by Andrew Smith
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)