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Tom Burnham

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  1. I'd like to know more about the Payerbrook & Fairlie - there was an article about it in what was probably the first issue of Model Railway Constructor I saw (early 1960) and I was particularly intrigued by the electric interurban section, which seemed to get less attention even though it was a more original idea.
  2. There was a tremendous fuss when the South Eastern & Chatham Rly suggested fixing the Kingsferry lifting bridge on the Sittingbourne to Sheerness branch in around 1902 (the original bridge of 1860 had been damaged by floods and no longer worked properly). Various local barge owners got an injunction requiring them to open the bridge, with a year's delay in execution to enable them to build a new bridge.
  3. Presumably Cecil Ernest Laundy, of Harrow and later Dorking, whose photographic collection (820 negatives, 8 prints, 5 lantern slides) is in the NRM archives - C Laundy Cecil Laundy was born on 1 March 1880 and was a cousin of Kenneth Leech, whose work is also represented in the NRM collections. The museum acquired the Laundy collection in 1985 and it is composed almost entirely of glass and film negatives, together with eight prints which show Laundy's family at the turn of the century. Most of the photographs are by Cecil Laundy, but a small number are possibly by H Gordon Tidey and Robert Brookman (qv). The subjects covered include the railways of Hertfordshire, particularly the Great Northern, Midland and LNWR lines near Potters Bar and Hitchin. There are also some LBSCR views, whilst other lines covered include the Southern, South Eastern & Chatham Railway, LNER, Midland & Great Northern Joint, Great Central and Great Eastern Railways. Laundy died in 1945.
  4. Photo of an 03 at Queenborough Wharf. I never saw an 07 there myself, but they could well have been there before I visited. See details of activity there from Adrian Nicholls in the comments on the photo on Flickr -
  5. Ah, I thought you were going to refer to the Just So story -
  6. This photo by C. Laundy (who he?) appeared in the August 1920 Railway Magazine. Gladstone (B1) class 0-4-2 No 174 (formerly "Fratton") heading a London Bridge to Eastbourne and Hastings train. Set number 124 prominent on the brake end of the first carriage.
  7. And Bollo Lane Junction, the other side of South Acton, retained a disused L&SWR signal box at least until 18 months ago. Very complicated lot of railways in that area, it seems to me as a (former) SE London resident...
  8. This one? Connaught swing bridge and signal box in 1971. The view from here now is mostly London City Airport. Tom B
  9. The Collings point out that other large-scale railway contractors diversified into other aspects of civil engineering, which went on apace, but Firbank didn't. Arguably there was quite a lot of railway civil engineering going on during the 1900-1914 period, but (apart from the rather specialised area of London tube railways) most of it consisted of expansion and improvement of existing routes, rather than completely new railways through open country. Often on a "cost plus" basis rather than tenders based on detailed plans and quantities, and you would need to liaise more closely with the railway as you'd be working on an operating railway.
  10. I have a book on my shelves "Joseph Firbank - The Railway Builder" by Eric and Margaret Colling, published in 2011 by Roundtuit Publishing of Durham. I think I bought it at the Shildon museum. There's quite a lot about the various descendants. They say "Lacking the 'boldness of vision' of his father, and given the relatively difficult trading conditions in the early years of the century, it was perhaps inevitable that Sir Thomas's company was not successful despite the opportunities for diversification. It was subject to a compulsory winding up order and went into receivership in July 1906 while it was engaged on a contract for the Great Western Railway." JTF's estate was valued at only £621 when he died in 1910, compared with the £348,528 of Joseph Firbank's in 1890. Perhaps JTF had made provisions for some of his family before his death, but all the same it's unimpressive.
  11. Stephens was just resident engineer for the Paddock Wood & Cranbrook - the main engineer was E P Seaton, a consulting engineer who did a lot of work for the Metropolitan Rly (where HF Stephens had originally been an engineering apprentice). The local manager for JTF on the Cranbrook contract was an engineer called George Throssle or Throstle who had previously worked for JTF's father. Throstle's father, John Throstle, had also worked for Joseph Firbank (senr) and was an executor of his will. The main contractors for the Vale of Rheidol were John and Frank Pethick of Plymouth. JTF did some work on the Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Lt Rly (engineers E R Calthrop and then W T Foxlee, both known in light railway circles). The Szlumpers are an interesting family, incidentally. Fingers in many railway pies.
  12. I'm reminded of Josh Billings - "The trouble with most folks isn't their ignorance. It's knowin' so many things that ain't so."
  13. It's the occupation - a jobmaster was someone who had a business renting out horses and carriages. See small ads from the Morning Post in 1908
  14. Yes indeed, there was a Great Northern Railway service through via the City Widened Lines, Holborn Viaduct (Low Level) and London Bridge to Plumstead and Woolwich from about 1878 to 1907. As far as I'm aware there were no long distance trains from the GNR using this route. The introduction of the Great Northern services was regarded as a distinct improvement by residents along the North Kent line - this from the "Kentish Independent" of Saturday 8 June 1878, p.4, for example: "THE NEW RAILWAY SERVICE. - The introduction of the rolling stock of the Great Northern Railway Company on the North Kent line promises to be of advantage to travellers, beyond the convenience it affords of getting quickly and comfortably to central and north London and more distant stations, for the South Eastern directors cannot long endure the comparison between their old carriages and those of the rival company whom they have admitted into their domain. The Great Northern carriages are among the best in England, roomy, clean, and well lighted, and even the third class carriages have cushioned seats and hat rails - the greatest contrast imaginable to the wretched horse boxes in which the weary bones of the North Kent passengers have been chafed and shaken for so many years past. The first and second class carriages are absolutely faultless. The engines are of a very powerful kind, and the trains are provided throughout with vacuum breaks. The chairman of the South Eastern Company has promised to pay a visit of inspection to the Woolwich and Plumstead stations shortly, and it is to be hoped that he will come down in one of the Great Northern trains, and return in one of his own company's."
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