Beam Engines in the UK
- Anson Engine Museum, Poynton, Cheshire
- Armley mills, Leeds Industrial Museum, Leeds, West Yorkshire
- Black Country Museum, Dudley, West Midlands
- Bolton Steam Museum, Bolton, Lancashire
- Bredgar and Wormshill Light Railway, Bredgar, Sittingbourne, Kent
- Bressingham steam Museum, Diss, Norfolk
- Bridewell Museum, Norwich, Norfolk
- Cambridge Museum of Technology, Cheddars Lane, Cambridge
- Coldharbour Mill Working Wool Museum, Uffculme, Devon
- Dean Heritage Centre, Soudley, Cinderford, Gloucestershire
- Derby Industrial Museum, Derby
- Ellenroad Engine House, New Hey, Rochdale, Lancashire
- Forncett Industrial Steam Museum, Forncett St Mary, Norfolk
- Glasgow Museum of Transport, Kelvin Hall, Glasgow
- Helmshore Textile Museums, Helmshore, Rossendale, Lancashire
- Hollycombe Steam Collection and Gardens, Liphook, Hampshire
- IGMT - Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum, Madeley, Shropshire
- IGMT - Enginuity, Coalbrookdale, Shropshire
- Locomotion - The National Railway Museum at Shildon, Shildon, County Durham
- Markham Grange Steam Museum, Brodsworth, South Yorkshire
- Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester, Castlefield, Manchester
- National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh
- Nottingham Industrial Museum, Wollaton Park, Nottingham
- Poldark Mine & Heritage centre, Wendron, near Helston, Cornwall
- The Steam Museum, Preston, Canterbury, Kent
- Science Museum, South Kensington, London
- Scottish Mining Museum, Lady Victoria Colliery, Newtongrange, Midlothian
- Snibston Discovery Park, Coalville, Leicestershire
- The Museum of Somerset, Taunton, Castle, Taunton, Somerset
- The Steam Museum, Lodge Park, Straffan, Co Kildare, Eire
- Strumpshaw Steam Museum & Farm Machinery Collection, Strumpshaw, near Norwich, Norfolk
- Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire
- Thinktank - The Birmingham Museum of Science & Discovery, Birmingham
- The Waterworks Museum, Broomy Hill, Hereford
- Engines preserved in situ
- Abbey Pumping Station, Leicester
- Beeleigh Mill, Maldon, Essex
- Blagdon Pumping Station, Blagdon, North Somerset
- British Engineerium, Hove, East Sussex
- Claymills Pumping Station, Stretton, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire
- Coleham Pumping Station, Longden, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
- Combe Mill, Blenheim Estate, Witney, Oxfordshire
- Cornish Mines and Engines Industrial Discovery Centre, Pool, Redruth, Cornwall
- Crofton Pumping Station, Crofton, Marlborough, Wiltshire
- Dogdyke Pumping Station, Bridge Farm, Sleaford, Lincolnshire
- Eastney Beam Engine House, Eastney, Portsmouth, Hampshire
- Etruria Industrial Museum, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
- The London Museum of Water & Steam formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum, Brentford, Middlesex
- Levant Mine, Trewellard, Pendeen, near St Just, Cornwall
- Markfield Pumping Station, Tottenham, London
- Middleton Top Engine House, Middleton by Wirksworth, Derbyshire
- Midleton Distillery, Midleton, County Cork, Eire
- Papplewick Pumping Station, Ravenhead, Nottingham
- Pinchbeck Marsh Engine & Land Drainage Museum, Pinchbeck, Spalding, Lincolnshire
- Prestongrange Industrial Heritage Museum, Prestonpans, East Lothian
- Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Country Park, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire
- Shore Road Pumping Station, Woodside, Birkenhead
- Stretham Old Engine, Stretham, near Ely, Cambridgeshire
- Tees Cottage Pumping Station, Darlington, County Durham
- ENGINES ACCESSIBLE BY APPOINTMENT
- Beamish Regional Store, Beamish, County Durham
- Crossness Pumping Station, Belvedere Road, Abbey Wood, London
- Elsecar Heritage Centre, Wath Road, Elsecar, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
- Garlogie Mill Power House Museum, Garlogie, Skene Aberdeenshire
- National Museums Collection Centre (National Museums of Scotland), Granton, Edinburgh
- University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath
- ENGINES PRESERVED OUTDOORS
- Aston Expessway, Birmingham
- Loughborough University, Loughborough
- Napier's Marine Engine, Dumbarton
- Renfrew, Ferry Green, by River Clyde
- University of Glamorgan, Treforest, South Wales
- THE END of part 1
- King Edward Mine Museum, Troon, Cornwall
- Heartlands, Robinson's Shaft, Pool, Cornwall
- Goonvean China Clayworks, near St Stephen, Cornwall
- Parkandillick Clayworks, near St Stephen, Cornwall
- Isle of Wight Museum Stores, Cothey Bottom, Ryde, Isle of Wight
- Swansea Museum, Swansea
- Private collection, Somerton, Somerset
- L Shed, Princess Wharf, Bristol
- Glyn Pits, Pontypool,Torfaen
- Southampton City Council museum store, Southampton
- Science Museum Group, National Collections Centre, Wroughton
- Wrotham Park Estate Workshops, Wrotham Park, Hertfordshire
- Ram Brewery, Wandsworth, Greater London
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
- West Ham Pumping Station, Newham, Greater London
- Baker Street Windmill, Orsett, Essex
- Canterbury Museum (store), Canterbury, Kent
- Greene King Brewery, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
- Turnford Pumping Station, Wormley, Hertfordshire
- Museum of East Anglian Life, Stowmarket, Suffolk
- Dorothea Quarry, Talysarn, Gwynedd
- Lumbhole Mill, Kettleshulme, Cheshire
- Sandfields Pumping Station, Lichfield, Staffordshire
- Wortley Top Forge, Wortley, Barnsley
- Snarestone Pumping Station, Snarestone, Leicestershire
- Great Central Railway, Ruddington, Nottinghamshire
- Lound Pumping Station, Lound, Suffolk
- Queen Street Mill, Harle Syke, Lancashire
- Calderdale Industrial Museum, Square Works, Halifax, Calderdale
- Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford
- Springhead Pumping Station, Hull
- Dalton Pumping Station, near Cold Hesledon, County Durham
- Beamish - The North of England Open Air Museum, Beamish, County Durham
- Replica of Paddle Steamer Comet, Port Glasgow, Inverclyde
- Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, South Nitshill Industrial Estate, Glasgow
- Wanlockhead Beam Engine, Wanlockhead, Dumfries & Galloway
- Devon Colliery, Fishcross, Clackmannanshire
- Scotland's Jute Museum @ Verdant works, Dundee
- University College, Dublin
- National College of Art and Design, Dublin
- Caledon Engine House, Caledon, Northern Ireland
To many people the archetypal stationary steam engine is the beam engine. The UK was where the beam engine (initially all steam engines were beam engines) was invented and it is now where the largest number are to be found; including many workable examples.
There are over 170 beam engines in the UK and the majority can be seen by the public, sometimes only on request. Presenting this number to Geograph readers in a logical sequence is problematic. I could have used the chronological approach used by T E Crowley in his long out of print work but this is probably less relevant than basing it on the alphabetical place name and category of site approach used by Geoffrey Hayes in Beam Engines, 2003, Shire Publications Ltd, Oxford. Hayes used four categories - Museums, Engines preserved in situ, Engines accessible by appointment and Engines preserved outdoors.
I will follow his approach with amendments where necessary and will attempt to illustrate each engine with a photograph (not all are on Geograph yet).
This article is not a substitute for Geoff's excellent book as it lacks his historical background and technical descriptions of the various types of engine and their uses. If you like the article, I would recommend the book (disclaimer - I have no connection with the author or any pecuniary interest in this publication).
The second part of the article lists those engine sites not covered by Geoff Hayes.
SJ9483 : Anson Museum, beam steam engine
SE2734 : Old Beam Engine
The dismantled engine is a single cylinder 4-column beam engine, thought to be c1820 by Matthew Murray of Leeds and formerly on display at the York Railway Museum on Queen Street. The cylinder is 16" bore. The flywheel had a toothed rim for gear driving but was incomplete as displayed - a foible of the earlier museums resulting in engines being incomplete for future generations. Acquired second-hand by the Great Northern Railway in 1864 and erected at their carriage repair workshop at King's Cross. In 1979 it arrived at Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills and was partially erected alongside the Hick engine from this museum. It was subsequently dismantled and placed into store, where it was rediscovered following severe flooding in 2015.
SE5951 : The original Railway Museum, Queen Street, York - beam engine SE5951 : The original Railway Museum, Queen Street, York - beam engine
SO9491 : Black Country Living Museum - beam engine
It also has a replica of Newcomen's 1712 'Dudley Castle' engine - the first documented beam engine in the world. This works on steam and has a brass cylinder, wooden framing and much lead plumbing. The boiler is a modern steel, all-welded job.
SO9491 : Newcomen Steam Engine SO9491 : Replica Newcomen engine, Black Country Living Museum
The older is a twin beam engine of c1840 by an unknown builder and used at Crossfield Mill, Wardle near Rochdale. Although the two cylinders are now different sizes it was apparently never worked compound and it had been adapted to use a higher pressure running on only one side. The cylinders are 12" and 20" bore by 43" stroke and the flywheel is 14' diameter, weight 12 tons and drives a second motion pinion from its toothed rim. The engine is demonstrated in steam on one cylinder and is now non-condensing.
SD7009 : Double beam engine, Bolton Steam Museum SD7009 : Bolton Steam Museum - Double Beam Engine
The younger is a rare example of a McNaughted single beam engine, built about 1870 and installed at Cellarsclough Mill, Marsden, West Yorkshire. It was built as a single cylinder house-built beam engine 36" x 6' and when more power was required, in 1908, Woodhouse & Mitchell of Brighouse rebuilt it with a new Corliss valve high pressure cylinder 20" x 3' mounted on the crank side of the beam centre. The original cylinder now became the low pressure cylinder. This type of modification was patented by William McNaught of Glasgow in 1845 and the engine is thus a McNaught(ed) compound.
SD7009 : Bolton Steam Museum
TQ8758 : Bredgar & Wormshill light railway - steam engine
TM0880 : Easton & Anderson Beam Pumping Engine
The Museum is also home to a small single column, single cylinder beam engine donated by Kings College.
TM0780 : Bressingham Steam Museum - small beam engine
Below is the engine as originally displayed with no surrounding guards.
TG2308 : Bridewell Museum - Bagg's Brewery engine
This shows the engine's latest situation now that it can be turned over slowly.
TG2308 : Bridewell Museum - Bagg's Brewery engine
According to Alan Denney of the museum - This little beam engine was made by Headley of Cambridge who had an Iron foundry in Mill Road it was supplied to Barkers Mineral Water Works in Willis Road Cambridge and drove a small pump. The date is unknown circa 1870. The engine found its way into the Cambridge College of arts and technology (Now Anglia Ruskin University) and was restored and motorised by their engineering department. For several years it stood in the entrance foyer at the college before being put into storage. It was donated to CMT about 20 years ago, we have removed the motor drive and now run it on steam or compressed air.
TL4659 : Cambridge Museum of Technology - beam engine
ST0612 : Uffculme : Coldharbour Mill Beam Machine ST0612 : Coldharbour Mill, beam engine
SO6610 : Steam engine, Dean Heritage Museum
SK3536 : Derby Industrial Museum, steam engine SK3536 : Derby Industrial Museum - grasshopper beam engine
SK3536 : Grasshopper Steam Engine
The boiler house is home to a house-built single cylinder beam engine built by Petrie & Co of Rochdale in 1841. It was for many years displayed in a purpose-built engine house on the former site of its makers. It was then relocated to Ellenroad and is demonstrated in steam.
SD8913 : Holcroft Foundry, beam engine SD9311 : Whitelees Beam Engine
SD9311 : Ellenroad Engine House - Whitelees beam engine
Oldest is a single cylinder house built beam engine built by Gimson & Co of Leicester in 1880 and used alongside its mirror image at Hopwas Pumping Station near Tamworth. Both engines were saved and one ended up here. The cylinder is 25" x 60" with a Meyer slide valve. The flywheel is 14' diameter. The engines stopped work in 1964 and were removed in 1987.
TM1694 : Gimson and Co. Water Pumping Beam Engine TM1694 : Gimson and Co. Water Pumping Beam Engine
The newer engine was built in 1891 by Easton & Anderson Ltd for Roall Pumping Station near Selby and is an A frame Woolf compound beam pumping engine. The wood lagged cylinders are 16" x 32" and 23" x 48" (the LP always has a longer stroke on a Woolf compound).
SE5624 : Steam pumping engine, Roall TM1694 : The Easton and Anderson Beam Engine
On display is a sidelever marine beam engine built in 1828 by Caird of Greenock to re-engine the 1814 built paddle tug Industry.
NS5565 : Steam engine in Riverside Museum
Also on display is the 1821 sidelever engine from the paddle steamer Comet II that sank in 1825 with the engine being salvaged and used as a stationary engine.
NS5267 : Former Clydebuilt Museum, Braehead
SD7721 : Higher Mill, Helmshore - beam engine
This collection is best known for its steam railways and steam fairground but is also home to a steam powered sawmill, a paddle steamer engine and a beam engine in a well hidden open fronted shed with a waterwheel adjoining it. The engine is a single cylinder A-frame beam engine, reputedly by Tulk & Ley c1850. It was discovered in a tannery in Whitehaven and used to be on display at the now closed National Tractor Museum at Hunday. It has been re-erected with steam supplied by a modern replica of an egg-ended boiler (unique!)
NZ0465 : Hunday - The National Tractor & Farm Museum, beam engine SU8529 : Hollycombe Steam Collection - beam engine
One is a pretty four column single cylinder beam engine set up between the foundry and a workshop. It was built in the c1840s by Peel, Williams & peel of Manchester and the cylinder is 24" x 36". It was used at Best & Lloyd, brassfounders in Smethwick and was said to have been installed secondhand. After some years dismantled in the open air, the museum built this engine house and brought it in from the cold.
SJ6903 : Blists Hill Victorian Town Museum - beam engine.
The other is a large double beam blowing engine known as David and Sampson and displayed in an open sided structure with a roof over it. This was built in 1851 by Murdoch, Aitken & Co of Glasgow and provided blast for the Lilleshal Co blast furnaces at Priorslee and was moved to Blists Hill in 1971. The cylinders are 38.75" x 94.625" and the blowing cylinders are 78" bore. The beams are 30' long and the flywheel is 20' 4" diameter. The engine supplied up to 12,500 cfm of blast air at 4-4.5 psi.
SJ6903 : David and Sampson, Blists Hill Museum
A recent visit found parts of an as yet unidentified single cylinder beam engine laid out in the goods station yard. If I ever learn more about this I will update the entry.
SJ6903 : Blists Hill Victorian Town - machinery parts
SJ6604 : Enginuity, Coalbrookdale - beam engine
NZ2325 : Beam engine, Shildon
The completed one is a grasshopper type side lever marine engine that was the port engine of a pair in the paddle tug Old Trafford, later renamed Reliant. it was built in 1907 by Hepple & Sons of South Shields and the cylinder is 30" x 54". It has been re-erected with a reconstructed feathering paddle wheel and is turned by electric motor. The photograph below shows it during restoration when it was missing several major components, including the eponymous side levers.
SE5207 : Markham Grange steam Museum - side lever engine
This one, however, shows it finished.
SE5207 : Paddle steamer engine
The other engine was only acquired during 2010 and had been displayed in the open air at Bedford College for some 45 years. It is a four column, Woolf compound, rotative beam pumping engine built in 1878 and used in a waterworks in Bedford. It is being restored with every intention of running it on steam, like nearly all the engines at this museum.
TL0449 : Bedford College - old beam engine SE5207 : Markham Grange Steam Museum - work in progress SE5207 : Markham Grange steam Museum - work in progress SE5207 : Markham Grange Steam Museum - No difficulty baffles great zeal SE5207 : Markham Grange Steam Museum - beam engine restoration SE5207 : Markham Grange Steam Museum - beam engine.
The oldest of these is a single cylinder house-built engine believed to be built about 1825 by an unknown maker and latterly used to power the workshops at Haydock Colliery. The slide valve cylinder is 25" x 60" and the engine has a 15' diameter gear drive flywheel. It ran at 20 rpm and was probably good for about 20 horsepower on low pressure steam (8-10 psi). It was acquired as an act of faith when the museum was in cramped temporary premises and this action was vindicated when the museum located to its present historic and spacious location.
SJ8397 : The Haydock Colliery beam engine.
Nearby in the power hall is a small single cylinder grasshopper beam engine with a 6.5" x 30" cylinder, a beam 4' 4" between centres and a 9' flywheel. This is a relatively primitive and elderly device thought to date back to c1830. This engine had been saved from Widnes Technical College but was presumably not there initially.
SJ8397 : Museum of Science & Industry, grasshopper engine
The final engine has only gone on display in 2011 and was formerly at Helmshore Textile Museums (which see). It is a six column tank-bed engine built in 1846 by Peel, Williams & Peel of Salford and was supplied to a file makers in Stockport.
SJ8397 : Museum of Science & Industry - beam engine
Also on display, next to a replica of the 1712 'Dudley Castle' Newcomen engine, is a full size Newcomen engine piston dating from 1779 and excavated from the site of Reel Fitz mine near Workington. The engine had a 60" x 10' cylinder.
SJ8397 : Museum of Science and Industry - Newcomen engine piston
Finally, the museum is home to a one third scale workable (it once was) replica of Thomas Newcomen's 1712 'Dudley Castle' engine. This was built at the behest of the curator of the original museum - Reverend Dr Richard L Hills MBE - and used two electric immersion heaters to produce a pitiful amount of power in terms of water pumped, But in its day this was the equivalent of the Wright Flyer two centuries later.
SJ8397 : Museum of Science and Industry, Replica Newcomen Engine
The oldest is in the new building and was built by an unknown maker in 1770-80 and in 1806 was installed secondhand at Caprington Colliery near Kilmarnock, where it worked for 95 years. It is a Newcomen type atmospheric beam pumping engine with a 30" bore and a stroke of 54"-60" in a 96" long cylinder. The cast-iron beam replaced the original wooden one in 1837. It is now demonstrated running with a hydraulic ram.
NT2573 : Caprington Colliery Newcomen engine, National Museum of Scotland
The slightly more recent engine is an important example of a later Boulton & Watt rotative incorporating Watt's improvements - Built in 1786 by Boulton & Watt for the Southwark Brewery of Barclay, Perkins & Co where it ran for 99 years before being donated to the then Royal Scottish Museum. This incorporates James Watt's great improvements to the steam engine - separate condenser, rotative motion with sun and planet gear, parallel motion and the flyball governor. The double acting cylinder is 25" x 48" and the flywheel (a modern replacement) is 14' diameter. The engine runs with the aid of compressed air in a cylinder below the original one. There is more information in the photograph's description,
NT2573 : National Museum of Scotland - Barclay, Perkins engine
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