An opportunity presented itself recently to acquire by way of private purchase half a dozen items of local colliery railway interest. Not since the 1960s and early 1970s, when in that period a good relationship existed between the Railway Preservation Society and local National Coal Board management and which resulted in several donations of interest has the chance to obtain in bulk such star items for the museum collection.
First and arguably the finest piece from the Chasewater Railway point of view is the nameplate McClean from the 1856 built Beyer Peacock, the first of five similar locomotives delivered between 1856 and 1872. McClean lasted one hundred years before scrapping and in her later years was considered to be the oldest loco in the country still at work. The name McClean was bestowed in honour of John Robinson McClean who first came on the local scene as engineer in the construction of the South Staffordshire Railway before later, together with Richard Chawner leased land to mine coal forming the Cannock Chase Colliery.
The second of the three locomotive nameplates to arrive is Marquis. The name originates from the first Marquis of Anglesey, a title awarded to the Earl of Uxbridge who fought along side Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. Carried by the Lilleshall Company built 0-6-0 saddle tank new to the Cannock and Rugeley Collieries as their first loco in 1867, she or is it he lasted until cut up at the NCB Cannock Central Workshops during May 1964.
The third nameplate is that of Beaudesert from the little 0-6-0 saddle tank built by Fox Walker, works number 266 of 1875 supplied new to Cannock and Rugeley Collieries as their number 5. Beaudesert was the ancestral home of the Paget family who became Earls of Uxbridge before being given the title and Estate Marquis of Anglesey. Finally cut up in 1964 the other nameplate of the loco survives and is on display in Kidderminster Railway Museum.
Two locomotive worksplates comprising of a cast iron Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd, 7292 of 1953 and Hunslet 3789 of 1953 have come as part of the deal.
Both locomotives were of the Austerity type, the RSH coming to Littleton Colliery from its previous owner the War Department, in May 1947, originally WD 71483 she became number 6 at Littleton being cut up there in Oct. 1970.
The Hunslet was delivered to Chasetown numbered 3 and was a replacement for the aged fleet of Victorian locos, she later saw service at Cannock Wood and Granville where she met her end after a life of just 16 years.
Finally a possibly unique cast iron sign headed The Littleton Collieries Ltd. with the wording.
The Littleton Collieries Ltd
Notice No Road
all persons found trespassing
upon or damaging any property
belonging to the above company
will be prosecuted.
Quite where the above sign was fixed is not yet known, but enquiries are being made.
It may be a little while before all of the above items are incorporated into our permanent display but the intention is to make arrangements to put them on view as soon as possible.
Chasewater Railway Museum
My thanks to Barry Bull for the information and Bob Anderson for the typing! CWS