Discussion in 'Steam Traction' started by 6220Coronation, Dec 9, 2021.
Regarding 46220 Coronation, is it true that Billy Butlin wanted to acquire and preserve it?
There was a very interesting two part article in Steam railway magazine about how the Butlins Engines came to be acquired. It was down to one individual writing to lots of organisations in the 1960s trying to persuade them to save an Engine as he didn't have resources to do so himself. The two part article was an interview with the guy about what happened.
He wrote to Butlins suggesting that they save some locos to display at their camps and the letter happened to get passed to a board member who himself was also a steam enthusiast and who then persuaded the rest of the board to go with the idea. Butlins decided they wanted Engines with some famous history and initially approached Eastern region, but were put off by the prices, I think particularly for repainting and moving the locos to the camps, so then approached LM region who were much more helpful.
Initially they went for Royal Scot, and having acquired that, then wanted Princess Elizabeth but that had been sold already so obtained Princess Margaret Rose instead. They kept corresponding with the guy who had originally written the letter with the idea, and he then suggested getting a Duchess.
At first they were going to go for 6220 Coronation because it had done the tour of America but then the guy who wrote the original letter then pointed out that it was actually 6229 that had done it renamed as Coronation for the trip, so they then thanked him for this info and switched to Duchess of Hamilton instead (because of the US trip).
They also needed another Engine for another camp and Duchess of Sutherland just happened to be lucky that it was in the shed at the same time as 6229 so they could be moved together to Crewe for a repaint, so it was acquired too.
The man who wrote the original letter did then try and persuade them to get the Patriot 'Home Guard' arguing that many visitors to the camp would have been in the Home Guard, but Butlins decided that as it didn't have any particular famous history then they wouldn't go for this loco.
Other letters were sent to councils. He tried to get the councils in London to save Duchess City of London, the same as Birmingham had saved City of Birmingham, but nothing came of it.
The letter to Butlins was the only letter that was a success, but still resulted in 2 Duchesses, 1 Princess and a Scot being saved when it otherwise wouldn't have happened.
Don’t forget the 3 Terriers and the B4 Dock Tank were also saved for display as well.
The gentleman you refer to is a Mr Brian Walker. He sent letters to various establishments including city councils at Sheffield, Crewe, and London. Those three declined his suggestions concerning the purchase of Coronation pacifics, as did Leeds City Council and Eric Treacy concerning 5XP Alberta. His letters to Butlins eventually led to the purchase of Royal Scot and Princess Margaret Rose (46201 had been the initial target but it had already been purchased by the 6201 group). Butlins then enquired about the purchase of Silver Link and GWR 6018 King Henry Vl (for Minehead) but the asking price in both cases was deemed far too high. Following the failure to secure Silver Link, Butlins then turned their attention to Coronation. When this suggestion was transmitted to Mr Walker, he then advised Butlins about the Duchess of Hamilton situation, and the rest, they say, is history.
There is some interesting stuff here, along with a load of pointless bickering!
I know nothing about the ins and outs of Butlins attempts to obtain locos from BR but there must have been ongoing negotiations over 60014 as it spent several months dumped at Doncaster Plant before being scrapped, which was unusual. I saw it on several of my monthly visits and the rumour mill at that time said that someone had bought it.
Sounds very similar to the tale with regards to 6018, seen it suggested in various locations that she was partly restored at Swindon before the deal with Butlins fell through, which I suspect also led to the urban myth that she was swapped with 6000!
I have a very clear memory, as a young lad, seeing Royal Scot inside Boston shed after it had been cosmetically restored into LMS livery for Butlin. I assume it had been dragged there and was awaiting its final journey to Skegness. I had seen several Scots before on the WCML, but never a clean one! I was in awe at this loco and felt quite tearful that it was no longer working.
I had a talk with the shed foreman and asked him if he thought it could ever work again. His reply was emphatic: "No, they've ripped all the guts out of it so it can never steam again". How wrong he was - I rode behind it 55 years later!
I can't remember the date of my visit to Boston shed, but I'm guessing summer 1963. Does anybody have accurate knowledge of when the loco was there?
Were "the guts ripped out" of the Butlin's locos, or did they remain intact as they left service, with just an external makeover?
I wonder what the foreman meant by his statement that the guts had been ripped out.
The locomotives remained intact but received a paint job.
I cannot help with the date for Boston other than Butlins informed Mr Walker in a letter dated 23 May 1963 that they had been successful in obtaining Royal Scot and that 'it will be positioned at their Skegness Camp in about three weeks time'.
Shame the Eastern Region didn’t let some of their locomotives go for a cheaper price, given the comparative rarity of LNER types these days
It's a shame there was so little choice in readily available, effective contraception in the 1950s. Just think how many splendid pre-grouping classes, driven to extinction by Mr Riddles' standards, could've been saved, if the money hadn't needed spending on ungrateful and/or unwanted sprogs.
Possibly, but what would he have bought? More A4s? We aren't exactly short of them.
Is there a suitable tribute to Mr Brian Walker? Seems like should be more widely known, i was aware of Butlins engines but not his part in setting it off.
Plucking such names from undeserved obscurity is aways an aspect of our forum for which I'm grateful.
Can't have too many A4s!
Probably, maybe an A3 or A1. A named B1 maybe…
So found and read the article again. It is in the August 2016 Steam Railway, no 457 "The man who saved two Duchesses"
So to summarise:- The Princess Elizabeth society originally wanted to buy the Princess and Royal Scot. The asking prices were £2160 for the Princess and £1900 for the Scot, but they were struggling to raise the money for both Engines so Brian Walker wrote to Butlins head office in Mayfair initially asking if they could contribute, explaining Royal Scot would get scrapped. Luckily the letter was given to a Butlins director G.S.Ogg who then wrote back offering to do so and saying they could be displayed at Butlins camps. At this point the PE society weren't too keen as they were worried Butlins would buy PE instead so wrote back suggesting some other alternative locos that could be saved.
When the costs started to be looked at, at this point the other Butlins directors said no, but Brian Walker urged (by letter and phone),Mr Ogg to persevere which he did and eventually won them over. The initial purchase was 6203. It mentions that 6200 was also held at Carlisle Kingmoor as an alternative but the cost of moving it from Carlisle to Crewe for painting and then to the Filey camp stopped it happening. Of course the fact that Butlins already had the miniature 21" gauge princesses influenced the choice.
At this point the Princess Elizabeth society said they couldn't afford Royal Scot and lucky before it could go for scrap Butlins then bought it.
After this they approached Eastern Region about acquiring A4 Silver Link but the price quoted to move and paint it was double that of the LMS Engines. It says that had this been successful a Peppercorn A1 was being looked at (either 60134 Foxhunter or 60160 Auld Reekie).
This meant they went back to LMS Locos and obtained instead the two Duchesses both at Liverpool Edge Hill Shed. Duchess of Hamilton for the reasons already mentioned and Sutherland because of its Scottish name (it went to the Ayr camp) and the fact they were both in the same location.
The LM guy handling all the sales was AB Macleod who I think was the same guy who was once in charge of the Isle of Wight railways and had tried to preserve the engine Ryde. It explains why 3 terriers and the B4 came to be bought to, he must have wanted to see these saved and pushed for Butlins to buy these also, the idea that being small they would appeal more to children. One large and one small loco were displayed at each camp.
No mention at all of the GWR King so not sure if there is any truth to that.
Fantastic insight @toplight. That's the first mention of A.B. MacLeod I've seen concerning his post IoW career. Very many thanks for posting.
That sums up Nat Pres in one sentance......
There's some info here: http://www.butlins-memories.com/other/locos.htm
Separate names with a comma.