Biography and details of my late friend Laurie.

Laurie was born in Leeds in 1922. At some time before WW2 the family i.e. Laurie and his parents moved to Bristol where they ran a newsagents shop. After wartime service in the RAF , Laurie came back to Bristol and started to build O Gauge locomotives for his railway. It was in Bristol that he became a friend of the late Guy Williams and a frequenter of the famous Steve Ryan's Model shop. In the 50's the family moved to Burnham on Sea to run a toy shop with the family living in the upstairs flat. As time went on , Laurie's parents died and he was encouraged by some O gaugers from Plymouth to take up loco building professionally. This he did and in the course of the years built over 200 hand made models. Laurie used nickel silver for the bodies, sixteenth brass for the frames, cast iron wheels and large powerful motors. By today's standards it could be said that the models are basic but mechanically they are superior to many of the modern offerings.

Here is Laurie as a youngster playing with his Hornby trains in the street. Even as a small boy he has added a buffer beam to the engine "to make it more realistic".

 

Laurie is 2nd from right with his arms folded and with glasses. I believe the railway was in Bath.

Laurie built quite a few engines for himself in the early 50's. The Duchess of Athol is one. Laurie told me it was very powerful being 6lbs in weight and would pull all his stock in one train.

This view shows some of his other engines running on the railway at Burnham. It ran all round the upstairs in a looped figure of eight. All the engines in the picture Laurie made himself.

 Laurie also built engines for other people. The North British Atlantic was clockwork and he built it for railway author O.S. Nock.

Sometime within the last few years I have seen some correspondence in the Railway Modeller regarding this locomotive. Apparently, it is still going strong. A tribute to Laurie's worksmanship.

The above pictures show the "College Street Loco Works" where I spent many hours. The lathe , milling machine and vertical drill I now own and still use for loco building. On the shelf in the one picture is a tank locomotive. Probably a South Wales type of which Laurie built many for a customer in Plymouth. I hope you have enjoyed reading about my much missed friend. To see further pictures of his work please click on Gallery 2.