul trains up a 1 in 47 incline.  In May 1845 he became Locomotive Engineer of the Eastern Counties Railway. In December 1847 he became Locomotive, Carriage & Wagon Superintendent of the LBSCR at Brighton where he became notorious for the variety of the locomotives assembled there: see Burtt's Locomotives of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway. He resigned from this post in November 1869, being followed by the meticulous Stroudley. Following his resignation he consulted on both locomotive engineering and on docks and locks. During his old age he became involved in the preservation of windmills in Sussex and Kent and in the drainage of Romney Marsh..

Ellis:in his Twenty locomotive men refers to Craven's period at Brighton as  "...a reign of terror that was to last 22 years". In this Ellis also refers to his first child that ran away and died in snow after a ferrocious flogging and. the "wild variety" of Craven's designs which have been recorded in great depth by G.F. Burtt, initially in periodical form [see Ottley 6678] and as The locomotives of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway under the pseudonym of F.S. Hollandsche. In 1870 he retired and was replaced by Stroudley.

See also Craven locomotives
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William Craven

One of John Craven's sons and Ellis (The London, Brighton and South Coast Railway page 71) suggests that he may have been responsible for some of the "Craven designs" produced in the 1870s, especially the 7ft singles Nos. 162 and 163. He left at some point, not discosed by Ellis, to join the Tunis Railway. Ellis's vignette is shown above..


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