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.