George White


This impressive 7.25” gauge King Arthur class locomotive by George White was displayed at Bristol in 2017.

These started as the LSWR N15 class, a  two–cylinder 4-6-0 express passenger locomotive designed by Robert Urie. Three variations were built between 1919 and 1926, the first of which hauled heavy LSWR express trains to the south coast ports and Exeter.

Following the grouping of railway companies in 1923, the LSWR became part of the Southern Railway which gave the N15 locomotives names associated with Arthurian legend; the class becoming known as ‘King Arthurs’. The Chief Mechanical Engineer of SR, Richard Maunsell, and Chief Draughtsman, James Clayton, improved the steam circuit and valve gear and brought the total built to 74.

The new locomotives were built in batches at Eastleigh and Glasgow, leading to the nicknames of ‘Eastleigh Arthurs’ and ‘Scotch Arthurs’. In 1926 the class became the first British steam locomotives to be fitted with smoke deflectors.

The locomotives continued operating with British Railways (BR) until the end of 1962. One example, SR 777 Sir Lamiel, is preserved with the National Collection.

King Arthurs were large engines, more than 66’ long and weighing just over 80 tons. Driving wheels were 6’7” dia. On the SR, only the Lord Nelson class was larger.