Steam Engines


I have always been interested in anything mechanical so it was not surprising that I should end up with an engineering apprenticeship. That was thirty years ago and I have progressed from a wet behind the ears apprentice to a Customer Service Engineer repairing, programming and servicing Industrial Robots, the kind you see on the television building and painting cars, in fact the recent Peugeot and Volvo Ad’s show my company’s robots.

I digress but it demonstrates where I have obtained the skills and interest to maintain and sometimes make the parts I need for my Hobby “Stationary Engines”.

My interest in Engines started about Fifteen years ago after my brother bought a Fordson Major Tractor to restore, he said it was something different to do, I did not have the space for a Tractor so I bought an engine. I might add at this point that my brother and I are very close and have always had the same interests and with one exception have always worked for the same companies as we do at the present.

My first Engine was and still is a Lister D, 1949, driving a small pump, they say you never part with your first exhibit, how very true. I was very lucky to be introduced to a gentleman, Denis Clarke, who lived not far from me and he showed and taught me all I needed to know about engines, we became very good friends but alas he passed away two years ago.

I have slowly built a collection of engines over the years to the point where I no longer have enough room but I’m still collecting and on the look out for more engines or junk if my wife was to be believed.

To purchase a rusty lump of metal and restore it back to working order so that the public can see it running is worth the effort.

I belong to a club “the Beds & Bucks Stationary Engine Club” and we meet on the second Tuesday of every month for film or slide shows visits or what ever takes our interest. We meet at Cheddington village hall which is between Luton and Leighton Buzzard from 7:30pm.

Every year we hold a Rally in the grounds of Woburn Abbey where we can expect to see up to 100+ engines on display, this year it is on the 3rd June 2001.

The hobby can cause you to side track, for instance my brother and I like to spend a weekend at a Rally so we needed accommodation, what better excuse to go out and buy a 1969 Bedford CA Dormobile Camper Van to tow the trailer of engines and to sleep in at Rallies, he had to buy a 1969 Bedford TK 7.5 ton Lorry. Toys for boys.

Between us we now own about twenty engines in various states of repair three tractors and the items already mentioned.

I hope you find this and the accompanying photographs of interest and if you find that you have a rusty lump of metal in your shed you no longer want I am still looking.

This is a Gardner diesel owned by club member Jeff Ramsay

One of mine, a Ruston Hornsby PB 3hp

Woburn Abbey Rally

Another interest of mine. Mine Head Railway Station.

One of mine, a 1960’s Villiers light weight diesel

“Hogwarts Express” or real name “Taw Valley” Bishops Lideard Somerset.

Green engine, Tarpen Generator, one of mine, Councils used them to drive hedge trimmers and lawn mowers.

One of mine, Lister A and pump at Apple day display Bromham Mill every October.

Me dressed for the part at the Millennium festival Shuttleworth, the stand to my left was arranged to display all aspects of uses for the engines i.e. dairy, wood cutting, pumping etc.

Dorset steam fair every September, over 200+ traction engines.