Mowat photographic collection

Scope and Content

The collection principally consists of photographs of railway scenes taken between 1926-1969 (mostly 1942-1969, with a few before 1924). Images cover most of the United Kingdom, with particular emphasis on the GWR and Wales, and include coverage of Somerset and Dorset, Midland and South Western Junction, Lincolnshire, Midland Railway in the West Country, Great Eastern, Glasgow and Edinburgh Suburban, Bristol Suburban, Ireland, and narrow gauge lines in the UK such as Ffestiniog, Penrhyn, Bishop's Castle and Ditton's Prior. Also included are pictures of the south east of Manchester in 1962, including the Hayfield, Macclesfield, Buxton (London North Western and Midland) and North Staffordshire lines. Original material is stored in fourteen albums. Additional materials include several editions of catalogues of the prints available, correspondence about the collections and the sale of railway prints, notebooks with track diagrams and notes on stations. There are also a number of contact prints made by Warwick Burton.

Administrative / Biographical History

Charles Loch Mowat was born in Britain in 1911, and attended Marlborough, Oxford and then St John's College, Oxford. He continued his education studying for a PhD in the United States and became an American citizen and academic, publishing several books, most notably Britain between the wars, 1918-1940 . Later he returned to Britain as a Professor of History at the University of Bangor, 1958 to 1970. Mowat was a keen railway photographer, and travelled around the UK taking pictures particularly of small to medium sized railway stations, which he organised in a series of albums.

Through his work he met the railway historian Charles Clinker . Upon his death Mowat bequeathed his collection to Clinker, and it became part of his much larger collection, which was made available to railway enthusiasts in order to purchase copies. Later this substantial collection was left to Brunel University. To make this material accessible to the public for many years the collection was housed in the home of Mr Warwick Burton, who ran a service making prints of the Mowat photographs for interested parties. Burton was an employee of British Rail and freelance writer. Since the death of Warwick Burton in 2015, the collection was returned to Brunel University Special Collections.


The collection of contact prints and negatives were originally arranged by Charles Loch Mowat on an alphabetical system, A-Z by place name. However, E. Gulliver and Warwick Burton went on to number each negative and corresponding contact print. This system has been retained. NB: While the images are numbered in a consecutive order several of the prints are missing.

Access Information

Available to researchers, by appointment. Please email: , giving at least two working days notice. Further details about access to our collections are available on our website . Access to archive material is subject to preservation requirements and must also conform to the restrictions of the Data Protection Act and any other appropriate legislation

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited as part of the Clinker Collection , given as a bequest by Charles Ralph Clinker in 1984, and forms part of the Transport History Collection .

Other Finding Aids

A general finding aid, including materials about the collection history, is available on the Transport History Collection webpage.
A detailed list of individual images is available for the photographic material compiled by Warwick Burton. The last edition of this is 4th edition (1993). Please contact Special Collections to see this.

Alternative Form Available

Some copies have been made for commercial and personal reasons. Copies could be acquired from Warwick Burton as a paid for service and have since been published in books or retained in private collections.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

The collection is mostly comprised of paper materials, but there are also a number of black and white photographic negatives that may need specialist equipment to view them adequately.

Archivist's Note

Described by Joanne McPhie with amendments by Katie Flanagan.

Conditions Governing Use

The material, unless otherwise indicated, is protected by copyright. You are unable to publish, in full or in part, without the permission of the copyright holder, Brunel University London. However you may use the material as permitted under statutory exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, e.g. quote for purposes of scholarship within the limits of fair dealing.


The collection is complete.