For enthusiasts, researchers and modellers of the Great Eastern Railway

The Buckle Drawings Collection

This schedule lists the high resolution scans of drawings of locomotives of the GER and its constituent companies drawn by Herbert Thornton Buckle to illustrate A C W Lowe’s two series of seminal articles published in the 'Locomotive Magazine', 1901–1913 and 1937–1939.

The first series was entitled 'The Locomotives of the GER', and covered all locomotives built for the GER and its constituent railways up to 1913. The second series, 'Early Eastern Counties Railway Locomotives', was a revised and enlarged account of the ECR locomotives covered in the original articles. They included some 321 side elevation locomotive line drawings.

Buckle started work for the GER and in 1891 became a draughtsman at the Brighton Works of the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway. Lowe was employed in the Locomotive Department of the GER and thus had access to official drawings and records.

Buckle’s drawings were prepared in ink on heavy-gauge cartridge paper, and drawn at a scale of 3/8 inch to one foot. He and Lowe strove for the highest standards of historical accuracy, as is borne out by the number of drawings that bear pencil annotations cross-referencing notes, sketches and correspondence, as well as photographs – many of which sadly no longer exist. Amending the drawings was only possible to a limited extent, and several had to be re-drawn from scratch when new evidence came to light before, and even after publication.

Existence of the originals for some of the drawings came to light in the early 1980s when the late W O Skeat, then vice-President of the GER Society presented 97 of them to the Society’s collection. He had formerly served as Secretary of the Stephenson Locomotive Society, and meetings were often held at his home. In the mid-1950s one of the members brought along a pile of these drawings, and invited those present to take any that interested them. How this member had come by them Mr Skeat could not remember, but those remaining at the end of the evening had been left behind for him to dispose of as he saw fit.

The acquisition of these drawings by the GERS prompted enquiries to find further examples, and it was quickly discovered that the National Railway Museum had a further 114 of them. Thus, it was arranged to exchange photocopies of the originals held by both parties. A little later it was discovered that the well-known locomotive historian Laurie Ward had a further 25 drawings, and these were later bequeathed to the GERS, bringing the total of known drawings to 236. Since that time, no further drawings have come to light.

Scope and content of Collection

Over the two series of articles, some 321 illustrations were published, although eight of these were detail drawings and photographs. Checking the original drawings against copies of the 'Locomotive Magazine' showed that, of the 236 originals, only 190 were published. The remaining 46 fell into the following

Drawings showing detail differences between locomotives that were not published, probably due to lack of space.

Drawings that were inaccurate, and replaced by new drawings.

Drawings prepared for purposes other than the 'Locomotive Magazine'. Some incorporate borders, annotations and so on, while others are drawn to a smaller scale of ¼-inch to one foot.

Four drawings in the NRM series are of locomotives from railway companies other than the GER and its constituents.


Technical aspects

Original drawings are scanned in colour (RGB) and converted to CMYK.

Original drawings were scanned at full size and are therefore large files.

All scans included an Imperial/Metric scale bar.

Explanation of the Schedule headings

Columns from left to right:

Figure - Original published Figure number or those with a suffix letter, the Figure it relates to

File number - Drawings identified as either GERS or NRM originals, followed by the file number of the drawing scan.

Catalogue number - Of the original drawing in the GERS and NRM collections.

Figure/Date/Page - Figure number in the 'Locomotive Magazine'; date of publication; page number

Locomotive number/Railway - Running number of the locomotive depicted; railway company that it was built for

Class/Date - Either name of builder and building date, or GER classification

Type/size - Wheel arrangement of locomotive depicted, side shown, Left or Right (as seen from the footplate)

Tender - If the tender is included in the drawing, the letter ‘X’ is shown

Description - Brief summary of content and relevant notes.


Copies of those drawings owned by the GERS can be supplied on request to the webmaster at £5 each. NRM drawings are only available from the NRM.


The Society’s thanks are extended to the staff at the NRM who encouraged John Watling over many years and particularly Tim Procter, former Curator of Archive & Library Collections, for guiding this project to a successful conclusion.

Scanning of the original drawings was undertaken by Mitech Systems Limited.

The Society is also indebted to David Challis and Cedric Knight who formatted every image to ensure the best possible results from the originals many of which are fragile and dirty.

Lyn D Brooks and John Watling October 2017


Download: spreadsheet BUCKLE DRAWINGS MASTER LIST (72 KB)