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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Stephen Crook

Steam railway enthusiasts far and wide know the name Stephen Creighton Crook, the Carlisle man whose book of photographs has become a classic of its kind.

Stephen Crook photo
Stephen Crook

In fact, the word appears in its title, Stephen Crook’s Classic Steam Collection, and the man who took the pictures was widely regarded as one of the best railway photographers in the country.

His was painstaking in what he did, so much so that he would sometimes use cloths and rags to clean the locomotives before he photographed them!

His consuming interest in steam haulage began at the age of five, when he saw his first loco in Carlisle, and it continued right through his life until he died, aged 77.

He was born in Burnley, the son of a vicar, and a year later he moved with his parents to Cockermouth, where his father again served as a vicar, and the town was to be his home for the next 20 years.

During World War Two the Mill Hill School and its preparatory department were ‘evacuated’ from London to Cumbria. He went to the prep school in Cockermouth and then to the main school before going on to Trinity College, Cambridge, and then moving into teaching. He taught Latin and Greek at the March Grammar School in Cambridge and then at Kirkham Grammar School in Lancashire.

Finally, he taught at the Swanbourne House Preparatory School in Buckinghamshire, before retiring to live in Carlisle, where he pursued his passion for taking photographs of steam locomotives. It was a passion that took him all over Britain and to several countries, including India and South Africa.

Some of the photographs that he took appeared in his widely acclaimed book, which was published in 1990.

He was related to the Creighton family, which played a considerable part in the educational and civic life of Carlisle.

He was a member of the city’s camera club and of the Eden Lawn Tennis Club, where he served as secretary for several years.

He leaves his brother.

Walker’s, of Carlisle, made the arrangements for his cremation in the city.

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