Tag Archives: Eric Tonks Collection

Chasewater Railway Museum – The Eric Tonks Collection

Chasewater Railway Museum

The Eric Tonks Collection

Belonging to the Industrial Railway Society

This was first posted in June, 2009.  Since then, the Industrial Railway Society has renewed the loan on 2 occasions.

The collection has been on display in one of the museum cases for some time, so if anyone would like to see it, pop into the museum, open every Sunday and Bank Holiday and now also on most Saturdays when the Railway is running trains.



Ironstone cropped

Chasewater Railway Museum is delighted to announce that the Industrial Railway Society has loaned the Eric Tonks Collection of nameplates and worksplates to the Museum for at least the next two years.

The collection comprises examples of plates from both standard and narrow gauge locomotiveswhich worked in collieries and ironstone quarries, principally in the East Midlands.

A small number of these items will be on show this coming weekend, Asbestos’ Birthday, and more in another couple of weeks at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations.  We hope to have the entire collection on display in the Autumn.

2 worksplates cropped

The Latest Addition to the Chasewater Railway Museum Loan Items

The Latest Addition to the

Chasewater Railway Museum Loan Items

Today, March 6th 2014, The Chasewater Railway Museum received a visit from members of the Industrial Railway Society.  The principal reason for this visit was for the IRS to receive, on loan, a nameplate from the locomotive ‘Rothervale No.0’ from Mr. Bernard Mettam, and in turn, and with Mr. Mettam’s approval, place it on loan with the Chasewater Railway Museum.

 Rothervale No.0 Nameplate


The above pic was taken on arrival, the one below was taken on 16-6-2015, after a little(!) attention from Pete Stamper.DSCF0792

‘Many industrial locomotives are names or numbered for identification purposes, or sentimental reasons.  For various reasons very few were given the number ’0’.  Perhaps the most famous in this category was locomotive ‘Rothervale No.0’ whose nameplate is displayed here.  The locomotive was cut up in October 1959, but fortunately both nameplates were rescued by Mr. Bernard Mottram.

The locomotive, an 0-6-0 inside cylindered saddle tank, was built in 1879 by Beyer Peacock (works number 1830) in Manchester and became No.1 on the East & West Junction Railway, which later (1909) became part of the Stratford-upon-Avon and Midland Junction Railway.  In April 1890 the loco was sold to the Rothervale Collieries Ltd. and carried its new name ‘Rothervale No.1’ on a pair of cast brass nameplates attached, one on each side, to the saddle tank.  The loco was employed at Treeton Colliery located in the River Rother Valley just to the east of Sheffield.

Further locos were acquired by the colliery and named in a similar manner, i.e. ‘Rothervale No.’ followed by a single digit up to ‘9’, in the order of arrival.  In 1929 a new outside cylinder 0-6-0 saddle tank adorned with the cast nameplates ‘Rothervale No.1’ was delivered from the Yorkshire Engine Co.  It is possible that a mistake was made and it should have been ‘No.10’, (following No.9).  Confusion could now arise because there were two ‘No.1s’ at Treeton.  One of them had to be renumbered and there was space for a single digit only on the nameplate.  The decision was taken to renumber the Beyer Peacock to ‘No.0’, possibly because it was an earlier build than the Yorkshire.  The ‘1’ was chiselled or ground off the nameplate and replaced by a brass ‘0’ digit screwed on in the space created.  Brass ‘0’digits, slightly smaller then those on the nameplate were also attached to cab side sheets.


The photograph was taken on 12th March 1955 at Treeton Colliery by Mr. Bernard Mettam, to whom the Chasewater Railway Museum is indebted, by way of the Industrial Railway Society, for the loan of this most unusual nameplate.

Thanks are due to Mr. Adrian Booth for some of the above information.’


After the presentation of the nameplate by Bernard Mettam to Ian Bendall of the IRS, ( with the Railway’s Mr Bull waiting patiently!) the group adjourned to the Sidings Tea Room to enjoy one of Craig Wilkinson’s excellent Carvery Lunches.

The Industrial Railway Society also  extended the existing loan agreement for the Eric Tonks Collection for a further two years.

The Chasewater Railway Museum is most grateful and proud to house all of these items.

IRS Coll

Railway Relics – Cast locomotive nameplates

Railway Relics

Cast locomotive nameplatesCannock Wood

This nameplate belongs to Chasewater Railway and was carried by the LBSCR loco No. 110/1877, which worked at The Cannock and Rugeley Colliery, Cannock Wood from1927, when it was purchased from the Southern Railway until the mid 1960s.  It was preserved by the Railway Preservation Society (West Midland District) firstly at Hednesford and for a short while at Chasewater.  It was later sold members of the East Somerset Railway.

Locomotives have often been adorned with names from the earliest days.  Sometimes these have been painted on the engine’s sides, but the more common method was to fix cast-metal nameplates.  The raised lettering, frequently surrounded by a raised border, was usually finished in burnished brass, with a black or red painted background.

The plates were usually curved to fit on or over the locomotive’s driving wheel splasher, but for tank engines and some larger main line locomotives, straight plates were fitted elsewhere on the superstructure.  The Great Central Railway (GCR) provided most of its large passenger locomotives with combined straight-topped splashers covering all the driving wheels. The GCR’s straight nameplates had shaped ends to fit into the splashers’ decorative beading.

Both the London & South Western Railway (LSWR) and the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway adopted a similar pattern of plate, with curved or straight sides.  Either way, the plates had projecting lugs at the ends to accommodate fixing holes.Nuttall

Another Chasewater Railway-owned nameplate, from a Hunslet 0-6-0ST loco 1685/1931.  Bought from Mowlem in 1948 and worked at Walsall Wood, Coppice Colliery and Chasetown.

New type of nameplate

The Southern Railway (SR) adopted the LSWR style of nameplate for most of its named engines, but often with a smaller panel beneath giving the class of the engine.   For its series of steamlined light Pacifics built during and after World War II – the Battle of Britain, West Country and Merchant Navy classes, the SR adopted a completely new type of nameplate which included a crest or badge.

The London, Midland & Scottish Railway used fairly modest curved plates for its non-streamlined classes, whilst its prestigious streamliners had straight plated fitted to the centre line of the boiler.  When streamlining went out of fashion in the late 1940s, the streamlined casings were removed and the plates were refitted in the same location.The Dean

This plate is one of the Eric Tonks Collection, on loan from the Industrial Railway Society, and is from an 0-6-0ST Hunslet, 1496/1926.  New at the Oxfordshire Ironstone Co.Ltd., Banbury.

The streamliners of the London & North Eastern Railway’s Class A4 carried their nameplates high up at the front end of the boiler sides.  Ordinary locomotives were fitted with curved splasher top plates, though these were larger and heavier than those of the other companies.

The standard express classes built by British Railways mainly in the 1950s bore straight plates fitted near the top of the smoke deflectors.  Some of the mixed-traffic locomotives designed for use on the Southern Region were given names previously carried by members of the SR’s King Arthur class, itself a legacy of the SR’s predecessor, the LSWR.

Although most Great Western nameplates were made from steel and brass, a small number were cast in brass.  These were oval and gave the engine’s name and number, as well as its date of manufacture.


Another plate from the Eric Tonks Collection, ‘Ironstone’ was an 0-4-0ST Peckett with outside cylinders, No. 1050/1907.  Supplied new to Market Overton Ironstone Quarries, Rutland.

Many of the smaller independent railway companies fixed nameplates to their locomotives.  Since most of them were tank engines, the plates had straight sides.  Many industrial locomotives also had nameplates.  These sometimes included the name and address of the works or the names of the firm’s directors and members of their families.Carol Ann No.1

Carol Ann No.5  0-6-0ST Hunslet  1821/1936.  Bought new.  Still at Holly Bank 1957 – since scrapped.

Robert Nelson No.4 and Carol Ann No.5 (Hunslet 0-6-0ST  1800 and 1821 respectively, built 1936) were named after the Colliery Manager’s two children.

On transfer to Littleton Colliery in NCB days – November 1959  – Carol Ann was renumbered ‘1’ by grinding the ‘5’ off the nameplate and screwing in a ‘1’.  This was because Littleton already had a loco ‘Littleton No.5