A NEW ENGINE AT CROSSNESS
The following article describes the removal of a steam engine to a new home at Crossness Engines Trust. The article appears in the Spring 2002 edition of Crossness Engines Record and in the April 2002 edition of the GLIAS Newsletter (from which this version is scanned)
Crossness Engines has recently earned out a rescue mission on a Stewart engine from David Evans of Crayford, Kent. I doubt whether many of the staff of David Evans were aware of the existence of the small steam engine tucked away in one of their smaller print shops. When I made enquiries whilst on a conducted tour of the silk printing works some years ago, the official guide had to seek advice from an older member of staff before the engine was located and I was allowed to see it.
When members of the Crossness Engines Trust (CET) learnt of the intention of David Evans and Co. to close their works at Crayford we were of course concerned for the fate of the engine. Mike Dunmow, Executive Secretary of the Trust, wrote to 'Evans' enquiring as to the disposal of the engine and if there was no better home for it, might Crossness Engines recover it for conservation.
An agreement was reached and an advance party from CET went along to the silk printing works at. Bourne Road, Crayford to assess the work involved in recovery. The team, including Colin Bowden, arrived on 15th November 2001 and photographed and measured the engine and its location within the works. Preliminary marking and engine stripping was then carried out, removing the steam and exhaust pipes and loosening various nuts in preparation for the next visit.
An assessment was also made at this time as to the amount, of lifting tackle and scaffolding required to safely dis-assemble the engine. The next visit was on 23rd November 2.003, when the main cam con-rods and valve con-rods were 'pop marked' and removed from the engine. It was deemed prudent to bring these items back to 'Crossness' for safekeeping. Lack of heavy transport meant that the scaffolding and lifting tackle could not be taken to the works on this visit. On the 8th November 200! The cylinders, valve-boxes and crosshead sliders were removed ready for collection. With heavier transport we arrived at the now closed works on the 20th December 2001 and erected a scaffold frame and lifting tackle. It must be said that although the engine is quite small it was close to a wall and hemmed in by a rather-large tentering machine. With the chain hoist securely slung and web slings attached the camshaft, flywheel and belt-wheel were lifted clear of the 'A' frame and 'tarzaned' to one end of the engine base. The engine’s 'A' frame was then lifted clear of its retaining studs and loaded onto a suitable trolley and removed to the front of the building ready for collection at a later date.
On this visit the smaller parts were removed to 'Crossness', leaving only the heaviest two pieces, the 'A' frame and flywheel, camshaft and belt wheel to collected. On 4th January 2002 the team arrived with. a low truck with a HIAB and the remaining two pieces of engine-were loaded and taken back to Crossness Engines Museum. It is the intention, of the Trust that the engine will eventually be cleaned, conserved and re-assembled and mounted on a mobile base to become a static display.
ENGINE DATA: The engine was built by Stewart of Glasgow and is a diagonal duplex with the cylinders located one on each leg of an 'A' frame. The cam, flywheel and drive-wheel are mounted in hearings at the apex of the frame. The cylinders are five-inch diameter with a ten-inch throw, the piston-rods work through guide-blocks mounted on each leg of the 'A' frame and up to the cranks on the main shaft. The overall size of the engine is fifty-nine inches high by thirty-two inches wide; the 'A' frame is forty inches high, sixty inches long and sixteen inches wide. The flywheel is thirty-six inches diameter by four inches wide. The supplier: T Mitchell & Sons, Bolton, Lancs. Serial No. 9326
THE PROJECT WORK TEAM: Mike Dunmow, Alan Boakes, Harry Collinson, David Dawson, Laurie Dunmow, John Ridley, Peter J. Skilton, David Wilkinson and Martin Wilson.
Research continues about Stewarts of Glasgow and our engine in particular.