Edited by Chris Allen

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal (SJ835830)

Bamford Mill, Bamford (SK205834)

The Museum of Hatting, Hempshaw Lane, Offerton, Stockport (SJ912895)

Coleham Head Sewage Pumping Station, Shrewsbury (SJ496121)

Heritage Brewery, Burton-upon-Trent (SK24126)

Sandfields Pumping Station, Lichfield (SK113084)

Rover Group, Longbridge Works, Longbridge, Birmingham (SP008776)

The Black Country Museum, Tipton Road, Dudley

Washpit Mills, Holmfirth (SE143067)

CHESHIRE

Quarry Bank Mill, Styal (SJ835830)

In IB 17.1, p13, we revealed that the Quarry Bank Mill Trust Ltd were progressing their plans to install a beam engine in the engine house at Quarry Bank Mill. After a frantic dash, they were successful and the engine was in steam on Good Friday 1998.
We visited the site four days later and were most impressed by their interpretation of the site and the integration of new and old features. The new power gallery is still being organised but the work on the old wheel pit is now complete. Visitors descend to a viewing platform in the old wheel pit and can see down the tail race tunnel, with the aid of a strategically positioned mirror. The platform is positioned so that it will flood several times a year and provide a visual indicator of changes in the river's level.

Visitors then pass into the engine house where they can see the beam engine in steam. This has been mounted on the 1836 engine bed and its condensing water is drawn from the same well, whilst its flywheel is also in the same flywheel pit. The engine still needed the finishing touches when we saw it and was running very hot on a limited cooling water supply. These matters were due to be attended to. Also in the engine house is the bed of the 1871 horizontal condensing engine. It is hoped that an appropriate engine can also be placed on this bed and discussions are taking place.

Next to be visited is the boiler room, which is end on to the engine room and in open communication with it. The visitor can look up the 120' octagonal chimney and see daylight around the concentric flue from the new boiler. The economiser has long gone, allowing a good view of the rear of the unique boiler, built by Thomas Oldham in 1880. This is 7' diameter and 28' long. It has two furnace tubes at the front that combine into a single flue at the rear with vertical cross tubes. This rear flue is not kidneyshaped, as in a Galloway boiler, but like an oval with a pinched centre (I can't resist saying that it looks like a red blood cell in elevation). This is certainly the only known example of this type. The boiler is lit internally and externally and visitors can peer down the flues and through the perspex manhole lid.

The tour progresses along the top of the side flues and down stairs to the firing position. From here one passes into the little cinema for an audiovisual presentation on power. This cinema is in the 1853 boiler house that is cut into the rock face. The seats are on open grids above the flues and blowdown pit of the 1871 Hick, Hargreaves boiler.

This new exhibition area has added further to what was already a major attraction and is a fine example of the modern art of interpretation. These views are also echoed by a professional museum worker of our acquaintance.
 
 

(John Cooper and Chris Allen)
DERBYSHIRE

Bamford Mill, Bamford (SK205834)

Following our report in IB 18.2, p20, the plans for the preservation of the 1907 Musgrave tandem compound as a workable engine appear to have stalled. Although the mill has now been redeveloped as housing, the engine survives with a water supply and the deeds of the apartments all allow for its operation several times a year. However, the boiler with its necessary house and stack have failed to materialise and there does not appear to be a local group to maintain and operate the engine.
On a more positive note, former ISSES member Chris Webb is currently trying to raise some interest in the engine. He also visited the site with his family on 31 May 1998 to clean the engine down and apply preservative to the planished steel and bright-work. It seems that the engine is holding up reasonably well and it is to be hoped that it can be revitalised in the not too distant future.
(Chris Webb)
GREATER MANCHESTER

The Museum of Hatting, Hempshaw Lane, Offerton, Stockport (SJ912895)

In IB 18.4, p15 we referred to the opening of this little known museum that houses a Tangye horizontal single cylinder engine. We can now confirm that the museum is open on Sunday afternoons but that it is due to close later this year. The closure is due to the museum's relocation to Wellington Mill, near the centre of Stockport. This is expected to take about two years and the museum should be much more accessible on its new site.
Any members wishing to see this pleasant museum and its fascinating collection of arcane exhibits are advised to waste no time or they will have to await its re-opening. Further information is available by telephoning 0161 474 4460.

 
 
(The Museum of Hatting)
SHROPSHIRE

Coleham Head Sewage Pumping Station, Shrewsbury (SJ496121)

In IB 15.2, p6, we reported that this site, with two Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engines and two Cornish boilers was being restored by the Shrewsbury Steam Trust. We closed our report with the statement:- "It will be good to see an engine under steam in the not too distant future."
Well, five years later, it seems that the future is now upon us and the site is soon to experience its first public steaming. The first public steaming is scheduled for 25 and 26 July 1998 and it is hoped that some ISSES members will be present to report back to the membership.

 
 
(Steam Heritage, Museums & Rally Guide, 1998/99)
STAFFORDSHIRE

Heritage Brewery, Burton-upon-Trent (SK24126)

In IB 15.2, p7, we reported that this museum project had gotten into considerable difficulties. The site is apparently no longer a museum and is now owned by at least two businesses, including an antiques dealer. The horizontal single cylinder engine, built in 1881 by Buxton and Thornley of Burton-upon-Trent remains on site and is apparently in reasonable condition. It is claimed to be available for a significant sum of money and it is possible that a museum may be interested in it. We have no further news on this site and the Editor (UK) would welcome any further information.

 
 
(Dave Caroline)

Sandfields Pumping Station, Lichfield (SK113084)

Due to falling ground water level with subsequent deterioration in the local environment, South Staffordshire Water plc stopped abstraction on this site in September 1997 and subsequently removed the pumping plant and demolished the filter beds. This brought to an end 139 years of abstraction from this location.
This now leaves the No. 4 Cornish beam engine and the now empty electric pump house together in splendid isolation. At a public meeting, held at the station on 1 June 1998, the Company assured the 81 interested persons present that the engine would be kept and that they were in discussions with the local Council. David Baddeley of the Millmeece Pumping Station Preservation Trust, also spoke to the assembly to express his hopes that the people of Lichfield would help ensure the preservation of the engine. However, when the meeting ended there did not appear to be any firm commitment to form a preservation trust or similar group to ensure the engine's survival in a reasonable condition. It is to be hoped that the impetus is not going to be lost and that the engine will be taken in hand before the engine deteriorates too far.

The No. 4 beam engine was built in 1873 by J & G Davies of Tipton and was finally retired in 1927. The cylinder is 65" bore by 9' stroke. The beam is 36' long and weighs 20 tons. The engine took steam at 40 psi and could develop 190 hp at 7 strokes per minute. The daily duty was 2 mgd against a head of 355'. The engine had a surface condenser and it is fortunate that the below floor portions of the engine appear to remain in reasonable condition.
 
 

(John Cooper and Chris Allen)
WEST MIDLANDS

Rover Group, Longbridge Works, Longbridge, Birmingham (SP008776)

This site, with its Belliss and Morcom steam turbine and watertube boilers, was described in IB 1991-4, pp7-8. As ever, the ISSES Committee delayed making a visit until it was almost too late. Three of us finally visited the plant on 26 May 1998 and were treated to a most interesting tour of the ancient and modern.
We started at the North Works where we saw Belliss and Morcom steam turbine No. 634, rated at 4.5MW and dating from 1938. This was rebladed in 1983 but has been out of use for many years as it there was no longer sufficient use for its exhaust steam. It is now available for preservation but is almost certain to end up being scrapped as there is little interest in preserving quite large steam turbines. The company have preserved the end cover with the maker's name cast in it.

The same room also contained four nicely kept two stage reciprocating compressors by Belliss & Morcom. These each deliver 2,500 cfm per minute at 100 psi. No. 2202 was built in 1931 and is driven by a 500 bhp Lancashire Dynamo & Crypto three phase motor using electricity at 6.6 kV. No. 2514 was built in 1935 and is driven at 245 rpm by a 480 bhp Laurence Scott & Electromotors motor. No.s 2697 and 2976 are each driven at 250 rpm by a 480 bhp Crompton Parkinson motor. There is also a more modern three stage Belliss & Morcom compressor delivering 2,000 cfm. This equipment is all in use and although not steam, it is evocative of a bygone era in power engineering.

The North Works High Pressure Boiler House was shut down in 1995 and is now in a poor state, awaiting its inevitable demolition. This houses four Babcock and Wilcox watertube boilers, two dating from 1937 and two from 1938. These were coal fired and each unit produced 50,000 lbs/hr at 400 psi. There are also three steam turbine driven pumps, two feed pumps and one de-aerator pump. Immediately next door, the North Works Economic Boiler House contains five boilers by Edwin Danks of Oldbury. Four are in use and are twin furnace, two pass economic boilers pressed to 100 psi. These are dual fuel fired and can burn oil or gas. One plate was found and indicated that the boiler it was attached to was built in 1967.

We also saw the West Works boiler house. This was built in the mid 1960s and is now "mothballed". It contains two extremely large, three furnace economic boilers by Danks. These were also coal fired. In the room next door there is a range of working reciprocating compressors by Atlas Copco.

However, the jewel in their crown is the new Longbridge Energy Centre. This comprises one Centrax CX501 gas turbine driven 4 MW alternator with 10,500 kg/hr waste heat recovery boiler and three Euronox gas fired boilers rated at 17,000 kg/hr. These latter were built by FKI Babcock Robey and have partial flue gas recirculation to lower emission of oxides of nitrogen. The waste heat recovery boiler has an economiser on its back end that heats all the feed water for the plant. This plant has vastly reduced emissions of particulates and sulphur and also significantly decreased emissions of carbon dioxide and oxides of nitrogen. There is also a £1 million per annum reduction in the electricity bill with a two year pay back period.

This is one of Birmingham's best known industrial plants and covers a huge area. The mechanical infrastructure is very interesting and we were made most welcome. However, potential visitors should note that photography is strictly forbidden.
 
 

(Chris Allen and Chris Hodrien)

The Black Country Museum, Tipton Road, Dudley

In IB 16.1, pp13-14 we reported that the Mining Group had acquired an inverted vertical single cylinder fan engine and were intending to re-erect it at Racecourse Colliery. This project has now been completed, along with a Capell fan acquired from the University of Birmingham. The engine stands in an appropriate building and is capable of being steamed from the same boiler as the winding engine.
The museum also has a workable steam hammer with steam being raised in a waste heat recovery boiler attached to the re-heating furnace. Unfortunately, staffing shortages ensure that this is only an infrequent performer. The museum's Newcomen engine is currently (April 1998) out of commission but it is hoped to have it running again in the future.

 
 
(Chris Allen and David Hayes)
WEST YORKSHIRE

Washpit Mills, Holmfirth (SE143067)

This site housed Agnes, a 600 hp horizontal tandem compound mill engine, built in 1909 by Pollit & Wigzell Ltd of Sowerby Bridge. This had remained in commercial use until 16 January 1980 and had then been kept in a good condition by the late Herbert White. Sadly, Herbert deceased in 1997 and although the management initially seemed willing to retain the engine, they seemed to have a sudden change of heart and at the end of May, 1998 we heard that the engine was on its way out.
This has been confirmed and the engine is being removed by ISSES member Tommy Nuttall for his collection at Markham Grange Nursery, Brodsworth. Although I am pleased that the engine is not being scrapped, I must confess that I am sorry it had to come to this. I had a soft spot for this particular engine, having very fond memories of many happy hours spent at the mill, when I should have been at school or studying.

 
 
(Chris Allen, Chris Evans and Peter Southworth)