ISSES 1997 Bulletin 1
Edited by Chris Allen
Ribblesdale Park, Ascot
In IB 18.1, pp2-3,
we reported on the private collection of Mr Richmond-Dodd. At that time,
his Pollit & Wigzell tandem compound was only part erected but he was
hoping to be able to complete the erection in 1996. We can now report that
the engine is now a runner and ISSES member Chris Evans has seen the videotaped
As before, we must
stress that this is a private collection and visits are strictly by arrangement.
Gloucester Docks, Gloucester
A visit to these docks
in February 1997 revealed a restored steam crane that has been made a focal
point of one of the restored quays. This is a rail-mounted self propelled
steam crane with power provided by vertical duplex cylinders and steam
from a vertical boiler. The crane was built in 1944 by Joseph Booth &
Bros, Rodley, Leeds to works No. 4973. The maximum capacity was 7½
tons at a 16' radius. It is nicely restored but static and can be seen
freely at any time.
Bolton Steam Museum, Mornington Road, Bolton (SD700099)
My last report on
this site was in IB 17.4, pp13-14. The Northern Mill Engine Society have
paid excellent progress on two major restoration programmes in the last
12 months and 1997 should see all their large engines re-erected.
The inverted vertical
compound engine from Diamond Rope Works has got most of the major components
together. These consist of bed, crankshaft, two part flywheel, columns,
entablature and cylinder. The entablature was fractured during removal
and required metal stitching, the join is scarcely visible. Work is now
commencing on the motion work. This latter includes a spectacularly bent
rod that will need "stretching" - millwright terminology for the process
of straightening bent rods.
The Cellarsclough McNaughted
beam engine is now about to enter an exciting phase of its restoration.
The lower works, including valve gear and governor are now complete and
a beam chamber has been constructed. This consists of the original cast
iron work supported on two sides by the museum's walls and on two sides
by an RSJ framework. The next stage is to use a very large "A" frame and
the Society's brand new 10 ton blocks to lift the beam into place. This
item weighs around five tons and was far too heavy for the building's existing
Thus, the first phase
of the works will come to an end. The second phase requires very serious
money and will convert the site into an habitable, working steam museum.
It is to be hoped that the NMES will be successful in this as 30 years
of gruelling work and multiple setbacks should be justly rewarded.
Williamsons, 8/18 Brook Street, Mumps Bridge, Oldham
In IB 18.4, p15 we
reported that this firm had an inverted vertical single cylinder (enclosed)
engine lying in a corner of their yard. We have now had a reply from Mr
David Williamson, one of the proprietors and are now able to provide more
The engine is Ashworth
& Parker No. 351, built in 1912 and supplied to Messrs Astbury &
Pickford of Delph who were textile manufacturers. The cost in 1912 was
£153. The single cylinder is 14" bore by 6" stroke and the engine
developed 50 hp at 400 rpm on steam at 70/90 psi. The engine exhausted
against 5/12 psi back-pressure.
The engine is not available
but Mr Williamson "would welcome any suggestion you might have wherein
one of your members, preferably in our locality, could possibly undertake
the restoration of this". Are there any takers?
Williamsons have a large
stock of items that are of potential use to anyone involved in steam restoration
and catalogues are freely available from the above address.
Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre, Rochdale
In IB 16.2, p5 we
reported that this covered shopping centre possessed a small horizontal
single cylinder engine coupled to a well pump and displayed behind a glass
screen. The centre's owners have decided that the space can be better utilised
and the engine is no longer on display. I would be grateful if anyone can
tell me what has become of it.
(John Phillp, Northern
Mill Engine Society
Centre for the Conservation of the Built Environment,
Bursledon Brickworks, Coal Park Lane, Swanwick (SU500098)
We can now report
that the first public steaming of the John Wood horizontal single cylinder
engine is now scheduled for Sunday September 14, 1997. The restoration
of this site has taken several years and the first steaming should be a
notable milestone in this development. It is to be hoped that some ISSES
representatives will be present on this occasion.
(Friends of Bursledon
Planned Maintenance (Pennine) Ltd, Vine Grove Works,
Commerce Street, Haslingden
ENGINE AVAILABLE FOR
In SB 9.4, p2, we reported
that Mr Jack Taylor of the above firm had acquired the c1885 W & J
Yates horizontal cross compound engine from Abbey Mill, Billington, Whalley.
The engine has lain
dismantled in secure storage for the last ten years and Mr Taylor has now
realised that he is unlikely to be able to reassemble it. Therefore, any
persons interested in acquiring a fine example of a mill engine should
contact Mr Taylor on 01706 831522 (work) or 01282 427284 (home).
The engine is of interest
as it is a gear drive engine and is fitted with cross cut-off gear on the
HP slide valve. This gear necessitates two governors on the same vertical
spindle. One acts as an overspeed throttle governor, the other acts to
change the point of cut-off by use of a set of friction cone pulleys to
lengthen or shorten a threaded link in the drive to the cut-off valves.
According to an insurance report of 23-3-72, the cylinders are 16" &
30" bores by 48" stroke and the engine ran at 56 rpm on steam at 100 psi.
On the day of the inspection
it was developing 135 ihp. George Cooper measured the bores directly in
1989 and reported them as 161/8" x 29". He also measured
the flywheel as 14' 6". According to various sources, the design horsepower
was between 250 and 350 ihp.
(Jack Taylor and Colin
Abbey Pumping Station, Corporation Road, Leicester
The Ruston Bucyrus
steam navvy at the Leicester Museum of Technology, in this former sewage
pumping station, has failed its boiler test and will now be a static exhibit.
The museum is moving from the control of Leicester County Council, so the
situation might change under new management.
The steam navvy was
an awesome sight in action, probably more so than an express locomotive,
and reminded everyone who saw it of Jurassic Park. It has a locomotive
boiler with a 14 square foot grate and three non-condensing twin simple
(duplex) engines. Two are side-by-side twins, one swung the excavator on
its crawler unit, the other (the crowd engine) is mounted on the boom and
used to drive the digging bucket forward by a rack on the bucket arm. The
remaining engine, a larger "V" twin has clutches which allowed it to hoist
the bucket or boom independently, or drive the crawler tracks. The hoist
and swing engines exhausted up the chimney, the crowd engine exhausted
directly to atmosphere at the end of the boom. When the navvy was working,
all three engines worked in sequence, and on a December steaming, with
the pant of the exhausts, clouds of steam and noise of the straight-cut
gears, the pandemonium was awe-inspiring.
(195 - Newsletter
of Friends of President, No. 34)
Sandfields Pumping Station, Lichfield
The South Staffordshire
Waterworks Company are reputedly going to leave this site. Details are
currently very sketchy, but it is believed that the J & G Davies Cornish
beam engine is not under threat. It is to be hoped that this is so as Cornish
waterworks engines are not a commodity that we can afford to lose.
(John Cooper and Claymills
Pumping Engines Trust)
Alder Mill Nurseries, Pinwall, near Atherstone (SP307993)
Two interesting machines
are privately preserved al fresco at this former watermill site
and are owned by Bob Williams.
Adorning the front
lawn is a horizontal single cylinder reciprocating machine with slide valve.
This was built by FW Brackett & Co Ltd, Colchester as works No. 26993.
The cylinder is c10" x 12" and there is a trunk crosshead guide and marine
type big end. There is a pulley, c3' diameter and grooved for vee belts.
This was one of a pair of machines installed in the Tate & Lyle sugar
factory at Fenny Stratford and in use until c1984.
are of a small steam engine and the owner perpetuates this by stating that
it drove a generator. Our UK editor is convinced that this is a motor driven
vacuum pump. Brackett built vacuum pumps (electrically and steam driven),
a sugar factory uses such pumps, the "flywheel" is rather light and vee
belt drive is unusual, and there is no evidence of governing gear.
The other machine is
a vertical artesian well pump by Legrand, Sutcliff and Gell, Artesian well
Engineers, London, works No. 76. This stands about 9' high and was driven
by a small single cylinder Lister internal combustion engine.
Both items are unrestored
and permission to visit should be sought from Mr Williams on 01827 717788.
The Brackett engine may be seen, without trespassing, from the adjacent
Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, Newhall Street,
This Museum is a treasure
trove of engineering exhibits as befits a city of the stature of Birmingham.
Birmingham is famous as the home of Boulton and Watt, Tangyes, Belliss
& Morcom, as well as being host to a whole variety of manufacturing
industries. The Museum has many steam exhibits, some of international importance,
and was the first British museum to run engines on steam regularly, since
1958. The exhibits include the oldest workable steam engine in the world,
a Boulton & Watt pumping engine of 1779, a Galloway uniflow engine,
an Easton & Amos Woolf compound beam engine, an intact Willans central
valve engine and many more besides.
The Museum is free
and is well visited by enthusiasts, casual visitors, school children, undergraduates
and serious researchers alike. It is also popular with overseas visitors
and in 1996 ISSES members from as far afield as Australia and the Virgin
Therefore, given its
undoubted excellence, I am sorry to report that the Museum is threatened
with imminent closure, possibly as early as June 1997. Further light is
shed on this by the following communication that I have received from David
Halls, Museum Steward of UNISON:-
What is happening to
the Birmingham Museum of Science & Industry?
The Birmingham Museum
of Science & Industry and its hands-on science centre, Light on Science,
are presently under the threat of closure at the end of June 1997.
This has come about
(apparently) because the Leisure & Community Services has decided to
focus its budget cuts on the Science Museum in the hope that the impact
of the closure will be offset by the opening of the new Discovery Centre
in July, 2001. The Discovery Centre is the Birmingham Museums & Arts
element of Millenium Point, one of the land-mark projects to celebrate
the coming millenium.
Feelings at the Science
Museum have changed from being generally excited at the prospect of a new
museum to that of extreme disappointment. it was anticipated that staff
currently employed at the Science Museum would not only contribute to the
development of the new centre but would also be a part of its future. Although
it was anticipated that there would be a transition phase between the Science
Museum closing and the new Discovery Centre opening, it is felt that four
years is a bit extreme!
The news of the potential
closure is giving rise to concern of not only members of staff at the museum
but also the community that the museum serves. A petition of over 20,000
signatures has already been collected to support the retention of the Science
From a museum employee's
point of view it throws into doubt the possibilities of being re-employed
in the new venture. More importantly it may mean that there will be no
science museum or science centre in the midlands region for some considerable
time. This will mean that a 7 year old will be 11, and a 12 year old may
even be leaving school by the time the Science Museum is replaced. They,
and the rest of the local community, will be denied access to not only
the museum's collections but also to an important aspect of Birmingham's
past and scientific heritage. What is perhaps worst is that the early closure
may undermine the good work already done by the Science Museum in promoting
museums and improving access to museums to the wider community.
Any ISSES members who
are concerned about the future of the Birmingham Museum of Science &
Industry, its collections, and the services it should provide should write
Councillor Theresa Stewart,
Leader of Birmingham
Birmingham B1 1BB.
A copy of the letter
should be sent to David Halls, Museum Steward, UNISON, 3rd Floor Mercury
House, 71 Cornwall Street, Birmingham B3 2EE.
Elliott Colliery, New Tredegar (S0147027)
The restoration of
this site is continuing and is hoped to be open to the public from Summer
1997, possibly July. I think it is fair to say that the restoration record
in Wales is less than sparkling, and the opening of this site will be a
most welcome addition.
The horizontal twin
tandem compound winder is a rare and impressive beast and this is the only
known example of an in situ engine with a diablo drum. It is to be hoped
that ISSES members will visit and lend their support to this worthy cause.