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Heritage Open Day September 2011
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The opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway on 27th September 1825 set up a model for railway systems worldwide, signalled the start of the industrial revolution and changed the face of the world for ever. Westbrook Villas became part of these challenging times and was steeped in railway history even before the first plans for the villas were proposed and there have been close connections with all aspects of the industry. These ranged from wagon works owners and George Stevenson's Head of Passenger Services in Victorian days,through engine drivers to the 1950s, when Frank Moody from no14 was a signalman at Eryholme Junction. To bring coal from the West Auckland area to Darlington and Stockton was the main reason the railway was set up and, for example,a coal merchant was one of the first residents.
North Road Railway Shops
The development of the railway industry in Darlington included the creation of LNER (London and North Eastern Railway) workshops at North Road. In 1862/3 new locomotive shops were established at Hope Town, near present day Station Rd.In 1864, when the first residents were moving into their newly built houses in Westbrook, the first locomotive to be built in North Road Shops was the No 175 Contractor or 0-6-0.
This photo shows the Erecting Shop in the North Road Shops circa 1906. In the immediate foreground and right hand side rear are Class P shunting engines. 2nd from the right is a 1001 Class and 3rd and 4th from the right are North Eastern Railway Class Ps. I'm sorry about the quality of the photos but they are 100 years old and I haven't been successful in improving them.
The above and following photos were taken around 1906 by Stuart King. His mother Georgina Mary King moved the family from Barnard Castle to Westbrook Villas in Darlington so her younger boys, Kenneth and Donald, could be apprenticed in the North Road Shops.
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At this time the Shops produced mainly freight engines for collieries and quarries. The Class P was produced from 1890 to the 1960s.
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Production at the North Road Shops grew steadily until by 1930 54 locomotives and 4200 wagons were being built each year.
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The iconic Flying Scotsman was rebuilt in Darlington North Road Shops.
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North Road Shops 1906
Frank Moody And Railway Signal Boxes
I should like to thank Mrs Jennifer Clarke, née Moody, for sending me information and photos of her father and generously allowing me to use them in our website.
Francis Jonathan Gibbinson Moody was born in Elswick, Newcastle in 1899, the first son of Christopher and Katherine Moody. Railways always featured large in his life. The Jonathan in his name was after his grandfather, who was first a shoemaker, then a shoemaker plus postmaster at Hart Village, then Station Master at Hart Station. "Gibbinson" was named after the Station Master at Shotley Bridge where Frank’s father worked as a Porter.
In 1901 the family moved to York where Frank’s father Christopher was a Travelling Ticket Inspector. In February 1910 Frank’s mother died aged only 34 years. On 8 September 1914 Frank started work as a telephone boy at Newburn Cliff House Office in West Hartlepool and at dinner time the same day was transferred to Burn Rd as Lad Ticketer.
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In 1916 he was appointed Assistant Signalman at Severus Junction, near York, then Assistant Signalman at Poppleton Junction York. In 1922 he was appointed 1st Signalman at Malton West and Scarborough and stayed there until February 1923. He moved to Penshaw Station Box in 1923 and stayed there till April 1929 when he took a job as Relief Signalman Class 2 at Bedlngton. In 1929 he moved to be Relief Signalman at Morpeth.
Picture:Frank Moody in Penshaw Station Signal Box 1925.
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|Frank Moody in Penshaw Station Signal Box in the 1930s. We did not know where this was but Mr Peter Hawes,ex-railwayman has let us know that it is Penshaw where Mr Hawes visited several times in the 50s-60s both officially and unofficially. He let us know that the box was opened in 1904 and had a 98 lever frame until it was finally abolished on 20 August 1967. We are so grateful to Mr Hawes for this info and congratulate him on managing to contact us through our guest book (since the system changed many people have been unable to get messages through).
In 1932 at St Barnabas-Weeton Church in Yorkshire he married Dorothy Binnington, whose father Albert Hudson Binnington worked at the station where Frank was a signalman. From 1932 to 1942 Frank worked at many many cabins in the Newcastle and Morpeth area.
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On March 21 1942 he moved to Eryholme Junction Station House, near Darlington, and worked the Cowton Signal Box. On September 15 1942 he moved to the Eryholme Signal Box then back again to Cowton in 1943. In February 1947 he moved to Darlington North Rd Signal box and to house no 14 Westbrook Villas with his wife and two daughters, Katherine and Jennifer.
Picture:Frank Moody in Biddick Lane Signal Box in the 1940s.We did not know where this was but thanks to the kindness of Mr Peter Hawes in contacting us through the guest book we now know it is the Biddick Lane Signal Box. So, again, very many thanks to Mr Hawes for persevering in getting through in the guest book to give me this information. Most people fail in trying to do this! To Mr Hawes: I hope i have it right this time!
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|Picture:Frank Moody in York Signal Box in the 1950s.
In 1950 he started at the new Westinghouse Signal Box at York Station. In 1964 he retired from York Signal Box due to reaching retirement age at 65. On October 21 he carried on as Signalman at Naburn Bridge (Swing) Signal Box and officially retired on 1st January 1966 after 51 years with British Railways North Eastern Region. All through his life he loved his job and was very proud to be a Signalman. Francis Jonathan Gibbinson Moody died on July 1977 in York.
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