2018 Steaming dates  -  @


Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday - May 6th & May 7th

Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday - May 27th & 28th

Bank Holiday Sunday & Monday - August 26th & 27th

Saturday & Sunday - October 27th & 28th

Friday & Saturday - December 28th & 29th

10am - 4pm

As usual, there is free car parking on site and admission to the museum is free, although donations towards the cost of running the boiler would be appreciated.

We are always pleased to see interested visitors at the museum on most Wednesdays and Sundays, since these are the days when we have volunteers working on site. However, the engines are normally only viewable under static conditions (it may be possible to show a few in motion with electric drive)and between Open Days there may be minor access restrictions due to building and engine maintenance work.

If you are planning to travel any distance, other than on an Open Day, it is best to check beforehand.

Arrangements and charges for groups and coach parties are by negotiation. Special steamings can be arranged with advance notice. Please contact the Hon Secretary

Contact details are on the "About Us" page.


For the latest news, photos and updates, please see our Facebook page
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After further work, especially on the piston rod seals, the engine was successfully operated in steam at our August and September Open Days. We were delighted that Mr William Kenyon, whose company originally agreed that the Society might acquire the engine from their mill in 1977, visited the museum in September and ceremonially opened the main starting valve. Apart from some minor finishing touches, the engine is now complete.

Since the last update, much has been done. A new upper floor has been installed, handrails are being fitted and an access staircase built. An electric motor drive system has been manufactured and the valve timing sorted out. Since we had no drawings, this had to be determined from first principles. The engine has a unique supplementary ??trip?? slide-valve valve system (patented by James Lumb in 1892) which adds to the complexity. The engine has turned over on compressed air and we hope that it will be in steam for the forthcoming May Steaming Dates.

A milestone in the development of the museum was reached recently when we were awarded ??Accredited?? status by MLA (Museums Libraries and Archives Council). The Accreditation scheme sets nationally agreed standards for UK museums. To qualify, museums must meet basic requirements on how they care for and document their collections, how they are governed and managed, and on the information and services they offer to the public.

Some of the museum volunteers display the Accreditation certificate

This was a considerable achievement for an entirely volunteer-run museum and involved a lot of work to prepare the application. However, we are confident that it will be very worth-while and it indicates to the outside world that we operate to professional standards.

After a fantastic effort over the last few months, the flywheel has been cleaned, undercoated and finally hoisted into position. The four special keys are now fitted in the flywheel boss to secure it onto the crankshaft. The wheel used to carry two wide belts driving the machinery in the original mill and weighs about 6.5 tons.

The crankshaft of the engine has been cleaned and lifted up into position on top of the framework. New brass bearings had to be manufactured in our workshop since the originals were stolen but everything seems to fit correctly. The two flywheel halves were delivered in January and are now being cleaned, ready to move them to the other side of the museum and eventually lift them into place around the crankshaft, where they will be secured together by shrink-rings and bolts.

Assembly of the engine framework has continued for the last few months and is now largely complete. Trial installation of the crankshaft in the two bearing blocks (visible on top of the framework) is imminent. The valves have been fitted in the cylinders and the rods of the "parallel motion" have been installed on an experimental basis to see that everything fits. This fascinating motion ensures that the piston rod works vertically in the cylinder, without the need for a machined sliding cross-head. The original idea for this is credited to James Watt for use on one of his original beam engines in the 18th Century, but its use on a vertical engine is now very rare.

The main structural support columns of the vertical engine from Kenyons of Denby Dale have now been put in place on the foundations. The pistons, with new piston rods, have been installed in the cylinders. We have spent almost 3 months cleaning off the rust and mud from the columns, resulting in some of them now having rather thinner steel sections than when they left the steel works in 1900 (!) However, there is still plenty of strength left and we plan to soon start building a new frame at high level to anchor everything to the wall of the museum.

The foundations for the new engine have now been completed with the pouring of 20 tons of concrete in mid-May. The cast-iron bed-plates for the cylinders have been cleaned and placed in position. New holding-down bolts have been manufactured and have now been grouted into special holes cast into the foundation block. The bedplates have been lined and levelled and the two cylinders have been installed onto their locating flanges. The bedplates will eventually be grouted in postion. The cylinders have cleaned up remarkably well, considering that they have been stored outside for 30 years (!) and we do not anticipate any serious problems with the steam-tightness of the pistons when they are eventually fitted.

Construction of the foundations for the true vertical compound engine from Kenyons at Denby Dale is now in progress. Two skips of rubble have been removed and we await the pouring of the concrete in the next few weeks.

NEW ARRIVAL FEB 2009  -  @
We have decided to rebuild another important engine in the museum (the black-and-white picture shows it in its original location). This was rescued by our Yorkshire Branch in 1977 but for various reasons has remained in outside storage ever since - and has therefore suffered considerably from exposure to the weather. Some of the smaller parts arrived in late 2008 but the two cylinders and the crankshaft recently arrived at the museum to begin the restoration work.

The engine is believed to be a unique survivor of its type. It is a true vertical compound design with parallel motion linkage on the piston-rods, rather than sliding crossheads. It also has James Lumb's trip-gear working on a supplementary valve on the back of the main HP valve. This feature is also believed to be unique.

Its full history is not certain but it was rebuilt, using older parts, in 1900 and was installed at Jonas Kenyon's Dearnside Mills at Denby Dale, near Huddersfield.

JAN 2009 STEAMING  -  @
The steam weekend on 3/4th January was our most successful ever and, in spite of the cold weather, hundreds of visitors travelled from all over the country to be with us. We were far from certain that a steaming at this time of the year would be worthwhile but the success has definitely encouraged us to repeat the event on the same weekend next year (2010).

FLOOR FINISHED ! - DEC 2008  -  @
The new floor has now been screeded and painted and makes a fantastic difference to the appearance of the museum. Visitors can now walk right round the whole building on one level. The final project is to manufacture and install the safety handrailing.

MORE NEW FLOOR - OCT 2008  -  @
The new floor is being installed on the south side of the museum, using the same "beam-and-block" system that was so successful on the other side last year. This will provide a vast improvement in access to the engines and will mean the the whole museum is on one level.

Work has continued throughout the summer on restoring the 1888 John Musgrave barring engine that we acquired earlier this year. When dismantled, it showed evidence of a serious lack of maintenance during its life and a number of parts required major repair. The piston rings were so badly worn that completely new ones had to be manufactured before final assembly could take place. However everything was eventually sorted out and the engine ran in steam for the first time at our September Open Days, running very smoothly and quietly, providing a valuable addition to our barring engine collection (We now have 5 !)

NEW ARRIVAL - FEB 2008  -  @
Towards the end of 2007, we were able to acquire a new engine for the collection. This is the "barring engine" from the massive twin tandem compound engine that used to power Atlas No 6 Mill in Bolton (see larger picture in the 'archive' section of Picture Gallery). It is particularly appropriate that the engine should come into the collection since its original home was only some 100 yards away across the road. The main engine was built in 1888 by John Musgrave and Sons of Bolton and was something of a show engine for the manufacturer. The engine was scrapped in 1964 but this barring engine was preserved by Bolton's Museum Service, who have kept it in store for 40 years, to whom we are most grateful for the donation. The picture shows the "as-received" condition and work is now in hand to thoroughly overhaul and restore it.

Dec 2007 - NEW CONSTRUCTION  -  @
Our latest project is the construction of a new wall right across the museum at west end. This will serve to separate the workshop area from the rest of the museum and will (eventually) also provide space for new visitor toilet facilities. Part of the area behind the wall will be constructed with a heavy-duty load-bearing roof to provide storage facilities at high level, allowing us to free up space in the main museum. Unfortunately, while this is in progress, the museum looks like a building site once again (!)

Nov 2007 - NEW FLOOR  -  @
Having completed the installation of the beams and blocks, we have added a screed of concrete as the top layer. The work on this has gone very well and it is now largely complete over one side of the museum and two coats of epoxy floor-paint have now been applied, with impressive results.

June 2007 - NEW FLOOR  -  @
We have now started the installation of the new floor which will eventually cover almost half the museum area. The "beam and block" system has been selected since it is relatively fast, easy to install by our volunteer workforce and provides a heavy duty load-bearing floor. The picture shows work in progress to place the beams prior to infilling with standard concrete blocks. This will completely alter the appearance of the museum and will remove the somewhat strange appearance of the engines being installed in some sort of giant "swimmming pool".

Jan 2007 - STEAM AT LAST !  -  @

15 years after moving to the new building, we finally achieved our primary objective and raised steam for the first time in December last year. The new gas burner was commissioned by Dunphy Combustion Ltd of Rochdale – who generously donated it to the Society.

Testing of the engines will take place over the next few months and we hope that at least some of the engines will be working in steam on the May and August Open Days this year.

Aug 2006 - WORKING ON THE BOILER  -  @
The boiler dates from 1979 and has been completely stripped down and cleaned since it was not in very good condition - although still structurally sound. All the accessories and controls have been overhauled and are now being refitted. It has successfully passed NDT (ultrasonic) tests on all its welded joints and a hydraulic pressure test at 225 psi. We have installed a feedwater header tank (hotwell), chimney and blowdown vessel, together with mains water, gas and electricity supplies. New fibreglass insulation has recently been applied

The next tasks are to fit a new gas burner, connect this to the gas supply, commission a new control panel and raise some steam ! ! !

On February 1st - a bitterly cold day (!) - our "Wee Chieftain" steam boiler was extricated from temporary storage inside the museum and moved into its new home in the boilerhouse. Although it weighs about 8 tons, the whole exercise was carried out with superb skill and efficiency by our friends from Garsides Ltd of Halifax.

We are now stripping the boiler to clean it thoroughly and to prepare for the statutory inspections and tests that will be required.

Dec 2005 - NEW BOILERHOUSE  -  @
About two years ago, we were given a steam boiler to provide steam for the engines. Unfortunately there is no space inside the museum to accommodate it so we have had to construct a new boilerhouse outside, in part of our small car-park. This major investment for the Society was completed in December 2005 and we are now in the process of installing some of the equipment that will be required. We expect to actually move the boiler into its new home early in the New Year

NMES Multimedia  -  @
Videos of the Crossfield beam engine and the Musgrave non-dead-centre engine are now available on the website.
Click Engine Videos to view

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