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George Whale (1842–1910)

George Whale In contrast to Webb, Whale was a “running man”, i.e. he belonged to those who operated the railway. He took over from Webb in 1903 and despite an initially easy manner, the difficulties with the later Webb designs made him resentful of his predecessor. Initially a comfortable good-tempered man, he did not admonish subordinates in the presence of others nor did he over-protect his people. Unfortunately after an operation in 1907 his ill-health increased, he became more irritable and absences followed. He retired in 1909 but never recovered from a second operation.

Charles J Bowen Cooke (1859–1920)

Charles J Bowen Cooke A clergyman’s son (like Webb) and a “running man” (like Whale). A tall, well built man who was generally liked on and off the railway, he could nevertheless be reserved to outsiders. He was a great locomotive enthusiast and wrote a book, ‘British Locomotives’. Succeeding Whale as CME in 1909, his principal work was superheating and its application to passenger and goods engines but then came four long years of World War I and the stresses this brought told upon him. The year 1918–9 he had as mayor of Crewe did not help, and after months of ill-health he died at Falmouth and is buried at St. Just-in-Roseland.


Captain H.P.M. Beames (1875–1948)

Captain H.P.M. Beames An Irishman, he was a pupil under Webb in 1898 but took leave two years later to fight in the Boer War. Returning to Crewe he progressed to Chief Mechanical Engineer after Bowen Cooke but when the LNW merged with the LYR, George Hughes was appointed overall CME in his place. Although he originated the ‘belts’ method of production-line building in Crewe his career under the LMS ran under similar bad luck, a great disappointment, which he bore with good grace. Over the years he turned more to civic affairs being president of the Webb Orphanage, the Crewe Mechanics Institute and chairman of Cheshire County Council.

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