|THE INDUSTRIAL RAILWAY RECORD||
© APRIL 1969
RAILWAY WORKS, CHIPPENHAM
Closed 17th March 1869
The general pattern of development of the locomotive building undertaken by the firm of R. Brotherhood is fairly clear, though not the details. The first locomotive built, about 1858, seems to have been a Broad Gauge 0−6−0 tank, referred to in Rowland Brotherhood’s manuscript autobiography as MOLOCH (see ‘Brotherhoods, Engineers’ by S. A. Leleux, 1965). There followed, about 1859-61, a beautifully made 15 inch gauge 2−2−2 named PEARL which was made by Peter Brotherhood, born in April 1838, the second son of Rowland Brotherhood. This engine has for many years been at King’s College, London, and is very likely the model engine which accompanied Peter Brotherhood’s lecture on "The Steam Engine and Its History" given at the New Hall, Chippenham in January 1862; the model, which was not referred to by name, was stated to have been made by the lecturer himself.
Between about 1862 and 1867 perhaps some fifteen narrow-gauge* engines were built - 2−4−0 saddle tanks with inside cylinders and 0−4−0 saddle tanks with outside cylinders. The 2−4−0 saddle tanks appear in several sizes, with 9in, 10in, or 12in cylinders, while the few 0−4−0 saddle tanks recorded had 10in by 16in cylinders. The origin and general design of all these engines was probably either the work of Peter Brotherhood or was largely influenced by him. Both types are illustrated in ‘The Chronicles of Boulton’s Siding’, by A. R. Bennett, 1927. It is there suggested that they were photographed at Bath, but it seems more likely that they were photographed at the eastern end of the sidings at Brotherhood’s works at Chippenham. Perhaps a photographer from Bath took the photographs. Doubtless I. W. Boulton had seen Brotherhood’s locomotives advertised and sent for further particulars; it seems likely that photographs that may have accompanied the reply were still to be found amongst the papers of I. W. Boulton in the 1920’s. Some at least of the earlier engines seem to have been sent new for service on Brotherhood’s railway construction contracts, but during the depression of the mid-1860’s several engines appear to have been built for stock and offered for sale.
* The term "narrow-gauge" as then used in Broad Gauge territory indicated 4ft 8½in gauge.
Advertisements by R. Brotherhood appeared in several contemporary journals, and from these it is sometimes possible to amplify the details given in ‘The Builder’ (see RECORD 22, page 356). The Broad Gauge engine referred to as MOLOCH was in all probability at first used on Brotherhood’s ballasting or construction contracts. By 1863 it was evidently no longer required and an advertisement which seems to represent this engine appeared - a six−wheel coupled Broad gauge tank locomotive in thorough repair, suitable for heavy gradients, 4ft 8in diameter wheels, 17in by 24in cylinders. R. Brotherhood, Railway Works, Chippenham. Further advertisements appear intermittently until the Works closed in 1869: in some of these advertisements the price asked was £1250. The locomotive was again offered for sale, this time quoted as 16½in cylinders, together with other plant at the Works, on 17th November 1869, but seemingly without success. The engine seems then to have remained at Chippenham evidently at the closed-down Works, until 1874. During this time a London agent, William Fitzmaurice, 22 Laurence Pountney Lane, Cannon Street, E.C., was advertising a Broad Gauge engine which was unmistakably this same Brotherhood engine.
The next reference to what must certainly have been Brotherhood’s Broad Gauge engine appears in the Minutes of the Bristol and Exeter Railway. In a Minute of 12th November 1873 Mr Bruce stated that there was at present a goods engine for sale at Chippenham. Mr. Pearson to inspect and, if he approved, to purchase on terms that may be satisfactory to Mr. Bruce and himself. A further Minute on 14th January 1874 records that it was agreed to purchase a Broad Gauge engine from Mr Goldney for £550. The engine purchased from Mr Goldney would be the 0−6−0 tank, B & ER 111 (later GWR 2091), which has been recorded as built by Brotherhood in 1874. The explanation seems to be that the engine was indeed built by Brotherhood, but about 1858, and had been bought by the Bristol & Exeter Railway in 1874 from the effects of R. Brotherhood. Mr. Goldney from whom the engine was bought, was probably Gabriel Goldney, who played a seemingly unenviable part in the final ruin of the Brotherhood Works at Chippenham - such was certainly the view that Rowland Brotherhood took. Goldney seems to have been a solicitor or banker, perhaps both, at Chippenham, and he was evidently disposing of the Broad Gauge engine as part of the assets of R. Brotherhood which either Goldney or the bank had gained control of.
The three narrow gauge locomotives offered for sale on 16th and 17th February 1864 after the completion of Brotherhood’s Bristol & South Wales Union Railway contract were fairly widely advertised: the following details were taken from the ‘Railway Times’, 13th February 1864: - Patchway station. A narrow-gauge Contractor’s Locomotive (nearly new) 9in by 16in cylinders, tank 250 gallons, ...... fitted with a Giffard’s fixed water injector and a feed pump. At Pilning: Contractor’s engine ‘Chaplin’s Patent’. Cylinders 7in by 14in, 4ft 8½in gauge, fitted with broad and narrow gauge wheels and axles. Portskewet: A 21 horse-power Contractor’s Engine, cylinders 8in by 14in. Broad and narrow-gauge wheels and axles. Fitted with "Giffard’s Feed Injectors." From other sources it is apparent that the 21 horse-power locomotive at Portskewet is also a Chaplin. The vertical boiler locomotives of Alex Chaplin & Co were widely advertised in the 1860’s, often by an agent in London. It is possible that firms in various parts of the country, e.g. Brown and May of Devizes, also supplied Chaplin’s locomotives and plant, but there does not seem to be evidence to show that ‘Chaplin’s Patent’ locomotives were built under license by other firms.
The engine at Patchway is clearly a standard Brotherhood 2−4−0 saddle tank, and very possibly the same engine which, in October 1862, had been sent from Chippenham to the Bristol & South Wales Union Contract on the special road transporter waggon designed by Peter Brotherhood and on which the locomotive propelled itself to its destination, being specially fitted with road wheels for the journey. On arrival at its destination the road wheels were removed from the engine and the railway wheels substituted. A pair of horses then took the waggon to Bristol from where it was sent back to Chippenham. In November 1862 the locomotive waggon is reported to have passed through Devizes - evidently taking another locomotive transporting itself to an unrecorded destination. It would be interesting to know whether the continued construction of the unusual and rather frail-looking 2−4−0 saddle tanks was in any way connected with a need to conform to the exigencies of this special delivery waggon.
By the time that R. Brotherhood turned to locomotive building in the early 1860’s the most prosperous years of the Chippenham Works had already passed. By 1864 the General Contract Company was being promoted to take over the Works. At the same time the Press was openly commenting on the declining activity at the Railway Works which, it was suggested, might be attributed largely to the loss of the ballasting and maintenance contracts on the Great Western Railway. Formerly some 400 men had been employed at the Works but by 1864 these had dwindled to about 50, and perhaps nearly 200 more had been employed on the line.
Nevertheless the Works survived the hazards of 1866 and 1867, but the end came suddenly, though not altogether unexpectedly, soon afterwards in March 1869 while the firm was engaged on a large contract for the Brazilian Government. It was a sad ending to a great enterprise. Mr Brotherhood, through whose hands during his extraordinary career millions of pounds may be said to have passed, was to find himself after a life of increasing toil and anxiety, little better off than he had been twenty years before, when he established the works which contributed so vastly to the prosperity of the trade of Chippenham.
The Works were virtually closed on Saturday, 13th March 1869, but the men came in on Monday and were retained until Wednesday on the understanding that they might be dismissed at a day’s notice unless funds were forthcoming to enable Mr Brotherhood to go on with his contract. Financial assistance was refused and on Wednesday, 17th March, Mr Brotherhood called his men together, paid them the wages that were due to them up to that time, and without any reserve told them that he was "a ruined man for life".
On 17th November 1869 a sale of the smaller tools and various other material took place at the Works. Five new locomotives, as well as the second-hand Broad Gauge engine, were included: four 2−4−0 saddle tanks with inside cylinders - probably three with 10in and one with 12in cylinders, and one 0−4−0 saddle tank with outside cylinders. Only the 12in 2−4−0 saddle tank and the 0−4−0 saddle tank seem to have been sold. "The locomotive engines with the immense stock-in-trade of Mr Brotherhood only realised £15,000. £50,000 did not purchase them [originally]. Never perhaps were the ups and downs of life more lamentably exhibited than in the case of Mr. Brotherhood. He came to Chippenham with the Great Western Railway, a poor but hard-working, industrious, enterprising man; 12 years ago he was worth upwards of £100,000; he leaves Chippenham, the father of 12 or 13 children, with scarcely a penny in his pocket. So much for railway contracts." In January 1872 Rowland Brotherhood announced to his friends that he had undertaken the management of the Bute Ironworks at Cardiff, where he was in a position to undertake similar work to that which he had formerly constructed at Chippenham.
Nothing more is heard of the Chippenham Works until they are offered for sale in one Lot on 10th April 1872. No offer was made. Shortly afterwards, in a four-day sale beginning on Tuesday, 9th July 1872, the whole of the valuable machinery was offered for sale. The last of the 2−4−0 saddle tanks, Lot 45, a new six wheel four coupled inside cylinder locomotive, 4ft 8½in gauge by Brotherhood, fetched £710. Brotherhood had asked £950 for this type.
Rowland Brotherhood was an extensive purchaser at the sale. Not long afterwards he left Cardiff and moved to Bristol, where he later died, at the age of 70, on 4th March 1883.
One at least of Brotherhood’s little 2−4−0 saddle tanks seems to have survived almost till the Twentieth Century at the works of Charles D. Phillips, at Gloucester. Originally advertised as NELLlE, but later as EMLYN No.55, this engine appeared almost continuously in advertisements of C. D. Phillips from 1885 until 1900. At first the maker was stated to be Fox, Walker & Co, but this was soon changed to Peter Brotherhood, and then for many years no maker was shown in the advertisements. Towards the end of this remarkable series of attempts to sell or hire the engine - from January to April, 1899 - EMLYN No.55 was shewn as ‘Now on hire in London’. The dimensions quoted were: saddle tank,9in by 16in inside cylinders, six wheels, four coupled, each 3ft, leaders 2ft. After this the engine continues to be offered for a short time, but appears for the last time in July 1900.
From the dimensions EMLYN No.55 would appear to be one of Brotherhood’s earlier 2−4−0 saddle tanks built about 1862, and may even have been, though this is doubtful, the very same engine that one early morning in October 1862 had set out from Chippenham by road for the Bristol & South Wales Union line, driven by Peter Brotherhood himself on the special transporter waggon.
(S. H. P. HIGGINS, 20th January 1969)
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