It is heartening to see that progress is
being made by the small team of volunteers and we wish them well.
(John Cooper and Chris Hodrien)
The slide valve cylinder is c15" x 2' 6" and the flywheel is 9' 9" diameter. Other design features include a single slipper crosshead guide, marine big end, disc crank and Pickering type governor. The engine is currently in the workshop at Quarry Bank Mill and it will not be installed before late 1999, at the earliest.
This engine should complete the story of
power at Quarry Bank Mill and the visitor will then be able to appreciate
the whole complex story of power production at the mill.
The 1873 house holding the Markham engine has been completely re-roofed with traditional slates over timber boarding. The original metal trusses have been used but very little of the wood could be salvaged. We were able to inspect the roof from internal and external scaffolding and were most impressed by the scale and quality of the work. Work had also started on the refurbishment of the chimney, including rebuilding the top 12', internal and external pointing, and work on the steel bands. The Lilleshall engine house is also about to get a new roof. This work is all being sponsored by English Partnerships.
The Lilleshall winder is also receiving a major overhaul and at the time of our visit was dismantled to the point where only major components were intact. The final re-assembly is awaiting the new roof. Work will then switch to the Markham winder.
Considering that this site was in a dreadful state and was very nearly lost, all this major progress is most heartening. We will bring you further reports as work progresses.
(John Cooper and Chris Allen)
It is not known whether these developments will result in any stationary steam engines being placed on display or any of their poorly stored engines being afforded better storage. In the past, some of Beamish's engines have been stored in the open and have suffered accordingly. It would be most gratifying if some of the funds were to be used to preserve and/or display stationary engines.
(Tramways & Urban Transit, February 1999)
The engine house is now fully restored and the boiler house is ready for final conversion. It is hoped to be open, with time to spare, for the new year "Millennium" celebrations. All the windows in the engine house have been opened up and the two Cornish engines restored and painted. We saw them in the gathering dusk and were impressed with the standard, although the bright work still looks pitted.
This project certainly looks promising and we are still waiting to hear from the first ISSES member to partake at the finished watering hole.
(Chris Allen, John Cooper & John Porter)
The Cellarsclough McNaughted beam engine is now effectively complete and the engine has been turned on its barring engine. This is now the only complete McNaught compound beam engine in the United Kingdom and is a great tribute to the NMES and its band of volunteers.
The horizontal single cylinder fire pump from Fern Mill, Shaw was also seen to be largely finished. This engine had spent in excess of 15 years outdoors and required major restoration, including new bearings and a new slide bar. It had been intended to give this a cosmetic restoration only but the NMES had been unable to resist the temptation to do a proper job.
Work is now in progress on the re-erection of the J Barraclough vertical single cylinder engine from Redfern's Glassworks, Barnsley. This had previously been in the bottom of the rope race in the earlier museum at Atlas Mills.
The Society have now nearly restored and re-erected their stock of engines and desperately need funds to finish the museum and open to the public. The major tasks that remain are, installing a false floor, building a boiler house and chimney, finding and installing a boiler, and installing the steam and exhaust plumbing. These items require approximately £100,000 and the NMES are again pursuing lottery funding. It is to be hoped that this project will attract the funding that it so clearly deserves!
(John Cooper and Chris Hodrien)
(Snibston Discovery Park)
Their removal has now become a matter of urgency and if a suitable benefactor is not found, they will be scrapped. Indeed, it is possible that this may already have occurred.
(Snibston Discovery Park)
The only major problem was the failure, whilst being warmed with a trace of steam, of a 12" bulkhead valve in the steam main. This would have doomed their efforts to failure without the presence of a 2" tapping from the boiler shell, independent of the main steam valve. Number 5 boiler is the only one so equipped and it was fortunate indeed that this is the one to have been restored. Work is now in hand to replace both 12" valves with a straight section of pipe.
Another major feat of restoration was completed in early 1999 when outside contractors laid a wood block floor throughout the workshop area. This is a replica of the original floor and used blocks donated from Rugeley A Power Station. The work was funded by a generous grant from Consolidated Charity of Burton.
The Trust arranged a VIP steaming for 27 March, followed on 28 March by a free steaming for all present and former members. These events were a great success and the plant performed almost flawlessly. The first public steaming was arranged for Easter and should by now be history.
Occasional public open days are being held and are variably attended. The adjoining filter house and offices have been demolished and the site will be disposed of. At the moment, work is progressing well and it is to be hoped that the engine now has a more assured future.
(BBC 1, Midlands Today, 13-1-99)
Unfortunately it was expected that Agnes, the 1909 Pollit & Wigzell tandem compound from Washpit Mills, would not quite be finished in time. A visit on 14 March 1999 revealed that erection was well advanced but that much still remained to be done. At the time of our visit, the bed, cylinders, crankshaft, flywheel boss and arms, and some of the valve gear were assembled. This still left the flywheel rim, motion, governor and condenser to install. The standard of work was most impressive, with deep, solid foundations and all the components had been stripped, cleaned and painted or polished as appropriate. This is no mere "bolt it together" job, this is a proper strip down restoration that is a credit to Tom's team.
Also on site, in the open, were two steam turbine driven exhausters that had been acquired from the Monckton Coke & Chemical Co at Royston. This site has had a major new boiler house built and leaves us wondering what became of the Belliss & Morcom compound and dynamo that used to be there. At one time there was also a derelict inverted vertical single cylinder Marshall and several working non-rotative pumps. We would welcome any further information about this site.
It is expected that we will be able to bring you further news about the return to steam of Agnes and the further development of Tom's impressive collection in future Bulletins,
(John Cooper and Chris Allen
(Museums Journal, December 1998)