Terry Maynard recalls the life and times he’s enjoyed with the seven traction engines he’s owned over the past 52 years.
Amazingly, Terry’s father had nothing to do with engines or machinery. He was a chef and worked for Lord Cornwallis on the Linton Park Estate at Offham, near Maidstone, in Kent. His young son was mad on football and cricket, which he played at every opportunity he could, including for his local Offham football team.
After leaving school, Terry went to work at John Prichards’ 25,000 broiling chicken farm at Wrotham Heath. It was a gruesome job for a young lad that included a lot of night work. He got on well here but, in 1964, he moved on to a Stothert & Pitt of Bath mixing plant in Borough Green. It involved a 5am start every day and was hard work, but it paid well.
Next he moved to a job at the Offham quarry, where he drove the Foden dumper and other plant, plus the redoubtable Ruston-Bucyrus 38RB excavator, digging hard ragstone. There was no blasting in those days, and it was tough work for the 38RB; the ropes regularly broke as did the buckets, which just ‘ate’ teeth! Terry became an expert at splicing the ropes, and his unbeaten record was six-and-a-half minutes.
The RB was replaced by an expensive Liebherr 700 hydraulic excavator, which Terry remembers as being like a Rolls-Royce and in a class of its own. By this time, the M25 was under construction, and Terry had been promoted to sales coordinator, which then led to him becoming sales manager for Foster Yeoman. Among many other things, he looked after the stone needed for the Channel Tunnel project. He retired at the age of 62, but that was just the start of our story.
Terry got interested in steam when his older brother, Ken, took on the rebuilding – at the Offham quarry – of the ex-Eddison, 1922 Aveling & Porter C 8-ton roller (No.10393). This engine, from Eddison’s Brecon depot, belonged to Bob Whitehead, and had been given to him for writing the centenary book on the company’s history. After helping his brother with the project, things stalled over a boiler problem. The engine was eventually taken on by Les Warren, and moved to Goodlands Engineering, in Tonbridge, where the work was completed.
Working on No. 10393 had fired Terry’s enthusiasm for steam, and it wasn’t long before he started searching the classifieds published weekly in the Worlds Fair newspaper. It was here that he spotted a 1921 Aveling & Porter E 10-ton roller (No. 10043) for sale; it was in Pegdon Brothers’ yard at Elham, near Dover, Kent. It turned out the actual owner of the roller was John Hewitt, who lived in London at the time.
Terry and his wife, Val, set off to east Kent to view the engine, and were greeted by Fred Pegden. A deal was struck and arrangements made for Ivor Bramley’s ex-military, sand-coloured, 1939 Scammell Pioneer to trailer the engine to its new home. It was certainly a slow journey – both there and back! – but No. 10043 was delivered safely to the old quarry buildings at Offham.
This former Eddison engine wasn’t in that bad condition, with a good boiler and firebox. It was put together over the winter and was on the road for the 1970 season. It needed paint and a clean-up, with Val concentrating on the brass work. In the early days, Morning Star as it was called, travelled to the long-forgotten Gillingham Rally. In July it went to the Kent Show, then other events before travelling to the old Lambert & Foster fields for the late-season Lions Tonbridge Rally at Paddock Wood.
In those days, No. 10043 was ‘roaded’ everywhere, mostly with Val steering, but some close escapes were encountered along the way, including sliding down a number of hills, Thankfully, there were no incidents. Then, in 1974, Terry saw an opportunity to acquire another engine project. The late Malcolm Rostron’s 1929 Aveling & Porter E, ex-Sparkes/Marquis of Abbergavenny 10-ton roller (No. 12427), which had been standing for years in Hildenborough, Kent. It had been left, with a number of other engines, to Malcolm’s brother, Ian, who visited the site a couple of times a year to make sure his collection of rollers was covered and secure.
Another deal was done and, in December 1977, this handsome, hardly used engine was brought back to Offham behind the Pierce brothers’ 1920 Fowler A9 Endeavour (No. 14758). Terry was in luck again, as the engine had an excellent boiler and firebox, so just needed re-tubing. On went a new steel roof of the correct type, and Val spent many hours polishing all the fittings as Terry tackled the repaint.
In those days, you went to Mr Oliver at Aveling Barford, Grantham, for details about the correct livery, and Terry got it spot-on. The engine looked a treat, with the help of Chris Scott who has been by Terry’s side for so many years. Again, the engine was restored over the winter months and was an instant hit during the following rally season, when it won at the 1977 Jubilee Sellindge Steam & Vintage Rally.
On one occasion, with Robbie Jardine’s heavy Fowler living van in tow, the inevitable road slip happened near Aylesford but, thanks to Chris Scott taking the wheel from Val, he was able to just about hold as well as save her from being thrown from the footplate. Thankfully, the moulded rubber on the rolls these days not only saves engines from so much vibration, but also stops frightening incidents like that happening thanks to much more grip.
Then it was time for another change! ‘Professor’ Alan Jones, from Northfleet, bought No. 12427, Hero, from Terry and Val in October 1977. During the same period, No. 10043, Morning Star, was also sold to Tony Slingsby, from Hythe. Alan Jones went on to convert this late piston-valve roller into a traction engine and today it lives in Denmark. Tony kept Morning Star until 1982, when he replaced it with JF 17496 and sold No. 10043 to Chris Jones – what a merry-go-round!
This all happened because Terry had seen another advert in Worlds Fair, this time for a 1925 Aveling & Porter L (No. 11251) piston-valve genuine convertible tractor, PE 3617. It had been new to Hambledon Urban District Council (later, Surrey County Council) and was, by 1977, in a ‘dusky’ red livery with Edwards of Whaley Bridge, which had rallied the engine for a good few years.
Terry wasted little time in securing this one, and engaged Brian Coleman and his ERF to collect that autumn. The engine was steamed the following Saturday, and toured around to Mid Comp Farm, in Borough Green, to be greeted by Richard Pierce and the ‘steam gang’ there.
As Terry mentioned, it was a different world after owning a steam roller. The engine was taken back to the old quarry at Offham, and was stripped of its lagging, re-tubed and a few repairs to the firebox were carried out. The engine was very well repainted and given the name Constance, after Terry’s mother. The engine took part in the Gillingham Rally before steaming to Sellindge. The engine was then low-loaded by Les Birch to the Polegate Rally in July, before steaming from East Sussex via various other events.
Terry was to own Constance for 20 years but, after just a few years, a number of stays were found to be very thin at fire level in the firebox. So, the engine was stripped by Terry and his team, then shipped to Ed Langley who had a workshop at Parham, West Sussex. There the firebox was replaced, and the engine was back on the road in two years, looking superb.
The 1980s saw Terry and Val start embarking on many overseas adventures, the first of which involved steaming the tractor by road to the Vestingdagen Steam Festival at Hellvoetsluis, in The Netherlands. Colin Knight, David Hurst, Michael List-Brain, Smudger Smith, John Brice and others also travelled to that early-August event. The engine was also to become a regular at the famous ‘Dortstoom’, in Dordrecht.
To make life easier, Terry purchased his own DAF tractor unit and Carrimore twin-axle (single wheels) car transporter trailer. He cleverly removed the top deck, creating a very light and robust outfit which he then used successfully for transporting his machines to events in France, Belgium, Holland and Scandinavia. The new truck also gave him the ability to rally further afield in the UK, and the Pickering Rally, in North Yorkshire, as well as the Key family’s Strumpshaw rallies near Norwich, became regulars. Terry won ‘Best in Show’ at the latter, in 2017.
By that stage, of course, Terry and Val were established at their fruit farm near Hadlow, in Kent. It was while attending the Henham and Strumpshaw rallies, that Terry got to know former steam contractor, Doug Cotton; he owned 1911 ex-works Ransomes Sims & Jefferies No. 23266 tractor called Back’us Boy. In 1992, after an inspection with Phil Retman, a deal was done for Terry to purchase that engine, which had been sheeted-up well for 14 years by Doug.
With Back’us Boy back at Hadlow, this former RSJ works shunter was in steam the very next day, then out on the road to Goblands Farm, where Richard Pierce’s family is based. Terry noticed an on-road improvement compared to the Aveling Constance, particularly with regard to the ride. However, the pressure gauge was found to be stuck at 80psi, but Terry knew through experience that the engine was on more pressure than that and, after a good tap, the indicated gauge pressure shot up!
For a number of years, the engine was shown in its original, patinated-style paintwork, and travelled to many places. It was always popular with organisers as there are only three Ransomes tractors in preservation today, and only two of them are rallied nowadays.
After six year’s use, the engine was taken off the road and the boiler assembly was totally rebuilt by Chatham Steam, from the backhead to the boiler barrel. The tender and belly tanks were in good order, and the job was done at quite a speed. So, it wasn’t that long before the work was completed and the engine was rallied again, at first without the canopy. The RSJ was later completely repainted. Terry adds that this make of tractor is very underrated, and travels very smoothly on the road. This engine is now with Phil Retman, in Essex, who rallied it in 2019.
While the engine was being overhauled Terry and Val were out with Constance, but that was to change in 1998, when that engine was sold to Pascal Collins in The Netherlands, who rallies it extensively. In 2018/’19, Brian and James at Allison Engineering totally rebuilt the boiler assembly again and replaced the firebox, after which the engine was one of the stars at the 50th GDSF.
Its replacement was to be genuine showman’s engine, in the shape of 1918 Garrett 4CD No. 33305 Mighty Atom, which Terry found for sale in Portland Bill, at Peter Wallis’s blacksmiths shop. Peter had sadly died and his brother was selling the engine. Terry saw it needed a repaint – it was various shades of maroon – but was generally sound.
More polishing for Val, as the engine moved from Dorset to Kent. Over the winter months, the engine was repainted and tided up where needed, but the boiler was in good condition. The pump gear was renewed during the process and, on its return to the rally scene, it looked like new and was a credit to the team involved. The Garrett went on to tour all over Europe and the UK, in Terry’s ownership. Terry says comparing the three types of tractors he’s had is an interesting exercise; the Garrett is more powerful, but slower on the road than the RSJ and doesn’t bounce so much, perhaps because of more weight on the front, due to the dynamo. But Terry says that the larger front wheels also help.
But things didn’t finish there as, in October 2002, Terry went ‘big time’ when he toyed with the idea of buying a ‘BIG’ showman’s engine. A Burrell Scenic was his ambition, which Val shared.
There so happened to be one coming up at the late Fred Coupland’s Cheffins sale on October 12th that year. After looking at 1920 Burrell Scenic No. 3865 No. 1, and discussing it with the late Bernard Smith (who’d prepared Fred’s engines for the sale), it was concluded that it needed major boiler work and that had to be reflected in its selling price. Terry hardly slept a wink in the hotel on the eve of the sale, but was able to buy No. 1 at a competitive £320,000. He’d done it!
Roger Mortimore collected the engine with his immaculate Scammell Crusader, but the Garrett Mighty Atom had to go to make way. The late Bill Best did the deal and, in no time at all, the engine had moved further into Kent, to Bredgar.
As always, Terry and his team had the roof off in record time, followed by the tender, motion and gears. The boiler assembly was sent to David Bicknell’s in West Sussex a matter of days after the sale. Jimmy Key phoned Terry to congratulate him and said: “I know you’ll bring the engine to our show. Good on you boy for buying it; it couldn’t have gone to a better man!” The rest is history as the engine was out at shows by May 2003 and looking a dream, thanks to everyone’s hard work.
But our story doesn’t end there as, in 2013, Terry and Val bought Burrell 5hp No. 3777 road loco, Queen Mary. They’d first saw the engine standing under a sheet at Middleton, in Norfolk, 13 years earlier, in the Rudd’s coal yard. As only Terry can, he struck up a relationship with the family and, after Lenny Rudd’s father had died and everyone realised they weren’t going to do anything with the worn-out Queen Mary, a deal was done and the engine headed south.
It needed ‘the works’ and this was completed in 2016. Its first appearance was at the Woodchurch Rally that year then, the following spring, it was to take the top award at the revitalised Strumpshaw Rally. Terry and Val say that this engine is their future now as they’re getting older and, having been steam owners for 52 years. As they have said they have met so many good people and friends over their life in steam from their exploits. It has certainly been a enjoyable experience and they would have not done anything differently.
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