(George) Frank Burtt was born in Greenwich on 22 March 1871 and died in Brighton on 22 August 1949 .Educated Colfes Grammar School, Lewisham and West Kent Grammar School . Apprenticed under William Stroudley at New Cross Works. Moved to Drawing Office, Brighton 1892 where he remained until he retired in 1932. During the labour shortage of WW2 he went back to Brighton Works and was employed photographing new construction and also developing and printing X-ray photographs of boiler plate welds, and finally as librarian, completing in all 51½ years’ railway service, and serving under no less than six C.M.E.s: W. Stroudley, R. J. Billinton, D. E. Marsh, L. B. Billinton, R. E. L. Maunsell and O. V. S. Bulleid. He was a founder member of the Stephenson Locomotive Society and of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers. Important locomotive historian, although R.J. Billinton insisted that his work, initialy in the form of magazine articles should remain pseudonymous, this ban was lifted for book publication by D. E. Marsh in 1903.
His work as Librarian at Brighton Works, gave him access to records relating to LBSCR steamships, and probably stimulated the research and writing for Cross Channel and Coastal Paddle Steamers.
Another work was published dealing with river Thames steamers, this is probably the most comprehensive on the subject.
However it is a bit weak on the period up to 1835, seriously undervaluing the work of William Elias Evans, who not only built vessels of his own design, in his own yard, but designed them for other builders and clients, sometimes, particularly after his bankruptcy, supervising their construction in other owner’s yards. (See:
William Evans of Rotherhithe and his Steamships, by Stuart Rankin, 2003. Extract from the Proceedings of the Second Sympopsium on Shipbuilding on the Thames and Thames -built Ships, held at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. 15 February 2003. Edited by Dr. Roger Owen [ebook]
CROSS CHANNEL AND COASTAL PADDLE STEAMERS lists hundreds of paddle steamers which once plied the short sea routes and British coastal waters, not only for commerce but for pleasure trips. Apart from the railway companies´services, there were many others, some only operating one or two vessels.