Wigan Civic Trust

Anthony Grimshaw, The Secretary, 6, Bridgeman Terrace, WIGAN, Lancashire WN1 1SX

The Two Hundredth Anniversary of Steam locomotives working in the

Wigan Area.

Having built the locomotive in 1812, Robert Daglish put the engine to work in 1813 on the Orrell Coalfield. Daglish managed the coalfield for John Clarke. By 1816 he had built two further engines. One to the same design, the last was built without the cog and just worked by adhesion.

Robert Daglish

Robert Daglish was born in 1779 in Northumberland.

In 1804 he moved to Wigan Working for Lord Balcares as Engineer at Haigh Foundry and Brock Mill Forge. Many sorts of engine were made at Haigh, one was the Arley Colliery engine. He constantly improved the designs of the engines that were built.

In 1810 he became manager for the Orrell Coalfield which already had a horse drawn railway, he knew that the new invention of steam power could be applied to moving the coal and in 1812 went to see John Blenkinsop and his locomotive. An arrangement was made and Daglish returned to Wigan, building his own engine to Blenkinsop’s design.

This locomotive started work in January 1813. Two more engines were constructed and worked for 36 accident free years saving £500 per year compared with horse drawn trains.

  • In 1825 Mr. Daglish commenced the survey for the Bolton and Leigh railway.
  • Elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1830.
  • 1834 he put in a tender to design the best form of rail and pedestal winning the Premium (72 engineers had entered).

He was a mining and civil engineer and was consulted by many railway companies both English and Foreign. He was a projector and partner in the St Helens Foundry. Ventilation in mines concerned him inventing an improved anemometer for measuring the flow of air through colliery workings.

Daglish married and had seven children. His business life lasted sixty years. He died in 1865, at his residence in Orrell at the age of eighty-eight and is buried at St Thomas UpHolland.

His son, Robert Daglish Jnr. born 1808 was also an important engineer.

The first crossing of a viaduct by a steam engine - in the world.