Engines at British Garden Site

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Part of the steam collection at Levens Hall.
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Half-size steam traction engine.

If you wish to combine a visit to the world’s largest
topiary garden and some excellent steam engines while touring
England, make certain you see Levens Hall.

These are British engines, in immaculate condition and a delight
to behold. We’ll discuss the gardens at the end of this

Charles Henry Bagot, who lives with his wife Susan Elizabeth and
their family in this massive hall which dates back to the 13th
century, is a chartered surveyor and runs the estate from his
office. He is obviously mechanically inclined, having directed
essential repairs in recent years, and keeping a close watch on

His mechanical interest is shown in the collection of engines
which is housed in a special room open to visitors. Purpose of the
exhibition is to show the development of steam power from 1820 to

On view are beam engines, table engines, horizontal engines
which include a highly developed and efficient Corliss, and several
hot air engines. The engines are powered by steam, provided by a
gas-fired boiler. Exhaust steam is used to pre-heat the feed

The brochure of the hall notes: ‘All controls are automatic,
but a safety-valve is included in case of failure. Lubrication of
all running engines is also automatic.’

Several full-size steam engines can be seen and inspected by
visitors. One of these is ‘Bertha,’ a good example of a
Fowler showman’s road locomotive, dated 1920. Also shown are a
1925 Foden steam wagon with a three-way tipping body, and a Locke
(locomobile type) steam car of 1901. These engines are in steam on
Sundays and holiday Mondays.

A half-sized model traction engine named ‘Little Gem,’
which was completed in 1974, is of special interest to children. It
is used to give the youngsters rides around the extensive

The topiary garden was planted in 1692. It is filled with trees
and bushes which have been clipped into fanciful shapes; it is
really statuary in green. The garden is extensive; you can walk a
half-hour in it without seeing the same piece of topiary twice.

The home is outstanding. It is located at Kendal in Cumbria, in
the famous Lake Country. We recommend it.

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