Hudswell Clarke & Co Ltd, locomotive builders

In 1860, a railway and general engineering firm using the name Hudswell & Clarke Engineers was founded in Hunslet, Leeds. The men behind the venture were William Shillito Hudswell, John Clarke and William Clayton, who was initially a sleeping partner. In 1870, the name was changed to Hudswell, Clarke & Rodgers which recognised the contribution of Joseph Rodgers who joined the company in 1866 as a Director. In 1880, the name was changed to Hudswell, Clarke & Company.

The first export locomotive order was placed in 1864 and this side of the business was developed further into the next century with the supply of locomotives to the Sierra Leone Railway. The company came to specialise in industrial and shunting locomotives and diversified into petrol, battery, fireless, flameproof and diesel locomotives. Hudswell Clarke also produced locomotives for miniature railways such as the North Bay Railway in Scarborough, Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Butlins holiday camps. It also upgraded the Scarborough South Cliff Tramways in 1932 and 1935. After the Second World War, Hudswell Clarke was involved in the production of airframes for nuclear bombs and the nose and tail fins for Britain’s first space rocket, Skylark.

Hudswell Clarke became part of the Trind Group, a mechanical engineering concern, on 4 December 1968. This saw an increased focus on producing civil engineering machinery, for example pipelaying machines were produced in collaboration with Yates Badger Pipelines Limited through a company called Hudswell Yates Developments Limited. The locomotive production business was bought by local competitors, the Hunslet Engine Company, on 28 July 1972.