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The Wallace Sutherland collection
Index to the Collection | Manchester Locomotive Society website
John Wallace Sutherland (who preferred the name Wallace) was a long-time member of the Manchester Locomotive Society. Born in New Zealand in 1921, he came to Britain with his wife Tril and daughter Cara in 1953, and they settled in Heathfield Road, Cale Green, close to Davenport station. A qualified engineer, in New Zealand he had worked for A & G Price, a manufacturer of railway equipment, and it was under their auspices that he came to Britain to gain experience. In Stockport he worked for Simon Handling, part of the Simon Engineering group in Cheadle Heath, where he stayed until retirement in 1986. His son Graham was born in Stockport, and often accompanied him on his train trips.
After retirement, he enjoyed several holidays in the USA where he took many pictures, but those are not included here. We have, however, included pictures from a number of continental visits.
He developed a great interest in the Stockport to Buxton line, and many photographs over the years. He died in 2001, and his family have passed on these 35mm slides to us with a wish that they should be enjoyed by fellow railway enthusiasts. Browsing the collection reveals that, unlike many 'enthusiasts' today, he used the trains when making his photographic forays. Back in the 1950s - especially if you made friends among the local staff - it was acceptable to photograph from positions which would (rightly) be strictly off-limits today.
He also researched the history of the line in detail: an article in Railway Magazine (June 1963) jointly written with fellow Manchester Locomotive Society member W.J. Skillern, 'Buxton centenary: the approach from Stockport' was for many years the best published history available. The text of that article was re-published, along with many of his photographs and notes of observations, in the illustrated book The 'Buxton Line' - Part One: Stockport to Whaley Bridge, via Davenport, Hazel Grove, Disley & New Mills Newtown. The second volume The Buxton Line - Part Two: From Whaley Bridge to Buxton (LNWR) Via Chapel-en-le-Frith (South) and Dove Holes also features much of his work. Sadly, he did not live to see the publication of these excellent books by Foxline Publications in 2006-7.
In the 1960s 'Beeching Era' Wallace played a significant part in the campaign to save Davenport station and the rest of the Buxton line from closure. It seems unbelievable today that such a closure should have been considered, but if it had not been for Wallace Sutherland and other dedicated campaigners at the time, it would surely have happened.
About the slide collection
We have given a number to each box of slides, but the numbers as allocated are not in exact chronological order; blocks of numbers were allocated according to the brand of film used, which gives a very approximate date order. The numbers are not continuous, although some gaps may be filled in later. The numbers within the box are mostly allocated by us and may not be in the correct sequence, as not all film-makers stamped numbers on the slide mounts. The captions are transcribed as best we could, from what Mr Sutherland himself wrote (in a very small script) on the slide mounts.
Boxes 001 - 003 form a collection of Buxton Line views from various dates, which Mr Sutherland selected in the 1980s from the rest of the collection to illustrate talks and use in publications. Some are slides made from monochrome negatives.
The earliest slides dated from around 1962: before then he worked with monochrome print film, the subject of another collection now also lodged with the Manchester Locomotive Society. Note that some of the earlier slides have apparently deteriorated with time, and others have not reacted well to the scanning process used. All the original slides are preserved in the Society's archive, and anyone wishing to publish pictures should apply to the Society for permission and a better copy.
Last update May 2015. Comments welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org