In 1895, with the London and South Western Railway in desperate need of modern freight locomotives and its Locomotive Superintendent, William Adams, indisposed due to illness, Works Manager W.F Pettigrew broached the subject of ordering thirty 0-6-0 tender locomotives with the Locomotive Committee in February that year. The committee agreed in principle, expecting Adams to seek tenders for the work based on his designs, but it was to be his successor, Dugald Drummond, who got the ball rolling.
Drawing on his designs for the Caledonian Railway, the winning tender went to Dübs & Co, with a price of £2,695.00 per engine and tender (around £155,000 today) and delivery promised for June 30, 1897. Known as the “700” class or, from 1903/4, “Black Motors”, many of the components were standardised with the M7 locomotives, particularly boiler, cylinders and motion. Lever reversing, in common with locomotive and tender vacuum braking, made shunting duties quicker but the care and attention lavished on the locomotives’ appearance when they entered service meant that they were just as likely to be spotted on passenger specials or seaside excursions, as hauling main line goods duties.
Locomotive 693 was built at Dübs & Co, entering service in March 1897 and was allocated to Strawberry Hill. In April 1926 the locomotive received a new Maunsell superheated boiler, as well as a tender from K10 No.344. 1931 saw the locomotive being based at Exmouth Junction. Spells at Basingstoke, Feltham and Bournemouth followed post-nationalisation as 30693, the locomotive being withdrawn from 70C Guildford Shed in July 1961.