John Parish and Company

Gauge: 4ft (1.2m)


Collection Objects

Coal was shipped to London from North East England from at least the seventeenth century. In 1805 John Parish began supplying sand ballast for the ships’ return trips. The loamy sand was very suitable for use in foundry work. Extensive sandpits were worked in the Erith area and moved by 4ft 0in gauge railway to wharves on the Thames. Traffic was horse drawn until 1864 when the company’s first steam locomotive was acquired. Associations with the North East dictated where Parish & Co. obtained its locomotives, and may also have determined the 4ft 0in gauge. The line crossed a street in Erith as well as the corporation tramway which followed the road.

The railway lasted until 1957 when it was replaced by a fleet of lorries. The lorries followed the old trackbed of the railway and never left Company property, even using the level crossings in Erith. Consequently they were never licensed.


  • 1. Gilkes, Wilson & Co. No.185 of 1864; 0-4-0T
  • 2. R & W Hawthorn No. 1864 of 1881; 0-4-0ST
  • 4. R & W Hawthorn No. 2565 of 1903; 0-4-0 ST. Withdrawn 1957. Scrapped

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