From England


| January/February 1971



Steam driven Galloping Horses

Scale model of steam driven Galloping Horses built by V. E. Rice of Leicester. Courtesy of Stanley R. White, 57, Stanley Street, Rothwell, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.

Stanley R. White

57, Stanley Street, Rothwell, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England

In the May-June edition of Iron Men which reached me on May 29th, Anna Mae quotes from a letter sent in by Berton Blazek concerning the railway locomotive 'Dunrobin.' I suppose it is an unusual thing to find at Fort Steele in British Columbia, although its design when compared to other British locomotives from that era is nothing out of the ordinary. Mr. Blazek says it was built in 1894 my own information says 1895. In reality it was probably built in 94 and first run in 95. Anyway, give or take a year, it does not really matter. 'Dunrobin' is the name of the locomotive. It is an 0-4-4T built by Sharp Stewart & Company for the Duke of Sutherland's private railway between Golspie and Helmsdale, which was opened in 1871.

The engine was kept in its own private shed at Dunrobin, but the Duke and his heirs had the right to run it, with its special saloon, over the Highland system as desired. Many notable personalities traveled in it at various times; among them the Kings mentioned by Mr. Blazek and also Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany. This was, of course, before the 1914-18 War with Germany.

The locomotive was not used after about 1920, and remained at Dunrobin until 1952 when it was moved to the south of England and was preserved on the premises of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway at New Romney. In 1965 it was sold to a Canadian businessman in Victoria, Canada. I hope this throws a bit more light upon this locomotive, and I am personally very pleased to know that it has found a good home in Canada one where it is allowed to operate instead of mouldering in a static museum.

Each year here in Rothwell, we have an annual fair. The amusements build up in the centre of the town in the streets (unusual these days because of the flow of modern traffic) and everyone has great fun. It lasts for 7 days, and as I write this, we have one day to go before the 1970 fair ends. Locally it is known as 'Rowell Fair' Rowell being the old English name for Rothwell. This is the 767th annual Rowell Fair.

King John granted a Charter to the town allowing the first fair to be held in 1204. He signed the Charter in Westminister, witnessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishops of Norwich and London on the 26th of January in that year. The original Charter still exists and a friend of mine is hoping to get a photostat copy of it very soon. One of the attractions of this year's fair was William Ashley's Galloping Horses, a very beautiful set and one of only a handful still existing which work by means of a real steam centre engine. A big tank of water stands in the centre near to the engine, and it is quite a sight to see the engineer piling coke into the firebox every little while. Last Tuesday afternoon during a lull in the proceedings I spoke to William Ashley and asked him if I could photograph the centre engine, and he told me to go ahead. It was a bit difficult as I had to use the flash and had to keep poking the camera in between the horses heads to fit the engine into the viewfinder. The engine has a Works Number of 422 and was built by Savage of King's. Lynn in Norfolk, England.