England' Showmen

A Spectacle of Steam Engines from Overseas


| December 2007



Below: Burrell engine “Duke of Ongar,” built in 1898.

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 above 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 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 below shows the Burrell engine 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.