You may already know Keith from his ever expanding Youtube video channel and his work as Mainsteam.co.uk. If you don't and you just stumbled over here, his detailed instructional steam videos are well worth a watch!
One day, Keith called his daughter Charlotte into the studio to deliver his video statistics for the day. His enthusiasm and excitement for his increasing viewership, comments and likes is a pleasant expression to witness.
Keen to increase his video turn out, Keith was trying to get through as many questions and comments as he could before rushing out into his workshop to work on his steam engines. It became apparent that he needed to either duplicate himself into a small army of Keith's to keep up with tasks at hand. As this is scientifically impossible, Charlotte and Keith came up with a rather good idea as they sipped a cup of tea.
Charlotte's Steam Clinic was born to help give the best possible answers to the credible questions that come through to Keith everyday. Charlotte's skills as a website/graphic designer were utilised to build a user friendly forum and they both decided to put their heads together to help translate Keith's expansive knowledge of all things steam. They decided to create a new breed of videos for his channel to address various tips, questions and queries and Charlotte decided to present these videos. Having grown up with her Father, Charlotte's knowledge of steam related 'stuff' was more refined than that of the average, modern 'twenty-something' and she tends to crack fewer camera lenses in the process.
Keith Appleton grew up in the old, industrial town of Dewsbury in West Yorkshire. It was a town that boomed during the industrial revolution and once produced a staggering amount of 'shoddy and mungo' (textiles). Steam played a crucial role in the industrial developments across the entire North of England. From coal mining, steal production, textile productions of all kinds, the industrialisation of farming and the processing of food, the transportation of goods and people, steam power transformed the landscape and enriched the cultural heritage of the region.
Keith's early family home backed onto Dewsbury Train station, now a modern suburban connection to the surrounding towns and city of Leeds. In it's hay day it was a major vein of the Yorkshire steam train network and Keith had the best view in town! This is where his steam journey began.
[photo (left) Keith as a very small person watching
the trains go by]
[photo (below) Dewsbury Train station
circa 1900 - not too long before Keith was born!]
An entire life time of knowledge building and model building
has started to be shared thanks to the internet and as
Main Steam Models continues to grow, Charlotte
couldn't be happier to help with this task.
Charlotte also has fond childhood memories of visiting train
museums, locomotive events and day's out at what she called
'The Train Track' (Blackgates). Here's a photo (below right)
of Charlotte enjoying a drive with her passengers (her younger
sister Katharine and Keith's Cousin's son 'Little John').
Charlotte and her family also witnessed her Father hand building his own miniature railway around the garden at their family home in Dewsbury. It was a bit of a dream come true for Keith. His good friend John helped with the welding and 23 years later we still enjoy a tootle around the garden on Keith's meticulously hand crafted little engine 'KEN', named after his father. As time moves on, Keith's grandchildren and his friend's children/grandchildren get to enjoy it as much as Charlotte, Katharine and their sister Emma did as children.
[photo (right) present day in the Appleton family garden]
Charlotte left her home town of Dewsbury when she was 18. A true fusion of both her creative Mother, Gloria and her father Keith, she decided to study Television Production at Westminster University in London. Charlotte followed in her self-employed father's footsteps and worked independently in London, creating a small creative agency after
graduating. This work took Charlotte all over the world and her favourite projects were in West Africa. After directing an X-factor style national Television show in Ghana, Charlotte found herself in Accra
for the best part of 4 years. Taking after Keith for the gift of 'self teaching' Charlotte returned to the U.K with a more refined skill set.
Her home town of Dewsbury became her home once again and she currently enjoys living with her partner Danny and her Dad. Charlotte and Danny run a Production Company called Visual Trailer Limited and when they are not working on Charlotte's Steam Clinic, they produce music videos and work full time in branding, design, website development and printing / merchandising.
[photo (left) Charlotte at her older sister Emma's medieval wedding!]
In conclusion to this brief overview, Keith and Charlotte share many things in common. Their eccentricity, their obsessive nature, a thirst for knowledge, love of video production, creative projects, medieval things and now the art of sharing steam related knowledge. They hope you find this useful and thank you for tuning in!