What's in a name.....
E.B.Wilson was associated with the Railway Foundry of Leeds. This had been established in 1838 by John Shepherd and Charles Todd, the latter moving on in 1844 when he was replaced by Edward B. Wilson, son of a well-known Hull shipping family. Wilson left abruptly after only a year and the firm was taken over by James Fenton Jnr. It traded as Fenton, Craven & Co. but only briefly, for Wilson returned as owner of the company at the end of 1846 with Fenton as his works manager and David Joy as leading draughtsman, the firm now trading as E. B. Wilson & Co.
Wilson was adept at 'inter-personal communication' and was able to obtain several profitable contracts, in particular with the newly formed Great Northern Railway. The Midland Railway and the LBSCR were also good customers at this time. Several factors helped Wilson: firstly, he had built a brand-new erecting shop and installed the latest machinery and methods — the building was opened with a banquet for 200 guests in December 1847. Secondly, new designs were developed, in particular the 'Jenny Lind' type 2-2-2, which were successful in service and resulted in repeat orders from existing customers and the interest of new buyers.
It occurred to Wilson that many of the differences required by customers were idiosyncratic and both costly to undertake and pointless in practice. He thus began a policy of supplying only standard types where he could and charging a considerable premium per engine for deviations. This also led to a policy of building locomotives for stock to smooth out the peaks and troughs of the business.
Trouble with leading shareholders caused Edward Wilson to leave the Railway Foundry in 1856 and Alexander Campbell (later a founder of Manning, Wardle & Co.) was appointed manager but the bitter feuding between the leading shareholders continued and the result was high court action and the winding up of the company in 1858, even though that year's production created a clear profit of £12,000. Some of the Wilson designs continued to be built by the newcomer Manning, Wardle & Co. in the neighbouring Boyne Engine Works but many Wilson locomotives had extremely long lives which confirms the rightness of much of the work, and its quality, at the original Railway Foundry.
Manning Wardle & Co was established at the Boyne Engine Works, Leeds in 1858 by Alexander Campbell and C.W. Wardle. Alexander Campbell had been Works Manager of the locomotive building department of Scott Sinclair & Co of Greenock and had come south in 1856 to manage the affairs of E.B. Wilson & Co at the Railway Foundry on the death of Mr Wilson, and when the firm closed down he set about establishing his own works with the financial assistance of Wardle — a local vicar. More capital being required, John Manning became a partner. Drawings and patterns from E.B. Wilson & Co. were obtained and the earlier locomotives of Manning Wardle & Co. bore the characteristics of Wilson's designs.
Manning Wardle & Co. concentrated on building contractors and industrial tank locomotives and built up an excellent reputation in this field. In proportion very few tender locomotives were built after the 1870s.
Their first locomotive was a small 3 ft gauge 0-4-0ST for Dunston & Barlow Ltd., Sheepbridge followed by two 5' 6" gauge 2-4-0WTs for the Royal Portuguese Railway, all in 1859 and in the same year two 0-6-0Ts were built and two outside cylinder 0-4-0s for the Earl of Dudley. In 1860 they built their only examples of 2-2-2 passenger locomotives: four for the New South Wales Government Railway; and two 4-4-0s were built for the same railway in 1862.
Many contractors both in the UK and abroad were furnished with 0-4-0STs and 0-6-0STs: these types dominated during the firm's existence: the former with outside cylinders and the latter with inside cylinders. Standard classes were established for both main types. These locomotives had straight-sided saddle tanks and were equipped with a water feed pump and one injector. A high crown round top firebox was generally used in which the steam collector was fitted. The safety valve cover was usually elongated to clear the cab of steam. Wooden brake blocks were fitted The wheels had crank pin bosses cast on opposite sides, the unused one acting as a crude balance weight. In the case of the six-coupled tanks compensating beams linked the leading and driving springs with the intention of making the locomotives ride better over uneven tracks. This was an advantage at low speed but at higher speeds the locomotives were very unstable with yawing and pitching. The compensating beams were omitted later.
By the end of 1880, 311 0-4-0STs and 298 0-6-0Ts had been built out of a total of 760 locomotives built.
Non-standard types built during this period included nine 4-4-0STs with outside cylinders for the Buenos Ayres Western Railway in 1869-70. Three small 0-4-0Ts were built with the Fell system for the Leopoldina Railway of Brazil. A six-coupled tender locomotive was built in 1873 for the 2ft 6in gauge Pentewan Railway in Cornwall. Lowe called the appearance of the locomotive as "bizarre".
A four-coupled crane tank was built in 1875 for the Kirkstall Forge Co., the crane parts being supplied by Jos. Booth & Bros. Rodley.
Manning Wardle were the pioneers of the dummy type tram locomotive, where the engine was independent of the passenger cars. In 1866 two 0-4-0STs, surrounded with bodywork were built for the 4 ft gauge Pernambuco Tramway Co. in Brazil; a total of eight had been built by 1870. The exhaust steam was passed back into the saddle tank. In 1870 three tramway units were built for the Buenos Ayres .tramways. At each end of the locomotive an articulated coach was attached. When tram locomotives became popular in the 1880s the company supplied very few compared with other builders. Ten were supplied to the North Staffordshire tramways from 1880 to 1882. Three were supplied to the standard gauge lines of the Manchester, Bury, Rochdale and Oldham Steam Tramway Co. in 1883: standard practice was not followed in the last eleven tram locomotives as they were all fitted with inside cylinders.
In 1882 two 0-4-0STs were built for the Secretary of State for War and were used during Major General Gordon's Sudan expedition. These were claimed to be the first armoured locomotives put into service.
In 1886 a second 0-6-0 named Trewithen was supplied to the Pentewan Railway.. During 1891/2 one 2-6-2T and one 2-6-4T were built for the metre gauge Malta Railway. They both had outside cylinders. Three 1ft 11½in gauge 2-6-2Ts were built in 1897 for the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway: Yeo, Exe and Taw.
By 1900 over 1500 locomotives had been built; the demand for these small tank locomotives did not seem to decrease.
In 1906 Manning Wardle supplied steam rail motors (railcars): six 0-2-2 units were built for the Taff Vale Railway. Four similar units were supplied to the Great Northern Railway of Ireland in 1907 and finally two for the Dublin, Wicklow & Wexford Railway.
Seven large 0-6-2Ts were supplied to the Taft Vale Railway in 1907. Additional crane tanks were built in 1913 and 1915, also 2-4-0Ts for South America and Calcutta, a 2-6-0T for the Knott End & Garstang Railway, 4-4-2T for New Zealand, two 0-6-2Ts for Iquique and four 0-4-2Ts for the Great North of Scotland Railway in 1914/15.
During WW1 locomotive production was reduced to supplying steelworks, collieries, etc. with locomotives, although quite a number were sent abroad to Spain, New Zealand, Australia, India and S. America. Ten Ministry of Munitions 0-6-0STs with outside cylinders were supplied to the Inland Waterways and Docks department.
Following WW1 Manning Wardle suffered from the trade depression. Although their locomotive design had kept abreast of the times, their manufacturing methods did not. Consequently, the competition for contracts, with keen prices and deliveries required, brought the firm to a halt. In 1927 the firm went into voluntary liquidation. The goodwill of the company was bought by Kitson & Co., a near neighbour; and the Hunslet Engine Co., its friendly rival, acquired part of the Boyne Engine Works.
It was an unfortunate end to a firm, which had earned a reputation for excellent locomotives, which could be found in all quarters of the globe.
The last works number was 2047 of 1926. Some numbers were blanks, others taken by petrol engines, and air engines so that the number of steam locomotives built from 1859 to 1926 was 2004.