Head, Wrightson & Co

In 1840 Head and Wright founded a foundry at Thornaby in 1840 which became the Teesdale Iron Works. When Wright left the partnership, he was replaced by Asby and the firm became Head, Ashby & Co.

In 1860 Thomas Wrightson joined the firm and soon afterwards the firm became Head Wrightson & Co.

The firm soon built up a reputation for supplying cast and wrought iron for boilers, railway track chairs, bridges, piers and even ships for the British Navy.

During this 1860/70 period the company built a small number of steam locomotives. Whilst many of the records of the company survived those relating to the 1859-1877 order book do not and so the precise number manufactured is not known.

In the 1960s Head Wrightson purchased back three locomotives which it had built during the period 1870 to 1873. The apprentices at the firm restored these to what was understood to be their original condition before they were placed on display at Thornaby.

One engine was placed on stands, enabling the locomotive to be operated on compressed air.  It sat alongside two former Londonderry Railway (later Seaham Harbour) chaldron wagons [sic], each bearing the initials HW – Head Wrightson.

Head Wrightson suffered a major decline through the 1970s and eventually the Thornaby works was closed.

Preserved Locomotives

Works No Built Name Type Location
1871 No 1 0-4-0VBT Beamish
21 1870 No 16 0-4-0VBT Beamish
33 1873 No 17 0-4-0VBT Beamish

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Back to Locomotives