The Road Locomotive Society, founded in 1937, marks its 80th anniversary with the publication of a new book, “The Story of the Midland Engine Works Leeds” by authors John Wakeham, Henry Roskilly and the late Michael Lane. This long awaited and much anticipated book records the history of J&H McLaren and their Midland Engine Works.
The book was started by Michael Lane, the well respected historian and author of a number of books recording the history of the major road steam manufacturers over the years, who passed away in 2015. In outlining the book and undertaking research he had visited Australia and New Zealand gathering a great deal of information. We are extremely grateful to Michael’s daughter Karen Dickson for passing Michael’s unfinished work to Henry Roskilly, who had been assisting Michael with the book. Henry’s father, William Willcock Roskilly, served his apprenticeship at J&H McLaren from 1910 to 1913. William was then employed as a draughtsman for a further three years before promotion to Chief Draughtsman in 1916, a role he continued to hold until his death in 1949. As a result Henry held a lifelong interest in the firm and collected a large archive of McLaren material.
John Wakeham is better known for his auctioneering skills, as well as being a McLaren owner, but when approached by Henry to take over completing the book, he took on the new challenge of author with great gusto. The Road Locomotive Society has fully supported John and Henry in both making our archive material available and publishing the book making it an important reference as well as recording the history of the firm. John has strong connections in New Zealand and Australia and was able to draw on these to gain access to records and surviving engines in that region which has only added to the completeness of the book.
It is intended to launch the book at the Gloucestershire Vintage & Country Extravaganza, South Cerney on Friday 4th August at 12 noon where the Society will have its normal display marquee but dressed in the guise of a McLaren show stand with a McLaren themed photo display. A number of McLaren engines will be on display outside the marquee.
The book, a weighty tome, is limited to 500 copies in its first edition and is priced at £38 + £10 post and packing (UK only). It will be available via our website and sales officer John Dickinson who can be contacted at email@example.com. Advance orders may be placed, with books despatched as soon as possible after the official launch via John Dickinson. Please contact John regarding additional overseas shipping costs.
More information about the Society and details on membership can be found on the Society website www.roadlocosociety.org.uk
The Claude Jessett Trust housed at Tinkers Park, Hadlow Down in the heart of the Sussex countryside hosted the Societies Spring Visit on Saturday 25th April.
Claude Jessett purchased his first engine, Burrell Gold medal Tractor No 3851 in 1942 for use on the farm and aptly named her “The Tinker”. The engine lay out of use on the farm until the 1960’s when Claude and his wife Joyce began to get interested in the preservation scene and decided the restore the engine. Further engines and organs were purchased as well as the establishment of a narrow gauge railway around part of the site. After Claude’s death, Joyce carried on with the collection and established the Claude Jessett Trust to ensure the collection remained intact for the future.
The Trust has gone from strength to strength under the Chairmanship of Peter Haining and has been able to add further engines to the collection, as well as completing a revamp of the site and continuing the major restoration of a number of the Trusts engines. The latest project being the completion some 12 months ago of a new engine shed and workshops enabling the collection to be both stored and worked on in ideal conditions.
Members arrived on site from 11am to see Orenstein & Koppell loco No 11784 built in 1928 gently raising steam outside its engine shed and later running around “The Great Bush Railway” with a Ruston diesel loco and carriages.
At 12:00 Peter Haining and Adrian Vaughan gave an illustrated talk on the formation of the Trust and history of the road steam collection which was much appreciated by all those present.
Outside the main engine shed in steam was freshly restored Ruston Hornsby portable No 163853. Other engines in steam on the day and running around the site were Burrell Tractor No 3851 “The Tinker” and Sentinel Timber tractor No 9097 “Jupiter” which was added to the collection in 2006.
Wallis & Steevens traction engine No 7662 “ Pensioner” was not in steam but had been pulled out of the workshop and was in the final stages of having the lagging made and fitted following a major rebuild which included a brand new boiler.
Inside the main workshop Fowler AA7 ploughing engine No 15364 “Windsor” was awaiting boiler work as she requires a new firebox and front tubeplate. At the other end of the workshop sister engine No 15365 “Sandringham” was stripped down having just passed her boiler test for some work on the bearings. It is hoped she will be back in action for the annual Tinkers park rally on May 30th and 31st.
In the middle of the main workshop Wallis & Steevens Oil bath showman’s conversion No 7777 “Golden Queen” and Aveling & Porter Compound Roller No 5831 “Daisy” await restoration. Tasker B2 roller No 1409 was having the lagging fitted.
Outside Aveling & Porter GND showman’s conversion No 7899 “Southern Queen” was minus her rear wheels and dynamo which were both away for refurbishment and derelict Marshall portable No 89345, a late machine dating from 1942 sits outside waiting her turn for restoration.
The final engine in the collection which has not been seen for many years is Wallis & Steevens Oil Bath tractor No 7601 “Edward VII” , she was new as a tractor and subsequently converted to a roller in later life by Chris Lambert, Horsmonden. She is stored in dismantled condition waiting her turn for restoration and several members were seen keenly scrambling around her to get a better view of this rarely seen engine.
The Society would like to thank the Claude Jessett Trust for hosting a memorable day for members.
Photos and captions (all photos Andrew Smith)
David and Michele Goddard kindly invited members and invited guests of the Road Locomotive Society to visit their premises in Wiltshire on Saturday 1st March allowing the Society members to view the impressive collection of engines and restoration projects on site. The Society also wanted to provide an opportunity for members to view some of the Societies recent auction purchases from two major collections.
The Road Locomotive Society Winter meeting normally takes the form of a talk / slide show due to the possible inclement weather conditions at this time of year. The Goddard’s run an extensive Nursery business as well as engine restoration and boiler repair workshop so a spring visit would clash with their planting season. It was therefore decided to do something a little different and have a winter visit with the knowledge that there would have plenty of undercover areas in the greenhouses and engine house in the event of rain.
After the awful wet weather of the last few months we were all ready for a “whiff of steam” and judging but the high level of attendance so were many other members and invited guests. It was great to see members travelling great distances to attend with contingents from Cornwall, Lincolnshire and East Anglia to name but a few.
On display in one of the greenhouses were fourteen 8’ x 4’ benches which were completely filled with an archive photographic display from the recent Society auction purchase of material from the late John Crawley collection and the late John Williams collection, a constant stream of members were seen studying the photographs throughout the day.
For once our British weather was kind to us and we were fortunate to have dry sunny weather all day and at times it was almost too hot to be in the greenhouse looking at the photographs! The Road Locomotive Society have started a major project with the digitisation and archiving work of its vast photographic and archive collection which will both protect them for the future as well as improving members access. Members made donations on the day specifically for the purpose of purchasing protective sleeves for the Societies “loose” photographic collection but much more will need to be raised to capture the whole collection in the very near future.
At the entrance to the premises members were greeted by the site of the partially restored 1899 Fowler A4 Road Loco No 8669 “Cape Town”, now up on four wheels again specially for the visit. The engine was exported new to McKenzie and Company in South Africa but then moved on to Australia, after the Boer War, where she spent most of her working life before returning to the UK in a very derelict condition. The Goddard’s have completed a thorough boiler rebuild as well as a new tender and are sympathetically repairing and retaining as many original parts as possible. She will make a fine site when completed and fitted with the original older style Fowler awning.
Other engines in steam were Tim Card’s visiting Marshall traction engine No 65908 by the entrance to the car park crewed by Paul Downs and Thomas Baines. The Goddard’s huge Marshall semi portable No 73870 in the Engine House and Garrett Showman’s tractor No 32122 “The Greyhound” in steam for the first time in a number of years which should be “out and about” again in 2014.
It was nice to see the two ex Thursford Aveling M class convertibles in both before and after condition. Engine No 10003 has been rebuilt in tractor form by the Goddard’s on behalf of a customer. This was the better of the two engines and was lightly steamed before dismantling. A new boiler barrel, firebox, tubeplate and complete front end and new wheels have been manufactured for this engine from scratch with the original rolls, forks and headstock being preserved so she can go out as either a tractor or roller just as Avelings intended. It was also nice to see some original paintwork and lining still visible on the gear case. The new front axle and a rear wheel under construction for the second engine were on display in the workshop area.
Other work on display was a very small Ransomes Sims & Jefferies portable No 26915 that had been fitted with a new firebox and was in the course of having a new smokebox manufactured and fitted.
One model was present and this was a 4” scale Burrell steam wagon, a replica of No 3319 and recently acquired by the Goddard family. This was steamed by the builder Tony Putterill for the day.
The event certainly had the relaxed feel of some of the early day preservation events and many members left with “that buzz” from such a memorable day.
John K Williams, who sadly passed away in early 2013, was a long standing member of the Road Locomotive Society, having joined in February 1962. He had assembled over the past fifty years probably one of the best personal archive collections of road steam photographs in the country. It included numerous original photographs of engines, and many had previously been unseen.
The Society was aware that the John K Williams collection contained items not yet within the archive. The opportunity to acquire items from such a major collection is rare, so the Society carefully researched the sale catalogue to identify those items that would most benefit its archive and attended a private viewing with kind permission of Cheffins the Auctioneers, prior to the sale.
In the October 2013 the Society had been successful in acquiring from the sale numerous lots of collections of photographs. This is one of the largest acquisitions made by the Society in recent years and has significantly enhanced the archive. Some pictures from the collection will be included in future Journals to show the quality of the items acquired.
All the acquisitions will, after conservation, cataloguing and incorporation into the Society archive, be available for study and research.
Both the committee and the rally organisers were very pleased with the excellent marquee display at the South Cerney Rally.
The marquee had a magnificent display of historic photographs from the archive collection. Three engines were also on display. The unique 2 ton Buffalo-Springfield road roller, Andy Smiths' 6" Wallis and Richard Scourfields' newly restored 2hp RSJ portable engine.
There was also a society sales stand with both newly published material and secondhand books.
John Crawley, who died in April 2011, was a Past President and long standing member of the Road Locomotive Society. He had assembled over the past sixty years one of the best personal archive collections of road steam material. It included numerous original manufacturers’ catalogues and photographs of engines as well as historical notes built up through his own research. The collection was placed into auction on 1st December 2012.
The Road Locomotive Society, established in 1937, has built up the most comprehensive archive of road steam vehicles information in the United Kingdom. It is the primary object of the Society, a charitable trust, to acquire, conserve and make available for study relevant books, catalogues, engine records, documents, drawing and photographs relating to road steam vehicle development and use.
It was aware that the Crawley collection contained items and original research material not yet within the archive. The opportunity to acquire items from such a major collection is rare so the Society carefully researched the sale catalogue to identify those items that would most benefit its archive and attended the sale.
In the February 2013 Society Journal members were informed that the Society had been successful in acquiring from the sale twenty one lots of catalogues or books, thirty one of research material and twenty four individual or collections of photographs. This is one of the largest acquisitions made by the Society in recent years and has significantly enhanced the archive. Some pictures from the collections were included in the Journal to show the quality of the items acquired.
All the acquisitions will, after conservation, cataloguing and incorporation into the Society archive, be available to members for study and research. Non-members are able to access the RLS archives in respect of specific enquiries into individual engines or manufacturers’ information. Any enquiries by non-members should initially be directed through the Secretary whose address appears on the Home page. Should you be interested in joining the RLS please view our Membership page.
Mrs. Michele Goddard
Tel: 01380 850508
The RLS is able to offer assistatnce in reclaiming 'lost registrations'. A document explaining how the RLS can assist
is available in the dowloads section, or via the link below
Registered Charity Number 1159394