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End of an Electrical Engineering Era

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This guest blog is written by Charlotte Dennard an associate archivist on the National Railway Museum’s Collections & Research team.


 

Masai tribesmen inspect an English Electric-AEI Class 90 diesel electric loco, East African Railways, 1960, photograph. (Ref: GEC/4/5/12)

Masai tribesmen inspect an English Electric-AEI Class 90 diesel electric loco, East African Railways, 1960, photograph. (Ref: GEC/4/5/12)

Over the past 20 months I have sorted and catalogued the single largest archive collection held at the National Railway Museum. This blog post celebrates the end of the GEC Traction archive cataloguing project funded by The National Archives Cataloguing Grants Programme. The archive is now available to the public for the first time in 20 years!

The GEC Traction archive arrived at the museum in 1996 and the project to process this vast archive began in February 2015 and finished at the end of September 2016.

 GEC Traction was a constituent company of the General Electric Company whose current successor company is Alstom. The archive ranges from 1846-1996 and contains many amazing records, including engineering drawings, glass negatives, films, lantern slides, photographs, manuals, project files and publications.

English Electric Company lantern slides. (Ref: GEC/4/8/5)

English Electric Company lantern slides. (Ref: GEC/4/8/5)

There are more than 100 companies’ records within the archive and each now have a company history which can be linked to individual entries on the archive catalogue across the Science Museum Group. The archive collection can be accessed at Search Engine in the National Railway Museum.

Chapman & Furneaux spare parts catalogue, 1898. (Ref: GEC/4/7/27)

Chapman & Furneaux spare parts catalogue, 1898. (Ref: GEC/4/7/27)

The project wouldn’t have been possible to complete without the help of my eight expert GEC volunteers (see photo below) and my team of project volunteers past and present – James Harrison, Ben Cudbertson, Charlotte Islin, Danika Willis, Jess Dale and John Smales. I would like to say a huge thank you to them for all their help and expert advice.

L-R: Joe Brown, Charlotte Dennard,, Richard Siddall, Philip Quayle, Richard Bourne, Andrew King, Peter Birch and David Kay. Not pictured is Tony Bentley

L-R: Joe Brown, Charlotte Dennard, Richard Siddall, Philip Quayle, Richard Bourne, Andrew King, Peter Birch and David Kay. Not pictured is Tony Bentley

Written by Sam Terrace

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