Born in 1907 and educated at Haberdashers Askes School in Hampstead, London, Eric Treacy began his clerical career as a deacon in Liverpool in 1932. Shortly afterwards his interest in railways was sparked when he made friends with railwaymen of Edge Hill sheds, who became willing co-operators in his photographic pursuits.
In 1940 Treacy joined the Royal Artillery as a chaplain and was awarded the MBE for his services in North West Europe. On demobilisation he became Rector of Keighley and in 1949 Archdeacon of Halifax, both locations providing Treacy ample opportunity to photograph trains on the old LMS and LNER routes in the north of England. His career, culminating as Bishop of Wakefield, enabled him to stay in the North until his retirement in 1976. As a man of the Church, his parishes embraced railway stations and locomotive depots and throughout his career he always found the time to relax behind his camera, latterly pointing at diesels and electrics as well as steam locomotives.
Treacy always planned his desired shot well in advance, paying particular attention to the scenic setting, the performance of the locomotive, the weather and the position of the sun. He was a perfectionist and would not take a photograph unless all his requirements were met. In 1935 he joined the prestigious Railway Photographic Society. His early photographic work shows conformity with the Societys favoured three-quarter view of locomotive and train but he yearned to show more of the spirit of the railways, and believed that the landscape played a significant part in the overall picture. As a result his photographs can stand alongside that of top landscape photographers as well as that of locomotive enthusiasts.
Eric Treacys photographic career spanned 40 years and he was behind the camera, photographing the last BR steam locomotive Evening Star at Appleby Station, when he collapsed and died in 1978.