Feasibility Study and Working Group for Old Mills Colliery Engine

Bristol Industrial Museum are to fund a feasibility study to investigate the possible re-erection of the Old Milk Colliery winding engine. A consultancy has been appointed and a working group formed in connection with Richard Maggs of Radstock Museum which has invited local councillors and interested parties to work with them.
The engine is the single largest item in Bristol Museums and Art Galleries Service’s indoor collection and spent its life at Old Mill Colliery outside Radstock. The engine was acquired when Bristol was collecting for a new museum on Castle Park which never materialised and when the service’s collecting area for local history extended much further than it does today. There is almost no likelihood of its display in the city, yet there is a considerable ground swell of interest in its return to Radstock.
The engine is of some significance in coal mining history. It is believed to be the earliest colliery winding engine to survive nationally, having been built in 1861,and is very representative of the simple, robust, inefficient machines commonly used until the 1930s. It was made at the foundry at Paulton, near Radstock run by the mineowner William Evans and it is the largest product of this works to survive. The engine worked for over a century until the final days of the North Somerset coalfield hauling wagons of coal and spoil to the surface. Shortly before the pit closed British Coal commissioned a film of it at work. Bristol Museum acquired the engine in 1966.
Dismantled the engine occupies approximately 32 square metres and assembled it would measure l0m x 7m and stand 3m high. It weighs approximately 28 tons.
BIAS Chairman Stuart Burroughs has been asked to join the working group in 2006 and to represent BIAS’s position on the future for this important engine.