Finally, after months of negotiation and contemplation by Mountbellew Vintage Club the big day arrived when the Club would take custody of a piece of Galway history. Always conscious of preserving and restoring our heritage, what more iconic project could be undertaken than the rejuvenation of the steam engine which had stood for years outside the Galway County Council offices in the heart of the City. This engine is easily recognisable to Galway people and many had stated a wish that it would again be on public display in its former glory.
This Aveling and Porter 12ton Steam Roller was manufactured in Chatam, Rochester in 1923. Its original serial number, 10924, will enable the Club to compile an archive of it’s life, from the first day it emerged from the engineering works, right through its working life in Galway, and of course the restoration process. Records reveal that this machine would originally have cost 779 pounds. Quite an investment in the 1920’s. It is impossible to estimate a value on the engine now because you cannot quantify history or uniqueness. Monetary value does not come into this equation, this is simply about retaining something special for the generations to come.
Mountbellew Vintage Club has entered into an agreement with Galway County Council which spans several years. The project being undertaken is of mammoth proportions and will be very costly. However the Club have a project plan in place and have sourced expert advice in this specialised field. They propose to take on this restoration in a methodical way and to constantly update all interested persons with developments.
check out www.mvc.ie for details.
During the carefully executed move of the engine, the Keith Finnegan Show from Galway Bay FM, joined the spectacle. Keith interviewed members of the Club live on air. The public reaction was terrific. Many people contacted the show with memories of the engine working in their area, many more remembered the men who had worked it. Still more expressed the wish to see the engine on display in the future. Requests were made by the Club for anyone with information, stories or photographs of the engine to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or Mountbellew.email@example.com
All contributions will be returned in pristine condition to their owners.
There were plans in the past to restore this engine, however the costs involved were prohibitive for the Local Authority. Our Club hope to undertake much of the work ‘in house’ but specialist assistance will be required and unfortunately this will be expensive. We hope to organise fundraising events in the near future and will also seek financial help from Galway Co Co and the Heritage Council. We would also welcome any corporate assistance; any companies interested in supplying equipment or in sponsoring this historic project are invited to contact us at the email address above. Also any steam enthusiasts are welcome to join us in this endeavour.
Projects of this magnitude are not done overnight. Our Club have estimated that this will be a five year job. The engine will be displayed at our annual show in July, each year, so that people can see the different stages of progression and our web site will be constantly updated with the photographs of the work carried out.
Undoubtedly this is one of the largest projects taken on by any vintage club in the Country. We are confidant that it is ‘doable’ and we look forward to the day when 10924, name to be decided, will steam up again on the by ways of County Galway.
On the 28th January 2010 the Steam Roller Engine was moved from the Galway County Council storage yard to storage shed in the county.
MVC would sincerely like to thank Galway County Council and all the following for their invaluable help during the move process.
• Galway County Council
• Michael Long – Truck & Crane Hire Galway
• The owners of the shed – where the restoration will take place
• The MVC members that helped make this happen
Also a special note to the individual who came up with the idea in the first place – Eugen Crehan
And Tom Heavey, who has put a huge amount of time and effort in to Fund Raising and Public awareness.
Mountbellew Vintage Club would gratefully like to thank all at Galway County Council for giving us the opportunity to refurbish a piece of Galway’s heritage.
If anybody has any interesting stories or knows more about the history of this engine then we would love to hear from you.
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