Fox Walker & Co.
The partnership formed in 1864 between Francis William Fox (born 1841) and Edwin Walker (1840-1917) marked the beginning of specialist locomotive manufacturing in Bristol. They established Atlas Engineering Works at Deep Pit Road, St George, to the east of Bristol. The railway boom of the 1860s saw Fox Walker & Co. develop a successful business, concentrating on the manufacture of standardised locomotives, mainly small tank engines suitable for industry and engineering both at home and overseas. By the mid 1860s, 40% of Fox Walker’s production also supplied
narrow gauge railways in Europe and South America.
By the mid 1870s, the railway boom had collapsed. The private locomotive manufacturers concentrated on their specialist markets and in doing so their businesses weathered the storm. During this time, Fox Walker & Co. continued to develop their successful export business, exhibiting at both the Vienna Exhibition in 1873 and the Paris Exhibition of 1878. However, by the late 1870s private locomotive manufacturers were struggling to survive. Attempts at Diversification by Fox Walker & Co. from 1875 led to a number of unsuccessful investments, first in the Handyside Steep Gradient Company Limited and then in steam tram technology. By December 1878, mounting loses resulted in the Fox Walker partnership coming to an end in 1878.