Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,179 pages of information and 233,417 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Bromsgrove Works

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Bromsgrove Railway Works

1841 Established at Aston Fields, near Bromsgrove as a maintenance facility for the Birmingham and Gloucester Railway. It was one of the first workshops to build locomotives rather than simply maintaining those provided by other manufacturers. This came about when the railway hired James Edward McConnell following a series of accidents on the Lickey Incline. The first involved a demonstration locomotive by William Church, called "Surprise". Its experimental boiler blew up, killing the engine men, Thomas Scaife and Joseph Rutherford. Then a further boiler explosion killed William Creuze.

McConnell carried out a number of innovations, culminating in a locomotive specifically built for the incline, the "Great Britain" reputed to be the first saddle tank. He continued to seek higher standards in railway engineering.

1846 McConnell met George Stephenson and Archibald Slate at Bromsgrove. It was at this meeting that the idea of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers came about.

The works built very few locomotives as, after the merger with the Midland Railway, such work was concentrated at Derby. However it became a well-respected wagon works, using components from Derby, apart from laminated springs which it fabricated itself.

1923 Became part of the LMSR

WWII the Works Manager initiated a scheme for recovering timber and metal fittings for re-use as spares.

After nationalisation in 1949 it remained busy with one of the highest productivity rates

Following a reorganisation of railway workshops, it closed in 1964, with the work being transferred to Derby.

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