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Robert John Billinton

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1901.
1903. Radial Tank Engine, London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Robert John Billinton (1844-1904) Locomotive, Carriage and Wagon Superintendent of the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway from 1890 until his death in 1904.

1845 April 5th. Born in Westgate, Wakefield,the son of William Billinton, a civil engineer, and his wife Jane

1859 Apprenticed to William Fairbairn and Sons of Manchester in 1859.

1863 Moved to Simpson and Co, engineers of Pimlico London.

1870 Appointed assistant to William Stroudley at the Brighton Works of the LB&SCR.

1874 Became the assistant of Samuel Waite Johnson of the Midland Railway, at Derby.

1877 Married at Derby to Alice Hanson Butzkoppski

1889 Following Stroudley's death in December 1889, Billinton was appointed as his successor on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

1904 Died after a lingering illness at the age of 60.

Billinton was responsible for the design of a number of successful locomotive classes at Brighton including the D (later D3) class 0-4-4T, the C2 class 0-6-0, the B4 4-4-0, and four classes of radial tank engines E3, E4, E5 and E6. Many of his locomotives were rebuilt with larger boilers by his successor D. E. Marsh.

His son, Lawson Butzkopfski Billinton was also Locomotive engineer to the LB&SCR from 1912 until his retirement in 1922


1905 Obituary [1]

ROBERT JOHN BILLINTON, Locomotive, Carriage, and Marine Engineer to the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, died at Brighton on the 7th November, 1904, in his sixtieth year.

Born at Wakefield on the 5th April, 1845, he served a pupilage to Messrs. Sir W. Fairbairn and Sons, Manchester, and to Messrs. Simpson and Company of Pimlico, and subsequently acted as Assistant Manager to Messrs. Walker and Eaton of Sheffield.

In 187O he was appointed assistant to the late Mr. W. Stroudley, then locomotive superintendent of the Brighton Railway, with whom he remained until 1874, in charge of the design and construction of locomotives and rolling-stock, when he transferred his services in a similar capacity to Mr. S. W. Johnson, locomotive superintendent of the Midland Railway at Derby.

He occupied this post until 1890, when, on the death of his former chief, he succeeded to Mr. Stroudley’s appointment on the Brighton Railway, a position which he retained until his death. The powerful bogie express engines and bogies carriages now running on that line were introduced during his tenure of office.

Mr. Billinton was a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Iron and Steel Institute, and the Institution of Naval Architects.

He was elected a Member of this Institution on the 10th January, 1899.


1905 Obituary [2]

ROBERT JOHN BILLINGTON was born at Wakefield on 5th April 1845.

He served part of his apprenticeship with Sir W. Fairbairn and Sons, of Manchester, from 1859 to 1863, and the remainder with Messrs. Simpson and Co., of Pimlico, and Mr. S. Witham, Calderdale Iron Works, Wakefield, up to 1865; after which he went to Mr. Roland Child, mining and civil engineer, of Wakefield, with whom he remained till June 1866.

He then became assistant manager to Messrs. Walker and Eaton, of Sheffield, and was there engaged in designing and erecting locomotives and general machinery.

In 1870 he was appointed assistant to the late Mr. W. Stroudley, who was then locomotive superintendent of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway, under whom he took charge of the design and construction of locomotives and rolling stock for that line.

In 1874 he obtained an appointment as assistant to Mr. S. W. Johnson, locomotive superintendent of the Midland Railway at Derby.

This post he occupied until 1890, when, on the death of Mr. Stroudley, he was appointed locomotive, carriage, and marine superintendent of the London Brighton and South Coast Railway. During his term of office he introduced the powerful bogie express engines and also the bogie carriages running on that line.

His death took place at his residence in Brighton, on 7th November 1904, in his sixtieth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1888; he was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Iron and Steel Institute, and the Institution of Naval Architects.


1904 Obituary [3]

ROBERT JOHN BILLINTON died at his residence, Lea Hurst, Withdean, Brighton, on November 7, 1904, aged sixty years. He was a native of Wakefield, and commenced his engineering career at the works of Sir William Fairbairn, Manchester, and was later at the London office of the late Mr. James Simpson. In 1871, after leaving the Yorkshire Railway works, he took charge of the drawing office of the London, Brighton, & South Coast Railway Co., and after four years' service left to become chief draughtsman to the Midland Railway Co. at Derby. In 1889 he returned to the Brighton Company as locomotive, carriage, wagon, and marine engineer. He was exceedingly popular, both with his directors and with his staff, his genial disposition rendering his relations with those with whom he came in contact most agreeable.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1893.


1904 Obituary [4]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1905 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  2. 1905 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  3. 1904 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries
  4. The Engineer 1904/11/11 p478

[1] Wikipedia