This print, after a wash drawing by John Cooke Bourne in the National Railway Museum, is part of a series devoted to the London and Birmingham Railway and published in 1839. It shows the Bury 2-2-2 locomotive no 32 at the entrance to the engine house. This locomotive engine house, used to repair and maintain locomotives. Tanks in the roof of the building, filled from a deep well by means of a steam pumping engine, were used to supply the locomotives with water on their departure. In 1833, Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) was appointed chief engineer of the London British Railway, the first railway into London. Beginning at Curzon Street Station, Birmingham, and finishing at Euston Station, London, the 112 mile long line took 20,000 men nearly five years to build, at a cost of £5.5 million.
John Cooke Bourne is best known for producing two series of lithographs on railway construction. The first was published as ‘Drawings of the London and Birmingham Railway’ in 1839 and the second, ‘The History and Description of the Great Western Railway’, was published in 1846. The success of these works caused Bourne to be known as the ‘Piranesi of the Railway Age’. He also illustrated ‘Views in Kairo’ (1840) and ‘The History of Steam Navigation’ (1846) and made drawings of the road bridge spanning the Dnieper River in Kiev, Ukraine, for the engineer Charles Vignoles. From 1866 to 1877 he was unsuccessful three times in standing for election to the New Watercolour Society. He died in Brentford at the age of 81.
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