SAINT BRIDES HALL

by Paul Wiese

In the Christmas Quiz in Steam Chest issue 67, question 13 was a bit of a teaser. If you remember, I asked "LBSC described Southern Maid very fully with the idea of following with or three 'quick fire' descriptions of other locos. Only two of these ever appeared. Name:- (a) the two that appeared and (b) the one that did not."

The answer to part (a) was fairly simple, assuming you know the sequence of LBSC's descriptions in The Model Engineer, or have the right volumes to look it all up. However, the answer to part (b) is quite complex, as LBSC never stated what the third engine was going to be, and unless someone has the definitive answer somewhere, we will have to establish it on circumstantial evidence. Frankly, I put the question in the quiz to see if anyone could help with information, and I didn‘t use part (b) in marking the answers of course. As it was, we had a very low response to the quiz, so I will put forward my own researches on the matter, and let's start then with trying to establish what LBSC intended to do after the Southern Maid serial was completed in volume 78 (1938).

Southern Maid was (still is for that matter!) a straight forward simple 0-6-0 of Southern outline with outside cylinders/inside valve chests and small driving wheels. It was designed specifically for simple construction and capable of going around sharp radius curves as might be necessary on a continuous track in a small garden. The series was extremely detailed and was set to be the reference for the LBSC construction details for some time, avoiding the need for a lot of repetition in subsequent loco series. LBSC‘s thinking, quite logically, was that most operations in building a model loco are similar whatever the actual type of loco being built, thus all he had to do was describe the actual differences, one loco as against another. At the time the Southern Maid was nearing completion, a straw poll amongst LBSC‘s followers showed that the choice for the next serial was the then relatively new LMS 5XP 3 cylinder 4-6-0, but the complications of this compact multi-cylinder loco meant that the LBSC's design was nowhere near complete when the Southern Maid series ended. To fill the gap, LBSC introduced his well known (and popular) design for the GWR Grange class Purley Grange, which is a straight forward two cylinder 4-6-0. The interesting point (for this story at least) is that LBSC didn‘t have time to draw out the general arrangement (or side elevation) for Purley Grange so asked a friend of his, Bewan Springer, to do the drawing. Whether Bewan Springer only did the general arrangement drawing or did more we don‘t know, although I suspect he may well have done more as the Bewan Springer drawings in my possession certainly cover quite a lot of the Purley Grange design. Anyway, the Purley Grange serial ran it‘s allotted course in The Model Engineer, and was then followed by the LMS 5XP (ie Olympiade).

What we now know from Brian Hollingsworth's book is that at this time things were not running smoothly between the publishers of ME and LBSC, and this cumulated in the Olympiade series being finished off in a hurry and then LBSC's articles being downgraded to a fortnightly series of general interest type. This happened at the introduction of the new style Model Engineer at the beginning of 1939, and was at the precise point in time when we would have expected the elusive third loco design to appear. When things were sorted out between LBSC and the publishers of the ME, quite a lot of water had passed under the bridge, and his next design was in response to quite different circumstances, and was for a 3½" gauge 4-4-0 (Miss Ten to Eight). So was there a third loco planned, and if there was, what was it ?

I have to admit that until fairly recently I never thought too much about it, and when I did I thought that LBSC probably used the term 'two or three' to mean 'several' and this was covered by the Purley Grange and Olympiade serials. However, something happened a couple of years ago which made me think that maybe there was a third engine. One day I received a packet in the post from the late David Dobson which contained a couple of envelopes with some assorted 2½" gauge drawings in them. Both sets of drawings were of interest, the first was the general arrangement and some detail drawings for Kingette, a loco that I believed had never had any drawings completed for it (I will try and get some prints done off this G.A. if anyone is interested). The second envelope contained the real surprise — several drawings for 'Two of LBSC's Live Steamers' drawn by Bewan Springer. The drawing shows two GWR 4-6-0's, the familiar Purley Grange and Glazbury Hall, a loco completely new to me.

A close examination of the dimensions shows that Glazbury Hall is a larger wheeled version of Purley Grange, but this is consistent with full size. What is interesting, to my way of thinking, is that LBSC must have known, and sanctioned this drawing by Bewan Springer, otherwise it could not and would not have the description 'Two of LBSC's Live Steamers' on it. So was LBSC's original idea to describe Olympiade and then the two Great Western locos together, or was the addition of Glazbury Hall a piece of opportunism by Bewan Springer who realised that the Purley Grange design could easily be used to produce the Hall at the same time ? We will probably never know and probably it doesn‘t matter either, what we do have is the basis for a GWR Hall design, using LBSC components. What we intend to do is to use the Glazbury Hall outline to produce a new 2½" gauge design which will be closer to scale than LBSC‘s designs and we will serialise it here in the Steam Chest. It will obviously run over many issues but I won‘t be describing every part as most are taken from Purley Grange. Before we get involved in the details however, let‘s have a recap on an article which Ron Taylor wrote in Steam Chest some years ago (issue 42) about his near scale Cleeve Grange.

When you compare my engine with (the late) Dave Street‘s excellent and well used Purley Grange you will find quite a difference; you see, LBSC always used to make his engines as simple as possible and always worked to the nearest fractional measurement which, in the case of wheel spacing, frame length, etc can be quite a lot out; in fact my mainframes are ¾" longer than Purley Grange. Also, although LBSC and Henry Greenly did not see eye to eye on many matters, they both used smaller than scale bogie wheels and drivers, and apparently in this case (LBSC) shortened the whole wheelbase which I presume was to make the whole lot go around a much smaller radius curve.

Working my engine out to 17/32"=1ft, mine has scale wheelbase, frame length, driving and bogie wheel diameters, and won't of course, go around such a small radius curve (as Purley Grange) however in these days of club tracks of 2½", 3½" and 5" gauges it follows that if a 3½" or 5" gauge engine will go around a curve, there should not be any problem with 2½" gauge. As you can see, my engine being longer, I had to lengthen other things to suit, including making the barrel about ½" longer. I also put more detail on, which I must admit I obtained from an O Gauge blueprint as I built a Grange in O Gauge back in 1958 (live steam of course). However, all this (2½" gauge engine) was done by adjusting the lengths and centres of LBSC (design) to suit, so that the works, boiler, etc., are pure Purley Grange, and in fact my engine is down on my boiler certificate as such. I think the engine is fairly to scale proportions, but I had to make the footplate wider because the cylinders are so big.

Coming to the tender, however, this owes nothing to LBSC. I still have most of his articles from The Model Engineer and he states that he made the tender with a higher tank to get more water capacity, which I now admit is a good idea, but it didn't look right, and as I had a 17/32" drawing of a standard 3500 gallon tender I dumped the P.G. design and made my own.

So I hope I have cleared up a few points, my engine won't work any better because of the mods, but it does not seem to work any worse, which is all that matters. Anyone who has seen Ron's engine will agree with the last statement and it looks super too. I hope you agree it was worth reprinting Ron's article, we can now build on it for the Hall.


A reprint of the series dealing with the construction and the drawings can be obtained from the Association.


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