Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Henry de Lacy II

If you've been reading this blog since the first post, or have read the relevant posts on my other blog, you will know I have a fondness for Flying Scotsman. Now you may thing that if, as a child, I was going to have a photo of a steam train on my bedroom wall that it would be of Flying Scotsman. You would, however, be wrong. The photo on my bedroom wall was of Henry de Lacy II.

My Dad took the photo, and thanks to my Mum careful labelling each slide, I know that it was shot on the 16th of April 1983 at Middleton Railway; note that the slide is in better condition than this image gives it credit, but as my Dad has borrowed my slide scanner this was scanned using the slide adaptor on my flatbed scanner which doesn't produce particularly good images. I'm not sure why this particular photo should have ended up on my wall but it could actually be the first steam engine I saw in the flesh. Of all the slides of steam engines my parents have recently given me (and which formed part of the inspiration for this blog) it's got the earliest date so there is a good chance this was taken on my first trip to a steam railway.

Henry de Lacy II was built by Hudswell Clarke and Company in 1917 for use at Kirkstall Forge in Leeds where it spent it's entire working life. Apparently it was the second of four locomotives to be named after Baron Henry de Laci of Pontefract, who, in 1152, allowed Cistercian monks to found an abbey adjacent to the site of Kirkstall Forge. Interestingly it is the only locomotive at Middleton Railway to have arrived under it's own power having used the mainline network to travel from the forge to the railway when, in 1968, the forge donated it to the railway.

Henry de Lacy II can still be found at Middleton Railway, although now as a static exhibit in the engine shed -- if you take care to follow the health and safety notices you can even visit it's cab. Looking at the old photo I think it was probably a static exhibit back in 1983 as there is a board placed across the chimney. Either way it's actually looking a lot better now after a new coat of paint.


  1. I'm fascinated by the fact that when I looked at that photo enlarged I got the real feeling of an engine with a personality. Truly. By the way I thought engine's had funnels.

  2. Well that's me up to date....I started at both ends and ended up in the middle. A great blog I'm glad I found it.