The London Brighton & South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) owned two very attractive Sharp Stewart 2-4-0 tanks and full details of their histories are given in “Locomotives of the LB&SCR Vol. 1” by Don Bradley. The second was purchased in 1873 and, in emerald green and numbered 53, it initially worked the Kensington shuttle service. It was beautifully photographed at Newhaven between 1875 and 1878, whilst engaged in construction work at that harbour (Photo page XX). It had been repainted in Stroudley passenger livery in 1875 as Bishopstone and was renumbered 270: identification may have been by numerals painted on the buffer beams or possibly by a single brass plate on the bunker.
In 1878, No. 270 was renamed Fratton and was sent to work the Hayling Island branch, joining its sister engine No. 359 Hayling Island. It was renumbered twice before being withdrawn in September 1890, and sold as scrap for £164 to George Cohen & Sons.
The Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway: a Pictorial Record” by Peter Strange illustrates a similar Sharp Stewart locomotive, which it states was originally “Fratton” on the LB&SCR.
Two new photographs have recently come to light of this locomotive soon after arrival on the WC&PR, of which one is illustrated above. Some small details can be seen which are not present on the early photograph of “Bishopstone” but are visible on a photograph of a sister engine “North Western“, which originally ran on railways in Jersey.” It is, therefore, almost certain that “Fratton” was scrapped by George Cohen’ soon after it was sold by the LB&SCR in 1890.
“Fratton” would have had some modifications for working passenger trains on the Hayling Island branch, including sprung buffers and Westinghouse air brakes. It is probable that the original cab seen on the “Bishopstone” photograph would have been modified to give more protection to the crew, or a new cab may have been fitted. Unfortunately no photograph has yet been found of “Fratton“, so we may never know what changes were made.
All photographs courtesy of the Colonel Stephen’s Museum in Tenterden.