The Great Western Railway started the Manor class with a batch of just 20 locomotives built in 1938. The intention was to create a lightweight engine capable of operating on 'blue routes', yet possessing the stability of a 4-6-0 wheel arrangement which would be able to replace Churchward's successful yet by this time ageing 43XX class. Much of the weight saving was achieved by the use of a new boiler, smaller than those in use on other GWR 4-6-0 locos which became designated Standard No 14. Much of the rest of the locomotive shared common parts with the Granges.
A further batch of 20 was ordered by the GWR in 1939, but WWII intervened at this point and the order was cancelled. It wasn't until 1950 that more were finally built. By this time of course the order was placed by the recently formed British Railways, and it had been scaled back to just 10 examples. 7820, Dinmore Manor was the first of this second batch.
The class is mostly associated these days with the Cambrian line however they were also to be found in many places within the GWR network, including on Newcastle to Swansea services with a Manor taking over at Banbury. These services ran through Stow-On-The Wold and Cheltenham. Both Gloucester and Cheltenham had an allocation of Manors.
The later batch of engines were built at a cost of £8,189 each. I expect that the DMLL wish that her current rebuild had come in at that price. The price did not include the tender as Manors weren't provided with new ones, but received tenders liberated from withdrawn locomotives instead. During her 15 years of BR service, she was attached to seven different tenders, the first being number 1750 of 1907, originally built for 2926, Saint Nicholas. Other tenders that she was paired with during her BR life, included ones originally built for; 3802 County Clare, 4119 Primrose & 4016 Knight of the Golden Fleece.
Manors were the last GWR 4-6-0 class to remain intact, the first withdrawal wasn't until April 1963, with the last two surviving until December 1965. Dinmore Manor survived in traffic until November 1965. A quirk of fate saw a large proportion of the class sent to the legendary Barry Island Scrapyard and as a consequence, 9 examples, nearly a third of the class, still remain today. All bar 7808, Cookham Manor were saved via Barry Island Scrapyard. As a testament to the usefulness of these engines, all 9 have been restored and seen at least one boiler ticket in preservation.
In BR use, Dinmore Manor's shed allocations were extremely diverse, commencing with Oswestry, she also spent time at Aberystwyth, Chester, Laira, Truro, St Blazey, Canton, Cardiff East Dock, Oxley & finally Shrewsbury. She spent a third of her working life at Plymouth Laira (83D), from December 1954 until September 1959. To mark this fact, she will soon be fitted with an 83D shed plate.
What of the building that Dinmore Manor Was named after? Situated 8 miles north of Hereford, it dates from 1189 and is now the private residence of Martin Dawes the mobile phone tycoon. Situated at an elevation of 500', it commands views of the Malvern hills. The associated land around the manor is used as a horse stud farm. The grounds also incorporate a 1200 year old yew tree. Needless to say, one of the original nameplates is on display in the house.
|7820 at Minehead on the West Somerset Railway|
|7820 on the West Somerset Railway|
|On the turntable at Tyseley|
|Mechanical help required|
|Off her driving wheels|
|Inside the frames|
|Boiler work in progress|
|New throat plate|
|Work progresses on the boiler|
|New tube plate|
|Out of frames steam test|
|DMLL volunteers and their boiler|
|Brake rigging assembly|
|If you can assemble flat pack furniture, then putting this lot together should be no problem|
|Boiler in frames|
|Ready to leave for Toddington|
|Dinmore Manor 1 : 0 Low-Loader|
|Arriving at Toddington. Photo courtesy of Dan Wigg|
|7820 brought the sunshine with her|
|The blower and ejector pipes still need fitting|
|Mike getting to work on the blower pipe work|
More sources of information on Dinmore Manor and her sister DMLL locomotives have been available for some time now amongst the plethora of links in the right hand margin of this blog, however should you have failed to find them so far, here they are again:
Dinmore Manor Locomotive LTD on facebook
Dinmore Manor Locomotive LTD on flickr
Dinmore Manor Official website