Peckett & Sons Ltd

Fox, Walker & Co. was taken over by Thomas Peckett (1834-1891) and his four sons in 1881. Peckett & Sons continued in the business tradition of Fox, Walker, producing industrial locomotives to standardised designs. By the start of the twentieth century the industrial locomotive manufacturing industry was flourishing once more. To cope with demand the Atlas Works expanded with a rebuilt boiler shop and new machine shop. Throughout the early twentieth century Peckett built their reputation on ‘specialisation and standardisation’. Theirs was a strong brand name and it dominated its market supplying industrial locomotives. In 1914, Peckett & Sons became a limited company. Peckett was busy through the years of the First World War with new orders and locomotive repairs.

In the years after 1918 the majority of work passing through the works was repairs, especially after the grouping of railway companies in 1923. However, the prosperity was not to last. Peckett managed to survive the 1930s depression as the business benefited from the company’s past prudence. The recovery in the market towards the end of the 1930s continued during the Second World War as the company received large orders as a result of the war effort. However the company’s fortunes suffered as a result of acute shortages after 1945 and the railway industry’s increasing movement towards diesel traction. Peckett & Sons Ltd were reluctant to invest in the advancing diesel technology. Consequently the business was left behind, only making the move towards diesel in 1955 as a result of the British Railway Modernisation Plan decision to phase out steam locomotives. By this time it was too late for Peckett & Sons Ltd. Their first diesel locomotive was completed in 1956. Only five diesel locomotives had been produced by the time the last Peckett locomotive left the Atlas Works in August 1959.

Peckett & Sons Ltd continued producing spares and carrying out repairs at the Atlas Works until the company was taken over by Reed Crane & Hoist Company of Brighouse, Yorkshire in October 1961. The Atlas Works closed when the last repaired locomotive left the premises in January 1962. Reed Crane & Hoist Company continued to supply spares under the name of Peckett & Sons from Brighouse. At this stage it is not clear when Reed Crane & Hoist Company ceased trading. However by the 1980’s Peckett & Sons Ltd had became a subsidiary of the Myson Group Limited. When the National Railway Museum acquired the engineering archive from the Company in 1982 demand for Peckett steam locomotive spares was virtually nil.