ISSES Bulletin 1997 Issue 2

Edited by Chris Allen

The Thomas Glenister Co., Temple Works, High Wycombe (SU864936)

Shire Horse and Carriage Museum, Lower Gryllis Farm, Treskillard, Redruth

Bamford Mill, Bamford (SK205834)

Westthorpe Colliery, Killamarsh, Derbyshire (SK453797)

Pleasley Colliery, Pleasley

Midland Railway Centre, Stationary Engine Museum, Ripley (approx SK412518)

John Knowles & Co (Wooden Box) Ltd, Woodville (SK312184)

New Florence Iron Mine, North Molton (SS751319)

Near Maiden Newton (SY589953)

Oak Mount Mill, Wiseman Street, Burnley (SD835327)

Queen Street Mill, Harle Syke (SD868348)

Jubilee Mill, Padiham (SD797333)

Battersea Park, Battersea, London

Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford (TQ188780)

Bestwood Winding Engine, Bestwood

Royal Earlswood Hospital, Brighton Road, Redhill, Surrey

University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne

James Shires & Sons Ltd, George Street Mills, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield (SE118160)

Mill 3 Engine House, New Lanark, Nr Lanark

South Wales Miners Museum, Afan Argoed Country Park, near Cynonville

Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum, Cardiff

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

The Thomas Glenister Co., Temple Works, High Wycombe (SU864936)

In IB 16.1, p5 (1994), we reported that the two stationary steam engines were still in situ, although we had reported them as removed in 1991. We can now report that both engines have been removed and are believed to be in the hands of private preservationists.
The Marshall overtype has definitely been acquired by David Price of Churcham in Gloucestershire and is joining his small private collection of engines. Mr Price confirmed that the Davy, Paxman & Co Ltd horizontal tandem compound engine had already gone. It is believed that this is with Mr Richmond-Dodd of Ascot. Both engines had gone by May 1997.
(David Price)
CORNWALL

Shire Horse and Carriage Museum, Lower Gryllis Farm, Treskillard, Redruth

In IB 18.2, p16 we reported that the engine at the Penzance Laundry in New Lane, Penzance had been removed from the site and it was thought that it had been taken out for preservation. The engine has been spotted this year at this museum, placed on some loose timbers in the open air.
The engine is a horizontal single cylinder rotative by J J Lane Ltd of London and is thought to have been built around 1901. The cylinder is c12" bore x 1'3" stroke and is fitted with a slide valve, Pickering throttle governor, bent crank and overhung cylinder. The engine has a 5' diameter flywheel with a 10" wide face on one end of the crankshaft and a 3'6" diameter belt wheel, with 9" face, on the other end. The engine was out of use at the laundry by 1980 and the exact date when it was removed is not known.
It is understood that the engine is for sale. Any interested persons should contact the museum at the above address or by telephone 01209 713606.

 
John Sawle)
DERBYSHIRE

Bamford Mill, Bamford (SK205834)

Further to our report in IB 18.2, p20, we can report that a Trust is to be formed to run the engine. It is currently languishing in glorious filth; windows are out in places and the pigeons are in with small piles of excrement appearing everywhere as a result. The chimney has gone and the turbines, water and steam have all been scrapped. The workshop machinery has been scrapped with the exceptions of the long bed lathe and power hacksaw. These two items have been acquired by Clay Mills.
A boiler has been acquired and is waiting on the sidelines for when the new boiler house is built. The water supply has had to be re-arranged as the original sump was in what is now to be a £150,000 apartment. A new sump has been built below ground outside the engine room and should have a flow sufficient for the engine.
On a sour note, the makers' name plate has been stolen from the engine. This is a lovely brass casting, quite large and chunky. The steam pressure gauges and mounting have also recently gone the same way. If anyone knows anything please notify Chris Evans or Chris Allen, the police are now also aware. If anybody has a suitable replacement gauge set and board to donate we would be most grateful.

 
(Chris Evans)

Westthorpe Colliery, Killamarsh, Derbyshire (SK453797)

This colliery closed in 1987 and the headgear was felled on 1st July 1987. The only part of the colliery left standing was the winding engine house and an adjacent building. The engine house contained a small horizontal duplex winding engine, built in 1924 by Robey & Co Ltd of Lincoln. This was subject to an abortive project to develop an industrial museum on site and had latterly been inaccessible for some time.
More recently, the need to relocate it had become pressing as the site is about to be redeveloped. It has now been reported that the engine is to be re-housed by the Barrow Hill Shed Society who hope it to display it as a working exhibit. The Barrow Hill Shed is a railway roundhouse, itself saved at the eleventh hour, located at Barrow Hill, between Staveley and Chesterfield.
We are heartened that another winder is to be preserved as the rate of attrition among such engines has been very high over the last few years.

 
(The Chesterfield Advertiser, 13th June 1997)

Pleasley Colliery, Pleasley

This site was visited by a group of ISSES members on the day of our AGM, 1st June, 1997. We were treated to a history of the site, the proposals for its development and a tour of the engine houses. We were also able to see the newly arrived Lancashire boiler from Woodville.
Since our last report (IB 18.2, p20) the Friends of Pleasley Pit have been successful in having a temporary roof erected over the Lilleshall1 winder and in obtaining help with refurbishment from Markhams of Chesterfield. The Lilleshall winder was seen to be partly dismantled with the guide bars away for machining. One of the Cornish valves had been lifted for our benefit and we were able to inspect the construction and feel the sharp edges of the seats. The next stage in the refurbishment is to lift the drum and inspect the main bearings.
In the meantime, there is much behind the scenes work in progress to form a Trust, seek finance and to ensure the development of the whole site. This is a very audacious project but it has got off to a good start and will hopefully continue to thrive. It is most gratifying to see a site that appeared to heading for oblivion being given a new lease of life.
Footnote 1 The older of the two winders is reputed to have been built in 1902 by Lilleshall Co Ltd, Oakengates. At least two very knowledgeable ISSES members do not subscribe to this view and a very lively discussion ensued; sadly, there appeared to be more heat than light and the issue is still not resolved.

 
 
(Chris Allen)

Midland Railway Centre, Stationary Engine Museum, Ripley (approx SK412518)

The Midland Stationary Power Group are currently building a museum of prime movers in a new purpose-built building. These are largely of the internal combustion variety but there are three significant steam engines on display and a rather less inspiring inverted vertical single cylinder (enclosed) by E Reader of Nottingham. I did not take any notes of this engine but can offer the following for the others:-
a) Inverted vertical compound (enclosed) by Ashworth & Parker, Bury. This is No. 2092 of 1954 and is claimed to be one of two supplied to Avenue Coking Works, Wingerworth. It was acquired from a scrapyard in Rotherham. The tachometer is red-lined at 378 rpm, the disc flywheel is 53" diameter by 8" wide and it is coupled to the centre disc of what is presumed to be a rotodynamic device (centrifugal pump or blower).
b) Inverted vertical compound (enclosed) by Belliss & Morcom Ltd, Birmingham. This is serial No. 9371, ordered in 1937 by Advanced Laundries Ltd for a laundry in Folkestone. It is size V8 with cylinders of 11 & 18 x 8". It took steam at 160 psi and developed 125 kW at 500 rpm. It is direct coupled to an Electric Construction Co alternator, No. 111982. The disc flywheel is 46" diameter by 7" wide. According to a member of the Group, it went from the laundry to a tannery in Dorset but was never installed.
c) Horizontal duplex winch by Clarke Chapman, Gateshead. This came from Bilsthorpe Colliery and is an 8 x 12" with Stephenson reverse and two speeds.

 
(Chris Allen)

John Knowles & Co (Wooden Box) Ltd, Woodville (SK312184)

This nicely derelict site in an area providing fine example of industrial landscape, has been demolished during 1997. Within the works, hidden behind some strongly growing young trees, was a ramshackle engine house hiding a rotten floor and a medium sized horizontal single cylinder engine. This basic slide valve machine was built by Buxton & Thornley Ltd, Burton-on-Trent, c1900 or earlier.
The engine has now been removed and is in store at Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville. A Lancashire boiler and its fittings has been transported to Pleasley Colliery (q.v.) where it will be used to provide steam for the winding engines. Further fittings have found a home with Claymills Pumping Engines Trust.

 
(Dave Caroline)
DEVON

New Florence Iron Mine, North Molton (SS751319)

Reference to this site and the probability of a steam engine here was found some time ago by Colin Bowden but an attempt to find it was hampered by an incorrect grid reference. However, a recent trip to locate the remains of this mine and to confirm whether an engine survives was more successful.
The site is situated in the bottom of a wooded valley below Radworthy Down not far from the edge of Exmoor. The 25" 1903 ordnance survey map shows a series of mine shafts running across one side of the valley. Remains of these shafts are still visible, although the geography of the paths in the area has changed somewhat. The mine shaft of interest is the one in the bottom of the valley near a small stream, which was thankfully on the side of one of the footpaths.
The small shaft is filled in and surrounded by a small fence. Off to one side is a small building, which presumably once housed the winding engine and the boiler. Both of these latter items survive outside the house, but close by.
The engine is located near the top of the shaft. It is a horizontal duplex by Clarke, Chapman & Co, Gateshead. It typical of their products with two bar crosshead guides, disc crank (with the manufacturers name cast on), Stephensons reverse linkage and slide valves. The cylinders are about 4" bore by 8" stroke. There are a few missing parts; bearings, lubricators and the right hand side valve chest - and needless to say it is in a rusty condition. The drum is mounted on inclined bearings and is about 14" diameter to the rope path. The drum can be turned at two speeds, being clutched in by one of two pinions on the crankshaft. The boiler, which is a vertical type, is to be found lying on its side on the other side of the building. The grate door has the name Ashanks & sons cast on it.

The site is a brisk fifteen to twenty minute walk from the nearest road if you navigate your way directly to it. This is probably preferable to spending a couple of hours in the pouring rain walking up and down the valley side!
 

(John Cooper)
DORSET

Near Maiden Newton (SY589953)

In SB 5.1, p7, we reported the existence of an egg-ended boiler, in use as a water tank at a farm near Maiden Newton (SY590958). This rare object has since moved about quarter of a mile to the new location quoted above and can now be found in front of a pig farm.
It is made of many small wrought iron plates and carries the name of Lotte and Walne. One end is hemispherical and the other has a shorter radius curve meeting a flat plate. This seems to be a more recent modification, perhaps dating from its conversion to a water tank. Maybe the boiler once had an internal flue or firebox, perhaps U-shaped as on a Trevithick engine? Do any readers have any views on this matter?

 
(Chris Hereward)
LANCASHIRE

Oak Mount Mill, Wiseman Street, Burnley (SD835327)

This site, also known as Wiseman Street Mills, contains a gear drive horizontal cross compound mill engine dating from 1887 and described in IB 16.1 pp8-9. This engine is now in the care of Friends of the Weavers' Triangle but is not publicly accessible in 1997. This is due to mechanical refurbishment resulting in the engine being part dismantled. We do not know whether this refurbishment will culminate in the engine being steamed but certainly hope that it will. It would be a shame if it were to suffer the same fate as the New Lanark engine (q.v.).

 
(Colin Bowden and Chris Evans)

Queen Street Mill, Harle Syke (SD868348)

In IB 15.3, p5 we reported that the re-opening of this preserved weaving shed would be delayed until 1994. It now appears that this was a little optimistic as the opening was delayed until 1997! We were informed of the re-opening by Ian Gibson, Principal Keeper Industrial Museums who has kindly sent us the Temporary Guide Leaflet, dated May 1997. This commences with - "The restoration project for the mill is not yet complete but we hope you will enjoy what we have to offer." Thus, even after several years the project is still not quite complete, but at least the site is now available to the public.
It is open Tuesday to Friday inclusive and Bank Holiday Mondays, from 1030 to 1700 hours. The horizontal tandem compound engine is now in steam and running at its proper rated speed. There is a lack of intrusive guarding and the public are allowed to inspect the engine at close quarters, at the discretion of the staff. ISSES member Colin Bowden, well known for his liking of authenticity, visited the site in July and was well pleased with the atmosphere that has been maintained.
This site is now one of our best preserved examples, a microcosm of the Lancashire cotton weaving industry and Burnley Council are to be congratulated on their efforts to present it to the public.
(Ian Gibson and Colin Bowden)

Jubilee Mill, Padiham (SD797333)

In SB 8.2, p5, we reported that although the mill had been demolished the engine house and its 1888 gear drive horizontal cross compound engine had been retained and were in the ownership of Mr R Mountford-Haram.
It is now alleged that he has plans to transfer the engine to a mill in Cromford, presumably Masson Mill. The engine has deteriorated somewhat but still turns over freely.

 
(Chris Evans)
LONDON

Battersea Park, Battersea, London

Located in Battersea Park is a pump house building which was used to pump water for the fountains in the park. The building has a date stone which shows it having been built in 1861. The engine used to pump the water was removed many years ago. However, it is reported that it has now been found and there is a proposal to restore it and put it on display outside in the park during this summer. Does anyone else have any more details on this or the engine?

 
 
(Eric Morris)
MIDDLESEX

Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Green Dragon Lane, Brentford (TQ188780)

Following the award of Heritage Lottery money and other grants, this museum is setting up a new £800,000 permanent exhibition, devoted to telling the fascinating and for the most part unknown story of London's water supply history. As ISSES members are aware, stationary engines enclosed in buildings are not easy to market to a general public who for the greater part only recognise steam in the form of railway engines.
This has been an ongoing problem at Kew since it first opened as a museum, and it is hoped that this new display will broaden the site's appeal to a wider audience, with the intention of doubling visitor numbers. This is vital to maintain this museum's long term financial stability.
The new exhibition will be housed in the former No. 2 boilerhouse, that itself being a grade two listed building is of considerable interest. Following the removal of the six Lancashire boilers in 1958, the subterranean portion of the room was filled with builder's rubble, to create a new floor at the same level as the existing museum car park. It was realised with the availability of Lottery money, that if excavated the room would provide two storeys with space for a larger shop and reception, a mezzanine gallery for temporary exhibitions, an archive store, and a large increase in general display space for the main exhibition.
Between February and October 1996 the room was indeed "dug out", uncovering features such as boiler brickwork, settings, blow down pits and flue tunnels. The original blue brick firing floor was also uncovered, a portion of which has been retained. At the same time, the museum's own Lancashire boiler was lowered down an incline of approximately 25 degrees to rest in its new display setting 7' down. Since then the room has been converted and renovated, and the installation of the exhibition is now under way.

The new exhibition will be fun and informative in its approach, and will cover aspects of water supply from sourcing, treatment, and pumping, through to use in industry and in the home; over the periods between the Roman occupation to the present day. All of which will help the public to understand the historic Kew site more easily.

A celebrity opening was due to take place on July 15 for the press launch and from July 16, 1997 onwards the public will be permanently open to the public. The steam engines will still only operate at weekends however.
 
 

(Richard Albanese)
NOTTINGHAMSHIRE

Bestwood Winding Engine, Bestwood

In IB 17.4, p16, we reported that a volunteer group were working on the engine and were installing a drive system using an endless wire rope and an electro-hydraulic haulage engine. This system is now operable and on the day of our AGM, 1st June 1997, a party of ISSES members were treated to the stately spectacle of the engine being slowly turned over. Although not as good as steam, it is still quite a sight seeing so much metal in motion.
Work is proceeding on the restoration of the site and admission remains by prior arrangement with Bestwood Country Park.
(Chris Allen0
SURREY

Royal Earlswood Hospital, Brighton Road, Redhill, Surrey

This hospital, opened in the 1840s, was the first in this country to provide proper treatment for mentally ill patients through their rehabilitation back into the community. This approach went against the ideas of "locking people up and throwing away the key" and helped to pioneer medical reforms throughout the country.
Up until 1968 the hospital generated its own electricity using three Belliss & Morcom engines and, following closure of the power plant, the smallest was transferred to the hospital museum, to become an exhibit. The others were scrapped.
This typical example of a small high speed engine became homeless following the closure of the hospital in March 1997 and with great panic had to be moved elsewhere. It has now been put into safe storage, pending transfer to a new heritage attraction that is currently being set up. ISSES members will be given further details as they become available.
Using the available information, Colin Bowden is fairly sure that the surviving engine is Belliss & Morcom No. 9405, ordered in 1937 for Royal Earlswood Institution. This is an inverted vertical duplex (enclosed) of type D1 with cylinders of 6" x 5". It took steam at 75/80 psi, exhausted against a back-pressure of 5 psi and ran at 700 rpm. It is direct coupled to a 20kW Bruce Peebles dynamo generating 100V at 200A.

The other two engines were also coupled to Bruce Peebles dynamos of 40kW and 60kW. The smaller engine was No. 9144 of type D3, ordered in 1935, with cylinders 8½" (2) x 5". This also ran at 700 rpm and took steam at 80 psi, later raised to 100 psi. The larger was No. 8845 of type D5A, ordered in 1934, with cylinders 10" (2) x 7" and running at 525 rpm on 80 psi.

According to Mr T Sherriff, the Belliss engines replaced three Alley & MacLellan engines that had been installed in 1901.
 
 

(Richard Albanese and Colin Bowden)
TYNE AND WEAR

University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne

In IB 18.4, p17 we reported that the test engine, formerly at this site, had been acquired by person(s) unknown. We can now reveal that it has turned up at Markham Grange Nursery, Brodsworth, having been acquired by Tommy Nuttall.

 
 
(Colin Bowden)GWENT
WEST YORKSHIRE

James Shires & Sons Ltd, George Street Mills, Milnsbridge, Huddersfield (SE118160)

I am sure that many members will recall this site and its three high speed (enclosed) engines. These were all installed in the 1980's and were part of an integrated heat and power system. They were a first class example of the way in which reciprocating steam engines could be used in a modern setting and we all hoped that they would have a long and productive life.
This was not to be. Apparently they had not run for some four years and Shires had sold their old mill to a development company. They were undertaking at least some demolition and a visit on 25 May showed that the roof was off the main block, the area where the Ashworth & Parker stood had been swept away, the boiler house was gone and the engine house where the Bellisses were was bricked up. Then, on 2 June 1997, disaster struck - the mill was largely consumed by fire and has subsequently been demolished. The fine chimney has also gone. Recent enquiries by Colin Bowden found that it is believed that all three engines have gone.
This site was described in SB 5.3, p11 and SB 10.4, p3. The Engines were as follows:-
a) Belliss & Morcom inverted vertical compound, No. 9516 of 1939. A 150 kW machine, bought secondhand and installed in 1980.

b) Belliss & Morcom inverted vertical compound, No. 3373 of 1907. A 75 kW machine, transferred from Saddleworth and commissioned in 1983.

c) Ashworth & Parker inverted vertical duplex, No. 2044 of 1953. A 120 kW machine (150 kVA), installed secondhand.
 

(Chris Allen and Colin Bowden)
SCOTLAND
LANARKSHIRE

Mill 3 Engine House, New Lanark, Nr Lanark

In IB 16.3, p13 we reported that the re-erection of the Petrie horizontal twin tandem compound engine was proceeding apace and that it was intended to steam it on completion. Sadly, it appears that this is not happening. The engine has been completed without its condensing apparatus and is now being rotated by an electric motor.
This is a great pity as Scotland is largely devoid of steamable engines and this appears to be a missed opportunity. It is a double pity as the original plan was to use hydroelectricity to raise steam in an electrode boiler; as close as we are likely to get to a renewable energy powered steam engine (forgetting chicken manure for a moment).

 
(Chris Evans)
WALES
GLAMORGAN

 

South Wales Miners Museum, Afan Argoed Country Park, near Cynonville

A small mining museum, run by volunteers, has been incorporated into this small country park. This is situated up the valley from Port Talbot on the A4107. Admission to the area with the steam exhibits is free but there is a further exhibition building that can be entered for a mere 50 pence. The section most likely to interest ISSES members consists of two new 20' long single storey buildings and a narrow strip of open display area that is about 60' long. Nonetheless, some interesting exhibits have been crammed into this space.
The pride of the indoor collection is a most unusual and rare three cylinder vertical, single acting, geared haulage engine. This is the patented "Victor" design by Sheppard & Sons, New Foundry, Bridgend and is their "size 10". It was acquired from the Coegnant Pit in the Llynfi Valley, where it worked until 1982. The slide valves are worked by cranks on a gear driven layshaft and reversing was achieved by an internal spline arrangement on the driven gear (this is currently seized). The open-topped cylinders contain trunk pistons with perforated skirts through which the air apparently exhausts inwards from the valve chests. This arrangement caused much discussion and bafflement; such that Larry Ferris has talked them into letting him go back with a spanner. Manufacturer's literature is on display and makes it clear that this device was designed to use compressed air from the outset, for use underground. This particular example is believed to have gone to Coegnant about 1900, but may have been secondhand; Sheppards date back to 1868, when they took over the Ogmore Ironworks. If any member knows more about the workings of this haulage engine, or of Sheppards, could they please contact Chris Allen.
The other winch in the "engine house" is a conventional horizontal duplex geared two drum winch by John Mills of Llanidloes. This came from Wyndham Western Mines at Ogmore where it worked until 1983. This engine has cylinders c4" x 6", Stephenson link reverse, trunk guides and disc cranks. Both this and the above engine can be demonstrated turning on compressed air.

Also on working display are two somewhat unusual air-powered items. The smaller of the two is flame-proof roof lamp powered by an integral turbine; a device characterised by more noise than light. The other item is a c2' diameter axial flow ventilation fan with a peripheral runner housed in an aluminium casing. Such a device is no longer permitted underground as aluminium has been found capable of creating a spark.

The main item of interest on static display outside is the well known inverted vertical duplex, geared, endless haulage winch that used to occupy one of two winding engine house foundations at Marine Colliery, Cwm (see photograph in IB 17.4, p59). This has "EVA 1863" cast on to one slide chest cover and it is believed this may refer to Ebbw Vale Iron Company's Abersychan Ironworks. We had lost track of this engine for a while following the closure of Marine Colliery and it is good to see that it has found a safe home.

Other outdoor exhibits include a headgear sheave from St John's Pit, Maesteg (closed 1985), the rope drum from the self-acting gravity incline at Empire Mine high level adit at Cwmgrach, Vale of Neath and a compressed air turbine boring machine used for methane drainage at Afon Colliery. For the railway enthusiast, there is also a selection of narrow-gauge "drams", including two small plateway wagons and track from Llynfi Ironworks (1839-1886) and a short piece of iron plate edge-rail track with cast iron "sleepers".

All in all, this is an attractive little site and worth a visit. The volunteer staff are also very knowledgeable about the area's mining history.
 

(Chris Hodrien)

Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum, Cardiff

Following news in the last Bulletin of the proposed closure of the Birmingham museum of science and industry, comes the further unwelcome news of the same fate for another of our provincial museums. It would appear that the museum, which is located in the dock area of Cardiff, is due for closure in October this year.
The museum has a number of interesting stationary steam engines the most impressive of which is a horizontal twin tandem triple expansion engine built by Walker Bros and was used to drive a ventilation fan at Crumlin Navigation Colliery. Rated at 500 hp and with cylinders of 15", 23½" & 26" (x2) bore by 3'3" stroke, this is an important survivor. Amongst the other engines the museum has in its care are a Harvey & Co of Hayle single cylinder beam pumping engine from Llanishen reservoir; table engine by Neath Abbey Iron Co., Neath, from Cadoxton Brewery; single cylinder haulage engine by Llewellyn & Cubitt, Pentre, from Park Colliery in the Rhondda; and numerous other small and high speed engines.

 
 
 
(Larry Ferris)