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March 2016

A Visit to England

By Paul Harvey

Tom Rapp and Crossley

Tom and the Crossley at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

Inspired by the Coolspring Power Museum's most successful Thirtieth Anniversary Show in June of 2015, and with so many of the international visitors enticing me to visit them, I decided to make it a reality. With my good friend, Tom Rapp, we decided to go to England and see some of their marvelous museums.  I did have an additional motive for this visit.  My grandfather immigrated from Scotland in 1872, and, having done research on Ancestry.com, I had discovered that the Harveys always resided in Stirling, Scotland.  So the venture was to be to find traces of  my family, then to see some great engines.   

We left from Pittsburgh on Friday evening, August 21, and arrived at Edinburgh, Scotland, the next morning.  After walking through old town Edinburgh, we had a great dinner at the Steak and Mussel Bar, then dropped into bed.  The next morning we took the train to Stirling, and the adventure began!

Stirling is a beautiful little medieval city about 40 miles northwest of Edinburgh, located on the winding River Forth.  We stayed at the Portcullis, a little inn built in the 1700s.  From there we had a great view of the castle, the church, and the quaint city.  Pondering what to do first, we chose to walk to the huge Church of the Holy Rude, Rude being a Scottish word for a relic from the cross.  The church is shown in Photo 1.  Built about 1,000 years ago, John Knox, who converted Scotland from Catholicism to the Presbyterian faith, actually preached here in the 1500s.  After wandering about the church in awe, I asked one of the docents if any Harveys were buried here.  He smiled, disappeared a moment, then returned with a huge old ledger. Jotting down some entries, he said, "Come along and I will show you."  Walking out into the kirkyard - Scottish for churchyard - he showed Tom and me all my ancestors graves!  Photo 2 is the main Harvey marker, dating back into the early 1700s.   After a great day, we had an excellent dinner at our inn and  were thrilled to see this night view of the Stirling Castle from our window, as shown in Photo 3.

On the morning of August 26, Tom and I departed from Stirling for a 6-hour train ride to Manchester, England.  The scenery was superb, gradually changing from the small, bleak Scottish farms into the lush and expansive English farm land.  Finally the view became suburban as we neared our destination of Manchester.  Arriving, we walked to our hotel, then toured the city a bit before a good dinner and turning in for the night.

Next morning, we were at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester before the doors opened.  Perhaps the most wonderful museum that I have ever seen, it is the redeveloped old Great Western Railway warehouse complex.  It is huge!!!   Photo 4 shows the entrance to one of the buildings.   Entering Power Hall, a huge brick warehouse building, Tom and I headed for the engines.  First in line is a Crossley built Otto and Langen, shown in Photo 5.  Looking beyond, we were awed by the engine row shown in Photo 6.

The museum is massive, with many buildings, so our one nine-hour day barely scratched the surface.  Due to limited space, I cannot begin to show all the great exhibits.  I think of note is Photo 7, a Mirrlees air injection diesel that actually runs.  I was especially fond of this huge National engine driving a generator.  See Photo 8. All panel boards and wiring are complete and operate when the engine runs.  There are steam engines, locomotives, vehicles and aircraft, as well as buildings dedicated to gas and electricity.  It's all there!  Manchester is a pleasant old industrial city, and this museum is definitely a "must see" on any visit there.

Departing Manchester the next day, we rented a car and drove to our inn for the rest of our stay.  Glad to have the quiet rural roads, I finally became a bit comfortable driving on the left side.  We soon arrived at the Deanwater, our inn, which is located in a quaint wooded setting along the River Dean. It was originally a hunt club built in the 1700s.  With a few free hours before dinner at the inn, we decided to explore the area. 

We chose to drive several miles to Quarry Bank Mill, Photo 9, which is a massive cotton mill built in 1784.  Restored and operated by the National Trust, it spins a story of textile making that ends in the mid-twentieth century.  Originally powered by "the most powerful waterwheel in Europe," we watched it turn at two revolutions per minute.  At 32 feet in diameter and 21 feet wide, it slowly rotated to produce 1,000 horsepower.  The ancient gears groaned while turning  a vertical shaft that operated the looms on the floors above.   Photo 10 shows a spinning demonstration that produced the cotton thread for the looms to weave into fabric.  By 1810, the mill management realized that many summers produced a shortage of water from the river, shutting down the entire operation.  The answer was to install a boiler and a Boulton and Watt steam beam engine.  It is shown in Photo 11 operating under live steam.  All the other steam engines used to maintain the mill were also operating.  At dinner Tom and I reflected that the Quarry Bank Mill was an impressive tour, and then looked forward to seeing the Anson Engine Museum the next day.

After a good breakfast at the Deanwater, Tom and I were anxious to visit Anson, sometimes called, "the Coolspring of England".  Actually this visit was one of our main objectives of our trip, and we were not disappointed. We spent the next three days there!  Driving through the old village of Poynton,  we soon turned into the wooded driveway of the museum.  After parking our car, we walked to the main entrance to the museum, seen in Photo 12.  Entering, we were greeted by familiar faces of friends we had made in June.  After chatting a bit, we proceeded into a most wonderful and amazing world of engines!

Upon entering the  next room, Tom and I were in awe to see Crossley Number 1.  This is the first gas engine that Crossley Brothers, from nearby Manchester, built.  Crossley had obtained the English license to build the  German-designed Otto and Langen free piston engine.  It is shown in Photo 13.  Walking further into the next large area, we were greeted with the great engine display pictured in Photo 14.  All the large engines to the left operate.

Photo 15 shows Geoff Challinor, Curator of Anson, adjusting the starting torches on the very complicated and unusual four-cylinder Gardner oil engine.  Geoff actually uses a timer to keep the torch sequence according to the book.  Finally he turned on the starting air, and the beast sprang to life.  With a few more adjustments, it was humming happily and driving a generator to provide brilliant lighting to the area.  Touring on, we met Pat, a very helpful docent who posed beside the air injection Mirrlees diesel, serial  number one.  Note Photo 16. This is the oldest Diesel engine in the United Kingdom.  It is interesting to note that Pat spent his entire career working for Mirrlees.

A very odd engine is seen in Photo 17.  This is an Atkinson engine that is amazing to see run.  With its unusual toggle linkage, it provided two strokes of the piston, of different lengths, per one revolution of the crankshaft.  By incorporating this feature, it circumvented several patents and was fairly successful. 

Probably my favorite engine of the Anson Museum is the huge three horsepower Crossley free piston engine.  I am dwarfed standing beside it as seen in Photo 18.  Built in 1877, it was the largest model produced.  It was used in the upper story of a warehouse to drive a winch and jib crane that unloaded tar barrels from barges.  Affectionately known as the "Rattling Monster," it still happily operates its original hoist.  In awe, I watched it "rattle" many times during my visit.

One of the oldest engines at Anson is the Hugon, shown in Photo 19.  It was built in London in 1867 under the Hugon patents.   Rated at 1/2 horsepower, it is number 21. It is a non-compressing, double-acting engine very similar to the Lenoir.  The final engine shown here is this big two-cycle Vickers, seen in Photo 20.  It certainly sports a huge flywheel and ran very smoothly.  It operated each day.  

The three days of our Anson visit went very quickly.  There are so many other engines that I wished to have been able to show, but, with space restrictions, I must stop here.  Anson is certainly a "must see" for any engine enthusiast visiting England!

The next morning, Tom and I drove to the Manchester airport, returned our car, and were soon home.  It was a great visit, and I hope to return again soon! 

British Flag

Photos by Tom and Paul

Returning to Coolspring next month, I will feature our "Gus" engine.  It promises to be an interesting story.  Cheers!

The Church of the Holy Rude 

Photo 1: The Church of the Holy Rude

Harveys in the Kirkyard 

Photo 2: Harvey family marker in the kirkyard

Stirling Castle 

Photo 3: Stirling Castle at night

The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester 

Photo 4: The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester

Crossley Otto and Langen Engine 

Photo 5: Paul with an Otto and Langen engine built by Crossley

Engine Row 

Photo 6: Engine row

Mirrlees Air Injection Engine 

Photo 7: Mirrlees air injection diesel engine

National Engine and Generator 

Photo 8: National engine and generator

Quarry Bank Mill 

Photo 9: Quarry Bank Mill

Spinning Demonstration 

Photo 10: Spinning demonstration

Boulton and Watt Steam Beam Engine 

Photo 11: Boulton and Watt steam beam engine

Anson Engine Museum 

Photo 12: Anson Engine Museum

Crossley Number 1 

Photo 13: Crossley engine number 1

Great Display of Engines 

Photo 14: A great display of engines at Anson

Geoff and the Gardner Engine 

Photo 15: Geoff and the Gardner oil engine

Pat and the Mirrlees Engine 

Photo 16: Pat and the Mirrlees diesel engine

Atkinson Engine 

Photo 17: Atkinson engine

Paul and 3 hp Crossley Engine 

Photo 18: Paul and the 3 hp Crossley engine

1867 Hugon Engine 

Photo 19: 1867 Hugon engine

Vickers Engine 

Photo 20: Two-cycle Vickers engine

 

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