A restored triple cylinder “Equilibrium” model is on Display at Leeds Industrial Museum, Armley Mills. It once formed part of the fire fighting equipment of the City of Leeds fire brigade. History not known.
“Arundel Castle“. Although this steamer has a Merryweather makers plate fixed to it is almost certainly a Shand Mason ‘No 1 Vertical’ model. His Grace the Duke of Norfolk presented it to West Sussex FB in 1949. It has been in their care since and has undergone several livery changes as a comparision of early and present day photographs will bear out.
This powerful ‘Greenwich’ pattern engine had an output of 800gpm. It was christened ‘Holt’ and served with Liverpool fire brigade until 1926 when it was sold to the Fray Bentos company to protected its plant at El Anglo in Uruguay. After removing the wheels the pump and engine were placed in a circular brick built building on the bank of a near by river. From here it was able to pump to any part of the factory.
Rose & Co.
One of two only surviving steam fire engine from this company in preservation that I have come across. Ex Belfast FB this Double Vertical model on display in the Ulster Transport Museum. As yet I know very little about its history.
London Science Museum has a Shand Mason & Co. ‘Double Vertical’ on display in its hallowed halls. This example of one of their popular models was bought by Southgate District Council, Middlesex, in 1894. It has an inclined water-tube boiler producing steam to drive two double-acting steam cylinders. These work directly on two double-acting pumps placed vertically below them. The cranks of the engine are set at right angles allowing it to start in any position. It could produce a working pressure of steam, from cold water, in about 10 minutes giving an output of 350 gpm.
Although these details, and the actual engine, use the date 1894 Shand Mason mentioned that one was purchased by Southgate between Jauary-October 1893. They also printed a letter of commendation for the pump in their catalogue. “In January, 1893, requiring a more powerful engine than the smaller steamer brought in 1886, we purchased from you a ‘Double Vertical,…..” signed Mr C. G. Lawson, Engineer and Surveyor October 1896.
1894 Merryweather & Sons.
A ‘Greenwich’ 360gpm, horizontal, christened “Helen”. . The Longton Times and Echo of the day reported its arrival:- “The engine has two steam cylinders driving two direct and double-acting pumps. The machinery is placed horizontally between the frames independent of the boiler. The boiler is Merryweather’s improved patent quick steaming type, capable of raising steam in four minutes; and from cold water to 100lbs. pressure in from six to eight minutes from time of lighting fire, and maintains pressure easily. The pumping capacity is nominally 360 gallons per minute, but the engine will throw 420 gallons.” It was replaced by a motor appliance in 1926 and is now on display in the City Museum, Hanley. Has been restored at some time in the past.
This ‘Double Vertical No 1’ was originally supplied to Englesfield private estate, near Reading. In 1940 its was taken out of service and in 1957 given of permanent loan to the fire service.
This double horizontal cylinder “Greenwich” is maintained by The West of England Steam Engine Society. It was once owned by the Basset family of Tehidy House, Cramborne, Cornwall. There is an element doubt as to the age of this steamer and it is claimed that it was purchased new in 1865 or 1895. However as this model was not introduced until 1885 my view is that the latter date is more likely to be the correct one. It is a lovely engine, in working condition.
Tehidy House had been acquired by the West Cornwall Hospital Management Committee in 1955, who later donated the engine to the newly formed West of England Steam Engine Society for preservation. After much work, including having a new boiler fitted, the steamer made its public debut on Saturday 29th April 2000 at Camborne Trevithick Day.
Boiler No. 2541 (A new boiler was fitted in 1998)
Engine No. 1150
The county fire service owns and displays a working Shand Mason & Co. ‘Double Vertical’. It was manufactured around 1896 for London Fire Brigade who stationed it at New Cross fire station. After being returned to the makers factory for refurbishment, after an accident around 1911, it was sold to the Dorset town of Sturminster Newton. It attended its last fire in 1933. With the threat of war looming St Albans Water Company purchased it in1938 as a backup pump to supply domestic water. In 1938 the company presented it to Hertford Fire Brigade since when it has been located at St Albans, Stevenage and Letchworth. In 1963 it was restored to full working order. Over the years I have seen several photographs of the engine in “Letchworth” livery but at a Centenary Celebration and Final Steaming of the pump held at Stevenage in June 1966 the pump had ‘Herts FB’ lettering but this may have changed since then.
‘Greenwich Gem’ ex Cheltenham. Christened “The Theobald”. Nothing known at present on this engines history but believed purchased by the present owner in 1992.
260gpm ‘double vertical’ model. Although today housed in Ashford fire station the steamer was originally purchased by Bromley Urban District Council. It served the town until sold to the firm of Albert E. Reed & Co in about 1919 where they used it to water its sports ground. Donated to Kent Fire brigade in 1957 and restored to working order. This labour of love lasted from 1991-97 with finance for the project being provided through the generosity of the late Claud Evernden BEM, vice president of No 12 group and Kent Fire Services Benevolent Fund.
1897 Shand Mason & Co.
A ‘Volunteer No 1′ model with the pump located between the hose/equipment box and the boiler. Built for Warnham Court this engine is now Housed at Horsham Fire station.
c1898 Shand mason & Co.‘Double Vertical’ model. No details or history known about this engine which is is in preservation with Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service.
Photograph kindly provided by H. Rawstrone, Lancashire F&RS Engineering & Transport Dept.
Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry have a triple cylinder ‘Equilibrium’ in its collection.
1899 Shand Mason & Co.
‘Newbury’ is a ‘Double Vertical’ model christened ‘Diana’. It served Newbury Volunteer FB until 1912.
Although unrestored it is a working model of 350-400gpm capacity.
“Shadwell Court”, an estate situated near Thetford, Norfolk, is a ‘Metropolitan’ model. One of of only a very small number of surviving Rose & Co. engines I am aware of. Its early history is unknown but it was sold at auction in 1972. In 2007 it was once more put up for auction by Bonhams where it sold for £31,050. Owner and location not known.
1901 Merryweather & Sons.
The Suffolk firm of Richard Garrett & Sons purchased “Queen Victoria”, a Merryweather & Sons ‘Greenwich Gem’ in 1901 at a cost of £351-9-0d. One of its most memorable blazes was the Great Fire at Leiston in 1913 when the threshing Machine Dept. Pattern Shop, and part of the foundry burnt. It attended its last fire in June 1932. Although restored to working order in 1990 it was not found necessary to overdue the use of the paintbrush, retaining its original livery and paintwork
This 350gpm capacity steamer was owned by Skelmersdale UDC who operated until 1941 when the N Lancs Fire Force (NFS) took it over. It now bears the title North Lancashire Fire Force and is preserved in the GMC F&RS Museum in Rochdale.
Originally owned by Blackburn fire brigade. In 1954 it was acquired by Liverpool Fire Brigade for display purposes and use at shows. The National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside now have it in store. It is said to be in good condition and may taken out and cleaned up some time this year.
‘Double Vertical’. Purchased by the City of Birmingham Fire Brigade.
Out of service in 1920’s.
Originally stationed at Linguard Street, Nechwells now owned and maintained in working condition by West Midlands Fire Service.
Restored and in working order.
Photograph by: Steve Pugh a Birmingham firefighter.
‘Greenwich Gem’ model. In use with the City of St Andrews, Fife until 1921 when a motorised Leyland pump replaced it. Now in preservation.
This small Dorset town purchased this Merryweather & Sons ‘Greenwich Gem’ in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King George VII. It was a double vertical capable of pumping at a rate of 300gpm and producing a jet 130 feet high. It remained in service until replaced by a motor appliance in the 1920’s. It subsequent history remains vague but in 1960 a local business man came across it in a Birmingham scrapyard. It was taken back to Bridport and after restoration was put on display in a glass paneled building at nearby West Bay. Since then it has been housed at Bridport Fire station and today, 2008, it can be seen at Highlands End Holiday Park, Eype, which lies just outside the town.
This Park also has a variety of rooms containing Fire Service Memorabilia including a 1936 Leyland Fire Engine and the 1902 Merryweather Steam Fire Engine.
Maidstone Town Museum has a ‘Valiant’, No 1 size on display, which cost £410.2.5d when purchased by Gardener & Co. for use at the company’s brewery near Sandwich, Kent. Some years later it was passed on to Tomson & Wotton Ltd of Ramsgate who donated it to the museum in 1968.
I came across a reference to a Grampian steam museum. (Possibly Grampian Transport Museum). There they have a small horse/hand drawn steamer in the liverey of “GNSR Fire Brigade”.
1905 Shand Mason & Co.
York Castle Museum. have a ‘Double Vertical’ with a split livery. On one side it reads “Rowntree & C0. Ltd Fire Brigade, while on the opposite side it reads “Gosforth Council”. The town owned until 1913 when it was sold to the confectionery firm.
1906 Shand Mason & Co. Updated Jan/2010
This Shand Mason Double Vertical was purchased Duke of Beaufort for the protection of Badminton, his Gloucestershire estate. It remained in use until 1939 when the boiler failed its inspection and was part exchanged for a modern appliance. That same year it was acquired by Bristol Industrial Museum for £5 and remained there until 2007 when the museum decided to exhibit only items relating to the city. Fortunately the group that obtained it was Universal Steam Engineering, based on Badminton Estate, the original home of the Shand Mason. The organisation’s intent is to restore the engine to its former glory. This will entail replacing missing parts and remanufacturing a new boiler.
The Fire Service College, Morton-in-Marsh have this unrestored Double Vertical engine on display. It seems to have its original “Bourough of HUNTINGDON” livery which, if correct, is always a pleasure to see. Although described as a Merryweather it has what appears to be Shand Mason quick steam raising apparatus fitted.
Photograph kindly provided by Frank Sidney.
A No 2 size ‘Double Vertical’ of 450-500gpm capacity. Although its livery is City of york it is not the original paintwork as an illustration in an old Fire and Water magazine shows. That photograph also has it fitted with the company’s quick steam raising apparatus which is today no longer apparent. The brigade also operated a William Rose steamer wich was acquired at the turn of the century.
Clive Briscoe, an Engineering Lead in the Projects Dept of Wylfa Power Station on Anglesey states that they hope to restore to full working order a ‘Greenwich Gem’ as an apprentice project. He kindly provided all the details and photograph that have been used on this site.
The Merryweather engine is No 3049 and is believed to have been supplied originally to Menai Bridge Fire Brigade on Anglesey about 1907/8. It has been loaned to the power station for them to work on by the local council. Little else is known of its past apart from that it was loaned to the National Fire Service during WW2 and saw service in London during the Blitz so if anyone can add to this or otherwise assist in its restoration Clive would be extremely pleased to hear from you. He has approached a number of people associated with steam fire engines but would be glad of any further pointers. All e-mails will be passed on to him.
The engine and pump were finally separated from the boiler and the boiler then went through an asbestos delag. The engine and stripped with the only nasties found being badly corroded valve spindles and some corrosion pitting of the steam side piston rods in the way of the glands. The valve spindles are probably not recoverable so new ones will be made. The piston rods are and are likely to be either metal sprayed and ground back to size or hard chromed in way of the pitting.The crankshaft is in fair condition and polishing of the journals may be all that is required. Although a bit rusty, the slide bars on the ends of the steam and pump side piston rods just need cleaning up and checking for wear.
The eccentric straps and all the bearings look to be in good condition though all the clearances will need checking once all the journals and slide bars have been polished. The steam cylinders and pistons look to be in fine order and little needs to be done with them. The water pump, apart from the rubbers on the valves of course, is in very good condition. Externally, the boiler is in reasonable condition with little serious corrosion. There is however, likely to be a ring of corrosion pitting around the water line on the stack, inner side of the outer shell and firebox crown. Also we will have to look carefully for crevice corrosion around the foundation ring. These horrors may or may not come to light shortly when the boiler is split?
Before this happens it was decided to put a static head on the boiler with water to see if any of the copper cross and ?J? tubes leaked. The GOOD news is that none did! Bearing in mind that this was just a static head of water and that once everything has been inspected and approved, a hydraulic test to 1.5 x WP will need to be applied before final approval is given for it to steam?
So over the next week or two, the boiler will be lifted out of the frames, outerwrapper split and be cleaned out internally
ready for the power station?s NDT man and our insurance pressure vessel inspector. Likewise, all the existing boiler fittings will be prepared for inspection.
In Carrickfergus Museum Northern Ireland.
My only information is taken from a postcard in my collection.
“Colstoun House” is a ‘Greenwich Gem’ sold by Preston Steam Services, a Kent Company, in 2000. Now in private hands its whereabouts is unknown to me. Originally it protected Colstoun House, a Scottish property near Edinburgh. Royston Morris, recently e-mailed me that he had spotted it in a museum under construction at the Hollycombe Steam & Woodland Garden Society, Iron Hill, Liphook during July 2009.
Beeston U D Council purchased this Merryweather Gem, No 2691, in 1908. It was purchased by the grandfather of the present owners in the 1960s who worked it until 1992 when it was decided that some serious renovation work was required. Unfortunately it had to share a workshop and time with two Sentinel waggons so progress has been slower than intended. On the plus side the Hutchinson family, who own it, possess a well appointed machine shop and have boiler making facilities so the engine is in very capable hands and the Gem is making good progress.
The information above was provided by Jim Hutchinson who is one of the team carrying out this noble project. Any knowledge of its original paint job and livery would be greatly appreciated by him and I will be happy to provided contact details for him.
“St Giles” was built for Lord Shaftsbury after fire destroyed the local church. It is a ‘Double Vertical’and was in use up until 1946. In 1957 Tom Sampson took charge of the engine and began to show it. Pulled by magnificent Percheron horse the ensemble made an impressive sight as it raced around an arena. The tableau completed with the crew dressed in period uniform hanging on to the hand rails. With smoke billowing from the stack, and a working head of steam, it was ready to delight the crowds as soon as it braked to a stop and began pumping. This exciting display was taken around England, and the Continent, until the death of Tom. However we can only hope that it will still grace future shows, albeit under a new guiding hand.
Bedfordshire & Luton Fire & Rescue Service
The ‘Brigade’ Steamer is a horse-drawn steam fire engine, circa 1908, with a Shand Mason Engine and the Brigade is proud to have this restored and running.
The origins of this particular fire engine are in some doubt, but it is a smaller type of steamer of the type used in country districts early in the 20th century.
It is known to have been on the Duke of Bedford’s Estate, in Thorney, Cambridgeshire, before the Second World War. During the war, it came under the control of the National Fire Service and was situated at Thorney Fire station, Cambridgeshire.
The steamer is now operated voluntarily by members & friends of the Brigade.
My thanks to Charlie Mattin, Secretary, Bedfordshire & Luton Fire & Rescue Service Steamer Group and their site ‘www.thorneysteamer.co.uk’ Well worth a visit.
This ‘Double Vertical’ has an output of 650gpm is currently on loan to Warwickshire F&RS. and kept at Warwick fire station. It was constructed originally for Stoneleigh Abbey.
‘Double Vertical’ maintained by Greater Manchester Fire Brigade.
Glasgow City Museum have a ‘Greenwich Gem’ in John Brown, shipyard, livery on display.
In 1965 a new fire station opened in Colchester Road, Ipswich and became the home of a 1911 Shand Mason steam pump. It was originally purchased by Needham Market Parish Council and served the town until 1940. After a nomadic few years it was given on indefinite loan to Ipswich Fire Service and is now in a purpose built glass cabinet at the front of the fire station.
This engine, originally purchased by Witham Council, Essex, was purchased by its present owner who acquired a machine that was in an extremely sad state of repair. To restore it required the construction of a new chassis and wheels and most of the remaining wooden parts. Major work was also required on its boiler and metal parts. The finished article is a joy to behold and relects greatly on all those involved in this noble project.
At the end of 1912 the brigade, in response to requests, received two quotes to supply a steam fire engine.
Shand Mason & Co.
Single Cylinder ‘Volunteer’, 200gpm capacity, £295
Two cylinder Double Vertical, 200gpm capacity, £345
Merryweather & Sons.
Two Cylinder ‘Greenwich Gem’ 200-250 GPM £278-18-0
Single Cylinder ‘County Council’ 200 GPM £246-0-0
Small Double Cylinder (c) 150 GPM £309-0-0
After consideration it was decided that the brigade would purchase the Shand MasonDouble Vertical at a cost of £345.
In addition they also requested that a spark arrester and an alarm bell.
In 1919 it was ‘Ordered that the Clerk enquire from Shand Mason Co. on what terms they would be prepared to exchange the present engine for a motor engine of similar horse-power, able to take a gradient of one in six’.
Whatever the outcome of this enquiry the steamer remained in service until replaced by a motor engine in 1938.
I believe the steamer is now in the care of Wafers. Welsh Area Fire Engine Restoration Society.
Buckinghamshire, Museum of Industry and Rural Life, Stacey Hill collection. “The members of Newport Pragnell Fire Brigade attained the summit of their ambition on Saturday, November 30th , when the new “Greenwich Gem” steam fire engine, supplied by Messrs. Merryweather and Sons, underwent official trial.” The 250gpm pump was christened “The Lovat” after a local bank which presented the engine to the town. It served the town until 1939 and was presented to the museum in 1974.
Ely fire station has a Shand Mason & Co. in “Ely Fire Brigade” livery. It was purchased in 1912 by the City of Ely Urban District Council. At one time t was adapted to a two wheels to allow it to be towed by an RAF lorry. After the war it wass restored to its present configuration an put on display at Ely fire station museum. As the picture postcard shows with it has pneumatic tyres and a tow bar.
“Ampthill” is a ‘New Volunteer’ pattern steamer. Only knowledge of it is that it was purchased privately at auction in 1967 for £17,000.
This world famous collection of vintage motor vehicles has an usual hybrid in the form of a steam fire pump mounted on a petrol engined chassis. The pump is a c1915 Merryweather ‘Valiant’ mounted on the rear of a 1907 Gordon Brille chassis. Previously it had been fitted on a Coventry Humber chassis but had proved to heavy. As well as fire fighting it has been used as a crop sprayer and appeared in the 1938 film “Fire Crackers”. After changing hands a number times it was acquired by Lord Montague in 1956 and restored to working order.
The Bygones Museum, Banbury, Oxfordshire, has a Merryweather & Sons steamer on display. It must be a rather late example from this company.