During the 1930s the Great Western Railway updated its locomotive fleet, introducing a series of standard designs based firmly on development which had taken place since the turn of the century.

Developed for use on weight restricted parts of their system, the G W R constructed 7802 and 7812 at Swindon works in 1938 and 1939 as part of an order for twenty locomotives later increased by a further batch of 10 in 1950. Construction of 7802 and 7812 made use of some parts from former Churchward 2-6-0 locomotives 4321 and 4325 respectively.

As part of a family of designs the Manors have many similarities with other GWR classes most notably the Granges. The need to produce a lighter version meant that the GWR developed a new boiler design specifically for the Manors – the Swindon No 14 boiler.

As built the locomotives were paired with much older Churchward 3500g tenders.

Following GWR tradition the locomotives carried names relevant to the area covered by the GWR with 7802 named “Bradley Manor” after a 15th century Manor House 2 miles west of Newton Abbot and 7812 named “Erlestoke Manor” after an estate and house 6 miles west of Devizes.

To be continued…