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William Brown
1 Oct 1803 - 19 Oct 1885

Engine-master 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)   
William's engine in JULY 1837.
Majestic class, Coronation no. 13 was a
double tender engine designed and built by Timothy Hackworth c.1831
with some parts made by Robert Stephenson & 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 'reconstruction' is the webmaster's best guess.
The books listed at the foot of this page were very useful 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.  He 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 Russia.  The former's granddaughter, 
Helena Brown   in a matter of fact way told me [c.1950] that he was presented with a gold watch by the Tsar.  I have heard that it was not unusual for Tsar Nicholas to dish out such baubles.  So what happened to it ?

For example only.....Tyoical-Russian-presentation

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 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  Engine No.13 Coronation the last of the Majestic engines in service was sold at an auction in Shildon for £100, apparently to Timothy Hackworth. (pp 61-62, The Locomotives of the S&DR, by T.R.Pearce)

1841  The family were living at East Thickley ( aka New Shildon ).  Their entry in the facsimile of the 1841 census has faded, almost illegible, as the enumerators were permitted to write in pencil lead. William was recorded as an 'Engine-man'.  Only the youngest child Robert age 6 (my g.grandfather) 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].  The Elms was the home of James Flounders, a retired farmer and Elizabeth Orton wife of a convict deported to Australia.  She was related to James by marriage.  James was a first cousin of industrialist Benjamin Flounders one of the promoters of the Stockton and Darlington Railway Company.  As William Brown was son-in-law of James Flounders' housekeeper, I wonder whether this led to his employment with S&DR ? 

1842  Driver of No.12 Trader (Tory class) which was a new engine in that year.

1846  Driver of No.30 Wear 
(Miner  class)

1846 Sept  Driver of No.13 Ocean
(Tory class) / was No.29

1846 Oct and 1847 Feb  Driver of No.49 Raby Castle.  She was a 2-2-2 coaching engine in a class of her own. Herapath's Railway Journal in 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 the blast-pipe; chimney; and fire-box are a match, and my guess is that the boiler,
could be 4ft. diameter x 13ft. long, with 105 smoke tubes.

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

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 Census : William shown  as  Inspector of Locomotive Engines
.   The family were living in Adelaide St., Shildon.

1861 Reference only : Westmoreland poet John Close wrote about characters he met on the railway station at nearby Kirby Stephen.  Among those were, in his words "Also Messrs Clough and Henderson, Mineral and Plate Inspectors and Mr Richardson, engine inspector.  All are superior, intellectual men."

N.E.R. logo
In 1863 the S&DR lost its independence, and was then operated as the Darlington Section of the North Eastern Railway until 1876.

1871 Census : William shown as an Engine-driver.  The family were living in Company's Row (Adelaide St) his youngest son William-jnr 21, (fitter) was present.  His eldest son George 37 (foundryman) and family were living next-door.

Page amendment : 1 APR 2016 :-

To date I have published 123 pages for this website including 44 for my cousin Ann who brought the following 'mystery' photograph to my attention. I believe it was snapped and framed 143 years ago, then cherished through five generations.
In different places and at different times both of our grandmothers, surnamed Brown told us more or less the same fairy story, that  " - - an ancestor delivered the first locomotive to Russia - - ".  The original photograph lacks provenance because to the best of my knowledge it has neither labels nor a signature, and Chinese whispers over the generations have blurred any useful narrative. 
However, recognising my great-grandfather's image in both of the following photographs, and being able to compare them has encouraged me to rethink the situation.

I believe the scene depicts the release of a new engine to it's Danish buyers at Shildon.
The day could have been William Brown's 70th birthday, or retirement,
Wednesday the 1st of October 1873.

Robert Brown 1873 Aarhus, Denmark. copyright.....Robert - gripping the hand-rail of engine no.61

On the left, a Danish portrait photo of my g.grandfather Robert Brown 37.
He can also be seen top-left in the Shildon group.

I would like to believe that the four men standing on the engine's running board
are all Mrs Brown's boys ( see Mary Orton )
i.e. her son Robert 37; her husband William 70; her son George 39, and her son William 23;
and that 'locomotive superintendent' William Bouch is in the
foreground, fourth from the right.

Considering the perspectives of the engine and shed, it seems that the camera and tripod were
'planted' in the kitchen-garden of Soho House the home of Mr Bouch.  The freshly painted engine
is facing the entrance (east end) of Hackworth's assembly shop and behind the engine's chimney
is the sloping roof of the north aisle.
  • A different perspective of the location may be seen at the foot of this page. (go there)
  • A geometric sketch to prove the location may be seen via a separate page. (go there)
[1] The photographer might have been Mr Thomas Wild a railway clerk who had a  
business in Shildon (1873) mentioned in the website of the Cleveland FHS. 
(go there)
Two years earlier in the 1871 census he was enumerated in Richmond as a visitor
to a household of three professional photographers.

[2] On the other hand, as Robert's portrait is annotated Fr Visby, Aarhus, the Danes
might have brought along their own photographer. An internet search has shown a 
'Fraulein Visby' to have been a notable Danish photographer in those days.

Justifications : -
  • Two years earlier the 1871 census shows William Bouch "Locomotive Superintendent" living at Soho, Shildon.  Previously 1831 - 1850 it was the home of Timothy Hackworth.  Now (2016) known as Hackworth House it is a part of the National Railway Museum 'Locomotion' site. 
  • The backyard of Soho, a pair of large semi-detached cottages, was the location of the gathering. Very near to the back of the houses until 1946 there was an annexe of the Soho Works large enough to shelter ten engines.  A map of 1876 shows three tracks running through it. Over the years the building was used for various purposes, including a paint-shop.
  • As mentioned above Mr.Bouch 60 is in the photograph, fourth from the right, and the man third from the right could be Mr.William Macnay 47, "Managing Engineer, Shildon Works".  Macnay would have claimed his place in the group as in the 1871 census he was Mr Bouch's next-door neighbour.  Later, following Bouch's death in January 1876 Macnay took over the role of "Locomotive Superintendent".
  • We should applaud this pioneer photographer for his choreography. He seems to have arranged  three or four distinct parties within the group.
  • Fortunately, I was helped by an email-friend (James A.) to identify the locomotive.  No.61 was " - - the first of four 0-6-0s built by Hawthorns of Newcastle for Denmark in 1873 - - "  which confirms the year of the photo.  The engine-driver seated on the sand-box, and the gentlemen on the left in inky-black suits and shiny-shoes seem 'foreign' to me. Were they Viking officials of Danish Government Railways, and was a Mr Blair among them ?  This is relevant to Robert Brown's business as it indicates the importance of Aarhus as a railway centre.  John Blair, a member of the (British) Institution of Mechanical Engineers, was Chief Locomotive Superintendent of Danish Government Railways at Aarhus.
  • In the 1870s Robert Brown with his wife Ann (Adamson) and their seven daughters moved from Gorton, Manchester to reside in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His eighth daughter my grandmother, was born there in 1876. And from the previous 'bullet' it seems that Robert would have been representing Hawthorns. 
  • As a boy Robert was trained at Shildon under Mr Bouch; then around 1861 he moved to Doncaster; then to Beyer-Peacock at Gorton, Manchester. Perhaps on this 1873 occasion he had brought DGR no.61 from Hawthorns for trials and finishing, then sailed with it across the North Sea to Denmark. Was it then that he sat for his portrait at the studio of Fraulein Visby ? )  He might have thought, "Some day Geoff will need this photo to prove I was here".
  • On the day, the agenda would have included several photographs, mainly 'business'.  Aside from the business photographs ours is what I would call a foreigner, i.e. not on the books but arranged ad-hoc at the discretion of Mr Bouch as a part of William's birthday/retirement treat.  Mr Bouch could easily afford the cost as his Will of 1876 shows a probate value of about £160,000.
  • Mr Bouch; William Brown and his sons had something in common - - they were 'Shildon villagers' and among the last of the true S&DR men.  
  • We should not be surprised at the lack of evidence to substantiate my story.  In the 1800s education was poor and illiteracy rife. For example, in 1831 when William Brown and Mary Orton were married at St.Thomas' Church, Stockton-on-Tees neither of them managed their 'mark' with a legible 'X'.  However I do know that Timothy Hackworth goaded his men into further-education, and that the facsimiles of the Engine-men's-Wages show us William's signatures written 'in a good fist'.
  • Summarising the occasion from William's point of view, no doubt he was proud of his boys and that Robert (visitor to Shildon) was about to travel with the new engine to Aarhus.  The place might have been a port of call when he himself delivered an engine to St.Petersburg 37 years earlier; and of course all three of the 'boys' had been thoughtfully included in the photograph.  For reference, Robert's birth year was 1836, i.e. the same year his father went on the epic journey to Russia.

My wife at the door of Hackworth House 13-06-2007
Hackworth House in August 2007
(My wife Dorothy at the door)
Previously known as  Soho House, it was home of Timothy Hackworth between 1831 - 1850.

I wonder if the engine-men of old queued on that path for wages ?
The Soho Works paint-shop demolished in 1946, would have towered over the roof-tops on the left.

End of page amendment : 1 APR 2016 / /  Until we know better, this will have to do.  Amen

was the year of the S&DR Jubilee.  J.S.Jeans, author of the official record included a short tribute to William Bouch :-
"The Shildon 
(Miner  class) no.1033 was constructed thirty years ago - - - by Mr William Bouch.  It has been running continually since that time on the Stockton and Darlington line, and is yet, to all appearance, fit for a good deal of service."

NER 1033 aka S&DR 33 by William Bouch 1845

No.1033 Shildon 
(Miner  class) 1845 - 1877
Scrapped one year after the death of Mr Bouch

The webmaster must admit to a lump in the throat here as in 1959-1960 he served at R.A.F. Middleton-St-George alongside the old S&DR line.  At night R.A.F. Javelins of 33 Squadron on final approach would cross the railway and the beams of their landing lights would at times stream through the carriage windows of a passing train.

1876 January 19  William Bouch died age 63 at Melcombe Regis, Dorset. The executor of the will was his brother 
Thomas Bouch whose image here I believe shows us a familial likeness.

NER 1033 aka S&DR 33 by William Bouch 1845

Thomas Bouch, civil engineer
1822 - 1880

1885 Oct 19 William Brown died at Company Cottages, New Shildon. His death certificate gives his occupation as 'Engine Driver' which must be a record at his great age 82 ! Later, William's widow lived with her daughter Ann's family at Highside House farm Heighington. (The place is still there, I have been there, now a Grade 2 listed building.)

An image believed to have come to light from an early postcard


George Stephenson's viaduct which was built in 1824  (link) over the River Gaunless at
West Auckland, Co. Durham. Throughout its early development the railway
was supposed to carry only horse-drawn traffic, so it is surprising to see it
bearing 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.
Above, 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 :
The following YouTube link plays folk music appropriate to the life and times of our Enginedriver :
Many thanks to 'Helen' of Helen Osborne Research Ltd. SW20 9LB for her professional work on my behalf at the National Archives.

The Driver of 1852 by Henry Thomas Alken

Painting "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. coat button

My modus operandi, i.e. declaration>to appreciated correction>to reissue is inclined to make my
more pedantic readers feel rather bilious. However for more than ten years the technique has
served me well. I liken it to the science of geology as invented by
Dr James Hutton 1726 - 1797, hence "Huttonian".

In the name of simplicity and to ease an otherwise bumpy ride, data sources are
in general omitted. However please feel free to enquire/inquire.

Below, a different aspect of the setting used in 1873 for William's 70th birthday party.  (go there)

Hackworth's Soho buildings by Geoff Royle


Email me : post@g4fas.net