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Update - 14th February 2012

posted 14 Feb 2012, 17:28 by Derek Pattenson
Several days' work on the loco has resulted in a noticeable change in external appearance; it won't be long before we have to stop referring to her as "the little blue shunter". The remaining paint has been stripped off the left-hand cabside rear section, metalwork polished up and ferricon'd where needed, and a coat of primer put on. Various small areas in the cab have also been cleaned and at least ferricon'd.
As time goes on, more info (some conflicting!) comes to light on May's pre-Swanage history. In a week when I've learned that an early Swanage Railway stock book details her as supplied to the British National Oil Corporation (now Britoil plc) for use at their Bramhall Oil Terminal in Poynton, Cheshire.  This is now a ConocoPhillips UK depot. The guide describes her move south to Swanage, right down to the weather that day!  However, during the cleaning of the cabside, some early yellow lettering was revealed. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to decipher all of it as the layers were removed, but what was definite was the letters M.F.P.   Now this rang a bell as some research into other Fowlers only a day before made reference to 4210141, to the same design as "May", as having carried the number "M.F.P. 4" from its days working for the "Ministry for Protection".  Protection of what? Does this suggest that May might also have originally worked for that Ministry, prior to moving to Poynton?  More research needed!
Ministry For Protection??     Prior to primer
Derek Pattenson,
20 Feb 2012, 08:59