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B2593 Scale model steam locomotive and tender, GNR Stirling 8ft Single, No. 5, 4-4-2 type, 2½ inch gauge, in glazed case, made by J S (Stanley) Beeson, Hampshire, England, 1976. Click to enlarge.

Model of GNR Stirling Single steam locomotive by J.S. Beeson, 1976

This exquisite, finely-detailed, scale model locomotive represents the epitome of the model engineer's craft. It was made in England by James (Stanley) Beeson in 1976, thought to have been one of the world's finest railway modellers. The London auctioneers, Christie's, described Beeson as "the complete artist/engineer - a king of Faberge producing mechanical works of art which were his interpretation of the subject". Beeson's work is in private collections around the world and his clients …


Object No.


Object Statement

Scale model steam locomotive and tender, GNR Stirling 8ft Single, No. 5, 4-4-2 type, 2½ inch gauge, in glazed case, made by J S (Stanley) Beeson, Hampshire, England, 1976

Physical Description

This finely-detailed 2½-inch (6.4 cm) gauge model locomotive features a long dome-less boiler, shapely safety valve casing of brass and slotted splasher over the driving wheels. Other fittings including water and pressure gauges, steam brakes, clack valves and washout plug. Chassis details include twin outside cylinders, with inside Stephenson's link reversing gear, cab controlled drain cocks, detailed big ends, ratchet-operated lubricator, eccentric-driven feed pump and bypass, steam and hand-operated brake gear, steps, and lamps. Tender details include hand-operated brake gear, hand fuel pump, steps, and lamps.

The locomotive is finished in Britain's GNR (Great Northern Railway) livery and lining from about 1898. This comprises an overall colour of bright green, panelled with a darker shade of the same colour. Outlining the scalloped panels on the tender is a broad black band with a white line on either side. Black edging, of about the same width, with a white line inside, edges the cab and divides the boiler. Buffer beams are painted vermilion with the locomotive number (No. 5) in yellow block figures shaded in black. The locomotive framing is a maroon colour edged with a vermilion line, while the chimney, smoke box and cylinder covers are black. A brass beading edges the driving-wheel splashers and the letters "GNR" appear on the tender sides in block yellow letters shaded in red and black. The locomotive number in the same style is on the cab sides.

This model and tender sit on rails with fish plates, sleepers and ballast. The model has its own purpose-built simple timber and glass display case.


"No. 5" on the buffer beams and side of the cab. "GNR" on both sides of the tender.



305 mm


275 mm


900 mm



James Stanley Beeson (1907-1990) was one of three boys with an early interest in model making. He set up in business in 1924 and one of his commissions was for the manufacture of Pickfords' removal vans for publicity purposes. This led on to railways and at one time he was making locomotives and rolling stock for members of the leading North London, model railway club. By 1929 Beeson was supplying model trains for Hollywood films, unfortunately with them ending up being smashed to pieces. He went on to make locomotive models for British films, "The Rome Express" made in 1932, and Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 classic, "The Lady Vanishes".

Most of his models were produced before the Second World War in batches of six or twelve, and distributed through locomotive model manufacturers, including Bassett-Lowke, Edward Exley Ltd, Bonds of Euston Road, Milbro and Premier Models, and sold under their own names. These early engines were said to have been quite plain but beautifully made. Although he worked in the 4 mm and 10 mm scales, as well as 7.25 inch (18.4 cm) live steam models for garden railways, it was his 0-gauge 7 mm models for which he became famous. Beeson made all the wheels, mechanisms and castings for his models and painted them. His fittings were also available as individual items for enthusiasts wishing to make their own models.

After the War Beeson changed his raw materials from tin plate to nickel silver and much more attention was made to the model details, yet still retaining the same exquisite workmanship. By this time Beeson had a modest workshop with lathes and milling machines, however it was Beeson's outstanding ability to cut and manipulate metal with jeweller's piercing saws which made his model making so outstanding. One locomotive model could take 2,500 hours to complete. He was said to be a perfectionist and always considered his next locomotive would be his best. Beeson thought his best work and finest models were made from the 1960s onwards. By the 1970s he was said to be the leading railway model maker in Britain if not the world. Over a 55 year career he had made some 1600 models.

Auction catalogue, Christie's South Kensington, "Exceptional Scientific & Engineering Works of Art, Instruments & Models", Wed 8 April, 1998, p.85

Lewis, Brenda Ralph "Master of nostalgia", in "The Illustrated London News", Christmas 1977, pp19-21.

Levy, Allan "A Century of Model Trains", New Cavendish Books, London, 3rd edn, 1978



This model was commissioned to be made by John L. "Jumbo" Goddard, an Australian racing driver, eccentric and collector of vintage and thoroughbred cars and motorcycles, (especially Bentleys). Goddard also collected steam and marine models, aircraft engines and models as well as clocks and horological items. It was purchased by the Museum at an auction of the Goddard collection in 1984.


Credit Line

Purchased 1984

Acquisition Date

9 October 1984

Cite this Object


Model of GNR Stirling Single steam locomotive by J.S. Beeson, 1976 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 25 September 2022, <>


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