A little known and lesser-spotted member of the M Shed Collection is Fox, Walker and Company 0-6-0ST Locomotive Number 242.
Built in 1874, it is the oldest of the three steam locomotives, being 43 years older than ‘Portbury’ (and 63 years older than ‘Henbury’!) and enables the museum to represent all the major engine builders in the Bristol area.
Fox, Walker and Company was taken over by Thomas Peckett in 1880 and became Peckett and Sons, the builders of ‘Henbury’ and her sisters.
242 was the first locomotive to arrive in the museum’s collection. It was donated by the National Coal Board in 1962, having previously worked at Mountain Ash Colliery in Wales, where it was No.3.
Prior to the preserved BHR opening in 1978, she, along with ‘Henbury’ and ‘Portbury’, was to be found at Radstock Station. This was the hub of the initiative to re-open a section of the famous S and D route, spearheaded by the Somerset and Dorset Railway Trust. As previously mentioned, the SDRT moved to Washford station on the WSR in 1976.
Geoff Cryer took these pictures of 242 in the shed at Radstock in September 1975.
When the Radstock project was disbanded, Number 242 went to Bitton (on what is now the Avon Valley Railway) between 1977 and 1986, when she returned to Bristol and was stored in L Shed.
As preparations were made for Bristol Industrial Museum’s conversion into M Shed Museum, the locomotive was made ready to move to another secure location.
Larry the Loader tows 242 out of the workshop.
Photo courtesy Rob Skuse
As for the future, at nearly 140 years old, there are no current plans to return 242 to steam. Her current storage space may be repurposed due to planned development, so a move might be on the cards. Watch this space…