Monday, 23 May 2011

Kelham Island Museum

What a cracking day out this was for both me and Jo a reet nice trip round the Museum, only down side was when I asked to obtain a few shots from the gantry around there steam engine the answer was NO......... sad really I will have to contact the Manager of the museum and see if we can work some thing out !.....

Outside before in !.

This is a fine example of a ladle used within the foundry for 25 Tons of molten liquid Steel which would have carried the Steel around the Foundry.

A Bessemer converters inside the Museum grounds.

A closer look at the gear mechanism used in turning and 
pouring out the molten steel from the converter.

A small steam hammer.

Some history.

Built in 1905 by Davy Brothers of Sheffield, this powerful 12,000 horse power engine worked for 73 years in the city, initially powering a rolling mill at Charles Cammell's Grimesthorpe Works. The rolling mill made armour plate for the first Dreadnought battleships in the mid 1910s, and during World War II it rolled plate for the King George V battleships. In the 1950s the engine was transferred to British Steel Corporation's River Don Works where it powered the rolling mill for producing heavy plate to be used on oil rigs and as reactor shields. The engine was moved to Kelham Island Museum in the late 1970s, and is now in working condition and steamed for museum visitors. It represents the power and volume of Sheffield manufacturing industries during the 1900s.


David and Dennis Davy started out as millwrights at Lady's Bridge in Sheffield in about 1830. Their dream was to make a business out of building steam engines. The first train service from Sheffield to London was pulled by a Davy locomotive, but in 1851 the brothers made a decision that inadvertently changed their destiny. They bought the Park Iron Works at Norfolk Bridge, reasoning that a steady contribution business in iron-founding would stabilise their cash-flow. Within twenty years, half of Europe's steel was being made within ten miles of their doorstep, and the tycoons of the age were soon seeking a local supplier of ever-bigger steel-processing machinery.

David was killed in a works accident in 1865, and with him went the purist's zeal to build agile locomotives. The new management took to rolling mills and forging plant, and the huge static engines needed to drive the former. This second generation of the engineering family was astute, recognising that their business advantage lay in heavy plant because of their unusually large foundry capacity. They adapted railway industry valve-gear to produce engines of immense power but also capable of exceptional acceleration. They were assiduous in securing patents, and the great steel firms were too, and a city a hundred miles from the sea made herself ready to be the dominant naval armourer of the age.

By the time of the River Don Engine, Davy Brothers Ltd had been long renowned as the engineering firm of choice to the great steel companies of Sheffield. The four-hundred strong workforce designed and built anything they were told to build. In that burgeoning city with its wild horse of a marketplace, Davy's destiny had become to fashion the biggest machines it dared.


Charles Cammell gave his name to a famous shipyard, but he was no shipbuilder. He started out making rasps and files in a workshop in Sheffield's Savile Street. Rather like the Davy's, he acquired some steel making with the intention of feeding his downstream business, only to find that the steel making had become the business.

Cammell rode the wave of demand for steel with an aplomb given to a very few, and along with a small number of others including Thomas Firth and John Brown he became rich and powerful. His prime asset was the famous Cyclops Works, but he was soon planning another.

By the end of the 1880s, the construction of warship hulls using armour plate was commonplace. The practice began some thirty years before, with forged wrought-iron cladding, before moving on to riveted rolled steel. In spite of its inland location, Sheffield remained dominant in the technology through a combination of superior hot metal capacity and technical expertise.

Since the 1850s the Royal Navy had been proceeding steadily with a programme to refurbish its fleet, but now an event took place that changed the tempo. On 25 June, 1888, far away in Berlin, Kaiser Wilhelm II succeeded to the throne of Germany. The world's first industrial arms race had begun. Charles Cammell's response was to build an entire plant to supply it. Somewhere in the rush, the tradition of high-minded classical plant-naming was forgotten and the Grimesthorpe Ordnance Works sprang up in just two years.

Grimesthorpe's first mills and engines were supplied by Davy, but by the turn of the century, the technology had moved on again. The engineers proposed a 14-foot wide mill with a 12,000 horsepower engine, around half as big again as anything previously built. At much the same time that it was ordered, Cammell's bought out Lairds of Birkenhead. Back in Sheffield, they created a mill bay so large that it acquired a nickname of 'the Cathedral'. It was 310 feet long by 64 feet wide and 50 feet high. It was served by three cranes, one of which could lift 150 tonnes, a monster for its day. The housings of the great mill were founded at Park in the Spring of 1904, and its construction inside the Cathedral began in the late summer of that year. It would be served by a 4,000-tonne slabbing press, also supplied by Davy, which was designed to break down open-hearth steel ingots from the adjacent Siemens department. The slabs would then be sent, still hot, to the single-stand mill for rolling to plate armour up to eight inches thick.

Close up of Auto lubrication system.

Main Gear wheel 80 Tons in weight. You can see the drive
  Castellated end of the Drive shaft which would have driven
the rollers for the steel Mill.

The River Don Engine slowly coming to life in this video
and then onto full speed forwards flip of the handle 2 
seconds to stop AND to full reverse speed. The ground we 
stood upon was shaking slightly. The squealing is 'ringing' from
the main drive shaft area showing something is just quite not right.
The driver in this video shows control of speed in forwards and
reverse and at 3 mins into the video shows full speed of the engine.

crusher for lime and other ingredients required for the furnaces.

Local map of the surrounding area.

Below is a 32 Ton Hot Catchpot, this item is used to separate gas and liquid at high pressure within the chemical industry, starting life as a single ingot of steel this was machined over days to this end product pressure vessel, Hundreds of this item were made in Sheffield for the Imperial Chemical Industries Lts. This catchpot however was from a plant in Billingham which converted coal tooil.

Below is a 'Grand Slam Bomb' and would have weighed in at  22000 lbs (10 tons) when it was complete and this was the largest bomb dropped in WW2, made in Sheffield at Vickers Armstrong in 1945, the nature of this bomb was once dropped to penetrate deep into the ground and then to detonate this caused an 'earth quake' like effect which would destroy bridges/viaducts and German submarine pens Etc. The complete bomb would have been 7.7 mtrs (26.6inch tall) this within the museum has the tail missing, it was invented by Barnes Wallis who also invented the Bouncing bomb used by the famous Dambusters !.

One of the 'smaller engines' within the Museum.

Picture taken whilst in motion, running now from an electric motor just to show the workings of this steam engine.

Machinery driven from a overhead line shaft.

Various Polishing Head Machinery

A Mock build up of how things looked on a small forging hammer set up.

Transport rail carriage with a ladle and lifting hook from the overhead crane, A suit used to protect the workers from heat and sparks.

A Drop Forged single piece crank shaft.

A lather with a face plate attached with me standing by the saddle and tool post, the tail stock is too heavy to pull/push by hand so a cranking handle attachment is at the rear connected to the drive rack gear.

A remembrance plaque for those who served at THO's W.Ward Ltd in the great war of 1914-1918
for King and country of which 59 made the suprime sacrifice.

A hand driven press 3 men ould have worked this device at any one time.

Looking into the store room and work shop.

Clocking Machines.

Cast iron Turnstiles.

Shells from WW1.


Hammer and Stakes.

A small lathe driven by a treadle.

Roles Royce jet engine.

An elegant gentleman's bike.

A mock set-up of how a street was in olden days gone-by.

An old gas lamp.

1 comment:

  1. crackin stuff mate well shot and a awsome video to boot! the memories came flooding back when i last visited