Loading the boiler for Portsmouth, September 1905.


I obtained this picture on Ebay. The original is very faded. It's a rare image, but this copy is particularly valuable for the information on the back.

Thanks to Oliver Carey (see below) we know that this picture was taken in September 1905. The building in the background is the goods shed at Chipping Norton Railway Station. A boiler has been loaded onto a Lowmac wagon. Surprisingly, Chipping Norton did not acquire a yard crane till 1950 so the assistance of the Permanent Way gang has been called in. They have used their timber baulks and jacks (kept to re-rail derailed trains) to "jack and pack" the boiler with "not much trouble".

1. This appears (I stand to be corrected) a "Scotch" boiler, a type often used on ships. It's not a Lancashire boiler (it has tubes as well as the two flues).

2. Why is it being loaded in Chipping Norton? I believe Rowells and the Hub Ironworks did boiler work, but why would these small businesses be used by a customer in Portsmouth who, at the height of the steamship era, could turn to a local supplier?

3. Is that Oliver Carey standing in front of the boiler?

Please email me if you have any further information or theories about this picture.

Here's the reverse of the photo. It reads:

"Dear Hilda,

Heres a photo of the boiler after it was loaded. It was not much trouble to get it on the truck. It will cost nearly £32 to take it to Portsmouth. It left here by a special train Sep 13th The G.W.R. Have only got about 12 trucks of this kind & this truck is made to carry 35 Tons the truck weighing 2T 16 cwt. I will write you a letter in a day or so.

Yours ever Oliver"

Oliver was 14 years old, the son of William Carey of Over Norton, a GWR ganger. He was writing to his sister Hilda, aged 13. He died in Chipping Norton in 1953 at the age of 63.