Records from the library of Sir Daniel Gooch 1st Baronet

Scope and Content

1. Sketch book of Sir Daniel Gooch (1840-1862): The volume contains drawings and details (including costings) of locomotives and carriages designed by Gooch for the Great Western Railway. It contains drawings and technical details of the major classes of locomotive that Gooch designed for the GWR. It also contains sections of ‘Australia’ agricultural engine.

2. Report book of Sir Daniel Gooch (1845-1848): Locomotive Superintendent, Great Western Railway containing two studies by Gooch entitled: "Comparative Merits of the Broad and Narrow Gauge", 1845; and "The Gauge Question practically considered from the evidence given before the Gauge Commissioners to determine the best future gauge of Railways", London, 1846.

Administrative / Biographical History

Daniel Gooch, 1st baronet was born in 1816 at Bedlington. He was the first locomotive superintendant of the Great Western Railway (GWR) in 1837 and worked under Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He established the company’s locomotive works at Swindon.

He played an important role in ordering Stephenson 2-2-2 ‘Star’ class locomotives from Robert Stephenson’s firm for use on the railway. Later he went on to develop locomotives to his own design. He designed Great Western which performed brilliantly between London and Exeter. The ‘Iron Duke’ class, a development of this handled all the fastest trains on the GWR until 1892. Gooch also designed heavy 4-4-0 saddle-tank engines, employed in the steeply graded lines in Devon and Cornwall.

The Great Western Railway adopted a broad gauge of 7 ft 0 1⁄4 in (2,140 mm) between 1838 and 1892 in contrast to the standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in). The two systems were used together until 1845 when the broad gauge was rejected by the Gauge Commission. Gooch played a part in arguing the merits of broad gauge.

He resigned from the company in 1864 to take key responsibility for the laying of the Atlantic cable and was made a Baronet for this work. He rejoined in 1865 and acted as Chairman. He was also Conservative MP for Cricklade 1865-1885. He died in 1889 at his residence, Clewer Park.


Not applicable.

Conditions Governing Access

Access is given in accordance with the NRM access policy. Material form this archive is available to researchers through the Search Engine reading room.

Opening times:

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Contact details:

Address: Search Engine, National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York, YO26 4XJ. Email:

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Acquisition Information

1. Sketch book of Sir Daniel Gooch: Purchased at Christie’s auctioneers by the National Railway Museum, 1996.

2. Report book of Sir Daniel Gooch: Transferred to the former Museum of British Transport, Clapham by British Railways in 1962. It was transferred to the NRM c.1995.

Other Finding Aids

Alternative Form Available

Not known.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

1. Sketch book of Sir Daniel Gooch (1840-1862): Good condition: Volume secured with metal clasp.

2. Report book of Sir Daniel Gooch (1845-1848): Fair condition: lightly worn cover, handwritten.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Alison Kay (Project Archivist) and Grace Donaldson (Visitor Services Assistant), December 2010.

Created by Jane Ronson (Archives Hub team) using the Archives Hub EAD Editor, March 2014.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be supplied of items in the archive, provided that the copying process used does not damage the item or is not detrimental to its preservation. Copies will be supplied in accordance with the NRM’s terms and conditions for the supply and reproduction of copies, and the provisions of any relevant copyright legislation.

Appraisal Information


Custodial History

Archival History: Both items were once part of Gooch’s personal library and have reached the NRM through different routes.


None expected at present.

Related Material

Related units of description in NRM archives, listed by Inventory number:

For objects, images and general printed material relating to Daniel Gooch and the GWR please contact the NRM.

1995-7773 - A collection of drawings from Francis Trevithick relating to the development of the locomotive "Cornwall", Gooch's locomotive "Fire-Fly" and Grand Junction and London & North Western Railways, 1840-1857, 27 items.

1997-7163 - Report book of Sir Daniel Gooch, Locomotive Superintendent, Great Western Railway containing two studies by Gooch entitled: "Comparative Merits of the Broad and Narrow Gauge", 1845; and "The Gauge Question practically considered from the evidence given before the Gauge Commissioners to determine the best future gauge of Railways", London, 1846. 175pp handwritten, with bookplate inside front cover. With two accompanying printed reports: Report of the Gauge Commissioners presented to both Houses of Parliament, 1846; and Report of Answers given by Daniel Gooch to the Inquiries made by the Railway Commissioners, 21 January 1848. [1 volume, 2 papers - 9 items].

1997-7184 - Volumes from the library of Nicholas Wood, Engineer, Killingworth (1795-1865): 1.Book "Great Western Railway. Report. Appendix 1838" being reports on surveys and assessment of broad gauge; 2. Book "Great Western Railway. Correspondence and Notes, 1838" being correspondence with Saunders, Brunel, Stephenson, Locke, Babbage etc re. report; 3-7. Books "Tracts on Railways" being bound copies of printed pamphlets about early railway and engineering developments. English and German.

2000-7368 - Letter, from Daniel Gooch to Isambard Kingdom Brunel, offering his services, 1837. Currently on loan.

2003-7883 - Letter, From Robert Stephenson to Thomas Gooch, Re-election at Whitby, Handwritten.

Related units of description elsewhere, listed by Repository:

The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, TW94DU, England. Tel: 02088763444Web:

Correspondence and papers are held under the department/ series code RAIL 1008, RAIL 1148-1150, RAIL 1153, RAIL 1155.

Information relating to Daniel Gooch and the Great Western Railway can be found in RAIL 252, which contains agreements, contracts, bonds, deeds, etc. relating to the construction of railway buildings, shipping, rolling stock, telegraphs, and other equipment of the Great Western Railway and companies it made agreements with.

Files relating to Daniel Gooch can also be found under other RAIL series.

Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Bird Cage Walk, London, SW1H 9JJ, England. Tel: 020 7973 1265. Web:

1840: Letter from Daniel Gooch to Robert Stephenson. Enclosing drawings of a boiler and giving information on successful modifications and trials of the locomotive "Polar Star". Gooch notes the failure of the "Red Star". Ref: IMS 169.

1851: transcript of the testimony of Daniel Gooch in the case of Gray v. The London and North Western Railway Company - an arbitrated dispute over patent rights claimed by John Gray (1810-1854) MIMechE, regarding his patent no.7745: Steam engines and apparatus connected therewith..., 26 July 1838. Ref: IMS 77/7.

London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB. Tel: 020 7332 3820. Web:

1877-1887: Moorgate Street Station Expenses (Metropolitan and Great Western Railway Company). Correspondence between Sir E. Watkin and Sir Daniel Gooch. Ref: ACC/1297/MET/10.

Institution of Civil Engineers, 1-7 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA, England. Tel: 02076652251. Web:

1844: Mackenzie Archive Papers. Etc. British Works. Return shewing the miles run and the amount of wear of hardened steel tires on the wheels of the engines on the Great Western railway to the 30th June 1844. Weight on wheels 9 tons. Signed Dan. Gooch 1944. Ref: MCBR046.

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN, England. Tel: 01249705500. Web:

1890: Copy of sale particulars of Shares in Swindon Waterworks Co., Swindon New Gas Co., and Swindon Central Market Company by order of executor of Sir Daniel Gooch. Ref: 3148/20.

1865: Correspondence mainly from W. Foote and accounts of E. Dymond, agent of Daniel Gooch, candidate, with printed address and poster and canvass book with details of the vote in 1859. Ref: 2831/33.

1878: Contract between Edwin Billups (colliery proprietor, Cardiff) and Sir Daniel Gooch Bart MP, Lewis Llewellyn Dillwyn MP & Richard Bassett for supply of bricks Ref: 2515 210 Box 34/7.

Manuscript Collections, The British Library, St. Pancras, 96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7513. Web:

RP 401, Copy of notebook of Sir Daniel Gooch, engineer, concerning Great Eastern Steamship 1860-1866. Francis Edwards Cat 930/1969 item 503.

Location of Originals

Not applicable.


For further publications see the NRM’s library catalogue.

  • Encyclopaedia of the Great Western Railway / principal contributors, Christopher Awdry…[et al.] ; edited by William Adams. Sparkleford ; Patrick Stephens, 1993.
  • Gibson, John C. Great Western locomotive design : a critical appreciation. Newton Abbot : David & Charles, c.1984
  • Gooch, Daniel, Sir. Memoirs & Diary / Sir Daniel Gooch ; transcribed from the original manuscript and edited with an introduction and notes by Roger Burdett Wilson. Newton Abbot : David & Charles, 1972.
  • Great Britain. Commission Appointed to Inquire into the Gauge of Railways. Report of the Gauge Commissioners / presented to both Houses of Parliament by command of Her Majesty, 1846. London : T.R. Harrison, 1846.
  • Griffiths, Denis. Locomotive designers of the GWR. Wellingborough : Patrick Stephens, [1987].
  • Milligan, Edward H. (Edward Hyslop), 1922- Quakers & railways / Edward H. Milligan. York : Sessions Book Trust, 1992.
  • Peck, Alan S. The Great Western at Swindon Works / Alan S. Peck ; foreword by Sir Peter Parker. Poole : Oxford Publishing, c.1983.
  • Platt, Alan. The life and times of Daniel Gooch. Gloucester : Alan Sutton, 1987.
  • Railway Correspondence and Travel Society. The locomotives of the Great Western Railway.[Cheam] : Railway Correspondence and Travel Society, 1951-1993.
  • Sekon, G. A. A history of the great Western Railway being the short story of the broad gauge. London : Digby, Long & Co., 1895.