This R3 class locomotive was built in 1929 by Peckett & Sons and was delivered new to work at Kilmersdon Colliery which was located between Radstock and Frome in Somerset.
The locomotive was given the name Kilmersdon which mean Cynemaer’s Hill. There is a local belief that the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme records events in the village of Kilmersdon in Somerset in 1697 when a local spinster became pregnant; the putative father is said to have died from a rock fall and the woman died in childbirth soon after. There are many other theories as to the origin of the rhyme.
There is evidence to suggest coal extraction in the area from Roman times, with documentary evidence of coal extraction at Kilmersdon starting in 1437.
Kilmersdon Colliery was established in 1875 as part of the Writhlington group of collieries. Access to coal mining beneath Kilmersdon was through a network of tunnels from an entrance at Haydon, a nearby hamlet, resulting in the colliery also being known as Haydon Pit, during its life, the maximum depth of the shaft reached close to 1,600 ft.
The railway at Kilmersdon Colliery had triangular sidings which had links to the Radstock-Frome section of the GWR’s Bristol and North Somerset
The colliery was nationalised in January 1947 and came under the ownership of the National Coal Board (NCB). It became the last colliery to be working the Somerset Coalfield and during its later operating years the extracted coal was transported under contract to Portishead power station. The colliery closed in August 1973.
When the colliery closed the NCB placed the locomotive in the care of the Somerset & Dorset Railway Museum Trust. It was moved by road to Radstock via an appearance at the Camerton Traction Engine Rally.
In 1983 the Somerset & Dorset Railway Museum Trust dropped the word Museum from the title. The Somerset & Dorset Railway Trust moved to Washford on the West Somerset Railway.
The locomotive has given regular shunting demonstrations at Washford, and has masqueraded as Percy, from Thomas The Tank Engine, at the West Somerset Railway.
Ownership of the locomotive was subsequently transferred to the Trust, and in 2013 following a complete overhaul, it appeared in splendid SDJR Prussian Blue lined livery
The locomotive was loaned to the Helston Railway throughout 2018.
|1788 at Kilmersdon – March 1970|
|1738 at Titley Junction – June 2013|
|1788 on the Bristol Harbour Railway – April 2015|