Shuttleworth Collection’s Engineering Weekend

Posted by Chris Graham on 27th March 2023

Simon Colbeck reports from the Shuttleworth Collection’s Engineering Weekend, which took place recently with many fascinating attractions.

Shuttleworth Collection's Engineering Weekend

Phoenix, seen here without its boiler cladding, hauls fellow Clayton & Shuttleworth No. 46871 Dorothy around the beautiful site at Old Warden. Some oily rags in Dorothy’s smokebox provide the illusion of her being in steam!

The Shuttleworth Collection’s Engineering Weekend, which took place on February 4th-5th, provided the perfect setting for the first public steaming in many years of the recently-restored Clayton & Shuttleworth engine No. 48279 Phoenix. Having only completed its steam test on the Friday before the event, the engine was almost complete now, just requiring lagging and boiler cladding.

Shuttleworth Collection's Engineering Weekend

Clayton & Shuttleworth traction engine No. 48279 Phoenix of 1919 at its first public event in steam at Old Warden.

Phoenix was supplied new to FW Newton of Swimbridge, North Devon (Swimbridge Threshing Co.) on 25th August, 1919. The engine was sold to W Carter & Son, of Riddlecombe, Devon, and it was during Carter’s ownership that 48279 gained a full-length canopy. It was then owned at some point by PA Scott of Winkleigh, last being used in about 1947. It was then left abandoned beside a river, sometimes ending up standing in 5ft of water when the river was in flood.

Purchased by a scrap dealer, all the brass work – including bearings – was removed, the flywheel and right-hand trunk guide were smashed and various castings and other metalwork was removed. Thankfully, that’s as far as the scrapping went, and the engine was then purchased in the early 1960s by P Herbert of Bude, who intended to restore it.

A view from the footplate of Phoenix as the engine works hard to power the threshing machine.

But in 1964 the engine passed on to a another new owner, Denis Solway. Denis was already the owner of a Clayton & Shuttleworth roller that he was converting into a traction engine. He had purchased 48279 as a donor engine for the conversion. Of course, the converted road roller was No. 46817 Dorothy, so it was most fitting that these two old Claytons were reunited again at Old Warden.

David Solomon purchased what was left of 48279 in 1965, and restored it between 1965 and 1971. The missing parts to replace those now fitted to Dorothy were sourced from another derelict engine, No. 48656. For many years the engine was a familiar site at rallies in the south-west of England.

Clayton & Shuttleworth traction engine No. 48279 Phoenix of 1919 with matching Clayton & Shuttleworth threshing drum.

In September 2022 David very generously donated Phoenix to the custody of the Shuttleworth Trust. The team at Old Warden has lost no time in getting the engine ready over the winter for its debut at Shuttleworth.

Phoenix was busy at the Engineering event this year, powering the Trust’s Clayton & Shuttleworth threshing machine and also hauling the other resident Clayton traction engine, Dorothy, around the museum site.

Shuttleworth Collection's Engineering Weekend

Old Warden’s other resident Clayton & Shuttleworth engine, No. 46817 Dorothy. Built as a roller in 1914 and now in need of boiler work, it sits next to the Ivel tractor constructed in Biggleswade in 1903.

No. 46817 Dorothy is currently out of service awaiting boiler repairs and so Phoenix will be the Trust’s engine in steam at this year’s program of flying displays at Old Warden.

Also on show at the weekend was a fine selection of vintage tractors, including the 1903-built very rare Ivel machine. Constructed locally in Biggleswade, this 8hp model is the only known working example of its type. It was originally used as the company demonstrator and had been tested on land in the Old Warden area owned by the Shuttleworth family.

Shuttleworth Collection's Engineering Weekend

The Collection’s beautiful McCurd 5-ton wagon in Tate & Lyle livery, built in 1913.

The Shuttleworth Collection is very much a working museum, and the 1923 Leyland SG7 bus was very popular giving rides to visitors. It made a fine site driving up and down with the 1913 McCurd 5-ton truck.

No doubt Phoenix will become an equally popular addition to the vehicle section of the Shuttleworth Collection in the future.

Always popular at Old Warden, the Leyland SG7 bus of 1923 heads off with another full load of happy passengers.

This feature comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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