300 locomotives were built by the London & North Western Railway at Crewe Works between 1881 and 1897 and were originally built for working heavy mineral trains particularly in South Wales and Cumberland. They became mixed traffic engines and many found employment on passenger trains with vacuum brakes and carriage heating equipment subsequently fitted to the entire fleet in the early days of 20th Century.
At the Grouping in 1923 all but 6 locomotives passed to the London Midland & Scottish Railway, the first withdrawal having taken place in 1921. 64 of the Class passed into British Railways ownership on Nationalisation of the railways in January 1948.
The last of the Class (No. 58926) was withdrawn from Pontypool in 1958 but fortunately was saved after an appeal. After spells in various locations including Penrhyn Castle near Bangor and the now closed Dinting Railway Centre, the preserved example is now resident on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway where it is in the custody of the Bahamas Locomotive Society.