Lillian "Curly" Lawrence, known as LBSC, was one of Britain's most prolific and well known model or scale-steam-locomotive designers. LBSC were the initials of Britain's London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. LBSC, “Curly” to his friends, was born 27 September 1883 and christened William Morris Benjamin later changing his surname to Mathieson when his father changed the family name. After 1902 William changed his name to Lillian Lawrence; why he chose a female name is unclear. In 1908 he married Sarah Munt otherwise known as Mabel. Curly loved steam locomotives from the time he was a child and spent several years in the employ of the LBSC Railway, from which he later adopted his pen name.
Battle of the boilers
The turning point in LBSC’s life was in 1922 when he sparked what became known as the "battle of the boilers" with Henry Greenly. Within two and half years he was established as one of the top professionals in scale or model engineering. LBSC’s contention was that scale locomotives should be fitted with fire-tube boilers modeled very closely on full size locomotive practice i.e. be coal fired, with multiple fire-tubes and a number of superheater elements, as compared with then commercial and hobbyist practice of building spirit fuelled, water-tube boilers.
LBSC’s live steam locomotive type boilers proved to be outstanding steamers, quite capable of hauling real passengers. His 2½ inch gauge four coupled wheel locomotive, Ayesha (named after a character in the novel She: A History of Adventure by H. Rider Haggard), could haul 200 lb, when the equivalent sized spirit fired water-tube locomotives of the day could only haul 30 lb. LBSC demonstrated this locomotive at the Society of Model & Experimental Engineers meeting in London in July 1922, as a result of which he was invited to contribute an article to Model Engineer magazine describing its construction. A further challenge in 1924 – the "battle of the boilers" – between a Henry Greenly designed Bassett-Lowke spirit fired locomotive and one of LBSC’s finally vindicated his claims although it led to a lifelong animosity between him and Greenly. Ayesha, now owned by The National 2½ in Gauge Association, was steamed in June 2016 for the first time in more than 50 years, and after little more than a hydraulic boiler test ran successfully more than 90 years after the locomotive was built by LBSC. To see photos of this historic locomotive see John Baguley's website 
LBSC then wrote construction articles for various British model engineering magazines from 1923 until 1967, very shortly before his death, including nearly 2,600 articles for Model Engineer Magazine from January 1922 (initially in the form of letters to the Editor and then from April 1923 as a full-time contributor) to May 1959 and then again from January 1966 until October 1967. During this time, LBSC designed 166 different locomotives, ranging from 0 gauge up to 5 inch gauge, building over 50 himself. Many of these designs are still available today as sets of drawings, and some were later produced in book form,
Before LBSC started publishing in the 1920s, model locomotive practice had been divided into two camps. The first encompassed steam locomotives that ran on a gauge of 10¼ inch or greater which followed full scale practice in terms of boiler design and operation, as exemplified by the 15 inch gauge, Henry Greenly designed Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway in Kent. The second encompassed locomotives that were of 2½ inch gauge or less which truly were models i.e. were meant only to look like full size locomotives and ran with spirit fired boilers, typified by those manufactured by Bassett-Lowke. These latter locomotives were usually run in realistic looking garden railway layouts hauling groups of model carriages around the track. The gauges between 2½ and 10¼ inch essentially did not exist. The advent of LBSC’s designs that could haul their full size drivers, although a lot less realistic than a “model” railway, were much more fun. As the design of true locomotive type boilers in the smaller scales (0, 1¾ and 2½ inch gauges) improved, so the scale increased with many designs then being built to the larger 3½, 5 and 7¼ inch gauges. This is reflected in the spread of LBSC’s designs; in the 1920s he did 27 designs in the smaller scales versus only 1 of 3½ inch or larger, in the 1930s 50 designs in the smaller scales versus 7 in the larger, in the 1940s 17 versus 19, 1950s 10 versus 21 and finally in the 1960s 2 versus 5. Within model engineering circles other well known contemporary British designer / builders in these mid-size gauges included Harry Jackson and Harry Clarkson.
It was LBSC's contention that any person with enough desire could build a working steam locomotive. Many of his designs were based on actual engines, though they were usually modified and often simplified for the home builder. All were robust in nature and good performers. His notes on various aspects of locomotive construction were compiled into a book called "Shop, Shed, and Road", first published in 1929 still considered to be a standard reference for the model engineer. Through his articles LBSC introduced many enthusiasts to the joys of machine shop work and miniature steam locomotives. "An enigmatic character, not to mention one who had almost no ability to tolerate criticism of his work, he nevertheless had a natural empathy with his readers and a remarkable knack of making the most complicated workshop procedures sound utterly straightforward". There are countless locomotives built to his plans still operating on tracks around the world. He died on 4 November 1967 having made his last contribution to Model Engineer Magazine only one month before. LBSC's legacy includes 113 published and 29 unpublished designs, including some of the most popular ones as follows.
- Annie Boddie, Midland Railway style 4-4-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1933
- Austere Ada, War Department Austerity 2-8-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1943
- Ayesha, LB&SCR Atlantic 4-4-2 tender engine, the locomotive which initiated the Battle of the Boilers in 1924, English Mechanics, 1930
- Canadian Switcher, Canadian National style 0-6-0 Switcher tank engine, Model Engineer, 1929
- Caterpillar, LBSC's freelance 4-12-2 tender engine design based on the Union Pacific 9000 Class with 3 or 4 cylinders, English Mechanics, 1932
- Fayette, Anglo-American 4-6-2 Pacific tender engine, Model Engineer, 1928
- Green Arrow, LNER V2, 2-6-2 tender engine. 3 cylinders with Holcroft conjugated valve gear, English Mechanics, 1936
- GWR 1695, GWR, open cab 0-6-0ST saddle tank engine, English Mechanics, 1939
- Helen Long, LBSC freelance 4-8-4T express tank engine design with 3 cylinders, Model Engineer, 1927
- Kingette, GWR King Class 4-6-0 4 cylinder tender engine, Model Engineer, 1932
- Lady Kitty, GWR 4700 Class, 2-8-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1929
- LMS 4652, LMS Fowler Class 4F, 0-6-0 tender engine, English Mechanics, 1937
- Mabel Hall, GWR Hall Class, 4-6-0 tender engine, English Mechanics, 1932
- Mary Anne, LNER Class J39, 0-6-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1934
- Mona, LNER 0-6-2T style tank engine,with inside cylinders and Hackworth valve gear, subsequently published in book form, British Model Maker, 1954
- Olympiade, LMS Jubilee Class, 4-6-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1938
- Princess Royal, LMS Princess Class, 4-6-2 Pacific tender engine, English Mechanics, 1933
- Purley Grange, GWR Grange Class, 4-6-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1937
- Rose, GER Class T26, 2-4-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1957
- Uranus, GWR style 4-8-4 tender engine, English Mechanics, 1932
- US Austerity, American style WWII Austerity, 2-8-0 tender engine, English Mechanics, 1943
- Betty, LBSC's might-have-been Maunsell type SR 2-6-2 tender engine, subsequently published in book form, British Model Maker, 1956
- Britannia, BR Class 7 4-6-2 Pacific tender engine. LBSC used much information made available to him by his friend Robert Riddles during his development of the full-size engine, Model Engineer 1951
- BR 75000, British Railways 4-6-0 class 4 tender engine, the last design LBSC did for English Mechanics magazine, English Mechanics 1956
- Canterbury Lamb, Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, 0-4-0 tender engine of 1830, Model Engineer, 1952
- Evening Star, BR standard class 9F 2-10-0 freight tender engine, the last steam engine built for BR, LBSC's design was completed by Martin Evans, subsequently published in book form, Practical Mechanics 1963
- Hielan Lassie, Thompson rebuild of the LNER A1/1 Pacific tender engine. Described with slide or piston valves and both Walschaerts and Baker valve gear, Model Engineer, 1946
- Ivy Hall, LBSC’s "modernised" GWR Hall Class, 4-6-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1955
- Juliet, beginner's 0-4-0 tank engine, Model Engineer, 1946
- Lickham Hall, Authentic reproduction of GWR Hall Class 4-6-0 tender engine. Designed for Reeves in 1956
- Maisie, Great Northern D2 Atlantic 4-4-0 tender engine, subsequently published in book form, Model Engineer, 1935
- Miss Ten-to-Eight, North Eastern R1 (later LNER D21 class) 4-4-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1939
- Molly, LMS Fowler Class 3F tank engine 0-6-0 “Jinty”, Model Engineer, 1941
- Netta, North Eastern T1 (later LNER Q5 class) 0-8-0 tender engine, described simultaneously in gauge O, 1¾, 2½, 3½ and 5 inch gauges, Model Engineer, 1954
- Pamela, LBSC's idea for rebuilding the SR Merchant Navy class 4-6-2 Pacific tender engine, Model Engineer, 1950
- Petrolea, Great Eastern T19 (later LNER E4 class) 2-4-0 inside cylinder tender engine, Model Engineer, 1943
- Princess Marina, LMS Stanier Mogul 2-6-0 tender engine, subsequently published in book form, English Mechanics 1935
- P.V. Baker, 0-6-0T tank engine. Piston Valve, Baker valve gear, Model Engineer, 1945
- Rainhill, 0-2-2 tender engine inspired by Stephenson's Rocket in its original form, Model Engineer, 1941
- Tich, 0-4-0T LBSC's freelance contractor’s tank engine designed with both small and large-boilers, with slip-eccentric or Walschaerts valve gear, subsequently published in book form, Model Engineer, 1948 & 1959
- Virginia, 4-4-0 American tender engine, described in both "old time" and modern guises, subsequently published in book form, Model Engineer, 1956
- Eva May, 0-6-0T freelance tank engine. LBSC's first 5-inch design. There was a tender version as well, English Mechanics 1933
- Maid of Kent, 4-4-0 tender engine, a South Eastern & Chatham Railway L1 class, Model Engineer, 1948
- Minx, London, Brighton & South Coast Railway C2x 0-6-0 tender engine, Model Engineer, 1948
- Pansy, GWR 0-6-0PT pannier tank engine, Model Engineer, 1958
- Speedy, GWR 15xx 0-6-0T tank engine, subsequently published in book form, English Mechanics 1950
- Titfield Thunderbolt, 0-4-2 tender engine based on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway's "Lion", Model Engineer, 1953
- LBSC (2004) . Shop, Shed and Road - The Live Steam Book. TEE Publishing. ISBN 1-85761-121-7.
- LBSC (1960) . Betty, The Mongoliper 2-6-2 in 3½ inch Gauge. Model & Allied Publications.
- LBSC (1960) . How to Build Princess Marina, LMS 2-6-0 Mogul in 3½ inch Gauge. Model & Allied Publications.
- LBSC (1978) . Building Speedy, A GW 0-6-0 Tank in 5 inch Gauge. TEE Publishing. ISBN 0-85242-538-4.
- LBSC (1975). LBSC's famous 4-4-0 Virginia. Model & Allied Publications. ISBN 0-85242-411-6.
- LBSC (1977). Maisie, Words and Music. TEE Publishing.
- LBSC; Martin Evans (1976) . Simple Locomotive Building - Introducing LBSC's Tich. Model & Allied Publications. ISBN 0-85242-786-7.
- Martin Evans; LBSC (1980). Evening Star - Building a 3½ inch Gauge BR 2-10-0 Locomotive. Argus Books. ISBN 0-85242-634-8.
- LBSC (1922–1967). "approx. 2,600 articles for". Model Engineer magazine. currently published by MyHobbyStore, Orpington, Kent, UK.
- Horovitz, Marc (April 2002). "LBSC's "Small Bass"". Sidestreet Bannerworks.
- Johnson, Geoff; Pollard, Ian (January 2006). "Who was LBSC?" (PDF). Engineering in Miniature.
- "Building a 1/2-in. Scale Locomotive Boiler". Model Engineer. 48 (1147): 391. 19 April 1923. and "Building a 1/2-in. Scale Locomotive Boiler". Model Engineer. 48 (1148): 419. 26 April 1923.
- "The "Challenger" and the "Atlantic"". Model Engineer. 50 (1187): 102. 24 January 1924. and "Which End of the Argument? (Battle of the Boilers)". Model Engineer. 50 (1191): 224. 21 February 1924.
- The National 2½ in Gauge Association, (retrieved 2016-6-16)[permanent dead link]
- Model Engineering Clearing House web forum Ayesha thread (retrieved 2016-6-16)
- Baguley, John (June 2016). "LBSC's "Ayesha"". John Baguley.
- Hollingsworth, Brian (2003) . LBSC His Life and Locomotives. Camden Miniature Steam Services. pp. 103–106. ISBN 0-9536523-5-1.
- Hollingsworth, 2003
- MyHobbyStore the current publisher of Model Engineer Magazine (retrieved 2010-6-23)
- Reeves2000 - Model Engineers (retrieved 2010-6-23) Archived 16 July 2011 at Archive.is
- LBSC, Shop, Shed and Road - The Live Steam Book
- LBSC & Evans, Simple Locomotive Building - Introducing LBSC's Tich
- LBSC, How to build Princess Marina
- LBSC, Building Speedy
- LBSC, Betty
- LBSC, Maisie, Words and Music
- Evans & LBSC, Evening Star
- Palmer, Mike. "Designs of LBSC". Station Road Steam. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010.