Louis Raper of
Failsworth, Lancashire was one of the great model engineers, a close friend of
Harry Powell and builder of many fine locomotives. As an amateur he was a
multiple award winner: four times holder of the "Evening Chronicle” Trophy
awarded at the N.A.M.E Exhibitions in Manchester throughout the 1950s;
Championship Cup at the Model Engineer Exhibitions of 1952, then again in 1957
along with a Silver Medal and the Crebbin Cup.
In the early 1960s he
turned professional, over the next fifteen years producing some of the finest
quality locomotives – remarkably he worked with equal facility from 7mm scale
up to 10 ¼ inch gauge.
This 7 1/4 inch gauge Black, Hawthorn & Company 0-4-0 saddle tank was built in 1966, his first locomotive in this gauge. It was used as a demonstrator and example of his abilities to the many men who sought to commission work from him between that time and his death in 1977 - the last picture opposite shows it standing on his demonstration track ahead of a recently completed Dean Goods.
He kept the engine and his last - a 7 1/4 inch gauge GWR 14XX - until his death, after which they passed to his friend Ken Woodham, another legendary builder of the highest quality locomotives. They have remained in his possession from that time until now, returning to the mainland with me after I visited the Isle of Man earlier in the year (see the story on our blog here
Both engines were on our stand at Doncaster last weekend, the first time either have been seen in public for forty years. The pictures tell the story on this model, I won't dilate further other than to say that fit and finish is to the highest standard throughout, platework is beautifully executed, paintwork and lining finely applied.
The boiler is in excellent condition, it has had a twice working pressure test in recent weeks. The engine runs like a sewing machine on air - in deference to its age and paintwork, we have not steamed it.
Small, red, pretty and Victorian tick all the boxes for Mrs P - I think there's a good chance for long-term residency at home for this one...
||7 1/4 inch
||n/a - pre-2002
|hydraulic test valid to
|safety valve type