This locomotive was built by Kitson and Co in 1934 to a Manning Wardle design which Kitson acquired when Manning Wardle closed in 1926. The design dates from around 1917 when Manning Wardle built six locomotives for Stewarts and Lloyds to work at the quarry at Corby.
When Kitson and Co stopped building locomotives in 1937 the designs passed to Robert Stephenson Hawthorn which built a further 5 locomotives. The Manning Wardle designs are now owned by the Hunslet-Barclay. The intellectual property rights for historic locomotive designs are held by the Hunslet Engine Company.
The locomotives of this design had 4ft 0in diameter wheels, two 16in inside cylinders and weighed 42tons 17cwt.
The locomotive was supplied new to Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd Corby ironstone quarries.
A number of locomotives supplied to Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd carried the names of Welsh towns in tribute to the Welsh wife of the owner of the company. The names were not displayed in the Welsh language which was not always well received.
It spent the whole 35 year of its working life at Corby, hauling iron ore from the area’s quarries to the blast furnaces.
Steam locomotives were gradually phased out by S&L during the 1960s and Carnarvon was purchased in working order by the Worcester Locomotive Society in 1969 and went to the embryonic Severn Valley Railway where it spent the winter of 1969/1970 on works trains.
The locomotive moved to Bulmers Railway Centre in Hereford in 1970.
During the oil crisis of 1973, Carnarvon was used to shunt trains of cider apples in place of the more normal diesel locomotives. This prompted its appearance on national TV under the story of ‘steam to the rescue’.
It last steamed at the Bulmers Railway Centre in 1989.
In 1993 it moved to the South Devon Railway.
The locomotive was cosmetically restored in 2010 and put on static display at Totnes Littlehempston station.
The locomotive was later towed to Buckfastleigh and in May 2015 the dismantling of it started as the first stage of its overhaul.
In 2018 contractors repaired a hole in the top of the cylinder block using a cold metal stitching technique.
It is planned that the locomotive will be based on the South Devon Railway from where it will be available for hire.
Following being awarded a grant from the Association for Industrial Archaeology of £20,000 the Worcester Locomotive Society who own the engine stated in June 2022 that they were awaiting final quotes for the restoration of the boiler and reassembly of the chassis.