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By Lorna Hogger on

Listing a 4,000 image-strong photographic collection

We enlisted the help of some of our brilliant volunteers to help make an extensive photography collection accessible.

Over the last year a team of volunteers has been working hard to list a collection of approximately 4,000 photographic prints acquired from the former North Eastern Railway Headquarters in York (now the Grand Hotel). These have been stored in their original filing cabinet since their acquisition and were unlisted, making them fairly inaccessible.

The team has systematically listed the photographs, noting subject, date and other significant information. They have come across some great prints while they have been working, including snow ploughs, historic sites, images of the old railway museum, royalty and much, much more.

The group have now finished listing the prints and I have a very large pile of handwritten listings sitting on my desk waiting to be typed up! This year, two new volunteers will be joining the team to do that very thing. Once these lists are typed, we can make them available to staff and researchers in the museum.

Now that the prints are listed I am also able to rehouse the prints into archive boxes, arranged by theme, for improved storage and for their long term preservation.

Below are some examples of the images in the collection.

0-6-0 goods locomotive, 1870s
King George VI as Duke of York at Darlington
Women porters stacking grain, 1943

10 comments on “Listing a 4,000 image-strong photographic collection

  1. Your photo of the 0-6-0 “Goods Locomotive” intrigues me. It shows a design dating from around 1830 so, if the photo date is correct, the locomotive is about 40 years old. There are several clues: The crew is split between the driver at the rear, where the cylinders are located, while the fireman is at the front with the tender. This suggests that the coal had to be loaded through the front and therefore that the boiler was a “return flue” type. This was developed by Stephenson in 1829 and soon replaced all other types.

    The cylinders, being at the rear of the loco, had to have the exhaust ports connected to the smokebox at the front through long tubes fitted along the side of the boiler. The dome has pipes lying on top of the rear of the boiler that connect the regulator to the cylinders.

    It looks as if the valve gear was connected to eccentrics on the leading axle. It is likely they that had to be set up the old way, with the driver adjusting the eccentrics manually from the footplate as per the Rocket. This type of design was replaced by Stephenson by 1833.

    My impression is that the photo is earlier than 1870. The locomotive is so old and inefficient that it would have been difficult to justify keeping it in service in that condition for so long.

    1. I must add a correction. Delete last sentence of first paragraph and replace with: The return flue boiler was superseded by Stephenson’s multi-tube boiler in 1829.

  2. Now I’ve had a chance to do a bit more digging, this locomotive seems to me to bear a strong resemblence to one of Timothy Hackworth’s 0-6-0 mineral engines built for the Stockton & Darlington Railway. These are described in “The British Steam Railway Locomotive from 1825 to 1925” by E.L Ahrons, p33. with a copy of an engraving from “The Engineer” magazine. The design dates from 1838, although it looks older.

    Various parts of the locomotive are slightly different from the engraving and it has a newer tender but it is a good match. Ahrons says a “considerable number” were built by Hackworth and others but he goes on to say that less than 50 of the outside cylinder 0-6-0 type were ever built in the whole of Britain.

    Lowe, in “British Steam Locomotive Builders” records that 6 such machines were built by Hackworth between 1838 and 1845. He says the Hackworth design was also supplied by W & A Kitching for the S&DR. Another four were built by William Lister.

    The design was a lot longer lived than I first thought and they survived longer than I said above. The last example was apparently built in 1849. The design was very successful and Lowe records that some of them lasted until the 1890s. One of them was No 25 “Derwent”, and it was preserved at Darlington Top Bank station. See also

    I wonder if the photographic plate records a number for this locomotive.

  3. Hi, Many thanks for your detailed comments. Our research also points to a Stockton and Darlington engine. We’re going to do a bit more digging around this one and I’ll let you know if we find out more.

    1. I got so interested in this photo that I bought some more books to try to get to more substantiated information. The best source is “The Locomotives of the Stockton & Darlington Railway” by TR Pearce, HMRS, 1996. Pearce lists 20 locomotives of this type, i.e. with the return flue boiler requiring the coal tender at the front end and with inclined cylinders at the rear of the boiler driving the leading axle. He calls them the “Tory” class, after the name of the first. Of the 20 recorded, 16 were built new between 1838 and 1848. The other four were rebuilds of similar engines constructed 1837-8 but originally fitted with vertical cylinders driving the rear axle.

      Your photo shows several alterations to the original design, although it is obvious that no two locomotives were identical when finished. The alterations include a shorter, stovepipe chimney and a new tender or, at least, a rebuilt one, carrying both coal and water at the front end. You can see the water hoses under the coupling. The original design had the water carried in a separate tender at the rear. All the original tenders appear to have been wooden, above the frames at least. This tender also has brakes, something the originals didn’t have.

      Another new feature is the wheel design. All the photos and drawings of the original locos show they had Hackworth’s cast iron, “plug” wheels that didn’t have spokes. Your photo shows spoked wheels. I’m sure that these will have replaced the originals. The loco has also lost its two original safety valves. That’s all I have for now.

      1. The T. R. Pearce was the book we consulted too, as well as “The British Steam Railway Locomotive: 1825-1925” by E.L. Ahrons, which is also useful for this period of engine.

  4. No chance of digitising some and making them available online? I’m very interested to see the women porters photo from WW2. I hadn’t realised that women worked as railway porters then.

    1. I’m afraid that at the moment the collection hasn’t been digitised, however the prints are viewable in Search Engine, the NRM’s library and archive. The lists are being typed up and will be available over the next few months.

  5. Regarding the 0-6-0 locomotive, this photo appeared in “Railway History in Pictures – The North East” by Ken Hoole (David & Charles c.1968), where it was described as originally belonging to the West Hartlepool Harbour & Railway Company. This may account for the differences between the locomotive in the photograph and similar engines on the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

  6. It is tempting to see this as a S&D Tory class, which was my first thought. If so, however, it has retained its original boiler configuration, with the firing (and fireman) at the smokebox end.

    The tender looks more recent than the locomotive, and, if a Tory class, the loco would have originally had separate coal and water tenders, so it is tempting to see this as one such locomotive with a single ‘modern’ tender containing both coal and water, leading to the fitting of ‘modern’ buffers at the backhead end of the locomotive. Rather, I suspect the tender might well be the original coal tender frame with a modern top to contain both coal and water, and a modern buffer beam, added to it.

    1870 would be a little late for a Tory, most seem to have been scrapped or sold out of service 1868-1870, according to Pearce. None of the Hackworth-built examples seemed to have survived to 1875, hence apparently faking No.26 ‘Pilot’ as No.10 for the Jubilee (according to Ahrons).

    According to Pearce, most of the Tory Class were rebuilt. I am not sure quite what was involved. He states that the later Miner Class were nearly all rebuilt with conventional boilers as “firebox engines”. This was not necessarily true of the Tories.

    What single tender arrangement may have been used with ‘firebox’ rebuilds is not clear, because the picture of Miner Class 33/1033 ‘Shildon’ seems to have been another 1875 ‘fake-up’, using the old, and now redundant, twin tender arrangement.

    The other feature of note is the use of spoked, rather than plug, wheels. Plug wheels were fitted on the S&D Commerce class, the first long-boilers, and Cleveland & Birkbeck. There may have been Hackworth types built or fitted with spoked wheels – e.g. Albion and Victor – but I have not seen evidence of this on the S&D.

    The boiler seems longer, relative to the wheelbase, than was found on the Tory class or other twin-tender classes. Of course, in order to survive to 1870, or some date at which running with such a tender would be likely, the loco would probably have been rebuilt at least once. Is this a longer replacement boiler retaining the original firing at the smokebox end configuration?

    A final thought, the chimney has a certain Bouch look about it.

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