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William Brown
1 Oct 1803 - 19 Oct 1885
A great-great-grandfather of the webmaster
and an engine-driver of The Stockton and Darlington Railway Company

"All Honour to - - - - those clear cool brains; for through and by these, thousands travel by Rail, and without such clever steady men,
those Iron Monsters, our smoking steam engines could not cope with the wind, and almost fly like lightning."

The above was penned in 1862 by poet John Close in his annual publication, "Once a Year : Tales and Legends of Westmoreland" [No.1; p.120]
Mr Close had pedalled books of his works at the newly built railway station at Kirkby Stephen, and his observations there
among all classes of traveller hands down to us a rare insight into the early days of that branch of the railway.  


Majestic class "Coronation" 1831 (copyright G.Royle 2006)   
One of the engines which William is known to have driven, see 1837 below.
Majestic class, Coronation no. 13 was a
double tender engine designed and built by Timothy Hackworth in 1831
with some parts made by Robert Stepenson & Co. and R.W.Hawthorn, both of Newcastle-on-Tyne.
All that remains of this class of engine are a couple of primitive sketchs made many years
after the engines were scrapped, hence this conjectural drawing is the webmaster's best guess.
The books listed at the foot of this page were very helpful in the quest.

William was the eldest son of George Brown, a farmer of Ingleton, Co. Durham and Jane Lamb of Redmarshall, Durham who married 17 May 1803 at St.Thomas' Stockton-on-Tees.  William was born and raised in East Hartburn, Stockton-on-Tees.

1803 Oct 30 He was baptised at St.Thomas', Stockton-on-Tees.

Aug 15 He married Mary Orton of Hutton Rudby, at
St.Thomas, Stockton-on-Tees.  They had two girls and three boys, inc. my g.grandfather Robert.  In 1821 Mary's father was sentenced to death at York Assizes. See her page in this site.

1836 William is believed to have been on the team which delivered an engine built by Timothy Hackworth to the Tsar of Russia.
Sources: (1) William's granddaughter, Helena Brown.  In a matter of fact way she said [c.1950] that William had been presented with a gold watch by the Tsar. And (2) Ann, a distant cousin of the webmaster living in Wellington, New Zealand has corroborated the story and provides a copy of an old photograph which may be seen via this link > > > > . 

1837 Paylists of the S&DR for May and July of 1837 show William alongside famous early engines and drivers.  

The earliest mention of his name found so far in the lists is for "---halling [sic] the 1st Class Coach, 1/4 day, paid 6 shillings".

 The following are monthly pay entries (out of sequence) in the "Enginemen's Wages for July 1837".

Drivers Amount Engines Signatures
W.Brown £40 18s 2d Coronation-13 ( Majestic class pictured above ) William Brown [33yr]
R.Morgan £4 13s 11d Locomotion No.1 ( the 1st engine on the line in 1825 ) John Morgan
R.Newcomb £30 9s 6d Northumbrian-15 ( Majestic class ) Elizth Newcome (sic)
J.Pickering £36 4s 6d Royal George ( The famous engine, built in 1827 ) John Mountrey
J.Greathead £35 13 5d Shildon-18 ( Majestic class ) John Greathead [22yr]
Another paylist  example, for May 1837, can be seen here > >    http://www.clevelandfhs.org.uk/S%20&%20D%20Wages.htm
1839 July  Driver of No.15 Northumbrian (Majestic class, as was No.13 Coronation)

1841  Coronation was the last of the Majestic engines still in service, and was sold at an auction at Shildon for £100, apparently to Timothy Hackworth. (pp 61-62, The Locomotives of the S&DR, by T.R.Pearce)

1842  Driver of Trader (Tory class) which was a new engine in that year.

1846  Driver of Wear 
(Tory class)

1846 Sept  Driver of No.13 (not the old Coronation but Tory-class\Ocean renumbered from 28)

1846 Oct and 1847 Feb  Driver of No.30, Raby Castle.  She was a 2-2-2 coaching engine in a class of her own.  Herapath's Railway Journal 1841 stated that "The Raby Castle is a beautiful engine for her size and weight and second to none that I have yet seen.  She is a steady, active, neat, tight little engine capable of generating more steam than she has the weight to apply to it".)

Loco "Raby Castle" by Kitching

A side elevation of Raby Castle from Kitching's original drawing

Although new in 1839 the webmaster believes that Raby Castle was
in outline at least very similar to those engines delivered to the Tsar in
September of 1836, and said to have cost at least £2000 each

The copper medal shown below was struck in Russia to commemorate the opening
of the Tsarskoye Selo Railway on 30 Oct 1836


Note the 'family' resemblance of the engine depicted here with 
Kitching's drawing of Raby Castle.


Bradyll at Locomotion Museum Shildon

The above image shows the remains of Bradyll ( ? ), an engine of the same era as 'Coronation'
though the identity is in some doubt. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradyll_(locomotive)
She can be seen at the Locomotion Museum at Shildon, County Durham.  From the image it seems that the missing cylinders were attached to the sides of the smoke-box, (here painted black) and inclined toward the wheels at the far 'stoking' end of the boiler,
i.e not as Coronation's which were vertical and linked to the wheels & connecting-rod via a crankshaft.
But - - - - :
I have sneaking suspicion that in an earlier life this relic was Coronation-13, the tired old engine
bought at auction in 1841 by her creator Timothy Hackworth.  
It is common practice in engineering to use existing hardware as the basis of a new development.
The positions of blast-pipe; chimney; and fire-box are a match, and my guess is that the boiler,
could be 4ft. diameter x 13ft. long. (Although I have not had the pleasure of running a tape measure over her.)

Timothy Hackworth Coronation 1831
Coronation L-N-E-R  poster of 1937
Read on for transcript of the footnote
Locomotive built by Mr Timothy Hackworth in honour of the coronation of King William IV-1831.
"Coronation" engine from needlework picture in the John Phillimore collection of early railway relics.
Forerunner of the "Coronation" 1937 L-N-E-R streamline train King's Cross and Edinburgh.

Web-master's note :- The artwork/needlework in the poster is by Scottish artist Doris Zinkeisen 1898 - 1991

1841  The family were living at East Thickley ( aka New Shildon ).  They are difficult to see in the facsimile of that census as the enumerators were permitted to use pencil and the writing has almost faded away.  William was recorded as an 'Engine-man'.  In that census only the youngest child Robert age 6 was at home and a search revealed William's other children living with their maternal grandmother Elizabeth Orton, at The Elms, Hutton Rudby, Yorkshire. [now no.5 North Side, n.e.corner of the village green, and almost back to back with the Bay Horse public house].  Then, in 1841 the house was the home of James Flounders, a retired farmer.  Elizabeth Orton, wife of a convict deported to Australia, was related to James by marriage.  James was a first cousin of famous philanthropist Benjamin Flounders one of the promoters of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Co.  
As William Brown was son-in-law of James Flounders' housekeeper, I wonder whether this led to his employment with S&DR ?

1851 Census: William is not at home in Temperance Street, Shildon, but another census page shows him in railwaymen's lodgings at Wolverton-St-George, Bucks (200 miles away) together with another engine-driver, his brother-in-law  John Greathead .  For reference only, see the image of an engine driver at the foot of this page.
I wonder if they travelled to Wolverton by any of the engines mentioned above, e.g. Raby Castle ?  

1861 The census shows William as 'Inspector of Locomotive Engines'.  The family were living in Adelaide St., Shildon.

1861 Reference only :  Westmorland 'Poet' John Close wrote about characters he met on the railway at Kirkby Stephen. Among those were in his words, "Also Messrs Clough and Henderson, Mineral and Plate Inspectors, and Mr Richardson, (see
Engine Inspector ).  All are superior, intellectual men.

1867 - 1876 ?  Assistance with dating the following photograph would be appreciated.

Roll-out from the paint shop at Shildon of engine no.61

 An historic group photograph taken outside the paint-shop of the S-&-D-R Shildon works in the 1860s (?).

The image is displayed with my thanks to the owner, Mrs Ann (Brown) Wolstencroft, a descendant of William Brown.
For it's age it is of the best quality and interest in so many ways.

I (webmaster) have done my best to identify the location and a few of the faces here.
At ground level the fourth man from the right is believed to be Mr William Bouch locomotive designer ;
and second from the right is William Brown's son George b.1834 (foundryman).
On the running board and gripping the handrail are : George's brother  Robert Brown of Beyer Peacock, Manchester and
their father William Brown (subject of this page) locomotive inspector/engineman (see 1861).

1876  William Bouch (above), locomotive designer died.
His brother Thomas designed the Tay Railway bridge which collapsed in 1878. 

1885 Oct 19 William died aged 82 at Company Cottages, New Shildon. Informant on the death certificate was John Dunning his son-in-law. William's widow, Mary later lived with her daughter Ann and John Dunning at Highside House (farm), Heighington.

An image believed to have come to light on an early postcard.


George Stephenson's viaduct which was built in 1824 (link) over the River Gaunless at West Auckland, Co. Durham.
When the railway opened in 1825 it was originally to carry only horse-drawn traffic, so it is surprising
to see it here bearing the load of an engine of the Director class, the first of which was delivered in 1832.

Painting by Terence Cuneo
27th of September 1825. The opening day of the Stockton and Darlington Railway had arrived.
Here, somewhere along the line is Locomotion No.1 with fire in her belly racing toward Stockton-on-Tees.


Recommended reading from which much of the above was gleaned :
  • The Locomotives of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (ISBN 0 902835 14 9) by T.R.Pearce
  • History of the Stockton and Darlington Railway (ISBN 0 85983 050 0) by J.S.Jeans
  • Timothy Hackworth and the Locomotive (1925) by Robert Young
and see the following appendix to this page :
Thanks are due for professional assistance i.e. searches at the National Archives on behalf of the webmaster by Helen of Helen Osborne Research Ltd. SW20 9LB (premises, no.3)

The Driver of 1852 by Henry Thomas Alken

[ original painting "The Driver of 1852" by Henry Thomas Alken  ]

Was this the uniform of Brown and Greathead in 1851 at Wolverton-St-George ?

S&DR Uniform button

 S.& D.R. great-coat button

A short list of other engine-drivers at East Thickley (Shildon) as gleaned from the 1841 Census


Year of Birth

27 Aug 1810

Related to W.Brown
<< Notable person

Twin ?
Twin ?

All pages of this site are subjected to regular appraisal and amended accordingly.