William Dean

Jeremy Clements William Dean:: the greatest of them all is a new (2012) book with biographical aspirations, but is in actuality a study of the Dean Goods 0-6-0 with some reference to Dean's other designs and the limiting factors which affected his Superintendency. Far better is John C. Gibson's Great Western locomotive design which gives a thorough examination of all his designs and appears to assess the man fairly.

with George Jackson Churchward 202/1902 Improvements in either side hand brakes for railway rolling stock. 4 December 1902

Tensile tests and chemical analyses of copper plates from fire-boxes of locomotives on the Great Western Railway. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs., 1893, 44, 139-98.

Best-known to later generations [of railway enthusiasts] in Britain for his 'Dean Goods' 0-6-0, a sturdy and trouble-free locomotive that served the GWR and was sent overseas in two world wars, William Dean was a Great Western man throughout his life. Born into a managerial family near London on 9 January 1840: Armin notes that his father was the manager of the Hawes Soap Factory.  Dean died in Folkestone on 24 September 1905 (Marshall). He was educated at Haberdashers' school. He excelled in mathematics. He was apprenticed to Joseph Armstrong at the GWR Wolverhampton Works in 1855. When Armstrong moved to Swindon he succeeded him as the Wolverhampton Locomotive Superintendent, and when in 1877 Armstrong retired, it was again Dean who succeeded him as locomotive superintendent of the GWR

In his quarter-century of office, Dean designed a number of experimental engines, some successful and some failures, and several standard classes. Early in his designing career he designed 'convertibles', locomotives that could be changed from broad gauge to standard gauge by moving the wheels from outside the frames to inside. Among his fast passenger machines, his inside cylinder 'singles' with their large brass domes were famous both for their beauty and their performance. His outside-frame bogie, which he designed to permit the use of large inside cylinders, was used successfully in several designs, including the outside frame 'Duke' 4-4-0 designed for use over Devonshire gradients. Many of his types, like his 0-4-2 tank, his then unusual pannier tank, and his 'Duke' 4-4-0, were the basis of designs still being built in the 1930s. In the last years of his career many engines for which he was responsible, like the fast 'City' 4-4-0, owed more to Churchward than to himself (see p. 126). A sound, hard-working man, Dean had a pleasing modesty. His encouragement of the young Churchward is one example of his lack of professional jealousy. It was also endearing that when he decided he ought to play his part in experimenting with compounding, he chose the cross-compound, on the grounds that this was a type which other British experimenters had neglected.

The transition from Dean to Churchward at Swindon has been the cause of much comment. Peck states that "G.J. Churchward had been moved in 1898, from his post as Carriage Works Manager to that of Assiatnt Works Manager preumably because of the continued illness of Carlton, and he [GJC] was now appointed manager in his place from 25th March 1896. This placed him, in effect, but not in name, as senior assitant to Dean, and from this date one can begin to discern his hand clearly in the matter of locomotive design.

Brian Armin noted that Dean's first wife had died shortly after the birth of their third child. He remarried in 1878, but his second wife died in 1889. Two of his daughters predeceased him. Dean was also probably saddened by the end of the broad gauge. By the 1890s he was probably becoming forgetful, but Armin questions whether Churchward was informed to take over from Dean, although it was probably intimated to him that he would succeed Dean. Nock (Standard gauge Great Western 4-4-0s) p. 31 states that Dean's "mental capacity was beginning to fail".

Arman, Brian. The Dean-Churchward transition. Br Rly J., 1994 (36) 267-79.
See: H. Ellis, Twenty Locomotive Men (1958).
Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia

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