Kerr, Stuart and Company
It was founded in 1881 by James Kerr as James Kerr & Company, and became Kerr, Stuart & Company from 1883 when John Stuart was taken on as a partner. The business started in Glasgow, Scotland, but during this time they were only acting as agents ordering locomotives from established manufacturers, among them Falcon, John Fowler & Co. and Hartley, Arnoux and Fanning. They bought the last-named company in 1892 and moved into the California Works in Stoke to begin building all their own locomotives. Hartley, Arnoux and Fanning had also been building railway and tramway plant. This side of their business was sold to Dick, Kerr and Co. in Preston.
Notable Kerr, Stuart Employees
- R. J. Mitchell, Premium Apprentice, later to design the Supermarine Spitfire aircraft.
- L. T. C. Rolt, Premium Apprentice, later to be an author and canal/railway preservation pioneer.
- T. C. B. Coleman, Premium Apprentice, later Chief Locomotive Draftsman of the London Midland & Scottish Railway during the 1930s 
Kerr, Stuart standard designs
Kerr, Stuart were known for producing a number of standard designs with many engines being built for stock and sold 'off the shelf' to customers. The names of these locomotive types were often derived from the purchaser of the first of that type or from the name it was given.
The Kerr, Stuart designs are typified by having a single trailing truck (allowing a large firebox to be placed behind the driving wheels) and/or having a saddle tank. Several designs of side tank locomotive were produced that shared a chassis and boiler with a saddle tank design and it is not unknown for a standard chassis from one design to used with a different design's standard boiler to produce a locomotive to suit a customers special requirements.
Standard gauge designs
|Moss Bay||0-4-0ST||29 Tons||named after Moss Bay Haematite Iron & Steel Co Ltd, Workington|
|La Manada||4-4-0||Locomotive number 1327 of 1913 built by Kerr, Stuart and Co. Ltd. London & Stoke - Preserved in Ferro Club Villa Lynch (Argentina)|
Narrow gauge designs
|Wren||0-4-0ST||3.5 tons||Pixie one of 27 of the Wren class ordered for a sewer contract in Essex, sold to Devon County Council in 1929. Purchased by the Industrial Locomotive Society in 1957, it entered service at Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway in 1969.
Works number 3114 was part of the same batch of Wrens on the sewer contract. Its history beyond this is uncertain but it is believed that it worked on the dismantling of the Ashover Light Railway. After that it worked on the Bala Lake Railway as "Dryw Bach", and is now owned by the Vale of Rheidol Railway.
Peter Pan worked with Pixie in Devon. It was purchased in 1972 by Graham Hall who found the locomotive in a back garden in Bromsgrove and sometimes operates at the Leighton Buzzard Narrow Gauge Railway.
Lorna Doone is now preserved by the Birmingham City Museum and Art Gallery and is currently at the Amerton Railway, undergoing restoration.
Also at the Amerton Railway is new build Wren "Jennie", built by the Hunslet Engine Company in 2008.
|Sirdar||0-4-0T||6.5 tons||Two of three locomotives being built for Allan Alderson and Company of Cairo for use during the Nile Barrage construction in Egypt were diverted to the British War Office in November 1899, for use by the Royal Engineers in a siege park in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek during the Second Freedom War.|
|Tattoo||0-4-2ST||6 Tons||Three examples exist in the UK, all operational: Stanhope (1917) on the Apedale Valley Light Railway; Talyllyn Railway No.4 Edward Thomas (1921); and Corris Railway No.7 (2005); one or two survive out of service in Namtu, Burma at the Burma Mines Railway. The class was built with either outside frames (such as Stanhope) or inside frames (such as Edward Thomas).|
|Huxley||0-4-2T||At least one survives in working order on the Burma Mines Railway. Joan on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway has a Huxley boiler carried on a modified Matary/Barreto chassis.|
|Skylark||10 tons||Formerly used on Campbeltown and Machrihanish Light Railway and Snailbeach District Railways. A few survive at a sugar mill in Mauritius.|
|Joffre||0-6-0T||8.5 tons||named after Joseph Joffre; the Joffre class of 70 locomotives was a French Decauville design built by KS under contract during the Great War. Six of the class are known to have survived, one in Africa and five re-imported into the UK; these include Axe on the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and ones being restored for the Teifi Valley Railway, West Lancashire Light Railway, and the Apedale Valley Light Railway.|
|Haig||named after Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig); the Haig class was developed from the Joffre as a result of parts being left unused at the end of the Great War. Two examples survive in New Zealand (one at Ocean Beach Railway in Dunedin ), the other at MOTAT in Auckland) and one - Sergeant Murphy - on the Teifi Valley Railway|
|Brazil||0-4-2ST||14.5 Tons||Several examples survive, including Excelsior on the Great Whipsnade Railway and three locos (Premier, Leader & Melior) of the Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway|
|Matary/Barreto (both names used)||0-6-2T||17.5 Tons||At least one original example survives, Superior on the Great Whipsnade Railway. Joan on the Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway has a modified Matary/Barreto chassis and a Huxley boiler.|
Kerr, Stuart had a large joiners shop and a significant passenger coach construction business. They were therefore very well placed to build steam railmotors. Their first was a diminutive 2 ft (610 mm) gauge saloon for the Maharajah of Gwalior in 1904 followed by a batch of 11 standard gauge railcars in 1905, six for the Taff Vale Railway, two for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, two for the Great Western Railway and one for the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. The GWR gave a repeat order in 1906 for a further 12 slightly more powerful units. The largest rail motor order was for 15 from the Italian State Railways.
In addition to the company's standard designs the company accepted many orders to build to the customers' own designs in all gauges. The most impressive example for this certainly are the legendary 0-4-0LB locobreaks from 1900, strong and heavy tank engines designed to secure the trains through a cable claw on SPR (São Paulo Railway) and later EFSJ (Estrada de Ferro Santos a Jundiaí)'s 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) gauge mountain cable incline between Paranapiacaba and Piaçagüera. Six of them are preserved.
An example of a narrow-gauge 0-4-0 tank engine, number 652 built in 1899, worked in the docks at Walvis Bay, Namibia, until the 1950s and is now preserved in a purpose-built glass-windowed display hut in the forecourt of Walvis Bay station.
The California works produced in 1903/4 a 4-6-0 design for several Irish 3 ft (914 mm) gauge lines including a 4-6-2T version for the Londonderry and Lough Swilly Railway. For Chile a very large 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) gauge double six-coupled bogie Meyer followed in 1904 by five American style bar-framed 2-8-0 tender engines for the 3 ft (914 mm) gauge Interocianic and Mexican Eastern Railways. In May 1910 they built a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge "modified Fairlie" for service in Madras. This was not a Fairlie but just two 0-4-2T engines permanently coupled back to back, the only articulation being between the two complete engines. They received a repeat order for this combination.
A truly remarkable standard gauge build of 1910 was a class of four handsome 4-2-2 express passenger locomotives to the design of E. J. Dunstan for the Shanghai Nanking Railway. The order was received on 19 April 1910 and the novel design required the production of totally new drawings and patterns for all parts. Even so, the first engine was steamed just seven weeks later on 8 June 1910. In service these engines, probably the last, and the biggest, single driver engines ever built, proved to be fast (60 mph), smooth running, and very economical on fuel when compared with similar 4-4-0 engines on the same line.
From the 2 ft (610 mm) gauge Gwalior Light Railway in India, the company received several orders for locomotives and a wide variety of rolling stock over the years, culminating in the construction of four large 2-8-2 tender engines in 1928. Six very powerful superheated 4-8-0 mixed traffic locomotives built in 1929 were the last of a series of 4-4-0 and 4-6-0 machines built for the Buenos Aires Central Railway of Argentina.
In common with most British locomotive builders, in the postwar era Kerr, Stuart received a number of large orders from the mainline companies who were seeking to replace obsolete inherited equipment with their own standard designs. In 1920 the Metropolitan Railway ordered eight superheated 4-4-4 passenger tank engines for the Aylesbury service. Between 1925 and 1927 the Stoke works built fifty standard class 4F 0-6-0 goods engines for the London Midland and Scottish Railway and in 1929 and 1930 a batch of 25 GWR 5700 Class 0-6-0PTs were built for the Great Western Railway.
In the late 1920s a number of diesel locomotives were built. These were available with two or three axles for various track gauges. The engines were by McLaren-Benz in 2-cylinder (30 hp), 4-cylinder (60 hp) or 6-cylinder (90 hp) form. Transmission was mechanical and final drive was by roller chains.
They were very successful even though technology moved on quickly. Further development was stopped when Kerr, Stuart's went into receivership, but the Hunslet range of diesel locomotives was based on these. At least 3 Kerr, Stuart diesel locomotives have survived into preservation but none is in original condition having been given different engines.
The company in liquidation
In 1929 a petition arrived from the Midland Bank for a compulsory winding-up order of the company. The London-based chairman had been illegally using Kerr, Stuart funds to finance a company in the city called Evos Sliding Doorways. This company had now failed and the Midland Bank (who had no other connection with the firm) required Kerr, Stuart & Co. to meet the Chairman’s obligations. The police were called in, only to discover that the chairman had disappeared and was never to be heard of again. In LTC Rolt's autobiography "The Landscape Trilogy" it is also alleged that the company secretary was discovered to have committed suicide in the Kerr, Stuart's London offices and a large quantity of burnt papers were found to have been burnt in the fireplace. The contracts that were in progress were completed and in 1930 the company closed. In 1930 the firm's goodwill (Designs, spare parts, etc.) was bought by the Hunslet Engine Company.
Some locomotives were built by W. G. Bagnall to Kerr, Stuart designs. This is a result of the chief Kerr, Stuart Draughtsman, F. H. B. Harris and a number of other staff, being employed by Bagnalls. These locomotives include examples of the Haig and Matary classes.
The last steam locomotive built in Britain for industrial use, was a Hunslet built Brazil class engine in 1971. This locomotive is now running on the private Statfold Barn Railway.
The Corris Railway commissioned a new locomotive based on the "Tattoo" design of its original No.4 (KS 4047 of 1921) and this was privately built over a ten-year period and went into service in 2005 as No.7.
In popular culture
Wilbert Awdry named the narrow gauge locomotive Stuart (later Peter Sam) in both The Railway Series and Thomas and Friends in reference to the company, as the engine is heavily based on one of their locomotives; now named Edward Thomas on the Talyllyn Railway.
|Apedale Valley Light Railway||Tattoo||Stanhope||2395||1917||0-4-2ST||2 ft (610 mm)||ex-Penrhyn Quarry Railway|
|Amerton Railway||Wren||Lorna Doone||4205||1922||0-4-0ST||2 ft (610 mm)||Purchased by RH Neal and sold to Devon County Council. Lorna Doone is currently being restored to working condition.|
|Jennie||Hunslet 3905||2008||0-4-0ST||Built by the Hunslet Engine Company in 2008 to the Kerr, Stuart Wren design, bought privately and housed at the Amerton Railway.|
|Brecon Mountain Railway||Sirdar||Diana||1158||0-4-0T||ex Kerry Tramway|
|Buckinghamshire Railway Centre||GWR 5700||0-6-0PT||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|90 hp Diesel||Redland ||K4428||1929||4wDM||Heavily rebuilt|
|Cavan & Leitrim Railway||Dromad||3024||1916||0-4-2T||3 ft (914 mm)||Rebuilt using a hotel boiler and parts from several other Irish locomotives|
|Corris Railway||Tattoo||No. 7||2005||0-4-2ST||2 ft 3 in (686 mm)||Design based on the railway's original Tattoo (KS 4047)|
|Foxfield Light Railway||Witch||0-4-0ST||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|90 hp Diesel||Rom River ||4421||1929||6wDM||ex-R&ER, re-engined 1959|
|Great Whipsnade Railway||Brazil||Excelsior||1049||1908||0-4-2ST||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)||ex-Bowaters Paper Railway|
|Leighton Buzzard Railway||Wren||Pixie||4260||1922||0-4-0ST||2 ft (610 mm)|
|Lynton and Barnstaple Railway||Joffre||Axe||2451||1915||0-6-0ST||ex-Gloddfa Ganol. Heavily rebuilt, but retaining many original parts, Axe Returned to Steam on 11 November 2008 at Woody Bay for a dedication ceremony to honour the fallen railwaymen of the First World War|
|Owned by Graham Morris||Wren||Peter Pan||4256||1922||0-4-0ST|
|West Lancashire Light Railway||Joffre||"Joffre"||2405||1915||0-6-0T||ex-Carriers de la Valee-Meureuse et Haut Bain Hydrequent, Pas de Calais, France|
|Moseley Railway Trust||Joffre||3014||0-6-0T||2 ft (610 mm)||ex-Gloddfa Ganol|
|Narrow Gauge Railway Museum||721||0-4-0WT||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)||ex-Dundee Gasworks|
|Ocean Beach Railway Dunedin, New Zealand||Haig||4185||1929||0-6-0T||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)||Built for Kempthorne Prosser. Regularly operated on passenger trains|
|MOTAT Auckland, New Zealand||Haig||4183||1929||0-6-0T||3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm)||This locomotive spent its entire working life with Kempthorne Prosser Ltd. at their Westfield (Auckland, N.Z.) fertiliser works. Retired in 1966, it was donated to MOTAT and operated there for a short time until boiler repairs were required. After a period on static display, the locomotive was dismantled during the 1970s for restoration. Ultimately the dismantled locomotive was leased to McDonald's Restaurants, and following restoration was on static display at their Paraparaumu establishment from 1987 to 2008, before being returned to MOTAT where it remains in the locomotive shed awaiting restoration to working order.|
|Phyllis Rampton Trust Surrey, England||4408||1928||0-6-4T||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)|
|Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway, Victoria, Australia||Skylark||Lukee||742||1901||0-4-2T||2 ft (610 mm)||The Red Cliffs Historical Steam Railway was formed in 1994 under the auspices of the Red Cliffs Rotary Club to operate the restored 'Lukee', that had formerly operated between Red Cliffs railway station and the Red Cliffs pumping station. A two kilometre section of the former 1600mm gauge Red Cliffs - Morkalla branch line has been converted to 610mm gauge for tourist train operation. The train normally operates on the first Sunday of each month from 11am to 4.00pm and on Easter Saturday and the Sundays of the Labour Day and Queens Birthday long weekends. The Train does not operate in January or February because of the fire danger.|
|Sandstone Steam Railway, Ficksburg, South Africa||Wren||Little Bess||4031||1919||0-4-0ST||2 ft (610 mm)|
|Sittingbourne & Kemsley Light Railway||Brazil||Leader||926||1906||0-4-2ST||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)|
|Severn Valley Railway||GWR 5700 No. 7714||4449||1930||0-6-0PT||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)||Under major overhaul in 2012|
|Statfold Barn Railway||Brazil||Trangkil No.4||3902||1971||0-4-2ST||2 ft (610 mm)||The last industrial steam locomotive built in Britain, regauged from 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge.|
|Talyllyn Railway||modified Tattoo||Edward Thomas||4047||1921||0-4-2ST||2 ft 3 in (686 mm)||ex Corris Railway No.4; carried same number under CR, GWR, BR & TR ownership|
|Teifi Valley Railway||Haig||Sgt. Murphy||0-6-2ST||2 ft (610 mm)||ex-Penrhyn Quarry Railway, Heavily rebuilt|
|Teifi Valley Railway||Joffre||0-6-0ST||ex-Gloddfa Ganol|
|Vale of Rheidol Railway||Wren||3114||1918||0-4-0ST||Formerly carried names Brockamin or Dryw Bach|
|Welsh Highland Railway||60 hp Diesel||4115||6wDM||One of the earliest diesel locomotives in existence|
|Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway||modified Matary with Huxley boiler||Joan||1927||0-6-2ST||2 ft 6 in (762 mm)||Originally operated in Antigua, currently undergoing a major overhaul including a new boiler of revised design.|
|West Lancashire Light Railway||Joffre||Joffre||2405||0-6-0WTT||2 ft (610 mm)||Major rebuild to original condition underway. Scheduled to return to steam during 2009.|
|unknown||3010||0-6-0T||ex-Gloddfa Ganol, now stored at the Yaxham Light Railway|
|Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, SP (Brazil)||Sinhá Moça (ex- Maceió) No. 1||928||July 1907||0-4-2T||3' 3⅜" (1,000 m)||operational (weekend and holiday tourist services); most authors still believe her to be static at Usina Serra Grande in São José da Laje, AL|
|Usina Serra Grande in São José da Laje, AL (Brazil)||No. 2||1244||January 1912||0-4-2T||3' 3⅜" (1,000 m)||static|
|Usina Serra Grande in São José da Laje, AL (Brazil)||Mestre Borges (ex- Nesita Forges) No. 4||4193||September 1927||0-6-2T||3' 3⅜" (1,000 m)||operational (tourist services)|
|Fives Lille in Maceió, AL (Brazil)||unknown||4389||march 1927||0-4-2T||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||static (former Usina Cansanção do Sinimbu locomotive)|
|Usina Central Olho d'Água in Camutanga, PE (Brazil)||unknown||4302||June 1926||0-4-2T||2' 5½" (0,750 m)||static|
|Usina Catende in Catende, PE (Brazil)||No. 1||1281||December 1912||0-4-2T||3' 3⅜" (1,000 m)||static|
|Fazenda Guaritá in Rio das Flores, RJ (Brazil)||Wren||none||1248||said to be 1914||0-4-0ST||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||operational|
|1st Railway Battalion of the Brazilian Army in Lages, SC (Brazil)||Wren||Jaguarizinho No. 3||1194||June 1912||0-4-0ST||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||static|
|Fazenda Angélica in Dourado, SP (Brazil)||No. 1||673||June 1912||0-6-2ST||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||static|
|entrance of Paranapiacaba, SP (Brazil)||No. 8||668||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||static|
|Museu Ferroviário de Paranapiacaba, Paranapiacaba, Brazil||Wren||No. 1||1015||December 1907||0-4-0ST||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||static (in operational condition)|
|none||No. 7||671||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||static (in operational condition)|
|Fazenda Vassoural in Pontal, Brazil||Wren||No. 1||1195||1912||0-4-0ST||1' 11½" (0,597 m)||static|
|Locomotive Depot at Estação da Luz in São Paulo, Brazil||No. 2||662||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||static|
|ABPF - Regional São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil||none||No. 4||664||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||static (in operational condition)|
|No. 9||669||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||awaiting restoration|
|No. 11||667||1900||0-4-0LB||5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm)||awaiting restoration|
- Brell Ewart and Brian Radford "6233 Duchess of Sutherland and the Princess Coronation Class", Princess Royal Locomotive Trust Publication, 2002
- Rolt, L.T.C. A Hunslet Hundred, David & Charles 1964, pp 98–100
- Cartwright R.C., The Llanfair Railway Journal 105, October 1987
- LTC Rolt "The Landscape Trilogy" (2001): combined volume of "Landscape with Machines" (1971), "Landscape with Canals" (1977) and "Landscape with Figures" (1992)
- Horsman, Geoffrey (December 1964). "The Kerr Stuart Wren Class". The Industrial Railway Record (5 & 6): 85–99.
- L.T.C. Rolt, A Hunslet Hundred, David & Charles, 1964, (Kerr, Stuart & Company - pages 86–101).
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