R and W Hawthorn

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R and W Hawthorn Ltd was a locomotive manufacturer in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, from 1817 until 1885.

Locomotive building[edit]

R&W Hawthorn 2-2-2 engine and tender

Robert Hawthorn first began business at Forth Bank Works in 1817, building marine and stationary steam engines. In 1820, his brother joined him and the firm became R and W Hawthorn. Possibly after having attended the Rainhill Trials in 1829, they became interested in locomotives, and sold their first engine in 1831. Printed and online sources claim this to be Mödling for the Vienna Gloggnitz railway.[1][2] That is wrong, that locomotive was delivered in 1841.[3] The 1831 order was placed by the Stockton and Darlington Railway.[4][5][6]

There followed a number of orders for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. They were great innovators - not always successfully - and their locos had many original features.

In 1838 two were built for the broad gauge Great Western Railway to the patent of T.E. Harrison, who later became the chief engineer for the North Eastern Railway. These could be viewed as the forerunners of the Garratt, with the boiler carried on a separate carriage to the cylinders and valvegear. This allowed the boiler to be large and low down, being carried on smaller wheels, while the driving wheels could be up to ten feet in diameter. With little weight on the drivers, adhesion was poor, but they ran very smoothly up to sixty miles per hour. However, the flexible steam coupling gave a great deal of trouble and they were withdrawn.

They continued to build more conventional engines, possibly under sub-contract, among them, three for the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway. In 1846 they bought the Leith Engine Works, in Leith, Scotland, for the assembly of locomotives prepared in Newcastle. These works were sold to another company also called Hawthorns and Company, which produced some four hundred locomotives on its own account until 1872.

An 1859 0-4-2T R&W Hawthorn locomotive on display at Cape Town station

In 1850 the company built their first tank locomotive which was supplied to the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway[7] In the 1850s, they also built six 4-4-0ST, Crampton locomotives of the Sondes class for the East Kent Railway.[8] Also, in the quest for a low centre of gravity, four 0-4-0s with the drivers spaced at twelve feet apart connected to the cylinders by a dummy crankshaft. These were soon withdrawn, and the Cramptons rebuilt into traditional 2-4-0 tanks.

In 1859 they built an 0-4-2T well-tank locomotive for Messrs E. & J. Pickering, contractors for the construction of the Cape Town-Wellington Railway in the Cape Colony. This locomotive was the first steam locomotive to run in South Africa. In 1861 the Cape Town-Wellington Railway Company took over all construction, and the locomotive, from Pickerings and the locomotive became the Cape Town-Wellington Railway's no 9, later to become known as "Blackie". In 1936 it was proclaimed a national monument and has since been plinthed in the concourse at Cape Town station.[9]

In 1870 they built St. Peter's Works adjoining that of Robert Stephenson and Company and in 1880 amalgamated with the shipbuilder A. Leslie and Company, to become Hawthorn Leslie and Company.


Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Lowe, James, L.:British Steam Locomotive Builders, Goose & Son, Cambridge, 1975 p313
  2. ^ This is also the basis of the Graces Guide entry retrieved 14th April 2014 from http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/R._and_W._Hawthorn.
  3. ^ The Railway from Vienna to Gloggnitz or Die Eisenbahn von Wien nach Gloggnitz accessed from Austrian National Library/ Österreichische Nationalbibliothek on 15th April 2014.
  4. ^ Pearce T.R. The Locomotives of the Stockton & Darlington Railway, Historical Model Railway Society, 1996 p60
  5. ^ Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd. Products, an extensive printed catalogue issued in the late 1930s, undated. From Foreword "The Brothers Hawthorn entered the locomotive business in 1931 when they delivered their first engine "The Coronation" to the Stockton & Darlington Railway". An example of the catalogue is in North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers and was consulted to make this statement.
  6. ^ J. F. Clarke (1979), Power on Land and Sea: 160 Years of Industrial Enterprise on Tyneside: A History of R. & W. Hawthorn Leslie & Co., Ltd., Engineers and Shipbuilders, by J. F. Clarke, Hawthorn Leslie & Co, Newcastle page 6.
  7. ^ "Mechanical notices", Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland) (4918), March 18, 1850 .
  8. ^ Bradley (1979), pp. 19-20.
  9. ^ Steam Locomotives of the South African Railways, vol 1: 1859-1910, (D.F. Holland, 1971), p11-15, ISBN 0-7153-5382-9
  • Bradley, D.L. (1979) The locomotive history of the London Chatham and Dover Railway, Railway Correspondence and Travel Society.
  • Lowe, J.W., (1989) British Steam Locomotive Builders, Guild Publishing.
  • Clarke, J.F., (1977) Power on Land & Sea - a history of R & W Hawthorn Leslie, Hawthorn Leslie (Engineers) Ltd.