Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Cyril Hawkesworth. 1920s Railway Photographer.

I have possessed for over forty years two small cases full of 1920s railway photographs. Some were taken by Cyril Hawkesworth, whose widow gave me this material just before she died around 1970, Cyril having died some years earlier. This blog concentrates on his own images (he also collected commercially available postcard images, which I have). Cyril lived in Southampton and his local station was Southampton West. Before being too critical, please consider the technology of the time. Here is the back of a typical print:

In addition to the date and engine number (the A is the power type), the timetabled destination is given, including departure time.  The photographic information at the bottom: the camera is set to 100 feet distance, aperture 5.6, and the exposure time a fiftieth of a second.  The 836 on this photo is still a mystery, as is the word Def after the number. I know nothing of which camera he used, but negatives are celluloid the same size as the prints. There are often initials at the top which I think refer to the friends he went with. He obviously kept a notebook at the time, from which details were added to the back of each print.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Most of these were taken around 1926-7  in Redbridge Cutting, bar a few at Southampton West station. Information given here is what is written on the back of each print. I have posted King Arthurs previously, so this selection are the 'other ranks'. I have included some as a record of the time which are slightly out of focus when enlarged, but offer a reasonable thumbnail picture. The # numbers are their entry number in my album.

52. 582 I. Class X2 (Adams). 4-4-0, built around 1890. 7 foot 1 inch driving wheels Up 1.30. 16/4/1927. Card index 1.  The class is similar to the T6 and most engines lasted well into the 1930s up to 1945. This engine withdrawn 1931. Locomotives Illustrated 124 on Adams is useful.

53. GWR 1128 Up 1.45  16/4/1927. Card index 2

54. 587 I. Class X2. 4-4-0, built around 1890.  Up 3.3016/4/1927. Card index 3. See 52 above. This engine withdrawn 1937.

55. 158F Class L11 (Drummond), built 1903, withdrawn 1950. 8 wltdt [wheeled tender] Up 3.59. Card index 4. Built using parts similar to the T9, some had 6 wheel tenders, others a double bogie (8 wheels - the point was evidently worthy of comment.

56. 714H  Class T9  11/5/1927  #2

57. 681 I Class T6  Adams 4-4-0  16/3/1927 Built 1895, withdrawn 1943. Out of focus when enlarged  #5

58.598J Class A12, Down 11.19, Wed 11/5/1927   #1

59.341F Class K10  3.20 Down Salisbury, 6/10/1926   #6

60.647J 7/5/1927 Up 3.30  #43

61. 529J  7/5/1927  Down 3.24#44

62. 430D 18/5/1927 6 wtdr [wheel tender] SF [superheater fitted?] up 2.49  #46

63. 145F  18/5/1927. 6wtdr [6 wheel tender] up 3.31.  #47

64. 392F  4/6/1927  Up 4.03  #55

65.  564J 4/6/1927 Up 5.05  #58

66.  718H as built +398F. Down 4.37   #59

67. 542J, Class A12, 18/5/1927 Down 3.45  #60

68.288H, Class T9, 7/5/1927. Down 2.47 #61

69. 683I Class T6, built 1896, withdrawn 1933.  7/5/1927, up 3.59  #63

70 169F 6/6/1927#65.

71.689C Class 700 (Drummond), built 1897, withdrawn 1962. 7/5/1927 up goods, 4.43   #66

72. 327C  Class 700, built 1897 (Drummond), withdrawn 1961 4/6/1927 up Sals [Salisbury?] 4.12 (early)  #67

73.582I Class T3? 7/5/1927 up 3.56. Looks like a T3 but does not appear on normal T3 number sequences.  #69

74. 255K OB [meaning unknown] Class M7 up 3.50 6/6/1927#70

75. E572  Class T3, built 1893, withdrawn 1931. #73

76.  0467 K (duplicate list) up 5.28 6/6/1927 at "New place" (though still in Redbridge cutting). Might be 46 Class/0415 4-4-2? The (duplicate list) number is not listed for this class.  Or is it 4-4-0?   #75

 77.  E423 Class L12 Special. 4.10  4/6/1927  #85

78.  430 D Class L12. Up 2.45. 4/6/1927   #86

79. 341F   6/10/1926 out of focus when enlarged #6

80.  337H Class T9   8/10/1926 Built 1901, withdrawn 1958  #4

Monday, 17 March 2014


35. The back says: No 776 Sir Galagans. No other detail. A reject perhaps because under exposed.

36. The back says: No. 781 Sir Aglovale. No ther detail. A reject perhaps because of the flash of sun.

37. The back says: 17/1/30  865A Def Maunsell tdr [tender]. Up 3.3. 50.Sec 4.5. 50ft. A bit of soft focus on the smokebox door.

38. The back says: at Lent Swaything with white dog. No date, the surrounding pictures are dated 17/1/30. 565 F.C.R.D. up Sals [Salisbury] Spl [special]

39. 26/5/28. 483A [H15] 8F up Mail 4.27. Dull. Inf. 4.5. 25.[Sec]. At Southampton West (see hut).

40. The back says: 3/3/28.  455A Def [Sir Lancelot] 4.5 11.Sec 40ft

41. The back says: 3/3/28 295I OB  Against light 4.5 250. Sec 40ft. This is better exposed than 42, below but the sun has caused a ray across the cab. Does OB mean obsolete, I wonder? Is this the knackers yard?

42.The back says: 3/3/28 652J OB  Against light 4.5 250. Sec 40ft. This print was grossly underexposed because of the backlight which gave the photographer a false light reading. I have remedied it to some extent.

43. The back says: 446B  + 430D 8[?]F6 wtdr[? - with tender?]. 3/3/28. 4.5 100.Sec Inf.

44. The back says: 0522K, 0471, 24/3/28, 25 Sec. 5.6. Inf.

45. The back says: 25.2.28  0486.K OB(?), 050.K. 4.5, 100ft 50 Sec.

46. 30/6/28   413F.8 [wheeled tender?]. Against the light. Inf 4.5 100.Sec

47. The back says: 3/3/28 464D MS.6.[wheeled tender?] 4.5  100 Sec Inf. A D15.

48. The back reads: 24/3/28, 404E (349). 25[Secs] 4.5. Inf. Is the 349 the engine behind?

49. The back reads: 30/6/28. Taken from the moving train. 737A Def [N15], 511 [S15], 398E.[S11] Inf  4.5  100Sec. This photo has caused me to reassess. 100.Sec has to mean 100th second if it is to make sense with taking a photo from a moving train. So earlier exposures might be intended to be a 25th, 50th and 100th of a sec.
50. 24/3/28 524A KAF [H15]. 25.Sec  4.5.  Inf  667 is behind, more complete on the original but trimmed out here.

51. Good to see a bit of steam. The back says: 464D [a D15] M.3.6.[6 wheeled tender?]. 4.5. 100.Sec  Inf

Sunday, 9 March 2014

20-34. Southampton area 1928-9.

These are for the engine enthusiast rather than the calendar manufacturer. The first two show the process from original print to enhanced photograph. The original prints are 4 by 2 and a half or 4x3. Numbers and other details are written on the back. See in particular pictures 26 and 27 below for details on the back.

20. Southern E742A Camelot. D[own]. 3.45pm Sun 24.11.1929. "F.R., E.L." - unknown meaning.

21. E662I Dn 4.30. Sat. 9.6.1928. I is the power classification of the engine.

 22. GWR 3710 City of Bath. 26.5.1928. Dn 4.19 Special. Dull day.

23. GWR 3834 County of Somerset. Saturday 7.4.1928. Dull. 'Kids' passed away (sic)

24. B447 0.6.0. 2 domes  Btn [Brighton?]10.30. 11.7.1928. Class C2X Second dome: for top feed. Photographic details: Inf[inity] 100[th] Sec.

25. E418D U.S.8 up 10.45 Birk [Birkenhead]. An L12
Note: Photo details: Inf[inity].8  50[th] secs. Notice the clock: it is already 5 minutes late.
Here is the Birkenhead timetable. You will see that the route was Basingstoke, Reading, Oxford joining the Paddington-Birkenhead line further north via Birmingham Snow Hill, Wolverhampton, Wellington and Shrewsbury. The train consists of GWR carriages. The Southern engine would be changed to a GWR halfway. Timetable thanks to Geoff (I cannot see one in Bradshaw)

26. Ex LSWR  E744A Maid of Astolat  Sat 9.6.1928. Down Birkenhead, 4.25. Note the Southampton West (B) sign.

The back of this print: Date at the top. Engine number, 'A' meaning power type (passenger express). 836 has no meaning for me. Dn for Down, plus destination and time of departure. Below are camera settings: set at 100 feet, 5.6 aperture, exposure a fifthieth of a second. A light meter would have been essential.  It is worth saying that CH never saw the prints as I have been able to enhance them.

27. E755A The Red Knight plus 657I (hardly in shot) Down Spl 3.38 Whit Monday 28.5.1928

This is the back of the photo. You will see Dep for Depart, Dn for Down, Spl for Special. At the bottom are camera details: Inf[inity], 5.6 focal length, 100th  second exposure. He needed to know which settings worked best.

28. E452A Sir Meliagrance Depart Down 9.4.1928  Bank Holiday

29. "E487A (785) plus 134F.8 (230) [out of shot]. Down. Bank Holiday  9.4.1928."
The numbers in brackets are a bit of a mystery.

30. E744A Maid of Astolat Depart Down Birkenhead  4.29  26.5.1928

31. "E776A Sir Galagars Dep Down 10.40 (New place)  11.7.1928."
New place, anyone?

32. E524A Dn. 3.58. Very dull. 26.5.1928. Class H15.

33. E782A Sir Brian  Dn Dep  22.2.1928

34. E784A Sir Nerovens   Dn 4.2  Sat 19.10.1929.