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2004 News Archive

December 2004

Boiler No. 4 has passed its first tests. The dry inspection and NDT testing have been completed and certificates issued. This is the first phase of work funded by The Consolidated Charity of Burton on Trent's grant that we received in November.

• The signs which we received the grant for in November have been made and are now being fitted around the site.

• The planer thicknesser that we acquired in July (see below) is now working. As we are limited for space in the Joiner's shop, it has been mounted on a steel framework together with its motor. The complete machine can be moved to enable long lengths of timber to be machined. Please note that a belt guard has been fitted to the machine after the motor was correctly aligned.

• The Joiner's shop has been busy on other projects around the site:

  • A display cabinet has been made for the Learning Centre to allow us to show more of our archive items.
  • The engine house doors (both AB & CD) are showing their age and are very difficult to lock (especially when they swell in the winter). The doors now close properly.

November 2004

• The Consolidated Charity of Burton on Trent has awarded the Trust a grant of £6,513 to complete the restoration of No. 4 boiler. This includes the costs of some welding work which is required, NDT testing, insulation and the various inspections. Our boilerhouse team hope to have it back in steam for Easter 2005.

• A further grant of £500 has been received from Staffordshire County Council to improve signage around the site.

• In preparation for rebuilding 'E' pumphouse, 2 redundant concrete bases for electric pumps have been removed. It was hard work, even for a hydraulic breaker on a JCB!

• The Trust has signed up for an internet shopping scheme http://buy.at/claymills. With the increase in internet shopping, the Trust has the potential to earn significant amounts of commission on sales from retailers visited through our site. You must use the links on our site in order for the Trust to earn the commission.

• The restoration of the workshop office is progressing very well, with the next piece of wall having been re-constructed from scratch and the roof completed.


October 2004

• On Sunday 24th our learning centre was officially opened by Helen Ruthven of Staffordshire Museums Services. Photo-1. Photo-2. We now have four display panels which were funded by an £800 grant from Staffordshire County Council. Photo-1. Photo-2.

• The V8 Ford flathead pump reached a major milestone in its rebuild - the engine runs - and consumes lots of petrol!

• The pipe trolley has been reconstructed and is now on display (on top of 'A' suction pit).


September 2004

• Our September steaming included tours around the modern works next door. These were organised from the Severn Trent display unit.

• The restoration of the Benford dumper is now complete. This is not the one that was actually in use on the site, but is from the same batch. Thanks to Martin for an excellent job.

• The reconstruction of 'A' suction pit is now complete - everyone was getting used to seeing the fenced off area just inside the main gate and now the area is open once again. We have moved the Jubilee tub to its new home as well. This is the type of tub that was used to transport lime inside the limeshed. Many thanks to the team that completed this substantial task before the winter sets in.


August 2004

• The August Bank holiday was our first 3 day steaming. This coincided with the IWA national festival in Burton. Over 500 visitors came to see us.

• On Sunday, the Mayor & Mayoress of the Borough of East Staffordshire, Councillor & Mrs David Whitmore visited the site and each was asked to assist in the starting of an engine. The Mayoress was also invited to blow the steam whistle.

• The repaired sections of the workshop office have now been installed. The next job is to reconstuct the other half from the pictures we have.

• Work on reconstructing 'A' suction pit is progressing very well. In the picture note the holes left in the walls. These are for the agitator line shaft which will be reinstated when new bearing housings have been cast.

• Work on the steam hammer is completed and it was in use at the August steaming (for shredding wood by the looks of it!!).


July 2004

• The William Hutson School attended our first organised school visit. 78 children were split into groups and used worksheets to learn about Victorian sewage treatment.

• A local joinery firm is moving premises and has donated some of the woodworking machinery. We have a planer thicknesser, a morticer and a tennoner. These arrived after we had purchased some of the roof trusses and bricks to use in other parts of the site. The trusses will be used for rebuilding 'E' pumphouse and the bricks for 'A' suction pit and the blacksmith's forge.

• This month also saw the return of our Model Show.


June 2004

• The steam hammer is almost complete now. It wasn't quite ready for the Father's day steaming, but we hope to have it back in action by the August steaming.

• Our Learning Centre has now been refurbished. The room (which used to be the Trust Office) has been redecorated and rewired. The room will be used for talks to small groups of visitors - such as the introduction to guided tours. We also have TV & video facilities to show clips of the engines on non-steaming days and to disabled visitors who cannot access the upper floors of the engine houses. Visitors may also use our intranet to view the archive website.

• We currently have contractors on site repairing spalled brickwork on the engine houses and some of the doors and windows. The Trust is keeping a keen eye on the quality of materials & workmanship to ensure that it meets the standards required for a Grade 2* listed building.

• A lathe has been acquired to carry out restoration & maintenance work. It was manufactured by Elliot & Wilson and will be installed in our modern machine shop in the old oil store.


May 2004

Its been a busy month...

22 tonnes of coal turned up one day! This was all moved into the bunker in the boiler house in one day using nothing but wheelbarrows, shovels and lots of muscle power. The team easily accomplished this, but Oli wasn't much help! A well deserved rest.

• The steam hammer anvil and baseplate have been located on the new timbers.

• The Joiner's shop is in full production, with work progressing well on repairing the workshop office. There are some new pictures on the main Joiner's shop project page.

Boiler cleaning still needs to be done after every steaming. Volunteers welcome!

• Rebuilding our second dumper is progessing well, with the chassis receiving a coat of paint.

• From the archives - So you thought you had limescale problems in your pipes - take a look at ours...


April 2004

• The steam hammer foundations have been progressing again. The new timbers have been placed into the hole.

• Work has commenced on re-instating the brickwork around the top of 'A' suction pit. When the pit was filled in, the top few rows of brick were either pushed into it or were loosened. This pit also had an underground lineshaft which drove a set of agitator paddles. The engine house has been demolished, but we do have the engine in store awaiting restoration. The lineshaft was supported by bearings either side of the pit. They were housed in a cast iron frame which was located in this recess. We have part of one of these and are in the process of making patterns to replace this feature. This picture shows the original blue brick path along one side of the pit.

• Several tons of coal have been acquired from a disused coal bunker at a school near Dronfield, with much more to come.


March 2004

• The steam hammer foundations have been progressing. After the timbers had been removed, it was found that the sides of the hole were just the earth infill. Damp from the earth had been absorbed into the wood causing it to rot. The hole has now been brick lined.

• A pillar drill has been installed in the Joiner's shop and a rising blade circular saw has been acquired.

• Work has commenced on repairing the workshop office. The remains have been stored in AB engine house for some years. Now that the Joiners's shop is available, we have been able to make a start. The picture shows one of the sides after cleaning down.


February 2004

• The steam hammer foundations have been deteriorating for some time, resulting in it leaning to one side. The Thursday Gang decided to "bite the bullet" and completely dismantle it to examine the condition of the timbers which support the hammer and anvil. (Wood is used to absorb the shock when the hammer hits the anvil.) The final piece to be lifted out was the anvil. The timbers were found to be completely rotten, partly due to a broken drain at the edge of the pit. Now that the pit has been excavated, new walls will be built and new timber foundations constructed.


January 2004

• The railway wagon has made its final move into the boiler house. It looks so much bigger now that it is inside - about half of the length of the building!




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