S4 “Stanhope” Kerr Stuart 2395 of 1917

Supplied new to Holloway Brothers in 1918.

Kerr Stuart Works photograph of Stanhope

Although design work started in December 1915 at the California Works in Stoke-on-Trent, loco 2395 was not completed until 1917. It was the first of the maker’s Tattoo type to be fitted with Hackworth valve gear, a feature that was eventually employed across Kerr Stuart’s standard range of steam locomotives.

The loco was purchased by civil engineering contractors Holloway Brothers for a contract involving the construction of 1,000 houses at Rosyth for Scottish National Housing Co. Ltd. This was apparently related to a larger contract for construction of the Royal Naval Dockyard. The locomotive was delivered for this purpose on 23rd February and used until 1918. It was later moved to Kent for the construction of the 5 1/2 mile Sidcup to Farningham A20 (the Swanley Bypass). This contract was active from December 1921 to 1924. Holloway Bros advertised it for sale in April 1930. It was bought by the Durham County Water Board for use on the Burnhope Reservoir contract, being delivered to Wearhead between 1930 and 1932. No fewer than 6 Kerr Stuart Tattoos were used on this project and all were given names of local villages. After the end of the contract in December 1934, Stanhope was sold to Lord Penrhyn’s Slate Quarries at Bethesda, Caernarvonshire for the sum of £190. Unusually, it retained its Wearhead-applied name at Penrhyn. Penrhyn’s workshops lowered the boiler by 6 1/2 inches and added ballast weights to improve stability. Stanhope worked at Port Penrhyn for a period of about two years before being taken up to the slate quarries. It worked on Ponc Twlltwndwr and Ponc Twrch levels hauling slate rubbish trains for tipping.

After working for a period of 11 years, Stanhope was finally laid up with boiler trouble outside the Coed-y-Parc workshops in 1948, with various parts being slowly removed over the years to keep other engines working.The remains were sold in 1966 to Colin Pealling for £30, and initially moved to Bressingham Gardens, after which the boiler and fittings were removed, these having been purchased in 1969 by Alan Bloom to be used in the rebuilding of his Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0WT Bronllwyd (HC 1643/30). The frames were transferred in 1985 to the Landkey site of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway Association, and then to Kew Bridge Steam Museum in September 1991.

April 1992 saw the purchase of the frames and sundry components by Brian Gent, after which they were moved to the Old Kiln Light Railway in Surrey. Brian then set about locating as many parts and drawings as possible to facilitate a restoration of the loco. In 1994 the project was bought by Moseley Member John (Selwyn) Rowlands, who then used the services of Brian’s FMB Engineering Company, and subsequently Dave Eaves of Prototype Developments and finally Alan Keef Ltd to complete the restoration in 1999.

Since then the loco has been based at the West Lancashire Light Railway in Lancashire, awaiting the opening of the MRT’s new railway at Apedale.