Dalton Pumping Station, Cold Hesledon (NZ411469)

English Heritage have granted the owners £500,000 to aid conversion of the site to a public house. Regular readers may recall that the site is home to a pair of Cornish beam pumping engines, built in 1879 by Davy Brothers Ltd, Sheffield and last run in 1942 (see IB 16.3, p5).

It is to be hoped that conversion will be sympathetic and that the character of the site and its engines will be retained. It is, however, hard to see how this will be achieved. We would like a report from the first ISSES member to imbibe at this watering hole!

("One Foot in the Past", BBC 2, 19 May 1998)

Timothy Hackworth Victorian Railway Museum, Shildon (NZ232258)

In IB 18.4, p13 we reported that this museum were intending to erect an 1836 beam engine by Timothy Hackworth. We can now report that the engine has been re-erected. According to photographic evidence, this is a small independent single cylinder beam engine. The single web beam is supported by two vertical columns that are stayed front and back by thin stays extending to the bed-plate. The cylinder is wood lagged, the governor appears to be of the Watt type and the flywheel has 6 curved ("S"-shaped) spokes and a round rim.

The opening hours are from 10:00 to 17:00 hours, Wednesday to Sunday and bank holidays. A museum brochure can be obtained by telephoning 01388 777999.

(Steam Railway, June 1998)


Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association, Great Northern Basin, Langley Mill (SK454472)

In IB 1991-1, p8 we reported that the small inverted vertical single cylinder (enclosed) engine at the Star Brewery, New Basford, Nottingham was claimed to have gone to the Nottingham Industrial Museum at Wollaton Park. This information was gleaned from a letter from the brewery to ISSES's Editor (UK). The museum refuted this and the engine's whereabouts remained a mystery.

The engine has now surfaced in a small pump house adjoining the Erewash Canal's Great Northern Basin. The engine is being set up to run on compressed air and will be coupled to a horizontal single cylinder reciprocating pump, allowing it to back pump around the locks at the exit to the basin.

(Midland Stationary Power Group and Chris Allen)

Bretby Brick & Stoneware Co Ltd, Newhall, Swadlincote (SK281215)

This brick and stoneware works was commenced by the current owner's grandfather in 1899. It is located on the site of the former Bretby No. 2 Colliery. Brick making ceased c1957-58 and stoneware manufacture ceased in 1969. Since that time the site's engines have been out of use and rusting gently. There is currently no danger of their being scrapped.

The site houses two horizontal single cylinder engines. One is by Tangyes Ltd, c12" x 24" with disc crank, Pickering governor, flywheel 7' 4" x 11" and belt pulley 4' x 9". Steam was distributed by a slide valve. The second engine is by Walker Bros (Wigan) Ltd and reputedly was installed, secondhand during the 1920s. It has piston valve, Stephenson's link reverse gear, Pickering governor, mammoth type frame, trunk guide and an enclosed crankcase. The flywheel has 8 spokes, is 12' x 14", is grooved for 5 ropes and has a ring of barring holes for hand barring.

There is also a rather rusty inverted vertical single cylinder Weir boiler feed pump. This could not be identified. The two Lancashire boiler that formerly provided steam were cut up on site c1985.

The owner, Mr Barnes will be happy to show the engines to any interested persons and can be contacted on 01283 217180.

(Brian Hillsdon)


Moira Furnace, Moira (SK314152)

In SB 12.2, pp9-10, we described four stationary steam engines that were lying in the open at this site, including a large horizontal single cylinder engine with drop steam and Corliss exhaust valves.

We have now heard that the site has secured a £1.3 million Heritage Lottery grant. We do not know if any of this money will be used to provide a building for these engines but hope that their restoration may now be part of the plan.

(This England, Summer 1998)


Coleham Head Sewage Pumping Station, Shrewsbury (SJ496121)

In IB 20.1, p4, we reported that this site was due for its first public steaming on 25 and 26 July 1998. We can now report that this report was a little over-optimistic and that the first public steaming will not be before 1999. The boiler is sorted but the exhaust steam arrangements still need to be finalised. Indeed, two ISSES Committee members were each given a completely different account; one was told that an atmospheric exhaust was to be arranged, the other that the condensing plant was to be overhauled. Hopefully, someone at Shrewsbury will ensure that one of these schemes is implemented.

We will hopefully bring you more accurate information as soon as we know of it.

(John Cooper and Chris Allen)


Westonzoyland Pumping Station, Westonzoyland (ST340328)

A visit to this site on 1 January 1998 revealed that the Trust have largely completed their new building. This houses the cafeteria, reception desk and a display gallery. This gallery houses several engines, including a very interesting inverted vertical single cylinder (open crank) engine operating a sack hoist. This is being re-erected with appropriate mannequins and a sack on the end of the chain. This building also houses Belliss & Morcom inverted vertical compound engine No. 11030.

This engine is new to the site and has recently been acquired from Launceston. However, your Editor (UK) was especially taken by its chromium plated drain pipes and was sure that he had seen it elsewhere. A quick check of the records revealed that he had last seen this on 9 October 1982 at Birmingham Railway Museum, Tyseley (see SDB 4.4, pp4-5). Colin Bowden confirmed that No. 11030 had been supplied to W C Holmes & Co of Huddersfield to drive a gas exhauster at Walsall Gas Works. The engine was ordered in 1950 and was a type C5a with cylinders 8½" & 13" x 6". It developed 84 bhp at 395 rpm on steam at 200 psi.

Birmingham Railway Museum was also home to Belliss and Morcom No. 9717, a compound coupled to a 50 kW dynamo. It is not known whether this engine remains at the museum and we would be grateful for any further information concerning its current whereabouts.

(Chris Allen)


Cliffe Vale Pottery, Shelton New Road, Cliffe Vale, Stoke-on-Trent (SJ873463)

In SB 11.2, p20 we reported that this works, then owned by Caradon Twyfords, possessed an inverted vertical compound (enclosed) engine by J Browett, Lindley (1931) Ltd. This was No. 3496, installed c1935 and disused since 1973/4. This was then available for preservation.

A visit to the area on 7 June 1998 showed that the pottery is being redeveloped for student accommodation, luxury flats, a bar and restaurant, and office accommodation. It seems that the main frontage block and two bottle kilns will be retained. However, the building that housed the engine was represented by a large pile of rubble. It is likely that the engine has been scrapped, less likely that it has merely been temporarily buried.

If any members can confirm the fate of this relatively small engine, we would be most grateful.

(Chris Allen)

Hem Heath Colliery, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent (SJ885415)

A visit to this area on 7 June 1998 revealed that this site had been levelled. As reported in IB 1991-1, p9, this site housed a large horizontal duplex rope-changing winch that was formerly at Wolstanton Colliery (SB 10.3, pp10-11). It is presumed that this was scrapped, although we would welcome definite confirmation of its ultimate fate.



Boulton & Watt Archives, Birmingham Central Library, Birmingham

The archives of Matthew Boulton and James Watt are to be preserved and catalogued with the aid of a £408,000 Heritage Lottery grant. Work on nearly 1,000 volumes plus almost 150,000 letters, drawings and papers, is due for completion in 2002. There are also plans to make the archives available on the internet as well as in the Central Library.

(Birmingham Voice, 10 June 1998)


Hillfoot Steel (Forgers) Ltd, Bradfield Road, Sheffield (SK336898)

This forge still operates eight hammers, now converted to use compressed air. These were all built by B & S Massey of Openshaw, Manchester and range in size from 7 cwt to 2 tons. Steam was superseded in about 1989 and the two Lancashire boilers were then used as air receivers, until they were also superseded in about 1996. The hammers use air at 120 psi and are a spectacular sight in action.

The management are willing to allow genuine visitors on site and, as is often the case, forging seems to occur mainly in the morning and early afternoon.

(Chris Allen and Dave Caroline)

Sanderson Special Steels Ltd, Newhall Road, Sheffield (SK377892)

This site was last seen by ISSES members in August 1997 when it contained six hammers, converted to run on compressed air, that had ceased to work in late 1996.

The largest of these was a 3 ton arch hammer built in 1943 by B & S Massey Ltd, Openshaw, Manchester. There were three further arch hammers, rated at 2 ton, 1 ton and 15 cwts; the 1 ton hammer being by Davy Brothers, Sheffield. There was a 15 cwt overhung hammer set up for ring and disc work. This was another B & S Massey, No. X6469. The smallest hammer was an overhung 8 cwt, also by Massey. The plant had been converted to compressed air c1982 with the two Cochrane Chieftain boilers being used as 150 psi air receivers. The compressed air was supplied by two Ingersoll Rand compressors with one horizontal and one vertical cylinder each (Manhattan style).

The site featured in the recent film The Full Monty but rather than being consigned to the cinematographic hall of fame, it is destined for demolition; indeed, it may already be history.

(Chris Allen and Chris Hodrien)


Calderdale Industrial Museum, Central Works, Square Road, Halifax

This fine example of a local industrial museum is no longer open to the general public. This is yet another example of local authority cost-cutting. On a more positive note, the museum can still be visited by organised parties that have made a prior booking.

The museum has three steamable engines, namely; a single cylinder beam engine; a 1926 Newton, Bean & Mitchell horizontal single cylinder Corliss engine; and a Belliss & Morcom inverted vertical compound steam engine. There is also a workable diesel engine. The museum's galleries provide excellent coverage of a wide range of local industries and it used to be an absolute pleasure to visit this site. It is to be hoped that its closure will be merely temporary.

(George Drake)

Conroy & Booth Ltd, Lee Mills, Scholes, Holmfirth (SE160076)

In IB 17.1, pp19-20 we described this site's small horizontal single cylinder rotative pumping engine. This survived in a derelict condition within a hole in a wall to the rear of the demolished boiler house.

We are now pleased to report that this engine now has an assured future. It is being removed for off-site preservation by George Drake of Halifax. George is hoping to be able to acquire premises to display this and other engines and we shall keep you informed of his progress.

(George Drake)

Washpit Mills, Holmfirth (SE143067)

It has now been confirmed that Agnes, the mills' 600 hp horizontal tandem engine, has now been completely removed to Markham Grange Nursery. This work was completed some time prior to late July 1998.

(George Drake)



Granton Centre, 242 West Granton Road, Edinburgh

This site was described in IB 17.2, pp14-15, under the heading of Granton Research Centre. This is the major store for the National Museums of Scotland and houses large stationary engines and a steam navvy, in addition to a wide range of exhibits including pottery, domestic appliances, scrimshaw and animal skeletons.

It is now possible to go on guided tours of the collections and associated conservation workshops. These are held on Tuesdays at 1000, 1100 and 1400 hours, and must be booked at least one day in advance. The booking fee is a mere £1 per person. Tours may be booked by telephoning 0131 247 4470 or in person at the Information Desk in the Royal Museum, Chambers Street. Members wishing to spend more time with the stationary engines can make a research visit. These are strictly by appointment. There are also occasional public open days that are advertised locally.

(Geoff Hayes and National Museums of Scotland)



Big Pit Mining Museum, Blaenavon (SO239088)

Following our report in IB 19.3, pp13-14, we can now report that this site has secured a grant of £147,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This grant is for development work that will underpin the Museum's application for an £8 million programme of improvements to its surface facilities and an expansion of the collections. It is to be hoped that these plans will extend to housing and re-erecting some of the site's steam engines.

World Heritage status is being sort for the whole of the Blaenavon Area.

(Museums Journal, June 1998)