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.
Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


Contents

Ryhope Engines Museum, Ryhope, Sunderland

NZ4052 : Ryhope Pumping Station by Chris AllenNZ4052 : Ryhope Pumping Station
This waterworks pumping station has been described as the finest industrial monument in the north-east and is home to a pair of large Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engines built in 1868 by R & W Hawthorn of Newcastle-on-Tyne. The cylinders are 27.5" x 64" & 45" x 96". Steam is distributed by Cornish valves and the flywheels are 24' diameter. The site also has a pair of steam winches (one hidden under the access stairs) and a rotative boiler feed pump.
The engines have been preserved and operable for several decades and access on steaming days is currently free.
NZ4052 : Beam pumping engines, Ryhope by Chris Allen NZ4052 : Beam pumping engines, Ryhope

Shore Road Pumping Station, Woodside, Birkenhead

SJ3289 : Giant Grasshopper at Birkenhead by Peter Craine SJ3289 : Giant Grasshopper at Birkenhead SJ3289 : Shore Road Pumping Station by Chris Allen SJ3289 : Shore Road Pumping Station
This impressive building was built in 1884 to drain the Mersey Railway tunnel and housed a massive non-rotative grasshopper beam pump and a horizontal Davey 'differential' engine. The grasshopper last ran in 1959 but amazingly survived to be restored and opened to the public. The engine can be moved by hydraulic power but the building is currently (2012) closed.

The engine is a true Woolf compound with only a single valve between high pressure exhaust and low pressure inlet. The cylinders measure a massive 36" x 120" & 55" x 156". The engine ran at 8 strokes per minute.
SJ3289 : The "Giant Grasshopper" by Chris Allen SJ3289 : The "Giant Grasshopper"

Stretham Old Engine, Stretham, near Ely, Cambridgeshire

TL5173 : Stretham Old Engine House from the south by Rich Tea TL5173 : Stretham Old Engine House from the south TL5172 : Stretham Old Engine House by Jonathan Billinger TL5172 : Stretham Old Engine House
This land drainage pumping station houses a single cylinder engine driving a scoop wheel. The engine was built by the Butterley Company in 1831 and was rebuilt by Petrie of Rochdale in 1909. The piston valve cylinder is 39" x 96" and the flywheel is 24' diameter. It gear drives a scoop wheel 37' 2" diameter by 2' 5" wide. Steam was supplied by three Lancashire boilers working at 8 psi and fed by stand pipes. The engine is now turned electrically.
It is by far the largest of the three surviving beam engines driving scoop wheels.
TL5173 : Beam engine of 1831 at Stretham Old Engine by Chris Allen TL5173 : Beam engine of 1831 at Stretham Old Engine TL5173 : Stretham Old Engine - the scoopwheel by Chris Allen TL5173 : Stretham Old Engine - the scoopwheel
TL5173 : Lancashire boilers at Stretham Old Engine by Chris Allen TL5173 : Lancashire boilers at Stretham Old Engine
There is also an elderly Mirrlees, Bickerton & Day air blast diesel engine that drove a centrifugal pump.
TL5173 : Elderly diesel by Chris Allen TL5173 : Elderly diesel

Tees Cottage Pumping Station, Darlington, County Durham

NZ2513 : Broken Scar Waterworks. by Hugh MortimerNZ2513 : Broken Scar Waterworks. NZ2513 : Tees Cottage Pumping Station by Chris AllenNZ2513 : Tees Cottage Pumping Station
This waterworks pumping station has held a variety of beam engines over the years but the last to be installed and the last to survive is a Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engine built in 1904 by Teasdale Bros of Darlington and is similar to the Blagdon beam engines that supplied Bristol. The cylinders are 18" x 63" & 29" x 84". The flywheel is 21' diameter.
NZ2513 : Beam pumping engine, Tees Cottage by Chris AllenNZ2513 : Beam pumping engine, Tees Cottage
These are late beam engines but the last waterworks beam engine for the UK was actually built in 1919 for Eastbury Pumping Station, Watford and a year later a uniflow pumping engine was laid down in the same building.

ENGINES ACCESSIBLE BY APPOINTMENT


Beamish Regional Store, Beamish, County Durham


This large store is shared with the Newcastle Museums and holds many stationary steam engines including the following beam engines: -
Tennant's Brewery engine. A six column condensing engine of c1820-30 vintage by an unknown maker.
Plessey Mill engine. A grasshopper engine of c1830-40 vintage by an unknown maker.
Glemsford Silk Mill engine. Built c1849 by J T Beale of Greenwich. A single column engine with no flywheel or condenser.
Warden Law engine. A railway incline single cylinder beam winding engine built by T Murray & Co of Chester-le-Street in 1836.
Grasshopper side lever engine from paddle tug Lingdale. Built by J Stewart 1882.

No photographs

Crossness Pumping Station, Belvedere Road, Abbey Wood, London

TQ4881 : Cathedral of Sewage by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Cathedral of Sewage TQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Engines by Alan Murray-RustTQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Engines
This magnificent building was built as part of Bazalgette's plan to rid London of the 'big stink' and was at the eastern end of the southern outfall sewer. As built it housed four very large single cylinder beam pumping engines built in 1865 by James Watt & Co. These were rebuilt in 1899 by Benjamin Goodfellow of Hyde as triple expansion engines that retained the original beams and flywheels. The HP and IP cylinder share a piston rod with the HP below the floor and the LP is, as usual, at the outer end of the beam. All cylinders have Corliss valves. The engines each worked two 108" diameter low lift pumps.

The engines last ran in the 1950s and after many years of dereliction a Trust was formed to restore the site and one engine is now back in steam and another is being worked on.
TQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - Prince Consort by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - Prince Consort TQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - preserved engine detail by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - preserved engine detail TQ4881 : The beam floor, Crossness Pumping Station by Chris AllenTQ4881 : The beam floor, Crossness Pumping Station TQ4881 : Rust and decay - Crossness Pumping Station by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Rust and decay - Crossness Pumping Station TQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - rust and decay by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Crossness Pumping Station - rust and decay

The site is also home to a stored Woolf compound rotative beam pumping engine built in 1888 by Easton & Anderson and used at Addington Pumping Station.
TQ4881 : Beam engine parts - Crossness Pumping Station by Chris AllenTQ4881 : Beam engine parts - Crossness Pumping Station TQ3762 : Addington Well Pumping Station by Chris Allen

Although listed as by appointment, it is actually freely open on steaming days. When not steaming, tours can be booked in advance on two days per week.

Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley, South Yorkshire

This site is home to the only in situ Newcomen type atmospheric engine in the country. It was built in 1795 and open topped cylinder is 48" bore. The original beam was wooden but the cast iron beam was fitted in 1836 and the engine gained parallel motion rather than the earlier arch-heads. The engine ran continuously until 1923 and then occasionally until 1930. It was damaged during an attempted steaming for filming at a later date. It is currently only open on special days or by appointment.
SK3899 : Elsecar Newcomen engine by Chris Allen SK3899 : Elsecar Newcomen engine SK3899 : Newcomen engine house by Christine Johnstone SK3899 : Newcomen engine house SK3899 : Elsecar Newcomen engine by Chris Allen SK3899 : Elsecar Newcomen engine

Garlogie Mill Power House Museum, Garlogie, Skene Aberdeenshire

This is all that remains of a much larger mill and contains a single cylinder housebuilt beam engine from the c1830s. The slide valve cylinder is 18" x 48" and the flywheel is 16' diameter. It is unrestored and the eccentric is disconnected. The engine is a typical example and a now rare survivor in situ.
NJ7805 : Remains of Garlogie Mill by Chris Allen NJ7805 : Remains of Garlogie Mill NJ7805 : Garlogie Power House from Surge Tank steps by Stanley Howe NJ7805 : Garlogie Power House from Surge Tank steps NJ7805 : Beam engine, Garlogie by Chris Allen NJ7805 : Beam engine, Garlogie

National Museums Collection Centre (National Museums of Scotland), Granton, Edinburgh

This large purpose built museum store on part of a former gas works is home to many stationary steam engines including several significant beam engines.

No photographs

University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath

This relatively modern university building is home to a single cylinder beam engine built in 1866 by Stothert & Pitt of Bath; better known as crane builders. The 12" x 18" engine had been on display at its maker's works for many years but is now in a stairwell at the university. A quick request at the security desk is usually successful in securing a look at this engine.
ST7764 : University of Bath - main campus by Jonathan Billinger ST7764 : University of Bath - main campus ST7764 : Stothert & Pitt beam engine, Bath University by Chris Allen ST7764 : Stothert & Pitt beam engine, Bath University

ENGINES PRESERVED OUTDOORS


Aston Expessway, Birmingham

This 1817 non-rotative beam blowing engine by an unknown maker blew blast furnaces at the Grazebrook Ironworks, Netherton and has for many years been preserved on this roundabout in Birmingham.
SP0788 : Grazebrook Engine by Chris Allen SP0788 : Grazebrook Engine SP0788 : Grazebrook beam engine, Dartmouth Circus by Chris Allen SP0788 : Grazebrook beam engine, Dartmouth Circus SP0788 : Grazebrook Engine by Ashley Dace SP0788 : Grazebrook Engine

Loughborough University, Loughborough

This six column rotative beam pumping engine was built in 1850 by James Watt & Co for Lambeth Waterworks and remained in service until 1933. It has been preserved here since the 1930s and remains well preserved.
SK5219 : Loughborough Beam Engine by Ashley Dace SK5219 : Loughborough Beam Engine SK5219 : Loughborough Beam Engine by Ashley Dace SK5219 : Loughborough Beam Engine SK5219 : Loughborough University - plaque on beam engine. by Chris Allen SK5219 : Loughborough University - plaque on beam engine.

Napier's Marine Engine, Dumbarton

This single cylinder side lever marine engine was built in 1821 by Robert Napier for the paddle Steamer Leven. It has been preserved in Dumbarton for many years and this is at least its third location.
NS4075 : Scottish Maritime Museum by Thomas Nugent NS4075 : Scottish Maritime Museum NS4075 : Engine of Paddle Steamer Leven, Dumbarton by Chris Allen NS4075 : Engine of Paddle Steamer Leven, Dumbarton

Renfrew, Ferry Green, by River Clyde

A pair of single cylinder grasshopper type side lever engines built in 1851 by A & J Inglis and used in the PS Clyde paddle tug. The two engines can be clutched together to turn the paddles in the same direction or disconnected to allow one engine to go forward and the other astern. They have been displayed here for many years.
NS5168 : Engines of the tug 'Clyde' at Renfrew by M J Richardson NS5168 : Engines of the tug 'Clyde' at Renfrew NS5068 : Renfrew Ferry Landing by Chris Allen NS5068 : Renfrew Ferry Landing

University of Glamorgan, Treforest, South Wales

This site has preserved outdoors a single cylinder beam engine formerly used as a colliery winding engine. Built c1845 beam engine by Varteg Iron Co and used at Newbridge Colliery. Known as Calvert's engine.
ST0888 : Preserved steam engine, University of Glamorgan by Chris Allen ST0888 : Preserved steam engine, University of Glamorgan

THE END of part 1

This completes the list as published in the Shire book by Geoff Hayes. However, there are a good number of beam engines that are not included as they weren't regarded as publicly accessible when this was published (most still aren't publicly accessible).
It is my intention that part two will cover those engines not already listed above and will be arranged by myriad from south to north (nothing like a little idiosyncrasy).

KML

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