E.B.Wilson & Co. foundered in 1858. The company’s designs were purchased by Manning Wardle & Company, who located their Boyne Engine Works (established in 1840) in Jack Lane in the Hunslet district of the city. Within the next few years, two other companies, the Hunslet Engine Co. and Hudswell, Clarke & Co. also opened premises in Jack Lane. There was a good deal of staff movement between the three firms, leading to similar designs leaving all three works. Whilst Hudswell Clarke and Hunslet Engine Company built a wide variety of locomotive types, Manning, Wardle concentrated on specialised locomotives for contractor’s use, building up a range of locomotives suitable for all types of contracting work.
Cannock & Rugeley Colliery No.6 Adjutant 0-6-0ST Manning Wardle 1913/1917. Bought from the Admiralty, Beachley Dock, Gloucesrershire, 1924.
Many Manning Wardle locomotives – of standard gauge and various narrow gauges – were exported to Europe, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, Australasia and South America.
Decline and closure
The company employed traditional construction throughout its existence, and failed to take advantage of the more efficient mass production techniques becoming available. As a result, Manning Wardle became more uncompetitive. The company ceased trading in 1927, after producing more than 2,000 steam locomotives.
The last complete locomotive was No. 2047 (standard gauge 0-6-0ST) delivered to Rugby Cement Works in August 1926. This locomotive still survives at Kidderminster Railway Museum on static display.