In 1857 the ‘Cape Town Railway and Dock Company’ obtained the permission of the Cape Government to build railways from Cape Town to Wellington and Wynberg. In 1859 this locomotive made by Hawthorns & Co Leith Engine Works in Scotland, arrived in South Africa together with its driver, William Dabbs. When the conversion to the narrower gauge was completed in 1881, the period of service of Blackie and of its driver came to an end. Proclaimed a national monument in 1936.
“R&W. Hawthorn & Co were an old established locomotive building firm of of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Leith Engineering Works, Sheriff Brae, Leith were bought by R&W Hawthorn & Co from James B. Maxton & Co, to set up a works to build railway locomotives in Scotland.
By 1860 they were building marine engines and boilers under the name of Hawthorns & Co.
A number of small ships were built at their Granton yard . They were the first company on the east of Scotland to lengthen vessels ( 1860/70’s) at the slipway at Granton.
Hawthorn Leslie & Co Ltd was established in 1886, acquiring the businesses of Hawthorn & Co and Andrew Leslie & Co.
In 1912, Hawthorns & Co acquired the shipyard of Thomas Morton & Co which lay adjacent to Ramage & Ferguson’s yard.
The whole site ( including Hawthorns, Ramage & Ferguson and Cran & Somerville) was, in 1924, acquired by Henry Robb Ltd., and named ‘Victoria Shipyards’.