1920 Burrell under restoration

Posted by Chris Graham on 17th April 2023

We report on the on-going restoration of 1920 Burrell DCC 8hp No. 3227, Victory, which is currently taking place in Cambridgeshire.

1920 Burrell

1920 Burrell DCC 8hp No. 3227: Seen in the car park looking splendid, Victory is out in the daylight, but not in steam. (Pic: Keith Stanley)

Following a record-breaking Christmas Spectacular festive concert series at the Thursford Collection, John Cushing has told our reporter that 1920 Burrell DCC 8hp No. 3227 Victory is to be put back to steam and is away under repair in East Anglia at Craftmaster Restorations, Over, Cambridgeshire under Jamie Allen’s skilled hands. The project is being overseen by local Foster Lord of the Isles owner and trustee of the Thursford Collection, Andrew Waling.  

1920 Burrell

On the road and running so quietly at that! It could be in steam, it wasn’t but that’s all set to change. (Pic: Keith Stanley)

Victory was the first showman’s restored in the collection, some 12 years after it had been sold to Kings the scrapman along with Alexandra and Unity, the two-speed engines, so it’s fitting to see it come back to life again. In fact George Cushing bought the engine in 1947. 

It’s already had six stays replaced along with various rivets in the bottom of the tubeplate. The boiler externally is like new and the firebox is in excellent order and was replaced by Garrett’s in the 1930s. The new boiler tubes have arrived so it will be not long before they are fitted along with new mud holes. The motion was semi-seized when it arrived and has been freed off and a new set of rings are to be fitted. The slide-valves are in excellent order, but the regulator valve is undergoing work at this moment. 

1920 Burrell

Looking from the footplate of Victory – the motion is in good order by the looks of things. (Pic: Peter Love)

As for the tender bottom, that will need attention as water was found to still be in the tender and a new coal bunker partition will also be required. Jimmer Marsh is to replace the front tyres, but the rears are good enough to see it through. Attention will focused on the main dynamo that’s used to power the canopy lights.

1920 Burrell

Measuring the cylinder bores, which are parallel. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

This is absolutely wonderful news as Victory is really the flagship of the Thursford Collection. The three-speed engine was supplied to Charles Thurston of Norwich in the spring of 1920. It was used with his Orton & Spooner Golden Dragon Scenic ride. The ride needed two engines when in operation and Victory provided the lighting while No. 2780 King Edward VII drove the ride. After a fire the dragons became peacocks and the ride finished with Thrustons in 1930. 

The engine was retired later in the 1930s but lasted parked up for some years after WW2. In fact the late George Cushing first saw the engine when it was brand new in 1920 at Lynn Mart with the famous ride. It’s certainly exciting news for this unique museum. 

1920 Burrell

Jamie taking a break from pulling out the tubes. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

Jamie said, “It’s been an absolute honour and privilege to have been asked to tender for the Victory project in the first place and even more so that it has been entrusted to me to return it to steam. To be entrusted with such a significant item of East Anglian history is showing some challenges. The main one being to disassemble, repair and overhaul as necessary without damaging the patina of the paintwork and all-round ascetics of this quite dominant and admired engine. This is the first project of not only this scale but of importance to Craftmaster Restorations and what better way to showcase our abilities. I’d like to thank the Thursford Collection for entrusting us with their flagship engine after accepting my tender.” 

1920 Burrell

Victory is on the move in late September 2022. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

Victory was collected by Andrew in September and work began in November 2022. Craftmaster Restorations are working towards the engine being completed for the Royal Norfolk Show, Norwich on the 28-29 June 2023 and then on Sunday 2 July 2023 at the fast growing and popular Thursford Steam Gala starting at 10:30am.

Andrew said “I feel very privileged to head up this project for the Trust. I am very positive about the future at Thursford and look forward to many happy years of steaming and the joy that Victory will bring to so many people. It’s hoped to be the first of a number of projects in the foreseeable future at the museum when it comes to bringing things back to life again.” 

With the lagging all removed, the boiler was found to be in excellent order. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

Out of all the scenics that have survived, all have been in steam at public events over the years, but most people in the preservation world won’t have ever seen Victory in steam as it’s been dormant for 40 years. It’s a very exciting new chapter not only for the Thursford Collection but also for the Cushing family.

The boiler has been found to be in very good condition throughout with only minor work needed. The engine has come apart incredibly well and is a testament to how well it has been looked after over the years.

The Worther’s boiler inspection team with the camera all in place. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

Our excellent pictures of Victory at the 2022 Steam Gala were taken by Keith Stanley on Sunday 24 July. Keith says: “Numerous people had photographed a carefully positioned Victory in the car park just prior to the engine been shunted back into the museum hall at the end of the very well-attended gala. However, I believe I was the only person to take photographs of Victory as she approached the village green which features the ornate village sign and telephone box. 

More readings are being taken by the inspection team. (Pic: Andrew Waling)

The museum’s Fordson Major shunter tractor was gently pushing the engine from behind. I managed to get a picture that almost completely hides the tractor from view and so gives the impression that Victory was moving under her own steam! Alas, the boiler was cold, but perhaps in the future we could see her back in steam again.” Keith we believe you will see the engine in steam sooner than you might think! 

Andrew and Jamie – he was the leading fitter on the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough before setting up here. (Pic: Peter Love)

Visitors to the Thursford Steam Gala can also stop by the shopping village, home to the famous Christmas Shop and pantry and of course Thursford’s Garden Pavilion, one of north Norfolk’s leading wedding venues. There is also the luxurious, award-winning bed and breakfast Holly Lodge only a three-minute walk away.

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


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