The grand “Showman” engines of England are a curious sight to American eyes. Dolled up with brass and nickel-plated embellishments, the contrast to American agricultural engines couldn’t be stronger. And while the engines shown here don’t all qualify as showman engines, they still display a level of showmanship that’s rare in the U.S., but normal in engines made in England.
Steam enthusiast Tony Tolson travels the show circuit in England, and this issue he shares with us some of the interesting engines he came across during the 2006 season. Tony explains:
English Show Engines
The photo accompanying this article of an Aveling & Porter engine was taken on May 13, 2006, at Witton Castle in northern England. The event was run by the Durham County Vintage Collectors, and this engine was one that really stood out.
It is an Aveling & Porter AD compound traction engine, the “Hunslet.” Built in 1930 and wearing engine no. 14068, it weighs 10 tons. Interestingly, it was built as a road roller, then converted in 1970 to a showman’s tractor. Purchased by its present owner in 2003, the Aveling & Porter has recently undergone an extensive rebuild.
The photo of the Burrell engine shows the “Duke of Ongar,” and was taken at the Rothbury steam fair in Northumberland on June 24, 2006. I really like covering this event as the scenery is beautiful; it’s held on the banks of the River Coquet.
The Burrell, engine no. 2093, was built in 1898 and weighs 10-1/2 tons. It was first bought by Robinsons of Essex and remained with them until 1975. It was then acquired by a Mr. Lunnon and bought by present owner Mr. Charlton of Cramlington in 1992.
Also found amid the photographs accompanying this article is a picture of Clayton Shuttleworth’s “Appollo,” engine no. 49008. Taken at the Beamish Museum in northern England May 6, 2006, this was one of the many engines there for Steam Day. Built in 1920 it weighs in at 7-1/2 tons. It is the only one in existence and is owned by Peter Thompson of Warkworth. It was used as a work engine until 1934 when it was exhibited at several shows. It was then used at a sawmill until 1954.
The last picture was taken at the Hunton Steam Fair in North Yorkshire Sept. 9, 2006. It shows the Marshall compound engine “Cressing Temple.” Built in 1902, it weighs 11 tons and is engine no. 38024. This engine spent most of its life in Cornwall, then 10 years beginning in the 1950s on the Cressing estate, hence its name. The engine turned 100 in November and is owned by D. Robinson of Northallerton.
These are all special engines, and it’s very special to have the opportunity to view them and to watch them operating. The season is now over, but there’s still the next show season to look forward to.