Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,160 pages of information and 245,627 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Beyer, Peacock and Co

From Graces Guide
1866. Early engine for underground in London. Exhibit at London Transport Museum.
1866. Shannon.
1867. Passenger for the Madras loco, Gorton foundry, Manchester.
1886. Tank Locomotive for the Mersey Tunnel Railway.
1877 Beyer, Peacock wheel lathe stored at Mainland Steam Trust, Parnell, New Zealand
1885 Beyer, Peacock steam tram locomotive to Wilkinsons Patent, at Crich Tramway Museum
Nameplate of 1885 tram loco at Crich Tramway Museum
Two Beyer, Peacock electrically-driven lathes at Vickers, Sons and Maxim. The right hand machine is being used to wire-wind a gun barrel


1903. Planing machine.
1903. Plate edge planer.
1903. Back view of planer.


Electrically Driven Wheel Lathe. 1906.


40 Horse-Power Steam Lorry. 1906.


Engine Steam Lorry. 1906.


1909. Compound passenger engine for the Argentine railway.
1909. Universal Lapping and Grinder Machine.
1920s. Apprentices at Gorton Tank.
1927. Central Argentine Railway, eight coupled cross compound Locomotive.
1928. Hole and expansion link grinding machines.
1929. Natal state railways - Garratt engine.
February 1929.
May 1929.
December 1929.
1930s. Gorton Tank Pattern Shop.
August 1933.
1937. Garratt 4-6-2 and 2-6-4 High Speed Passenger Locomotive.
1948. Consolidation. Locomotive for South America.
January 1953.
2017. Beyer, Peacock locomotive found in "Young" in the Rio Negro Department of Uruguay.
2017. Beyer, Peacock locomotive found in "Young" in the Rio Negro Department of Uruguay.
2017. Beyer, Peacock locomotive found in "Young" in the Rio Negro Department of Uruguay.
2017. Beyer, Peacock locomotive found in "Young" in the Rio Negro Department of Uruguay.

Beyer, Peacock and Company of Gorton, Manchester, was a manufacturer of railway locomotives and machine tools.

1854 Founded by Charles Beyer and Richard Peacock and Mr Robertson [1]. Beyer had been the manager of Sharp Brothers. Peacock had been apprenticed at Fenton, Murray and Jackson and then worked for several railway companies.

1855 First locomotive produced for the Great Western Railway.

1862 The company's exhibits at the 1862 International Exhibition in London included a railway wheel lathe and a locomotive frame drilling machine [2]

Important designs were the Beyer-Garratt articulated locomotives widely used in Africa (and Australia) and the 4-4-0 tank locomotives used on the London Underground from 1864 until electrification in 1905. This design then evolved into a 2-4-0 for Norway and finally the famous Manx Peacock design for the Isle of Man Railway.

The first Garratt locomotive constructed was TGR K Class for the Tasmanian Government Railways on the western Tasmanian North East Dundas Tramway.

1866 Details of a strike at the Gorton Foundry. [3]

High resolution photograph of 1877 wheel-turning lathe in Petone Workshops, NZ, here. See also here which shows the lathe being used to machine a crankpin on a locomotive axle.

1881 The first of more than 200 tram engines were delivered between 1881 and 1910, presumably under the patent of William Wilkinson (1838-1906). An 1885 example has been preserved at the Crich Tramway Museum (see photo).

1883 The surviving partners formed the partnership into a limited company[4].

1887 Produced a rack driven locomotive for Venezuela.

1889 Large screw-cutting gun barrel lathe. [5]. The lathe, and several other machines, were described and illustrated in the American Machinist [6]

1899 Had their own steel foundry.

1900 Produced six engines for the Midland and South Western Junction Railway. [7]

1902 The company became public. The company was registered on 3 May, to take over the business of locomotive builders and general engineers. [8]

1903 "An order has recently been placed by the Japanese Government for twenty four tank locomotives with Messrs. Beyer, Peacock and Co., of Gorton, Manchester, after keen competition. Germany, it appears, has secured an order for eight only from the same Government, which clearly indicates that in spite of the reproach brought against English makers they are still to the front."[9]

1907 Produced their 5,000th locomotive with 1,600 of these for the home market.

1914 Locomotive builders, tool manufacturers, steel founders. Employees 2,300. [10]

1923 They removed their London office from 15, Dean's-yard, to Abbey House (Rooms 338-340), Westminster, SW.[11]

1926 The directors' report of Beyer, Peacock and Co., Ltd furnished a pleasing example of of revival in the fortunes of a firm which for some time had suffered from the prevailing slump in the engineering industry. The accounts showed a trading profit for the year of £36,423, which was reduced to a net profit of £9547 by the deduction of £7787 for interest on the debenture stock and £16,242 placed to the depreciation reserve. This result compared most favorably with the two preceding years. In 1924, for instance, there was a net loss of £42.508, while in 1923 the net loss was even more, actually £87,000. [12]

1926 Robert H. Whitelegg was the general manager.

1927 The works occupied 23 acres and employed 3,000 persons.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1932 Purchased Richard Garrett and Sons , truck producer. The Leiston works were renamed the Richard Garrett Engineering Works, Ltd., and continued making some of the Garrett products.

1949 Formed joint venture company Metropolitan-Vickers-Beyer-Peacock with Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co Ltd[13] to design, manufacture and assemble railway locomotives other than steam (this concentrated on electric and diesel electric locomotives). New factory at Stockton-on-Tees.

1957 Acquired Anti-Attrition Metal Co.

1958 In order to cover the range of potential rail motive power technologies, formed joint venture with Armstrong Siddeley Development Co Ltd, part of Hawker Siddeley, to manufacture diesel hydraulic locomotives; this was called Beyer Peacock (Hymek) Ltd[14].

1958 Acquired Air Control Installations.

1960 The Stockton factory would close because of insufficient orders[15]

1961 In view of declining rail production, Beyer Peacock reorganised its affairs, making space at Gorton for manufacturing of all types of railway locomotives; Metropolitan-Vickers-Beyer-Peacock was placed into liquidation[16].

1962 The switch in production at Gorton, from steam to diesel locomotives had been completed, leaving space for other activities. The first of 101 diesel locomotives for British Railways gad been delivered early. Space Decks activity at Denings was increasing[17]

1963 British Railways was focussing on certain locomotive designs so the expected increase in orders was not going to happen. Other opportunities were being investigated [18]. A licence had been obtained to manufacture Westinghouse heavy duty fans which would use the facilities left vacant by the end of locomotive production[19]

1966 Production at Gorton, Ruislip and Deal would cease; Chard and Leiston were profitable and would continue.[20].

1967 The company had returned to profit; activities continued at Chard and Leiston[21]

1976 Beyer Peacock and Co, Ltd, Chard was allowed to declare a dividend[22]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 28 April 1902
  2. [1] The Exhibited Machinery of 1862: a Cyclopaedia of the Machinery Exhibited at the International Exhibition, by D. K. Clark, pp.146-147
  3. The Engineer of 4th May 1866 p317
  4. The Times, 28 April 1902
  5. The Engineer of 3rd May 1889 p383
  6. [2] American Machinist 31 Aug 1899
  7. The Engineer of 23rd February 1900. p195
  8. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  9. The Engineer 1903/01/30 p 130.
  10. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  11. The Engineer 1923/05/18
  12. The Engineer 1926/04/16
  13. The Times, 3 May 1950
  14. The Times, 21 May 1958
  15. The Times Dec. 6, 1960
  16. The Times, 18 May 1961
  17. The Times May 24, 1962
  18. The Times May 23, 1963
  19. The Times May 23, 1963
  20. The Times June 29, 1966
  21. The Times June 16, 1967
  22. The Belfast Gazette 27 August 1976
  • Wikipedia
  • British Lorries 1900-1992 by S. W. Stevens-Stratten. Pub. Ian Allen Publishing
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816