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Kerr Stuart "Wren" 3128 of 1918 (ex National Smelting Ltd, Avonmouth)

Discussion in 'Narrow Gauge Railways' started by houghtonga, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. houghtonga

    houghtonga New Member

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    One quick question following the news of the return of "King of the Scarlets", "Michael" and "Liassic": -

    Does anyone know the whereabouts of the fourth loco thought to be stored at Langstaff (Ontario) by Mr Matthews - Kerr Stuart "Wren" 3128 of 1918 (ex National Smelting Ltd, Avonmouth) that was exported in 1959? It is notable for being built without a cab (or awning) and having a short chimney. It can be seen in the Graham Morris photograph of Michael in Cliff Thomas' book "Quarry Hunslets of North Wales".

    There were three "Wrens" at Avonmouth: 3104 & 3128 built in 1918 and a third built by Hunslet (via Robert Hudson) in 1941. It was also home to the former Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway "Kingsley" that was recquistioned by the Ministry of Munitions (Avonmouth) in 1917.

    However a internet search suggests the little 1918 built "Wrens" might of had a very grim beginning to their career... The Avonmouth works near Bristol had been established during the First World War to manufacture poisonous mustard gas for use in combat, but had not been completed before the end of hostilities, the gas produced by the plant didn't arrive in France until September 1918, two months before the Armistice. The plant had a horrendous safety record, In December 1918, the plant Medical Officer reported that in the six months it was operational, there were 1,400 illnesses reported by its 1,100 workers - all attributable to their work. There were 160 accidents and over 1,000 burns. Three people died because of the accidents and another four died as a result of their illnesses. These included blisters, gastritis, bronchopneumonia, mental problems and problems with eyesight. There were thirty resident patients in the factory hospital tended by a doctor and eight nurses.

    It is known that factory had at least two 2ft gauge battery-electric locomotives that were built by Brush in 1917 (16302 & 16307), but were sold in 1922 to the Hythe Pier Railway and converted to 3rd Rail operation. They are still operating today. What I can't determine is whether the "Wrens" were built for the Avonmouth works or were aquired after the war. 3104 was ordered by War Department as part of a batch of four (3102-3105) with 3102, 3103 and 3105 going to Kidbrooke Aerodrome. In July 1918 the Ministry of Munitions placed an order for six 2 ft. gauge "Wrens" which were given works numbers 4001-4006 with order for a further twelve, 4013-4024, was placed a month later, this batch also being earmarked for aerodrome construction work but were not completed untill 1919. I cannot currently identify who ordered 3128.

    In peacetime the Avonmouth works were taken over by the National Smelting Company who commenced zinc smelting and the production of sulphuric acid. Subsequently controlled by the Imperial Smelting Corporation and the Consolidated Zinc Corporation the site was expanded in the late 1950s (when the "Wren" was sold) to also produce phosphoric acid, lead and cadmium.

    Kind regards,
    Gareth
     
  2. Anthony Coulls

    Anthony Coulls Member

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    In brief, I understand it is staying in Canada for sentimental reasons - being the only loco that Mr Matthews Snr steamed in his ownership
     
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  3. houghtonga

    houghtonga New Member

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    Thank you, Anthony.

    Best wishes,
    Gareth
     
  4. Motorrail

    Motorrail New Member

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    News just in! 3128/1918 (Roger), has recently spent some quality time in the UK!
    At a certain Mr Lee's establishment, (Statfold Barn), for a full overhaul prior to returning to Canada!
    It was overhauled along with Brookville 4wDM 3526/1949 (Charles) in 8 weeks & turned out in a fetching green livery lettered up for 'Charles Matthews Ltd' 'Thornhill'.
    Details drawn from Today's Statfold Barn stock list update.

    Best wishes

    Jeremy
     
  5. ghost

    ghost Part of the furniture

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    Sorry Jeremy, but this is not new info - it was previously reported (inc photos) by Henry from SBR on this thread: http://www.national-preservation.com/threads/surviving-kerr-stuart-wrens.39111/ from arrival in June to finishing in August

    Keith
     
  6. leslie dawn

    leslie dawn New Member

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  7. marshall5

    marshall5 Well-Known Member

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    I'm confused (not good at my age!). KS 3128/18 'Roger' ex Avomouth smelting was restored by Statfold Barn for Mr Matthews, returned to him in Canada but then sent back to Statfold where it now resides - right? So, Leslie are you saying that Mr Matthews had another Wren which now resides at Simcoe? I don't see any reference to it in the article other than that he used to take a small engine there. Perhaps you can clarify? Full marks, however, to Mr Matthews for his very generous financial donation to the museum.
    Ray.
     
  8. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    I missed that bit, where is that referenced?
     
  9. kscanes

    kscanes Well-Known Member

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  10. The Saggin' Dragon

    The Saggin' Dragon Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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  11. kscanes

    kscanes Well-Known Member

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    Did not Mr Matthews also have the Wren KS 3104? So are two locos being confused in the recent part of this thread?

    [Edit - Reference to KS 3104 is probably wrong. See below.]
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  12. Selsig

    Selsig New Member

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    KS 3104 was owned by Allen Civil (I think) before ending up as part of the Rampton collection at the Vale of Rheidol, where it still (nominally) lives, and has never emigrated. KS 3128 did the many return trips across the pond, and is indeed now part of the Statfold collection.

    John
     
  13. kscanes

    kscanes Well-Known Member

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    I have that loco (the one now at VoR) as 3114?
     
  14. Selsig

    Selsig New Member

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    Good point well made! My mistake. I, however, can't find any reference online to KS3104 having been exported from Avonmouth to Mr. Matthews, only the 3 Hunslets and KS3128.

    John
     
  15. pmh_74

    pmh_74 Member

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    Nowhere on that link does it say that the steam loco is still there. Nor does the website for that museum contain any reference to a steam loco (though the buildings collection does include a station building). Also on the donations part of the page it says that if you are donating an exhibit, it must be of local interest, so I'm not sure a steam loco from across the pond would qualify. I suppose you could email them to ask.
     
  16. GWR Man.

    GWR Man. Well-Known Member

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  17. leslie dawn

    leslie dawn New Member

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    Now that is interesting. That little engine was in the lot, not refinished, until a few months ago. As part of a large city plan the property is slated for redevelopment and when I noticed the engine was gone I was worried it went for scrap but then came across that article. I presumed it was the same one that was donated to the museum, I will go there and see what's going on and get back to you. Hopefully the story does have a happy outcome, sorry for the confusion
     
  18. kscanes

    kscanes Well-Known Member

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    Hmm. I just checked my sources, two books published by the Industrial Railway Society. They conflict. Industrial Locomotives of South Western England (pub 1977) says KS3104 was scrapped in 1954 at Avonmouth. Industrial Locomotives of Worcestershire (pub 2005) has an entry for C H Lambe & Co, Transport Depot, Bromsgrove - their site was used for storage and restoration of several locos that were intended for use on an early preservation line, the Hindlip & District Light Railway. KS 3128 and Peckett 1632 (LIASSIC) were here before going to C Matthews, and KS 3104 is also shown as being here before going to Canada.

    As I say, a conflict. In the absence of any supporting information I'm inclined to think that the Worcs entry for 3104 is a typo and say please ignore my reference to KS 3104 going to Canada.
     
  19. leslie dawn

    leslie dawn New Member

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    I have sent a message to the Museum to find out just what they got from Mr.Matthews to try and clear this up, will keep you all posted :)
     
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  20. longdogs

    longdogs New Member

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    3128 was working at Statfold two weeks ago. It’s now grey, carries ISC No 2 and is still called Roger.
     

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