Hawthorn Leslie     Works No 3827   Corby Iron & Steel Works No 14 0-6-0ST

Hawthorn Leslie 3827  East Carlton Country Park  July 2018.jpg

This locomotive was built by Hawthorn Leslie in 1934 for Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd to work at the Corby Iron & Steel Works.

Stewarts & Lloyds had moved to Corby in 1932 in order to make use of the local iron ore to feed the blast furnaces and Bessemer steel converters. Work to clear the new site commenced in 1933 and the first blast furnace was lit at Corby in May 1934. By December 1934 steel was being produced.

The influence of the move to Corby can be judged by the increase in the population there. In 1931 the population of Corby was only around 1600 but by 1939 the population had grown by 10,000 and Corby was officially designated as a town.  

Stewart & Lloyds bought six locomotives from Hawthorn Leslie in 1934 of which 3827 was one. They were all of the same design with 16in x 24in outside cylinders and weighed 35tons. By 1941 fourteen locomotives had been delivered to Corby to this design by Hawthorn Leslie and its successor Robert Stephenson & Hawthorns Ltd. Two other of these Hawthorn Leslie locomotives have been preserved – Works numbers 3837 and 3931

Stewart & Lloyds became part of British Steel in 1967 when nationalised.

By the beginning of 1971 12 steam locomotives remained on the Corby site in addition to the 26 diesel locomotives brought in.

The locomotive was converted to oil burning at some time in its working life.

In 1967 the British steel industry was nationalised and the Stewarts & Lloyds steel tube works at Corby became part of British Steel Corporation. In 1973 the government approved a strategy of consolidating steel making in five main areas – South Wales, Sheffield, Scunthorpe, Teesside and Scotland – most of which are coastal sites with access to economic supplies of iron rich imported ores. In the government agreed a programme that would lead to the phasing-out of steel making in Corby which resulted in over 5,000 jobs being lost there by the end of 1981 and further cuts which took the total loss of jobs at Corby to 11,000. The result was an unemployment rate of over 30%.

This locomotive was identified as being destined to be purchased for preservation by the Corby Urban District Council as a piece of the towns industrial heritage. Consideration was given to having the locomotive displayed in the town centre but it was decided to place it in the West Glebe Park in Corby which was only about two miles from where it was previously employed. It was delivered to the West Glebe Park in September 1971.

In January 1989 the locomotive was taken to Vic Berr’s scrapyard in Leicester where it was stripped of asbestos and and repainted in yellow livery.

In September 1990 the locomotive was delivered to its new home at the East Carlton Countryside Park & Steel Heritage Centre at Corby

This is where it remained slowly rusting away in the open air.

At some point between June and December 2015 the locomotive was repainted in an anti-rust white paint.

In June 2021 I was informed that the owners – the newly formed North Northamptonshire Unitary Council – had given approval and backing for a local campaign to restore 3827 to its former glory.

At that time the chosen livery was yet to be decided – for most of its working life it was in ‘buttercup yellow’ but was at one time it was in ‘medium blue’ whilst based at a playground in West Glebe Park in Corby – it was then repainted in buttercup yellow at its present location in East Carlton Park. More recently some person or persons unknown painted it in white primer – which may have played its part in preserving most of its body, wheels and motion.

Hawthorn Leslie 3827  East Carlton Country Park  July 2018.jpg
3827 at the East Carlton Country Park – July 2018
3827 at the East Carlton Country Park – June 2019

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