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Crofton Beam Engines 26th May 2013

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After a 5 month wait, we were finally greeted by a rare warm sunday. We picked up Mum and dad and headed off south towards the village of Crofton, not far from Marlborough. I had seen this little place on a TV program my grandson was watching, and it looked interesting due to the fact that it was about Steam engines, something that has always interested me. The Engine room there contains the oldest working steam engines in the world and they still perform the job they were designed to do. On some days of the year they fire up the two beam engines of which one is a 200 year old Boulton & Watt which are both fed from an old Lancashire Boiler. Boulton & Watt formed a partnership in 1775. With Watts patent for a steam engine that contained a separate condenser it allowed for much greater fuel efficiency and a increasingly profitable business. The beam engines played a very useful part in keeping the nearby Kennet & Avon canal topped up with water. The reason being was that the canal is at the summit point which stood about 12m above the nearest water source so the massive pumps fed the locks that used a colossal amount of water every time boats passed by. The Engines pumped 1100 litres of water per stroke and at a rate of 11 strokes/min thats 12100 kites of water per min 12.1 tonnes , the gentleman running part of the machinery said that if he run both engines at the same time he could flood the canal. The boiler that fed the engines was from the old railway works at Swindon and it was a work of art just to look at it, the engineer stated that he would use nearly £300 of coal just that day to fire it all up so the running costs of keeping this classic old engine going are massive. On the running days the cost to get in is a bit higher but is well worth it, and the £50,000 a year to maintain a part of our heritage should come from the government in my mind, the engineer was telling me it cost some £10,000 just to have the boiler repaired and some sixty rivets replaced .

video

i made a short youtube video, if you cannot see below please click this link to take you straight to the page.