J Macartney Robbins Collection of Photographs

1920-1956 in United Kingdom
J Macartney Robbins Collection of Photographs (photographs) J Macartney Robbins Collection of Photographs (photographs)

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© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

A collection of photographs by J Macartney Robbins. Approximately 410 cellulose nitrate film negatives (ranging in size from 60mm to 5 1/2 c 3 1/2 ins), 3 glass plate negatives and 17 silver gelatin contact prints featuring the London & North Western Railway, Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway, Midland Railway, North Staffordshire Railway, Southern Railway and British Railways, from c. 1920-1956. The photographs are predominantly of locomotives but also feature some stations with people and road vehicles.

John Macartney Robbins' professional railway career began in 1915 with the operating and traffic department of the London & North Western Railway, and continued with the newly-formed LMS after the LNWR was absorbed on grouping in in 1923. In 1942 he left the railways to join the BBC's Northern Ireland office in Belfast, where he remained until retirement in 1946. He then moved to Dublin and worked as an agent for several London publishing houses.

Robbins often spent his leave on trips to railways overseas, ranging from Scandinavia to Spain. He was a founding member of the Irish Railway Record Society and was elected its honorary secretary. On his death in 1953 his obituary in the Society's Journal credited him with the success of the organisation: "his wide experience and extensive acquaintance among professional railwaymen" meant that "what we have been enabled to accomplish during the life of the Society has been built on the foundation of good feeling laid by J M Robbins through his personal friendships in the Companies".

The NRM acquired the J M Robbins collection from the Irish Railway Record Society. It is composed of glass and film negatives and features engines of the LNWR, LMS, Great Eastern, Great Central, Midland Great Northern Joint, NER, North British, LNER, LSWR, LBSCR, South Eastern & Chatham Railway, Southern, GWR, Metropolitan Railway, Kent and East Sussex Railway, Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway and industrial locomotives.


Photographic Collections (Railway)
Object Number:
cellulose nitrate and glass
film negatives: 5 1/2 in x 3 1/2 in
glass plate negatives: 3 1/2 in x 2 1/2 in
film negatives and prints: 60 mm x 60 mm
Irish Railway Records Society