Full Steam ahead as Engine Comes back for Leigh BPT


The Leigh Building Preservation Trust and in particular its steam engine group is delighted to be able to say that its steam engine has run for the first time in 30 years. The steam engine is the largest of its type in the world and the third largest engine remaining in a mill in the UK. It has remained intact within Leigh Spinners Mill but until the engine house was taken over by the Trust it has been locked away and not seen by the public until September 2015 when the Trust completed the renovation of the engine house.

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The engine generates 1800 horse power and weighs nearly 200 tons with a fly wheel weighing 70 tons. In its heyday it ran at 67 revolutions per minute.

The Trust’s volunteer engineers have spent two years restoring the engine from its original rust bound condition but all were optimistic it would run again. The Trust would like to thank the Association of Industrial Archaeology which grant aided the work.

On Saturday 7th October the volunteers part- turned the engine by hand but decided additional power was needed and on the 14th Of October the engine ran for the first time since the 1980’s being powered by a compressor brought in for the occasion.

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There is much more work to be undertaken before the engine will be shown to the public but a major event is being planned for later this year at which it will be operated. For the next few weeks the team will work on a permanent power supply by compressed air albeit ultimately the engine will be operated by steam and cleaning and lubricating the engine will continue.

Full details of future opening will be given once these are known.

John Hurst and Phil Aspinall Chair and Vice Chair of the engine group said ‘We are delighted to bring a major example of our great industrial heritage back into operation. This is a massive effort by our team of volunteers and a reflection of their hard work over two years. We look forward to making the engine fully operational and open for the public to enjoy.’

Peter Rowlinson Chair of Leigh Building Preservation Trust said ‘This is another step forward for the Leigh Spinners project and we are delighted that our first objective has now been achieved so soon after the opening of our new heritage centre in our Scutching Room. More developments are planned for the near future but we are all delighted to see the jewel in our heritage crown back in operation.’

Note for editors

The engine was built in 1925 and was made by Yates and Thom of Blackburn. It is believed to be the last engine constructed by this company for a textile mill.

Photos and video of the engine being operated are available.

For further information contact Peter Rowlinson 07443 496911 or email rowlinson.p@sky.com