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History of Nine Elms Locomotive Works & MPD

Nine Elms railway works was in the district of Nine Elms in the London Borough of Battersea. It was built by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) originally near the Vauxhall end of Nine Elms Lane in 1843, but moved to a larger site south of the main line between 1861 and 1865. Between 1843 and 1850, and then from 1862 to 1908 Nine Elms works was responsible for the construction of more than 800 steam locomotives for the LSWR, to the designs of John Viret Gooch, Joseph Hamilton Beattie, William George Beattie, William Adams and Dugald Drummond. The carriage and wagon shops were transferred from Nine Elms to Eastleigh in 1891, followed by the locomotive works between 1908 and 1910. This allowed for the expansion of the existing motive power depot, which survived on the site until 1967.

John Viret Gooch (1812-?) was the locomotive superintendent of the London and South Western Railway from 1841 to 1850. He was the brother of Sir Daniel Gooch, 1st Baronet (24th August 1816, - 15th October 1889), first chief mechanical engineer of the Great Western Railway from 1837 to 1864 and its Chairman from 1865 to 1889.
Born on 29th June 1812 at Bedlington, Northumberland he was a pupil of Joseph Locke during the construction of the Grand Junction Railway. He became resident engineer after that line opened. In 1840 he joined his older brother Thomas Longridge Gooch on the Manchester and Leeds Railway. Gooch was recommended to the LSWR by Locke and appointed locomotive superintendent on 1st January 1841. Officially Locke remained in charge of the department.
Initially locomotives were purchased from a wide range of private manufacturers such as Edward Bury and Company and Nasmyth, Gaskell and Company. From Jan 1843 the LSWR's own Nine Elms Works started production with the 'Eagle' class singles. Gooch's designs included a number of singles and the 'Bison' class 0-6-0 goods. After leaving the LSWR in 1850, Gooch went to the Eastern Counties Railway. He was succeeded on the LSWR by Joseph Hamilton Beattie.

Joseph Hamilton Beattie (1808-1871) , locomotive engineer London and South Western Railway. Beattie was a highly innovative engineer, introducing the country's first successful 2-4-0 locomotive, pioneering coal-burning fireboxes, feed-water heating and balanced side valves. His locomotives were amongst the most efficient of the time. 3 of his most famous locomotive design, the 2-4-0 T Well Tanks, were in service for 88 years, until 1962. 2 have been preserved - see the Swanage Railway, Bodmin & Wenford Railway and the National Railway Museum, York.

Joeseph Beattie was born in Ireland on 12th May 1808. He was educated in Belfast and initially apprenticed to his father, a Londonderry architect. He moved to England in 1835 to serve as an assistant to Joseph Locke on the Grand Junction Railway and from 1837 on the London and Southampton Railway. After the line opened he became the carriage and wagon superindent at Nine Elms and succeeded John Viret Gooch as locomotive engineer on 1st July 1850.
Initially he designed a series of singles, but the weight of the Southampton and Salisbury expresses led to the development of 2-4-0s. He continued to develop the design over the next 20 years. In addition he developed a series of 85 2-4-0 T well tanks and 0-6-0s.
Beattie died of diphtheria on 18th October 1871 and was succeeded as locomotive engineer by his son William George Beattie.

William George Beattie, locomotive engineer, was the son of Joseph Hamilton Beattie. He joined the London and South Western Railway in 1862 as a draughtsman at Nine Elms Locomotive Works. He succeeded his father as Locomotive Engineer of the LSWR following Joseph's death in 1871. He was not however a success in this post and was forced to resign in 1878. He died in 1918.

William Adams (1823-1904) was the Locomotive Superintendent of the North London Railway from 1858 to 1873; the Great Eastern Railway from 1873 until 1878 and the London and South Western Railway from then until his retirement in 1895. He is best known for his locomotives featuring the Adams Bogie, a device with lateral centering springs (initially made of rubber) to improve high-speed stability. He should not be mistaken for William Bridges Adams (1797-1872) a locomotive engineer who, confusingly, invented the Adams Axle - a radial axle box used on locomotives of William Adams's design. On the LSWR he designed 524 locomotives, supervised the expansion of Nine Elms Works and the transfer of the Carriage and Wagon Works to Eastleigh. Failing health forced his retirement on 29th May 1895. He lived in Putney until his death on 07th August 1904.

Dugald Drummond (1st January 1840 - 8th November 1912) was a Scottish steam locomotive engineer. He had a career with the North British Railway, LB&SCR, Caledonian Railway and London and South Western Railway. He was the brother of the engineer Peter Drummond. He was a major locomotive designer and builder and his London and South Western Railway engines continued in main line service with the Southern Railway to enter British Railways service in 1947. Drummond was born in Ardrossan, Ayrshire on 1st January 1840. His father was permananent way inspector for the Bowling Railway. Drummond was apprenticed to Forest & Barr of Glasgow gaining further experience on the Dumbartonshire and Caledonian Railways. He was in charge of the boiler shop at the Canada Works, Birkenhead of Thomas Brassey before moving to the North British Railway's Cowlairs Works in 1864 under S.W. Johnson.
He became foreman erector at the Lochgorm Works, Inverness, of the Highland Railway under William Stroudley and followed Stroudley to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway's Brighton Works in 1870. In 1875 he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the North British Railway. In 1882 he moved to the Caledonian Railway.
In April 1890 he tendered his resignation to enter business, establishing the Australasian Locomotive Engine Works at Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The scheme failed rapidly and he returned to Scotland, founding the Glasgow Railway Engineering Company. Although the business was moderately successful, Drummond accepted the post as locomotive engineer of the London and South Western Railway in 1895, at a salary considerably less than that he had received on the Caledonian Railway. He remained with the LSWR until his death.
Drummond died on 8th November 1912 aged 73 in his home at Surbiton Surrey. A myth has developed that he died as a result of scalding received on the footplate. However C. Hamilton Ellis states that he had got cold and wet and demanded a hot mustard bath for his numb feet. He was scalded by the boiling water. He neglected the burns, gangrene set in and amputation became necessary. He refused an anaesthetic and died of the shock. He is buried at Brookwood Cemetery, which is adjacent to the LSWR mainline; in a family grave just a stone's throw from the former terminus of the Necropolis Railway.

Article provided with thanks to Les Hoath

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