The Society’s Spring Visit was held at the home of Will Woodward and family at Buglawton, a few miles from Congelton, Cheshire on Saturday 13th May. We have been trying to hold a visit further north for several years but COVID managed to put a stop to that, so it was a case of third time lucky!
We left home at 5:30am to be greeted by fog but as we headed north the sun broke through and we were treated to a glorious day in every sense of the word. We arrived in good time to find a number of engines gently raising steam in the yard.
We had carefully co-ordinated the launch of the Societies latest book “The Major R. J. W. Ind Collection of Historical Photographs” to time with the visit so our first job was to set up a display to sell them from. The Societies Sales Officer, John Dickinson travelled down from Yorkshire with his well laden car but went home much lighter having sold around 70 books which kept the authors busy signing copies for members.
Our Society visits always seem to have a special atmosphere, with like minded friends in small groups chatting and with visiting several engines to view which included Irene Briggs Wallis & Steevens T class traction engine ”MAYRNACH”(Fig. 1) in the capable hands of Andrew Bradbury and Matt Healey.
Fowler T3 class tractors No. 15625 owned by Richard Metcalf and recently purchased No.15632 recently purchased by Anthony Abruzzi from Allan Marchington (Fig. 2).
Another visiting engine making its debut was the 1925 Davey Paxman 3NHP portable No. 21693 owned by Brian Allison.
Chris Arrowsmith and Hedd Wyn Jones had an early start as they roaded in about 35 miles on Chris’s Foster tractor No. 14608 “IKANOPIT” specially for the event (Fig. 3).
Resident engine Burrell No. 3135 owned by Rob Houghton looked in fine form as it nears the end of a long restoration (Fig. 4).
Another engine having recently changed hands is Robey tractor No. 41492 moving into the area from Suffolk and now owned by Frank Hollingshead. It has worn showman’s clothes since preservation but spent its life in the WD and later used for wood sawing before ending its days in Norfolk in Ben Hathaways scrapyard, finally being rescued for preservation by Fred Howling, Terrington St Clement, Norfolk in 1963 who restored it and added the showman’s fittings at the same time.
Will’s own engine Mclaren No. 1421 “CAPTAIN SCOTT” (Fig. 5) was in steam whereas his 5NHP Mclaren No. 1642 (Fig.6) could be seen in the workshop undergoing an overhaul. Also in the workshop was Fowler B6 No. 9809 (Fig. 7) and Roger and Jack Dibnah’s Aveling & Porter Roller No. 5293 compound roller (Fig. 8) which they are restoring back to original condition. Their other roller No. 7632 “BETSY” (Fig. 9) made famous by their late father Fred Dibnah was in another workshop awaiting boiler work.
Members were most interested in the gear cutting demonstration which was running all day and the finished product headed back to Cornwall in the safe hands of John Wakeham and Steve Parrott.
It was difficult to tell how many members attended during the day as people were coming and going all day but I would guess somewhere between 120 and 150. Refreshments were provided by a catering van at a very reasonable cost and available all day.
Our thanks go to Will Woodward and the team at Buglawton for hosting our visit and providing such a memorable visit to Cheshire this year. Special thanks to John Wakeham for organising and coordinating everything from the Society’s side.