FAMILY ‘GRATEFUL’ AFTER SECURING URIE TREASURES
The grandson of eminent LSWR Chief Mechanical Engineer Robert Wallace Urie spent £2,000 to secure the CME’s papers, medals and locomotive sketches at a Devon auction. Bob Urie, retired chief of Regional Railways North East and living near Doncaster, went to Lyme Regis at three days’ notice. He told Steam Railway afterwards: “I am very grateful indeed… I didn’t know who I was competing with on the phone and the internet, but at least
I was successful.”
He said that how the items came to be sold in the first place was “a family matter”, but material associated with his retirement from Eastleigh Works may be exhibited in 2020 when Urie’s two surviving engines, ‘S15’ 4-6-0s Nos. 499 and 506, celebrate their centenaries. The collection of items, sold at Chilcotts Auctioneers on June 2, include sketches in a schoolboy exercise book, his letter of appointment to the LSWR, and a framed citation and silverware presented to him upon his departure in 1923.
Before the sale, they had all been at risk of being thrown away after they were found scattered around during a house clearance in Lyme Regis, when no-one realised their significance. Liz Chilcott, a director of Chilcotts Auctioneers, said that solicitors handling the estate had been unsuccessful in its efforts to track down the family.
The first lot (sold for £620) was a 1923 signed citation from the LSWR board under a watercolour image of ‘N15’ No. 736, along with books of technical drawings and lists of locomotives. There were also the typed notes for a talk to be given to the LSWR Engineering Society, in which Urie argued the case for steam locomotives to be made more efficient to avoid the switch to diesels and electrics.