England, George

England, George
b. 1811 or 1812 Newcastle upon Tyne, England
d. 4 March 1878 Cannes, France
English locomotive builder who built the first locomotives for the narrow-gauge Festiniog Railway.
England trained with John Penn \& Sons, marine engine and boilermakers, and set up his own business at Hatcham Iron Works, South London, in about 1840. This was initially a general engineering business and made traversing screw jacks, which England had patented, but by 1850 it was building locomotives. One of these, Little England, a 2–2– 2T light locomotive owing much to the ideas of W.Bridges Adams, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and England then prospered, supplying many railways at home and abroad with small locomotives. In 1863 he built two exceptionally small 0–4–0 tank locomotives for the Festiniog Railway, which enabled the latter's Manager and Engineer C.E. Spooner to introduce steam traction on this line with its gauge of just under 2 ft (60 cm). England's works had a reputation for good workmanship, suggesting he inspired loyalty among his employees, yet he also displayed increasingly tyrannical behaviour towards them: the culmination was a disastrous strike in 1865 that resulted in the loss of a substantial order from the South Eastern Railway. From 1866 George England became associated with development of locomotives to the patent of Robert Fairlie, but in 1869 he retired due to ill health and leased his works to a partnership of his son (also called George England), Robert Fairlie and J.S.Fraser under the title of the Fairlie Engine \& Steam Carriage Company. However, George England junior died within a few months, locomotive production ceased in 1870 and the works was sold off two years later.
1839, British patent no. 8,058 (traversing screw jack).
Further Reading
Aspects of England's life and work are described in: C.H.Dickson, 1961, "Locomotive builders of the past", Stephenson Locomotive Society Journal, p. 138.
A.R.Bennett, 1907, "Locomotive building in London", Railway Magazine, p. 382.
R.Weaver, 1983, "English Ponies", Festiniog Railway Magazine (spring) : 18.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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