ISSES Bulletin 1997 Issue 3

Edited by Chris Allen

Anson Museum

Beacon Cottage Farm, St Agnes, Redruth

Gratton Model Engineering, 39 Whitaker Street, Derby (SK353347)

Pleasley Colliery, Pleasley (SK498644)

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

A Dyke, Netherhall Nursery, Nether Hall Road, Roydon (TL400080)

Crossness Pumping Station, Belvedere Road, Erith (TQ484811)

Borough of Tower Hamlets

Milestones, West Ham, Basingstoke

Southampton Institute of Higher Education, East Park Terrace, Southampton

Centre for the Conservation of the Built Environment, Bursledon Brickworks, Coal Park Lane, Swanwick (SU500098)

Henwood Pumping Station, Wallis Road, Ashford (TR021429)

Stamford Steam Brewery Museum, Stamford (TF028071)

Granary Museum, Claydon (SP458500)

Potters Arts and Leisure, Swan Works, Pelsall Road, Brownhills (SK039053)

Sandhaven Boatyard, near Fraserburgh (NJ965675)

Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain

BED AND BREAKFAST, Munlochy

Belnahua Slate Quarry, Belnahua (NM713127)

Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine, Ponterwyd, near Aberystwyth (SN733808)

Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum, Cardiff

Hetty Shaft, Tymawr Colliery, Hopkinstown, Pontypridd (ST054910)

Big Pit Mining Museum, Blaenavon (SO239088)

Glyn Pits, Pontypool (ST265999)

 

 

CHESHIRE
 

ANSON MUSEUM

Work has started on re-erecting the ex Hazel Grove engine at the museum. The engine is being installed with a view to eventually steaming it again, although at this stage there are no firm proposals for this. There is no programme or specific target date for completion of the restoration, with work going on when time is available.
The engine was originally at the Albion Mills in Commercial Road, Hazel Grove in Cheshire and was removed for preservation by the Anson Museum in 1984/5. It is a horizontal cross compound built in 1903 by S S Stott and Co of Haslingden.

We wish the best to the museum for starting this project. The completion of re-erection of this engine, especially if brought back to steam would enhance an already fine museum collection, and Geoff Chandler and his team are to be congratulated on their efforts

(John Cooper)
 

CORNWALL

Beacon Cottage Farm, St Agnes, Redruth

As reported in IB 18.4, p12, the engine formerly at the Devenish Redruth Brewery (latterly the Cornish Brewery) was acquired in 1996 by ISSES member John Sawle. Mr Sawle had intended to re-erect the engine in a barn on his farm and restore it to drive stone corn milling machinery, however, he has now found it necessary to sell this engine. Although at the present time the Trevithick Society have the first refusal on it (until the end of next January), if this is not taken up the engine will be available to anyone interested.
The engine is complete and is a horizontal single cylinder. The slide valve cylinder was built as a 7" bore by 1'4" stroke, but was rebored to 7½". The flywheel is 5'9" diameter with a 5" face and is the heaviest component at 700kg. The cast iron flat bedplate is 8'11" long by 1'8" wide. Mr Sawle purchased a 9' x 2' x 2' thick granite bedstone to set the engine on and this is also available.

Mr Sawle is looking to recoup his expenditure on the engine, which totals £1250. Anyone interested should make contact at Beacon Farm Cottage Farm, St Agnes, Cornwall, TR5 0NU.
 

(John Cooper)
 
 

DERBYSHIRE

Gratton Model Engineering, 39 Whitaker Street, Derby (SK353347)

In about September 1996 this company acquired the W H Allen inverted vertical compound (enclosed) engine formerly at Ferrybridge Power Station in West Yorkshire (see IB 14.1, p7). The dynamo was broken up for scrap and there were plans to sell the engine on to a customer. However, the sale did not take place and the engine now sits in the middle of the model engineering workshop, surrounded by an assortment of lathes, machine tools, miniature gauge locomotives and other steam models.
Unfortunately the maker's plate on the engine is missing and the only plate on the engine is fixed to the governor gear and reads:- "Allen's Patent No. 12495, 1903. It is not known if the 1903 date relates to the year of building or just the date of the patent (Editor's comment:- almost certainly the year of the patent).

Visitors and customers are welcome and usually get offered a cup of tea if they call during the lunch break.
 

(Brian Hillsdon)
 

Pleasley Colliery, Pleasley (SK498644)

The confusion concerning the older of the two winding engines ( see IB 19.2, 15) seems to have been largely dispelled by study of appropriate Lilleshall drawings. These reveal that it is indeed a Lilleshall engine although incorporating some parts of an earlier Worsley Mesnes engine. It is to be hoped that a full account of this engine and its many rebuilds may eventually be provided for ISSES members.
(Robert Metcalfe)

 
 

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

Further to our report in IB 19.2, p16, we must add that British Coal were responsible for donating the engine and boiler from this site and assisting in their removal. All parties concerned wish to express their thanks to British Coal for their support.

 

(Robert Metcalfe
 

ESSEX

A Dyke, Netherhall Nursery, Nether Hall Road, Roydon (TL400080)

Until the weekend of 15 and 16 November 1997, this site possessed an inverted vertical compound (enclosed) engine by Peter Brotherhood Ltd of Peterborough. This is No. 43237 with piston valve cylinders of 9½" and 15" bores by 8" stroke. It was designed to take steam at 120 psig and exhaust against a back pressure of 5 psig. The disc flywheel is 39" diameter by 73/4" wide. It is direct coupled to a Crompton Parkinson 3 phase alternator. This is No. 157334, rated at 75kVA at 500 rpm.
It was ordered on 24 September 1930 by Crompton Parkinson for the Ideal Laundry, Chatham. Peter Brotherhood reconditioned it, under repair No. 90391, at the end of 1944 for the then owners, Leys Steam Laundry, Union Lane, Cambridge. It is then alleged to have gone to a north Kent Laundry before spending a period of time in store at a nursery in North Weald. Netherhall Nursery acquired it in 1972 and it was set up to generate and exhaust to atmosphere. However, it would appear that it was not used in anger and last ran c 1986.

A change in the ownership of the nursery made its removal or scrapping a priority. Fortunately, it came to the notice of the Cambridge Museum of Technology at Cheddars Lane Pumping Station and they arranged for its removal on 15 and 16 November.

The nursery also housed a disused Cornish boiler, built in 1946 by Spurr, Inman of Wakefield. This is now likely to be removed by a private individual for a proposed museum project.
 

(Alan Denney and Richard Albanese)
 

GREATER LONDON

Crossness Pumping Station, Belvedere Road, Erith (TQ484811)

Crossness Engines Trust are continuing with the gargantuan task of restoring the four triple expansion beam pumping engines at this site.
During 1998 they will have a total of 23 days when visits will be permitted by appointment only.

A charge of £2 per head will be made, £1.50 for children under 16. This modest charge will help to support the Trust in their task. Appointments can be made, on Tuesdays and Sundays between 0900 and 1600 hours, by 'phoning 0181 311 3711.

The visiting days are as follows:-
 
 
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Tuesdays 6 3 3 14 12 9
Sundays 18 15 15 26 24 21

 
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Tuesdays 7 4 15 13 10 8
Sundays 19 16 27 25 22

(Crossness Engines Trust)
 

Borough of Tower Hamlets

Over the years the years there have been a few schemes involving new steam plant that have promised much and ultimately failed to deliver. The classic example is the Polish train ferry that was to be powered by Skinner Unaflow engines. We have still to hear more about the proposed Clyde paddle steamer and the proposed re-engining of former paddle steamers in Switzerland. On the other hand, there have been a few small combined heat and power schemes that seem to have some success; for example, the chicken manure powered engine at Woodwards, Beckford and the sawdust powered engine at Venables, Stafford.
We can now reveal a promising new scheme, currently at the planning application stage, that proposes to use reciprocating engines to produce 3 MW of electrical power. This scheme is a partnership between Compact Power and Tower Hamlets. It proposes to burn 50,000 tonnes per annum of municipal solid waste to produce 3 MW of electricity and 12 MW of heat. The electricity will be sold locally and the heat will be used in a district heating programme.

The waste is combusted in a novel process that combines pyrolysis and gasification to produce flue gases that are exceptionally clean. The technology has already been tested at the pilot plant stage and found to perform as expected. The new plant will use Spilling steam motors to produce power and by my estimation will require approximately 4,500 ihp.

It is to be hoped that this scheme progresses as planned and that we gain an interesting new steam plant to report on. ISSES will keep readers abreast of any developments in this area.
 

(Chris Hodrien and Modern Power Systems, September 1996)
 

HAMPSHIRE
 

Milestones, West Ham, Basingstoke

Work has already begun on clearing the site for Hampshire County Council's new £10 million living history museum. This museum will house a comprehensive collection of Hampshire built vehicles, including the Tasker Collection. This collection has been in store for many years and contains items from the agricultural machinery firm of Taskers of Andover. There are several steam engines, including at least one stationary engine, a horizontal single cylinder engine of 10 hp.
New museums are now a great rarity and we are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund are helping to support this new development. We shall bring you an opening date when it is made known.

 

(Old Glory, November 1997)
 

Southampton Institute of Higher Education, East Park Terrace, Southampton

In IB 18.4, p16 we reported that this site possessed a test engine by Sisson (No. 6182), reputedly built c1958 and acquired secondhand in 1964. We can now confirm that this engine was ordered on 30th January 1962, so was most likely completed that year. It was supplied new to the Southampton Education Committee for the Southampton College of Technology, which may well be the same site as at present.
The records show the cylinder to be 7" x 9" and the output to be 15 bhp at 150 rpm on steam at 150 psi.

 

(Brian Hillsdon)
 
 

Centre for the Conservation of the Built Environment, Bursledon Brickworks, Coal Park Lane, Swanwick (SU500098)

As announced in IB 19.1, p4, this site's first public steaming occurred on September 14, 1997. The event was extremely well attended and several ISSES members were present to enjoy the event. The John Wood engine was found to be nicely restored but not to the extent where it was out of keeping with its environment. The engine house was similarly sympathetically restored, complete with large oil stains on the wall. The engine ran nicely at a reduced speed. The adjoining brick making machinery is being restored but is still not finished.

 

(John Cooper and Chris Hodrien)
 

KENT
 

Henwood Pumping Station, Wallis Road, Ashford (TR021429)

This small pumping station used to house two single column Woolf compound beam engines with gear driven pumps. These were built by Thomas Horn of Westminster, c 1870 and 1881. There was also a small vertical engine of unknown make. These were all preserved by the Mid Kent Water Co and were kept in good condition until the company left the site. The buildings then deteriorated, water got in and there was vandalism.
The engines have now been removed to storage, by the company and are available for preservation. Needless to say, small available beam engines are as rare as rocking horse droppings and at least two parties are attempting to secure the engines for posterity. It is a great shame to see a pretty and unique installation dismantled like this, but at least the engines will survive.

(Richard Albanese)
 

LINCOLNSHIRE

Stamford Steam Brewery Museum, Stamford (TF028071)

This museum is owned by John Smiths of Tadcaster and they have invested in the plant so that the brewery can actually have a limited production capacity. The small inverted vertical single cylinder engine by Marshall Sons & Co Ltd is once again workable and it is intended that it will run commercially a few times each year. Sadly, the company's interpretation of health and safety regulations means that the public will probably never see the engine working.
The engine was built c 1910 and was installed in 1947, having been acquired secondhand from a laundry in Biggleswade. The cylinder is 7" x 10" and the flywheel is 3'6" diameter. The engine was last run in 1974 when the brewery closed following expiry of its Cornish boiler (see SB 6.1, pp25-27).

(Chris Evans)

OXFORDSHIRE

Granary Museum, Claydon (SP458500)

This small bygones museum houses several small steam engines that are steamed the first Sunday in the month from April to September.
The most impressive of these is a single cylinder table engine, built c 1850 by H E Lampitt & Co of Banbury and formerly installed at the brewery of Hunt Edmunds & Co Ltd, Banbury. The slide valve cylinder is c8" x 15". The original, larger flywheel has been replaced by a smaller six arm wheel, 4' 2" diameter by 4" wide. A disc crank on the outboard end of the crankshaft operates the valve whilst its rim acts as a belt pulley for the Watt type governor.

The brewery also housed a horizontal single cylinder engine and this is also on display. This is the only known surviving engine by Henry Kinsey, Robin Hood Works, Nottingham. The slide valve cylinder is c 7" by 14" and the six arm flywheel is 4' diameter x 4½" wide. Other features include a bent crank, two bar crosshead guides and 1¼ size Pickering governor.

There are a pair of Sisson engines. One is a conventional inverted vertical single cylinder (enclosed) engine, No. 4619 of 1943, 6" x 3½". This was supplied to Thomas Smith, crane makers of Rodley, Leeds to drive a dynamo for an electromagnet on a crane. The other, No. 6241 of 1964 is a gas or diesel single cylinder test engine, supplied new to Matthew Boulton Technical College, Birmingham.

There is also a collection of pumps by Merryweather; Weir; A Wilson of Vauxhall, London; J Hickey & Sons Ltd, Richmond; Hayward Tyley, London; and one by an unknown maker.
 

(Brian Hillsdon and John Cooper)

WEST MIDLANDS

Potters Arts and Leisure, Swan Works, Pelsall Road, Brownhills (SK039053)

This site was owned by The Potters Clay & Coal Co. Ltd. but the company has changed its name to reflect a change. The company still produces clay which is used by schools and industry, but they have also moved into the leisure market. This currently involves a business and shop for the home market and small businesses but it would appear they also intend to develop this site as a tourist attraction. This will involve interpretive material and models to show the process, together with a look at the machinery one site. This will involve putting up new buildings and facilities although thankfully it appears the main building where they process the clay will remain. At the back end of this building is the steam engine.
The engine is a horizontal single cylinder rotative by Tangyes Ltd, Birmingham and was built in 1896 to number 10453. It was last used to drive the machinery via line shafting driven from the engine by a belt, in 1975. The cylinder is c 20" bore by 3' stroke and is fitted with a simple slide valve. There is a throttle Tangyes Pickering type governor, number 13204 which revolved at 275 rpm. By some ad hoc measurement on site we believe the engine may have run at somewhere between 62 and 66 rpm.

The company have not decided yet how the engine will be incorporated into the proposed plans. Because the process building is still used they will not be allowing visitors free access to this area. This means that the engine will either by removed, restored and re-erected elsewhere on the site, or they will erect an enclosure around its current location, forming a separate entrance from the outside, and restore the engine in situ.

(Colin Bowden and John Cooper)

SCOTLAND

GRAMPIAN

Sandhaven Boatyard, near Fraserburgh (NJ965675)

This boatyard possesses a Thomas Smith of Rodley four wheeled, vertical boiler industrial rail crane. The track is approximately 50 feet in length with a gauge of about seven feet. The crane is capable of being used and is the only known commercially working steam crane in the UK.

(Industrial Railway Society Bulletin, No. 635, July 1997)
 

HIGHLAND
 

Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain

This distillery houses a water wheel and a steamable engine. This could well be the only steamable engine in Scotland. It is a horizontal single cylinder by G Chrystal of Perth dating from c 1897 and formerly at the Glenmoray-Glenlivet Distillery, Elgin (see SB 10.1, p7 and IB 13.2, p45).
(Chris Evans)

 
 

BED AND BREAKFAST, Munlochy

In return for a couple of Notes and News items, your editor has agreed to advertise this facility. It is in a nice setting and handy for the few engines to be found in the north-east corner of Scotland. Furthermore, the establishment is owned by well known steam enthusiast and ISSES member Chris Evans. Any members wishing for convivial company, great scenery and a few nondescript engines should contact Chris on 01463 811779.

 
 

STRATHCLYDE
 

Belnahua Slate Quarry, Belnahua (NM713127)

This derelict quarry occupies a large part of this small island and closed c 1913. It contains the remains of a horizontal duplex engine, possibly installed c 1890 and of unknown make. This drove an incline haulage and cutting frame. Features include slide valves and Stephenson link reverse. There are also the remains of a steam derrick and boiler plant.
Access is only possible under favourable weather conditions and requires the hire of a boat.

 

(Colin Bowden)
 

WALES

DYFED

Llywernog Silver-Lead Mine, Ponterwyd, near Aberystwyth (SN733808)

A privately owned museum established in 1976 0n a 6 acre site adjacent to the A44 trunk road, eleven miles due east of Aberystwyth. Attractions include a guided underground tour; miners' trail; exhibitions; museum displays; panning and other activities.
Several waterwheels on site power various items of mining machinery and other wheels and equipment are dismantled and awaiting re-erection. The most spectacular of these, when re-erected, will be of approximately 50' diameter and was formerly at Durfold Farm on Bodmin Moor. This powered the Temple Clayworks and was dismantled during the late 1960s.

The principal steam engine on the site is a horizontal tandem compound mill engine with cylinders of c 8" & c 12" x 2' stroke. This is being reerected in the foyer. It appears to be fairly old, with slide valves, 4-bar crosshead guides, six arm flywheel 7' diameter by 12" wide, disc crank 30" diameter and a No. 2 Pickering governor. It is claimed to have originated at Wellington Mill in Leek, Staffordshire.

Other steam exhibits include a horizontal single cylinder "banjo-crank" pump by Chris Holden Ltd, Blackburn, No. 1222; a Tangye "Special" horizontal simplex pump; a John Cameron size 5 inverted vertical single cylinder pump; a Weir feed pump; two small horizontal duplex Holman air winches; and a vertical boiler from a former railway breakdown crane. None of the exhibits are steamed or turned in any way.
 

(Brian Hillsdon, visit 28-4-97)

GLAMORGAN

Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum, Cardiff

Further to our report in IB 19.2, p25, it appears that this Museum will now close at the end of January 1998. At least some of the exhibits will move to a new £27 million Science & Cultural Centre for Cardiff Bay. This is due to open in 2001 and will have a greater emphasis on marine exhibits and Cardiff's maritime heritage.
It is difficult to see how many of the stationary engine exhibits will fit into this remit but it is to be hoped that the steam tug Sea Alarm will be included in the plans. She is currently looking a little sad and it would be nice to see some attention being lavished on her.

 

(Steam Railway, December 1997)
 

Hetty Shaft, Tymawr Colliery, Hopkinstown, Pontypridd (ST054910)

This fine horizontal duplex winder, built in 1875 by Barker & Cope of Kidsgrove, remains in an impressive stone engine house, about 60' tall and backing on to the public road. The site has been cleared with the exception of the winding engine house, headgear, small duplex winch and the electric fan engine house and fan housing.
The engine was last run on compressed air and was seen by a party of SERG members in January 1982. The colliery closed in 1983 and the engine has been made variably secure ever since. The engine was extensively rebuilt by Worsley Mesnes c1910 following an overwind incident during which it sustained severe damage. It was at this time that it acquired its 36" x 6' piston valve cylinders with Mellings' patent expansion gear. The narrow drum with central brake path was originally fitted for flat rope but was converted to use round rope during the rebuild. There is an impressive raised platform for the driver, supported on columns and adorned with the maker's name and date.

The site was revisited on March 16, 1997 and we were pleased to find that the winder is still essentially intact, despite scrap thieves having removed a few small items. The engine house has all had its windows covered and torches are a necessity. Entry also requires permission, a ladder and a guide with appropriate keys. So armed, one enters through a small steel door about 8' above the bank level. The roof is intact but there is much rubbish lying on and about the engine and it is all pretty grubby. Breeze blocks had fallen from one window aperture, denting the cladding steel and coming to rest on top of one cylinder.

The remains of the small horizontal duplex rope changing winch by Uskside Engineering are still in situ. These are rusty, a little damaged and now lacking the rudimentary corrugated iron shelter that used to provide some protection.

Fortunately, plans are now afoot for a small party of enthusiasts to start cosmetic restoration of the engine and to ensure the security of the site. Work was due to commence in October/November 1997 with the installation of electric lighting in the engine house.
 

(Chris Hodrien and Larry Ferris)

GWENT

Big Pit Mining Museum, Blaenavon (SO239088)

It has been rumoured, in the national press, that the continuation of underground tours at this site may be threatened by the high costs of insurance, maintenance, ventilation, etc. However, local comments suggest that the tours are safe for the foreseeable future for local political reasons. Nonetheless, it may be a wise precaution not to delay your trip to this site for too long. Also, I am sure they would welcome extra visitors with open arms.
The main winder at the site is electric, built by Uskside Engineering in 1952, and replaced a Fowler horizontal duplex flat rope winder with cylinders 24" x 48". In addition there is an underground main and tail rope haulage, also electric. Fortunately there are several steam and compressed air powered items that are likely to be of interest to ISSES members.

The colliery yard contains two small, anonymous duplex geared winches, set up for compressed air operation and apparently workable. One is caged in behind a coarse mesh and the other has deep sided plate frames and is mounted on a mobile trolley with a chain drive to the drums. A small overhung Massey steam hammer is still in situ in the blacksmith's shop.

The most notable of the off-site engines is to be found at the top of the site, in open storage near the fan drift. This is an appropriate enough location for the Waddle fan engine from Abergorki Colliery, Mountain Ash (see IB 18.3). This consists of a pair of horizontal slide valve cylinders arranged vis-a-vis at the end of a long bed with the single disc crank in the centre. In use, one engine was kept in reserve whilst the other drove the fan; allowing for rapid change-over in the event of one engine becoming deranged. The Abergorki fan was in a ruinous state and has not been saved. However, they have acquired a smaller Waddle fan, from Aberbeeg Colliery, and it is to be hoped that engine and fan will one day be united.

The mortal remains of no less than seven small steam engines are gracing the back yard behind the heapstead. These are variously dismantled and five are horizontal duplex geared winches, including parts of a large capstan with cylinders c8" x 14" and four bar guides. One shows evidence of repairs as one disc crank bears the name John Mills & Co, Llanidloes while the other bears NCB Workshops, Tredomen. The most complex winch, by Dunlop Bell & Co Ltd, Liverpool, is a worm drive type with two drums (currently dismounted). This has relatively small cylinders of c4" x 10". The other two items are a small overhung steam hammer and a horizontal single cylinder rotative pump of the J Evans type.

One good reason for taking the underground tour (if any were needed) is the attractive steam item to be found adjacent to pit bottom. This is an inverted vertical single cylinder rotative pump with fluted cast iron columns. This was built by Williams & Knight of Pontypridd and dated 1877. This was recovered from underground at Nantgarw. It is in rather rough condition and the pump bridle is currently disconnected. But it has received a coat of paint.

Although not steam, the museum has re-erected a most important item near the top of the site. This is a water balance winding gear that used the weight of water to pull drams of coal out of a shallow pit. This is the only intact example in Wales and was rescued from the Rhymney Valley.

In a car park, just off the approach road to Big Pit and opposite Blaenavon Ironworks, is a large re-erected steam hammer. This is a 7 ton A-frame Massey and was formerly used at the forge of Doncaster's Ltd in Blaenavon (SB 9.2, p9). A smaller hammer from the same source is to be seen in the car park of a nearby public house.
 

(Chris Hodrien)
 

Glyn Pits, Pontypool (ST265999)

This Scheduled Ancient Monument remains in a slowly decaying derelict condition and both the beam engine and vertical winding engine remain in situ, along with a small Sirocco type fan. A barbed wire fence had been erected around the site but the local vandals seem to have made short work of it. The buildings are in a dangerous condition and should be approached with extreme caution. In particular, a hand winch from the upper floor of the vertical winder is collapsing through the remains of the floor and is precariously perched above the opening that has been smashed into the building.
Those who already know the site may be confused by the presence of a bypass that has completely changed the local topography. The entrance to the site is about 150 yards before the first layby out of town and is all uphill, strictly on foot.

 

(Chris Hodrien)