Farm Collector

England’ Showmen

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

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

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.

The picture on the following page at top shows 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

Contact Tony Tolson at: 22 Lawson Ave., Jarrow Tyne and
Wear, NE32 5UF United Kingdom; e-mail:

  • Published on Dec 1, 2007
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