Last Sunday was an open day at the Bursledon Brickyard Museum, Swanwick. You may remember I published several photographs of this great but largely unknown museum some weeks ago.
It opened at 11am and I arrived at 11.10am and the large car park was already full and new arrivals had to park in the long approach road.
It was a fantastic day with hundreds of visitors viewing the traction engines,
There were Foden steam lorries and many other engines in steam and the narrow gauge railway was a delight to adults and children alike with a queue for each trip.
I took many photographs but can only include a few here.
What a photograph does not give is the aroma and feel of steam. It is a very alluring smell and someone ought to try to bottle it.
The miniature traction engine Titan, below right, spent its life on Shetland and when David Price found it it had been in someone’s garden for more than four years.
‘It was decrepit to be honest,’ David told me.
‘All the brass and copper work had been removed, there was no whistle and she was a very sad sight.’
David bought it and brought it home to Fisher’s Pond near Colden Common and spent 30 years of his life rebuilding the machine.
As you can see she is now in immaculate condition and could pull an eight-ton load if needed.
Unfortunately Stuart Harris’s traction engine was ‘cold’ on the day as it had recently had a new boiler and firebox . Made by Aveling and Porter it worked in Dundalk, Ireland, hence the Gaelic name of Cuchulainn.
Stuart spent 10 years, from 1990 to 2000, stripping the boiler and replacing other items. He attended many steam festivals and galas but eventually a new boiler had to be bought. The cost? £25,000. ‘You must have a good bank manager?’ I said. ‘Or an understanding wife!’ Stuart replied.
I asked if there were many traction engine boilermakers still operating and his answer surprised me. ‘England is the only place where traction engine owners send their boilers for renewal. There is one on the Isle of Wight and another at Liphook,’ he said.
He then gave me some amazing information. ‘Boiler engineers have traction engines sent over from Australia, New Zealand and Canada. They are packed in a container and shipped over. It costs a fortune of course but there is nowhere else.’ At least there is some engineering England is still good at…
Traction engine drivers needed living accommodation and the picture, below left, shows the inside of a trailer on show at the museum. Note the bunk on the right and the fold-up table in the corner.
• Can anyone tell me where the black and white photograph was taken?
It is outside a Co-op bakery, but where? It was sent in by Edwin Amey but we have no idea about the copyright so please let me know if it is yours so I can credit you.