Listing a 4000-strong photographic collection

Over the last year a team of volunteers has been working hard to list a collection of approximately 4000 photographic prints acquired from the former North Eastern Railway Headquarters in York (now the Cedar Court 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

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10 Responses to Listing a 4000-strong photographic collection

  1. Piers Connor says:

    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.

  2. Piers Connor says:

    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 http://www.railcentre.co.uk/hackworth/derwent.htm

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

  3. Lorna Frost, Assistant Curator - Image Collections says:

    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.

    • Piers Connor says:

      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.

      • Lorna Frost, Assistant Curator - Image Collections says:

        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.

    • Lorna Frost, Assistant Curator - Image Collections says:

      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. Pingback: National Rail Museum Releases New Photo Collection | Photo Archive News

  6. Brian Lacey says:

    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.

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