Vintage Spirit is Britain’s number one magazine for steam and industrial heritage. Each month, we bring you the latest event reports and news from the preservation world, as well as fascinating features on restoration projects, manufacturers, museums and
well-known faces. Plus, relive stories from the past and take a journey into yesteryear with nostalgic photographs from the archives.
The Art & Craft of Preservation
As both a traditional signwriter and skilled artist, Rob Cooper can be said to paint vintage vehicles and, thanks to the preservation scene, his unique talents are very much in demand.
As long as he has a paintbrush in hand, Rob Cooper is a happy man, regardless of whether he’s using it to skilfully line-out a vintage vehicle using the traditional methods he was taught as a child, or capturing the atmospheric scene at a preservation event in a watercolour painting.
Tales From A Dodman Traction Engine Driver
During his research into the history of the steam engine manufacturer, Dodman & Co of King’s Lynn, David Hulse came into contact with Fred Hollis, the driver of the last engine produced by the firm. Here we hear Fred’s account of the threshing work he carried out with engine No. 2275 in the summer of 1944.
Ex-Chile Aveling Takes Shape
When Martyn Blackburn bought a rather sorry-looking
Aveling roller that had spent 30 years lying on its
smokebox in Chile, those around him thought he’d
gone mad. Now that the project has started to take
shape, however, they’re fi nally starting to understand
the reasons for his passion and hard work.
An exciting tale about Fred
Fred Couples has wasted no time leaving a "boom-boom" sized imprint on the Champions Tour.
The Seattle native won his third straight event on the 50-and-over men's tour Sunday with a two-stroke victory over Corey Pavin in the Cap Cana Championship in the Dominican Republic, shooting a course-record 10-under 62 on the final day
Naming Ceremony for Fred Dibnah's Engine
On Saturday 12th March, Fred Dibnah’s beloved
Aveling & Porter KND convertible No. 7838 was
offi cially named Fred at a special ceremony
organised by its owner, Michael Oliver, and
attended by a number of the late steeplejack’s
family members and friends.
Sir Henry Bessemer: A Man Of Steel
In the first of a new series on famous inventors,
we look at the life and work of Sir Henry
Bessemer, who, among his many achievements,
developed a steel-making process that
revolutionised heavy industry.
Kelham Island Museum
Museum is dedicated to celebrating the city’s proud cutlery
and steel making industries, as well as being home to the
most powerful surviving steam engine in Europe.
Twenty Years Roving With Sid
John Reeves looks back on two decades of adventure with his faithful Land-Rover Series I.
Twenty years ago, on 21st June 1991, I made
a purchase that changed my life in a number
of ways – I bought a semi-derelict Land-
Rover Series I. The vehicle, registered SDV 44, has
acquired the name Sid, as someone once suggested
that its registration reminded him of Sid Vicious!
Fowler gets restoration treatment after 40 years
Fowler roller No. 17487 was last steamed in 1969
and since then has been laid up with its owners
awaiting restoration. When the engine’s 80th
birthday came around however, the Hallam family
finally decided to start work, and when we visited
the engine’s newly made shed in Staff ordshire, we
found the project nearing completion.
The Great Debate
In 1989 four of the best-known names in the traction engine world came together for a lively formal debate on the purpose and nature of steam rallies. Over 20 years later, a recording of this unique event has surfaced and it certainly makes for fascinating listening.
It was during a discussion around the coke stove in the yard of Carters Steam Fair on a winter Sunday in 1988 that John Carter first set out his anti-rally argument - "The only tangible reason for holding rallies is to promote brewers' profits." With him at the time was founder member of the Old Steamers Club, Chris Raworth, and John told him, "If you can get Oliver to come and argue it with me, I'll forward a motion."...
To read the full article online, click here.
A 69-minute CD recording of the entire Great Debate is now available from Vintage Spirit priced at £9.99 (plus £2 P&P). Call 01283 742970 or click here to order online.
Traction engine men take to the rails – again!
Deputy Editor John Reeves recently reached the milestone ‘three score years and ten’, and as a surprise birthday present, his younger son Simon and family arranged for him to visit his hometown of Aberystwyth in mid-Wales to spend a day on the Vale of Rheidol Railway.
To read the full article online, click here.
A Staffordshire Swiftsure
As well as owning a 1961 Swiftsure that is in
remarkably original condition, Reg Woodings is
also one of the few people around who has driven
Thornycroft lorries in working service. During the
unseasonal sunny spell in early October, we visited
him at a Staff ordshire farm to learn all about his 5-
ton brewery dray and his self-described ‘obsession’
Fife Wheel Wrights
The Kingdom of Fife has an industrial heritage
based in coal and steel, but the area around
the county town of Cupar is of a much gentler
persuasion. This is rich farming land with a sprinkling
of villages and red tiled roofs, and the perfect spot
to take a quick trip back in time. As I pulled into Ian
Grant’s courtyard on a glorious summer morning
and watched George, his Golden Retriever, prick up
his ears, I knew I was in for a treat.
Ryhope Engines Museum
Ryhope Engines Museum is situated on the outskirts of Sunderland, next to the North Sea, and is based in an 1868 pumping station. The building's original remit was to supply water to Sunderland and the surrounding areas, before being stood down in 1967. The site is now owned by Northumbrian Water and staffed by volunteers from the Ryhope Engines Trust.
Tour in a Matador
Ever since our 2007 ‘End-to-End’ journey in
my AEC Mercury, I’d harboured the wish that
my wife Barbara and I should make another
trip, this time circumnavigating the top of Scotland,
from Ullapool round to Inverness. By 2011, with
the restoration of my 1937 Matador nearing
completion, combining this with a visit to the AEC
centenary celebrations at Newark in June 2012
seemed a good idea.
A Thornycroft fanatic
Richard Murphy pays a return visit to Reg
Woodings to take a look at his immaculately
restored Thornycroft Sturdy. Situated on a
beautiful Staff ordshire farm, Reg explained
why he had chosen this rural retreat to frame
his new pride and joy.
Stepping Aboard The Danny
Saved by a whisker from the breaker’s yard, the future of the historic steam tug-tender Daniel Adamson now looks far more secure, thanks to the sterling efforts of the Daniel Adamson Preservation Society. Undaunted by the Heritage Lottery Fund’s rejection of a Round 2 bid for restoration funds in 2011, DAPS has persevered and, following extensive discussions with HLF, secured £37,300 in a new Round 1 bid. DAPS is now awaiting the vital decision on Round 2 – this is for £3m, which would see Daniel Adamson restored to public service, sailing from Liverpool all over the
rivers Mersey and Weaver, and the Manchester Ship Canal. Income from public cruises and charters would then help to maintain her in operational condition for the foreseeable future.
The Magic Roundabout
A roundabout in the heart of a suburban
housing estate is certainly a strange place
to find a tower windmill. Holgate Mill, in the
medieval city of York, is one of only three remaining
five double-shuttered sailed, Lincolnshire-styled
windmills with a cap and fantail.
Forty years with a Foden
John Reeves tells the story of a high-profile steam wagon that has been in the ownership of the Walrond family since the early 1970s. Foden steam wagon No 13752 was completed in 1930, supplied when new to Swindon Borough Council, and given the Wiltshire registration, MW 8324; it worked with that authority for a number of years. It was then acquired by the well-known quarry owners and Foden operators, WJ King of Bishop’s Lydeard, near Taunton. I have not been able to ascertain the date when Kings acquired it – certainly Alan Duke does not give one in his notes, held by the RLS. The Somerset company used it, like so many steam wagons, as a tar sprayer in its road-making and maintenance business. Steam wagons were popular for this work as the steam could be used to keep the tar liquid
A Gift of a Roller
Having been in the Austin family since the early 1960s, Fowler No 17583 was recently presented to Guy by his father, Geoff . Dave Bonner describes the preservation of this former Kaymat roller, and how he helped construct its new canopy.
The Preservation of a Bedford M type
Introducing a new range of vehicles shortly before the outbreak of a world war may not seem like great timing, but it actually proved beneficial for the Luton-based firm of Bedford. Following its launch of a range of commercials in 1939, the company was soon being asked to redesign its vehicles for military purposes, which eventually found employment in all branches of the Armed Services.