Beam Engines in the UK

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Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   Text © Copyright October 2011, Chris Allen; licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons Licence.
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Cromford Canal, Leawood Pumping Station, Cromford, Derbyshire

This classically proportioned stone engine house was built to supply water from the River Derwent to the Cromford Canal above and still performs this function. The engine is a Watt cycle non-rotative beam engine built in 1849 by Graham & Co of the Milton Ironworks, Elsecar. The cylinder is 50" bore x 120" stroke.
This is another well photographed site on this site.
SK3155 : Leawood Pumphouse In Steam by Rob Bradford SK3155 : Leawood Pumphouse In Steam SK3155 : Admiring the Cylinder by Ashley Dace SK3155 : Admiring the Cylinder
SK3155 : Leawood Pump by Chris Allen SK3155 : Leawood Pump SK3155 : Leawood Pumphouse by Ashley Dace SK3155 : Leawood Pumphouse
SK3155 : Leawood Pumping Station by Betty Longbottom SK3155 : Leawood Pumping Station

Dogdyke Pumping Station, Bridge Farm, Sleaford, Lincolnshire

This land drainage pumping station has a small A-frame single cylinder engine driving a scoopwheel. It was built in 1855 by Bradley & Craven of Wakefield and is now back in steam with a modern boiler. The cylinder is 24" x 42" and the beam is 12' 3" between end centres. The scoopwheel is 28' diameter.
TF2055 : Dogdyke pumping station by Chris Allen TF2055 : Dogdyke pumping station TF2055 : Dogdyke beam engine by Chris Allen TF2055 : Dogdyke beam engine
TF2055 : Scoopwheel, Dogdyke pumping station by Chris Allen TF2055 : Scoopwheel, Dogdyke pumping station TF2055 : Scoopwheel discharge by Chris Allen TF2055 : Scoopwheel discharge

Eastney Beam Engine House, Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire

This sewage pumping station is home to a pair of Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engines built in 1886 by James Watt & Co of Birmingham. The piston valve cylinders are 20" x 54" and 30" x 72". The beams are 23' long and the flywheels 15' diameter. Each engine could pump 500,000 gallons per hour and developed 125 horsepower. The engines were superseded in 1937 but held on standby until 1954. They have now been restored and one is run on steam once a month.
SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station in steam by Chris Allen SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station in steam SZ6799 : Inside Eastney pumping station by Patrick GUEULLE SZ6799 : Inside Eastney pumping station
SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station, beam engine by Chris Allen SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station, beam engine SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station - the beam floor by Chris Allen SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station - the beam floor

The pumping station also exhibits and steams a single cylinder grasshopper beam engine formerly on display at the Havant Works of the Portsmouth Waterworks Company. This was built by Easton, Amos & Anderson c1860s and the cylinder is 12" x 16".
SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station - grasshopper beam engine by Chris Allen SZ6799 : Eastney Pumping Station - grasshopper beam engine

Etruria Industrial Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire

This former bone and stone mill for the pottery industry is now a museum. It is home to a robust single cylinder beam engine installed secondhand in 1857 and worked until 1972. The cylinder is 30" x 60" and its appetite is relatively prodigious.
SJ8746 : Etruria Industrial Museum to be. by Chris Allen SJ8746 : Etruria Industrial Museum to be. SJ8746 : Etruria Industrial Museum by Ashley Dace SJ8746 : Etruria Industrial Museum
SJ8746 : Beam engine Princess by Chris Allen SJ8746 : Beam engine Princess SJ8746 : Princess Beam Engine by Ashley Dace SJ8746 : Princess Beam Engine
SJ8746 : Princess Beam Engine by Ashley Dace SJ8746 : Princess Beam Engine

Kew Bridge steam Museum, Brentford, Middlesex

TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum
This is home to the world's largest collection of Cornish cycle beam engines, two-offsite rotative beam pumping engines and a variety of other non-beam steam engines.

The site's first steam engine was ordered from Maudslay Sons & Field of Lambeth in 1836 and was reported as complete by February 1839. The contract price was 7550. The engine was converted to the high-pressure Cornish cycle in 1846-7. The engine ran until 1944 and was restored to steam in 1985. The cylinder is 65" bore with a 96" stroke and it pumped 2.5 million gallons per day. The beam weighs 20 tons.
TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - the Maudslay engine by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - the Maudslay engine

The next engine to be installed was actually older and relocated from the waterworks at Chelsea. It was built in 1820 by Boulton & Watt of Birmingham and was moved to Kew in 1839-40. Its sister engine was relocated in 1841-43 but was scrapped in 1946. It was converted to the Cornish cycle in 1847-48 and remained in service until 1944. It was the first of the engines to be returned to steam in 1975 and is still a regular performer. The cylinder is 64" bore x 96" stroke and it, too, pumped 2.5 million gallons per day.
TQ1878 : Boulton & Watt pumping engine, Kew Bridge Steam Museum by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Boulton & Watt pumping engine, Kew Bridge Steam Museum

Next up was the 'Grand Junction' 90" engine built in 1846 by Sandys Carne & Vivian of Hayle. This was the first engine built especially in Cornwall for waterworks duty and was then the world's biggest waterworks engine. This magnificent machine has a cylinder 902 bore x 132" stroke, the beam weighs 32 tons and it pumped 6.4 million gallons per day at 4.5 strokes per minute. It was returned to steam in 1976 and was initially very sprightly but has since been adjusted so that it makes the power stroke more slowly.
TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - 'the 90' by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - 'the 90'

The last and largest of Kew's engines is the 100" that was ordered in 1869 and commissioned in 1871. It was built by Harvey & Co of Hayle and was on standby from the 1940s and last ran in 1958. It is now silent and there are no active plans for its restoration although this was the subject of a seminar some years ago. The cylinder is 100" bore x 132" stroke, the beam weighs 54 tons and it pumped 7.5 million gallons per day.
TQ1878 : The 100" Cornish Engine, Kew Bridge Steam Museum by Chris Allen TQ1878 : The 100" Cornish Engine, Kew Bridge Steam Museum

The first of the off-site engines to be re-erected was a Woolf compound rotative from the Cliftonville Pumping station, Northampton. Built 1863 by Easton & Amos of Southwark, it last worked c1930 and was returned to steam at Kew in 1978. The cylinders are 17.5" x 40" & 30" x 60", the flywheel is 18' diameter and it is rated at 60 horsepower.
TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - Woolf compound beam engine by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum - Woolf compound beam engine

The last of the off-site beam engines is a unique twin cylinder six-column engine built in 1867 by J C Kay of bury for the Dancer's End works on Lord Rothchild's estate near Tring. The cylinders are 14" x 30", the flywheel is 11' diameter and it was rated at 36 horsepower. It last worked c1930 and was returned to steam in 1979.
TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Dancer's End beam engine by Chris Allen TQ1878 : Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Dancer's End beam engine

Located outside on the upper garden is the preserved cast iron latticework beam from the 1853 Harvey built 72" Cornish engine installed at Hammersmith Pumping Station. This is, as far as I know, unique.
TQ1878 : Hammersmith beam. by Chris AllenTQ1878 : Hammersmith beam.

Levant Mine, Trewellard, Pendeen, near St Just, Cornwall

SW3634 : Levant Mine by John GibsonSW3634 : Levant Mine
This National Trust property is home to a double acting beam winding engine built in 1840 by Harvey & Co of Hayle with a 24" x 48" cylinder and double beat Cornish valves. The winding drums are outside the house. It last ran commercially in 1930 and was then disused for 60 or so years before its restoration to steam.
SW3634 : Whim engine, Levant by Chris Allen SW3634 : Whim engine, Levant SW3634 : Levant Mine - one man and his engine by Chris Allen SW3634 : Levant Mine - one man and his engine
SW3634 : Levant Mine - the beam floor by Chris Allen SW3634 : Levant Mine - the beam floor

Markfield Pumping Station, Tottenham, London

TQ3488 : Markfield Road Pumping Station, South Tottenham, London N15 by Julian OsleyTQ3488 : Markfield Road Pumping Station, South Tottenham, London N15
This former sewage pumping station is home to a unique eight column, Woolf compound beam pumping engine built in 1886 by Wood Bros of Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. The piston valve cylinders are 20" x 51" and 35" x 72" and the high pressure has a manually adjusted cut-off valve driven via a differential gear arrangement. The beam is a riveted box girder and the flywheel is a massive 28' diameter. It developed 100 horsepower and drove two plunger pumps, It has recently been restored, repainted and returned to steam operation. The pictures show it in its former (blue and white) and current liveries - the latter is based on the original colours discovered during restoration.
TQ3488 : Steam pumping engine, Markfield Road, Tottenham by Chris Allen TQ3488 : Steam pumping engine, Markfield Road, Tottenham TQ3488 : Steam engine, Markfield Road Pumping Station by Chris Allen TQ3488 : Steam engine, Markfield Road Pumping Station
TQ3488 : Markfield road Pumping Station by Chris Allen TQ3488 : Markfield road Pumping Station

Middleton Top Engine House, Middleton by Wirksworth, Derbyshire

SK2755 : Middleton Top - Engine house by Betty Longbottom SK2755 : Middleton Top - Engine house SK2755 : Middleton Top - Engine House by Alan Heardman SK2755 : Middleton Top - Engine House
This building dating from 1829 is home to a hugely important engine that hauled railway wagons up the adjoining incline on the Cromford & High Peak Railway. The year - 1829 - was the same year as the Rainhill trials and rope haulage by stationary engines was also used contemporaneously at Edge Hill, Liverpool and Camden, London. This was a period when the locomotive's ability was still in doubt and dates to the earliest period of mechanically hauled railways. That the Middleton top engine ran until 1963 is little short of miraculous and it is a good thing that its importance was then recognised and it was saved for the nation. It was built by the Butterley Company, not far away and the two cylinders are 23" x 61" and it ran at a mere 5 psi but was condensing. It is now operated occasionally on compressed air. The two adjoining Cornish boilers are well past their usefulness and the engine was latterly run from a locomotive acting as a stationary boiler.
SK2755 : Middleton Top - Inside Engine house by Betty Longbottom SK2755 : Middleton Top - Inside Engine house SK2755 : Middleton Top - Inside Engine house by Betty Longbottom SK2755 : Middleton Top - Inside Engine house
SK2755 : Middleton Top engine house by Chris Allen SK2755 : Middleton Top engine house SK2755 : Archaeologists go in deeper! by A-M-Jervis SK2755 : Archaeologists go in deeper!

Midleton Distillery, Midleton, County Cork, Eire

W8873 : Jameson's Old Distillery, Midleton by Jim Woodward-Nutt W8873 : Jameson's Old Distillery, Midleton
This site was home to two beam engines but one was moved to The Steam Museum at Straffan and the other was restored and is now part of the tour at this preserved distillery. It was all at best semi-derelict when I saw it in 1985 and a revisit is overdue. The surviving engine is a six-column, tank-bed single cylinder engine claimed to be c1830s vintage and installed secondhand before 1866. It was on standby until 1972. The drop valve cylinder is c24" x 36" and the flywheel is 16' diameter. Perhaps somebody will post a picture of it as restored.
W8873 : Beam engine, Midleton Distillery by Chris Allen W8873 : Beam engine, Midleton Distillery

Papplewick Pumping Station, Ravenhead, Nottingham

SK5852 : Papplewick Pumping Station by vic mcclymontSK5852 : Papplewick Pumping Station
This magnificent monument to civic pride houses two highly decorated single cylinder beam engines built in 1884 by James Watt & Co. These were arguably obsolete when installed but gave sterling service and operated until 1969. The drop valve cylinders are 46" x 90" and the flywheels are 20' diameter. They were good for 170 horsepower. They are still run on several steam days each year and are a magnificent site.
SK5852 : Temple of steam - Papplewick Pumping Station by Chris Allen SK5852 : Temple of steam - Papplewick Pumping Station SK5852 : Beams of the engine at Papplewick by Andrew Abbott SK5852 : Beams of the engine at Papplewick
SK5852 : Temple of steam - the packing flat by Chris Allen SK5852 : Temple of steam - the packing flat SK5852 : The ornate interior of Papplewick pumping station by Andrew Abbott SK5852 : The ornate interior of Papplewick pumping station

Pinchbeck Marsh Engine & Land Drainage Museum, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincolnshire

This land drainage pumping station contains a single cylinder A-frame beam engine built in 1833 by an unknown maker and turning a scoopwheel by reduction gearing. The piston valve cylinder is 25" x 54" and the flywheel is 19' 6" diameter. The scoopwheel is adjoining and is 24' diameter by 26" wide with 40 ladles. The boiler is at least the second on site and is a Galloway boiler dating from 1898. The engine ceased operation in 1952 and there is an electrically powered pumping station that replaced the steam station. The engine house and drainage museum are open in the summer months.
TF2626 : Pinchbeck Pumping station by Chris Allen TF2626 : Pinchbeck Pumping station TF2626 : Pinchbeck pumping station by Chris Allen TF2626 : Pinchbeck pumping station
TF2626 : The scoop wheel, Pinchbeck Pumping Station by Chris Allen TF2626 : The scoop wheel, Pinchbeck Pumping Station TF2626 : Lancashire boiler, Pinchbeck Pumping station by Chris Allen TF2626 : Lancashire boiler, Pinchbeck Pumping station
TF2626 : Pinchbeck Pumping Station by Chris Allen TF2626 : Pinchbeck Pumping Station

Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum, Prestonpans, East Lothian

This former colliery site contains a 70" Cornish engine by J E Mare & Co of Plymouth Foundry in 1853. The engine was originally installed at Wheal Exmouth in Devon, where its house survives and following time on two further mines in Cornwall was brought to Prestongrange in 1874 where a new beam by Harvey & Co of Hayle was fitted. The engine had a most unusual barometric. condenser at Prestongrange but this has been lost. As built, the cylinder ad pumps both had a 12' stroke but the new beam reduced the stroke in the shaft to 10'. The site is now a museum and the engine is preserved in its house.
SX8383 : Former engine house, Canonteign mine: 1 by Robin Stott SX8383 : Former engine house, Canonteign mine: 1 NT3773 : Beam engine at Prestongrange Mining Museum by kim traynor NT3773 : Beam engine at Prestongrange Mining Museum
NT3773 : Cornish beam engine, Prestongrange by Chris Allen NT3773 : Cornish beam engine, Prestongrange NT3773 : Cornish beam engine Prestongrange by Chris Allen NT3773 : Cornish beam engine Prestongrange
NT3773 : Cornish beam engine, Prestongrange by Chris Allen NT3773 : Cornish beam engine, Prestongrange

Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Country Park, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire

This National Trust cotton mill site is well known for its water power connections but it later gained some steam power with an engine house and chimney at one end. Although the original engines are long gone, the National Trust was successful in acquiring a beam engine from a collector in Macclesfield and this has been erected in the engine house that once held a Boulton and Watt engine.
SJ8382 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal by Tim Marshall] SJ8382 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal SJ8382 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal by Christopher Hilton SJ8382 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal
SJ8382 : Waterwheel, Quarry Bank Mill by Mark Anderson SJ8382 : Waterwheel, Quarry Bank Mill SJ8383 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal - beam engine by Chris Allen SJ8383 : Quarry Bank Mill, Styal - beam engine

KML

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