This locomotive was ordered from Andrew Barclay in 1908 by Howe’s Plaster Works, to work between the private sidings (Howes Sidings Box) on the Settle & Carlisle near Cumwhinton, in Cumberland (as it was then), and their works at Cocklakes. This private branch contained quite a severe gradient up to the works – of which little trace is left today. Howes Plaster Works later became Carlisle Plaster Co and later part of British Gypsum.
In the early 1970’s Steamtown in Carnforth were looking to obtain some smaller engines that were more econmical to use than main line machines, to operate their footplate rides.
John Howe was purchased along with a number of sister locomotives, and was taken to Steamtown, Carnforth for preservation. They had been stored in a shed for a number of years, and it is recalled how thick the white Gypsum dust covering the engines was before they left.
Upon arrival at Carnforth, the locomotive received attention to the boiler, and was painted in Campbeltown & Machrihanish North British livery.
The holes below the existing buffers previously house a set of secondary buffers that would match up with the small wooden wagons that were used in Cocklakes.
John Howeo ran at Carnforth for a number of years, and being re-restored at the Ribble Steam Railway (RSR) operated regularly up to the end of the 2013 season. It was loaned to Beamish in 2014 and then returned to the RSR where it ran at galas in 2014 and 2015.
In the summer of 2020 the locomotive was operational.