Hudswell Clarke & Company

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The company was formed in Leeds in 1860 by William S Hudswell with John Clarke. Hudswell had served his apprenticeship at Kitson and Co where John Clarke was the works manager. Hudswell by this stage had progress to become the chief draughtsman at Kitson and Co.

The finances to form the company were provided by Dr William Clayton which allowed the firm to be set up in part of the old railway foundry of E B Wilson & Co. The firm at this stage used the name the Railway Foundry.

The first product built in 1861 was a stationary engine which was completed in April 1861.

In 1866 Mr Rodgers joined the company from a small smithy and it became Hudswell, Clarke and Rodgers until Rodgers left in 1880 when the company name was changed to Hudswell, Clarke and Company.

Hudswell died in 1882 and Clarke a few years later in 1890. At this time the family of Dr Clayton, who had provided the initial finances, became more involved in the engineering side of the business.

By 1900 around 575 locomotives had been built and this increased to about 1,600 locomotives by 1927. A sign of the growth of the business was that the workforce had risen to between 400 and 500 by 1914.

Hudswell Clarke benefitted from the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. They supplied locomotives for the construction project and subsequently supplied the bulk of the fleet of locomotives associated with the canal which became known as the Canal class.

The Port of London Authority were another major customer of Hudswell, Clarke and this spawned another standard design of engine which would become known as the PLA type. This too found orders from other industrial systems, particularly in colliery work.

In 1911 Hudswell Clarke entered into an agreement with Robert Hudson for the manufacture of narrow gauge locomotives. This arrangement produced sixteen standardised designs, designated ‘A’ to ‘Q’, which ranged from four-coupled (0-4-0) 5 hp engines to six-coupled (0-6-0) 55 hp models. The designs were sufficiently flexible to allow for the various track gauges in use. Over the years, 188 locomotives were supplied to these designs.

During the 1920s the production of diesel locomotives gradually outstripped the building of steam locomotives.

In 1929 a new design was developed from the earlier 14inch by 20inch outside cylinder 0−4−0ST which had a short tank. The new locomotives had the stroke increased to 22inch and the provision of a full length tank to increase the water capacity. Thirty-five of these standard gauge locomotives have been produced with only minor modifications for individual customer requirements.

In the 1930s the company manufactured narrow gauge steam outline diesel-hydraulic locomotives for use at amusement parks around the country.

During the Second World War the company diversified into armaments, as did so many other engineering companies. In the post-war period Hudswell, Clarke and Co Ltd (as it was by then) was closely involved in many secret programmes, including the British nuclear weapon programme. The airframe for the first British nuclear bomb, Blue Danube was manufactured by Hudswell Clarke at its Roundhay Road, Leeds. The airframe for Red Beard, the second generation tactical nuclear bomb, followed with that for Violet Club, the Interim Megaton Weapon; and there were many other projects.

In the 1952 Hudswell Clarke built twenty (8480-99) class 9400 0-6-0PT locomotives for the Western Region as a subcontractor to the Robert Stephenson & Hawthorn. None of these have been preserved.

The contraction of defence manufacturing in the mid-1960s contributed to the sale and demise of the company.

In 1961 the firm built the last of the 1,807 steam locomotives it produced in its 101 years of life.

The locomotive part of the business is now part of the Hunslet Engine Co. Locomotive-building was always only one part of a diverse product inventory that included underground diesel-powered mining locomotives, hydraulic pit-props and related mining equipment.

The last steam locomotive (Works No 1888) built for the Esholt Sewage Works was unusual as it was the first locomotive in the world designed to use wool grease as fuel. This grease is extracted in the Esholt plant from the woollen mill sewage and proved to be very successful.

Preserved Locomotives

I have only included standard gauge locomotives which are preserved in Britain. I have not included fireless locomotives although I may add them later.

Preserved Austerity Locomotives built to the Hunslet Design

In addition to building locomotives to designs produced by Hudswell Clarke the company also built Fifty Austerity 0-6-0ST engines for the War Department during 1944-1946 as a sub contractor to the Hunslet Engine Company. Fourteen (68006,7,25-26,60-69) of these were bought by the LNER in 1945-46. Of these none have been preserved. One (68067) was sold by the LNER to the coal industry in 1963.

Three examples of the fifty built by Hudswell Clarke to the Hunslet Engine Company survives –

Works No Built Name/Number Location
1752 1943 WD75091   Robert  68067 Great Central Railway
1776 1944 WD71499 Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
1782 1945 WD71505  WD118    Brussels Keighley & Worth Valley Railway

 

Other Preserved Hudswell Clarke Locomotives

Works No Built Name Type Location
402 1893 Lord Mayor 0-4-0ST Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
431 1895 431 0-6-0ST Chasewater Railway
526 1899 Hawarden 0-4-0ST Railway Museum Penrhyn Castle
544 1900 P.D. No 10 0-6-0ST Big Pit Mining Museum
555 1900 GWR 813 0-6-0ST Severn Valley Railway
679 1903 31 Hamburg 0-6-0T Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
680 1903 32 Gothenburg 0-6-0T East Lancashire Railway
750 1906 Waleswood 0-4-0ST The Battlefield Line
895 1909 No9 0-6-0T Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life
1026 1913 No31 0-6-0ST Fawley Hill Railway
1208 1916 Illingworth 0-6-0ST Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
1223 1916 Vesta 0-6-0T Railway Museum Penrhyn Castle
1243 1917 Richboro 0-6-0T Aln Valley Railway
1308 1918 Rhos 0-6-0ST Rocks by Rail, Cottesmore
1309 1917 Henry De Lacy ll 0-4-0ST Middleton Railway
1334 1918 No1 Sir Thomas 0-6-0T Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
1366 1919 Renishaw Ironworks No6 0-6-0ST Tanfield Railway
1369 1919 MSC 67 0-6-0T Middleton Railway
1435 1922 Nellie 0-4-0ST Bradford Industrial & Horses at Work Museum
1450 1922 No 8 Dorothy/Thomas 0-6-0ST Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
1464 1921 MSC No 70 0-6-0T Swindon & Cricklade Railway
1539 1924 Derek Crouch 0-6-0ST Nene Valley Railway
1544 1924 Slough Estates No3 0-6-0ST Middleton Railway
1604 1928 No4 0-6-0ST The Mid Suffock Light Railway Company
1631 1929 No65 0-6-0ST Derwent Valley Light Railway
1632 1929 N05 Patricia 0-4-0ST Bygones Victorian Exhibition Street and Railway Museum, Torquay
1661 1936 Ribblesdale No3 0-4-0ST Unknown
1672 1937 Irwell 0-4-0ST Tanfield Railway
1682 1937 Julia 0-6-0ST Great Central Railway – Nottingham
1689 1937 No7 0-4-0ST Elsecar Heritage Railway
1700 1938 Wissington 0-6-0ST North Norffolk Railway
1704 1938 No1704 Nunlow 0-6-0T Keighley & Worth Valley Railway
1709 1939 No5 Slouh Estates 0-6-0ST Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
1731 1942 No 20 Jennifer 0-6-0T Llangollen Railway
1742 1946 Millom 0-4-0ST Buckinghamshire Railway Centre
1800 1947 1 Thomas 0-6-0T Nene Valley Railway
1821 1948 NCB No 140 Robert Milner 0-6-0T Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
1822 1949 S100 0-6-0T Chasewater Railway
1823 1949 NCB 38 0-6-0T Tanfield Railway
1857 1952 0-6-0T Henstridge
1864 1952 S103 Firefly 0-6-0T Dartmoor Rail Ltd
1882 1955 Mirvale 0-4-0ST Middleton Railway
1884 1955 S102 Cathryn 0-6-0T Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
1885 1955 The Pilling Pig 0-6-0ST Fold house Caravan Park, Pilling
1888 1958 Elizabeth 0-4-0ST Leeds Industrial Museum

Works No 573 Burton Ironstone Co Lt  0-4-0ST  Narrow Gauge Industrial Locomotive – Handyman. Built in 1900 as a three foot gauge locomotive. Now part of the National Collection which is why it is included in this site.

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