End of season crank-up in Wales

Posted by Chris Graham on 22nd January 2020

Alan & Lynne Cullen report from the End of Season Crank-Up at the Internal Fire Museum of Power, Wales

End of season crank-up

The first of the visiting engines we encountered was this little Blackstone, commonly referred to as a ‘Blister’ engine

At 6am on Saturday, October 12th, we set of from East Grinstead heading for the Internal Fire Museum of Power in Tanygroes, Ceredigon, Wales, to attend the museum’s ‘End of Season Crank-Up’. At that time, heavy rain was falling, and continued to do so until we reached Bridgend, when the sunny intervals began. On arrival at the museum, we were asked to park in the field, which was rather on the wet-side.

During the morning, we enjoyed looking at the visiting engines that were running on the grassed area, in front of the museum. These included a very smartly restored Blackstone Box (Blister) that hasn’t long been in the ownership of Chris Gibbs, but the history of its past was well displayed. The engine (s/n 180375), which was built in 1931, was enjoying its first run for some 13 years. Then we spotted a 1907 Robinson engine owned by PB Keating, from Nottinghamshire.

End of season crank-up

This Robinson engine, with its distinctive oblique cylinder, was exhibited by Mr P Keating

Furthest-travelled
However, the furthest-travelled engine – a Wolseley WD8 and unusual water pump – was owned by Marcel v d Waal, who’d travelled from Holland.

End of season crank-up

Dutch enthusiast, Marcel v d Waal, had his Wolseley WD8 driving a rather unusual water pump

Not far away was a second Wolseley; a very early, 1909 pre-style engine belonging to Kenny Williams, who travelled all the way from Scotland to attend the event. This is believed to be one of a very few still in existence – just 50 were built originally. Most of these early Wolseley engines were exported to Australia for sheep shearing duties, but this one was recovered from the Llanarman Quarry, where it’s thought to have been used to drive a pump or generator.

This early Wolseley engines was exhibited by Kenny Williams

Also in the line-up were two Petters that had travelled down from Darlington, County Durham, both of which were proving to be difficult to run; one suffering from a water leak and the other­ – a 10hp Petter S dating from July 31st, 1936 – had a burst oil pipe, much to the annoyance of its owner, Ian Walley.

Museum engines
Moving on from the visiting engines, we entered the museum and watched as Paul Evans, owner/curator, started several engines. These included the most impressive Petter VJ engine…

The very impressive Petter VJ engine

… an 11hp Gardner 1LZ  (a type formerly used in lightships)…

Many Gardner type 1LZ engines were used on Lightships

… and the 1929 Gardner 3HF, formerly owned by Peter Allen from Herefordshire. This engine had originally been used to drive a lighting plant in a large house at Crickhowell, in the Brecons.

This Gardner 3HF engine was formerly owned by Peter Allen who, for many years, was the engine steward at the Welland Steam Engine Rally

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