This is an excellent book by Andrew Roden which is well worth the read if you are interested in railways. These magnificent steam engines were, without doubt, the ultimate locomotives running in the UK.
And only a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see one of only 3 preserved Duchesses at the National Railway Museum in York. The other two locos are City of Birmingham which is exhibited at Birmingham’s Thinktank and Duchess of Sutherland which is at the Midland Railway Centre. Only Sutherland is presently operational.
Here are a few shots that I took of Duchess of Hamilton:-
These photos are amongst my Flickr shots at:-