This series consists of letters and the accompanying documents sent with them, for example newspaper cuttings, transcripts etc. Other accompanying documents, where location is not clear are located in the ‘research papers’ series (HACK 5/2). Correspondence was accumulated by Robert Young and is written in a personal and business capacity, the majority relates to the Robert Young’s publication Timothy Hackworth and the Locomotive. Some letters addressed to both Robert and his wife Edith Young (nee Lees) including some letters written to Edith after her husband’s death.
The series begins with letters written to Robert Young before he moves to Penang. The series contains letters from his brothers, father [George Edward Young] and mother [Jane Young (nee Hackworth)]. He corresponds with John Hennon Hackworth who voices his opinions about his attempts to bring prominence to Timothy Hackworth, John Hennon’s uncle. Later letters after the book is published include correspondence from Thomas Greener’s Son W.B. Greener, that discuss his father Thomas Greener’s work. There is quite lengthy correspondence with F.F. Bainbridge councillor in Shildon, who helps him with his research.
Early correspondence shows that Robert Young was involved with the Baltimore and Ohio Railway Company’s exhibit at World Columbian Exposition. Throughout the series Robert Corresponds at length, with his cousin Samuel Holmes who had emigrated to America in the 1870’s, sometimes sending more than one letter a day. Letters include information on the family, Samuel Holmes’ own recollections of Timothy Hackworth and Soho Works and current events. The first record that Robert Young was proposing to write a book is in 1907, during correspondence to Samuel Holmes. Holmes sends information and documents to Robert Young throughout the series and appears to hold a substantial amount of original material that now forms part of the archive now held at the NRM. Samuel Holmes seems to want a lot of say into what goes into the final publication and writes a ‘forward’ to the book. By 1920 it appears that Holmes does not agree with Robert Young’s style and arguments in his manuscript, even suggesting a change of name for the book. He dies in 1920 and his ‘forward’ is never used and does not survive.
Robert Young also corresponds with his other cousin Robert Young Pickering who also helps him with information and material for his book. Robert Young Pickering was the son Robert Young Sr’s sister. His father was a teacher [I think in Shildon] but set up a successful engineering business in Scotland. Robert Young takes a different stance from Samuel Holmes and is very supportive of Robert Young’s final publication. Samuel Holmes is very ‘pro’ John Wesley Hackworth whilst Robert Young Pickering does not agree with John Wesley Hackworth’s style of campaigning for his father, or with many of his arguments.
Robert Young corresponds with a wide range of individuals whilst he is researching for his book and after it is published, including railway historians and prominent railway figures for example Dendy Marshall, Charles Turner, E.L. Ahrons. He also corresponds with individuals at the Science Museum, Patent Office and various universities. The series concludes with letters arranging the loan of items to the Science Museum and to other exhibitions. Here is also a lengthy correspondence with The Locomotive Publishing Company regarding the publication of his book. The series contains numerous letters to various parties with an aim to gather illustrations for his book.
- System of Arrangement: