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Driver Charles Parker

by John Clayson

In the 1920s Charles Parker was one of Grantham's top link drivers and clearly a master of his craft, as our first extract from The Grantham Journal in November 1926 demonstrates:

This report appeared in The Grantham Journal on 20th November 1926. From The British Newspaper Archive http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This report appeared in The Grantham Journal on 20th November 1926.
From The British Newspaper Archive http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The trip described above was recorded by Cecil J. Allen and a more detailed description of it was published, many months later, in The LNER Magazine for June 1927.  The crew's names were not given in that account but fortunately the local paper identified the driver - though, regrettably, it failed to acknowledge the fireman's efforts.

No. 4479 Robert the Devil at Grantham shed in 1930. Photograph by Rev. A. C. Cawston.
No. 4479 Robert the Devil at Grantham shed in 1930.
Photograph by Rev. A. C. Cawston.

Driver Parker's obituary from 1937, below, leads on his commitment to local Methodism.  It refers to his family circumstances as a young man and to a change in career which brought him to the railway.  We also read about his charitable work and involvement in local politics.

Charles Parker's obituary in The Grantham Journal of 16th October 1937. From The British Newspaper Archive http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Charles Parker's obituary in The Grantham Journal of 16th October 1937.
From The British Newspaper Archive http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Finally, here is a superb impression of No. 4479 Robert the Devil lifting an northbound express up the bank out of King's Cross station.

Boris Bennett, who kindly gave me a print of this painting, wrote: Class A1 No. 4479 'Robert the Devil' was built at Doncaster in 1923. She was allocated to Grantham shed in July 1923 and remained there until January 1942 when she was transferred to New England shed (Peterborough). Returning to Grantham from October 1942 she went to King's Cross in October 1946 and came back to Grantham for the last time in September 1951. Then back to King's Cross in June 1957 and withdrawn in May 1963. Whilst at Grantham she was kept in pristine condition and allocated to all the top drivers. At the time I started at Grantham in November 1939 she was allocated to driver W. Carman and fireman Rodgers, still in beuatiful condition. She is seen here rebuilt to class A3 as she leaves Copenhagen Tunnel with a Down express for Newcastle. From a painting by Michael Delany.
Boris Bennett, who kindly gave me a print of this painting, wrote:
Class A1 No. 1479 'Robert the Devil' was built at Doncaster in 1923.  She was allocated to Grantham shed in July 1923 and renumbered No. 4479 in 1924.  In January 1942 she was transferred to New England shed (Peterborough).  Returning to Grantham from October 1942, she went to King's Cross in October 1946 and came back to Grantham for the last time in September 1951 as No. 60110; then back to King's Cross in June 1957 and withdrawn in May 1963.  Whilst at Grantham she was kept in pristine condition and allocated to all the top drivers. At the time I started at Grantham in November 1939 she was allocated to driver W. Carman and fireman Rodgers, still in beuatiful condition. She is seen here rebuilt to class A3 as she leaves Copenhagen Tunnel with a Down express for Newcastle.
From a painting by Michael Delany.

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