41. Samuel Jackson, Locomotive EngineerA notable Davenport resident, with some house, family and and street history
Samuel Jackson, who lived at 260 Bramhall Lane, Davenport from 1928 until his death in 1943, was a significant figure in the history of the World's railways.
Rarely mentioned by local historians, he lived in Stockport all his life, unlike some celebrated 'Stopfordians' whose family moved them away while they were children.
260 Bramhall Lane
The origin of the house at no. 260 (seen above in 2016 before extension) and its neighbours is covered in detail by our Charlestown feature, but a brief summary is appropriate here.
In 1883, or thereabouts, a large house called 'Charlestown Villa' on the corner of Bramhall Lane and Woodsmoor Lane was purchased by Samuel Kay, a chemical manufacturer. In the following years, he bought from the Freeholder's Company, successors to the Davenports, wide strips of land around his house: along both sides of Bramhall Lane. Perhaps he wanted privacy: nothing was built on the land in his time.
Samuel Kay died in 1917; his wife and son lived in the house until they too both died in 1926. The house, and the land divided into parcels, were sold by auction in May 1927, and the house was demolished.
The land on the eastern side of Bramhall Lane - 3,070 square yards, was sold to a Robert Higginbotham, and the houses 248 to 268 (even) Bramhall Lane built in the fashionable style of the 1920s. Robert Higginbotham, who resided nearby at 'Delamere', 48 Frewland Avenue, is recorded as a house furnisher and Funeral Director. He would have contracted out the actual building; the name of the builder has not yet been discovered.
The Beyer Peacock works in Gorton (not to be confused with the nearby works of the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire) , founded by Charles Frederick Beyer, Richard Peacock and Henry Robertson, completed its first locomotive in 1855, and built steam locomotives of all kinds.
Charles Frederick Beyer (an anglicised form of his original German name Carl Friedrich Beyer) was born in Saxony in 1813, the son of a weaver. He studied engineering at Dresden academy. Moving to England in 1834 he found work in Manchester at the Sharp, Roberts works which built cotton mill machinery, and had begun to produce railway locomotives.
Richard Peacock was born in Healaugh, Swaledale, Yorkshire on 9 April 1820, the seventh son of Ralph Peacock, who when Richard was young, was working on the construction of the Leeds and Selby Railway. The family then moved to Leeds where Richard attended the Grammar School, leaving at 14 for an apprenticeship with locomotive builders Fenton, Murray and Jackson. In 1838, aged just 18, Richard was taken on by the Leeds and Selby Railway as their Locomotive Superintendent,
and by 1841 was chief engineer of Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway's locomotive works in Gorton. He resigned in 1854 to join Beyer, with funding from Henry Robertson, to create their own company.
The larger British railway companies had the resources to build locomotives in their own works, leading Beyer Peacock to establish an export trade which flourished until steam began to be ousted by diesel and electric traction.
They built locomotives of all types, but their most famous product was the Beyer Garratt articulated locomotive: see main text.
Some diesel locos, notably the British Rail 'Hymek' were constructed in later years, but they were not enough to save the company, which finally closed down in 1966.
The final loco to be built at the Beyer Peacock works, although not to a Beyer Peacock design, was British Railways diesel no. D7659. when discarded by BR in 1986 it was saved from the scrap merchant by music producer Peter Waterman. After a period out of use, it returned to working order in 2021, based at 'Peak Rail' in Derbyshire.
A number of Beyer Peacock locos have been preserved and can be seen at heritage railways around the UK, although few have survived from Samuel Jackson's days at the company.
However, his legacy can be seen to great effect on the Welsh Highland Railway between Porthmadog and Caernarfon. The railway has imported from South Africa a number of Garratts, built in the 1950s, which are the maintay of their fleet.
Samuel Jackson, Engineer
The youngest son of the Jackson family, Samuel Jackson was destined for a different career very different from the family trade of barrel-making. He must have shown some aptitude in mechanical matters, and attended classes at Stockport Technical School, which had opened in 1889 on a site in Greek Street, the nucleus of the present-day Stockport College. In 1896 he was enrolled as a premium apprentice by the London & North Western Railway at Crewe Works, under the control of the famous F. W. Webb. (The term 'premium apprentice' means that the family were required to pay for his training.)
Competing his Crewe apprenticeship in 1900, Samuel returned to Stockport, and by 1901 was living, described as a mechanical engineer, at 21 Florist Street with his mother Susan, his sister Susan who was working as a confectioner, and sister Bertha, a student. He spent three years as a pupil in Beyer Peacock's works at Gorton, east Manchester, involving a few months in each department. He completed his pupilage in the drawing office in 1903, thus serving a seven-year apprenticeship. Unusually for the time, he was then immediately employed by the company as a draughtsman.
In 1913 Samuel was promoted to Assistant Works Manager, then Works Manager from 1918 to 1924, then Chief Designer and Works Manager from 1925. He died in 1943; at the time, the company were about to invite him to join the Board of Directors, Other sources say he was made a company director in 1942, which would make him a rare example of someone staying with one company from apprentice to director.
The first-ever Beyer-Garratt locomotive, Built 1909. On display at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, 2009. Designed by H.W. Garratt and Samuel Jackson.
It was in 1907 that the Beyer Peacock firm was approached by H.W. Garratt, who had patented an idea for an articulated locomotive that could cope with sharp curves in the track. Young Samuel was given the task of converting the idea into an actual locomotive. It has been said that Jackson rather than Garratt, was the true father of the many Beyer-Garratt locomotives which were built in the following years. Garratt died in 1913.
The very first to emerge, for a railway in Tasmania, still exists, having been brought back by the company. It occasionally runs on the Welsh Highland Railway, where larger and more modern narrow-gauge Beyer-Garratts imported from South Africa work most trains. It is said that the system of articulation was inspired by the Fairlie locomotives used on the Ffestiniog Railway.
South African Railways Beyer-Garratt no.2352, built at Gorton in 1929.
In later years some very large Beyer-Garratts were produced, effectively two locomotives back to back, fed by one boiler and driven by a single driver. The first really large Beyer-Garratt engine with Samuel involved in the design was for the Nitrate Railway of Chile in 1926; it was of the 2-8-2+2-8-2 type, weighing 187 tons, with a grate area of 69 sq. ft., and was intended for work on grades of 1 in 25.
The example above, a 3ft 6in gauge machine, can be seen in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, posed on a length of curved track to see how it articulates (although this part of the museum is closed for restoration at the time of writing).
The Jackson Family
Samuel Jackson was born on 30 December 1879 at 29 Nelson
Street in the Portwood area of Stockport. His father,
born in Stockport in 1843, was John Jackson, a cooper -
maker of wooden barrels - by trade, and his mother
Susan was born in nearby Ashton-under-Lyne in