Hundreds celebrate restarting of ‘very rare’ 1921 Vickers Petter after two years of restoration works

Vickers Petter Prickwillow, OuseFest Family Day and joined in the celebrations of the restarting of

Vickers Petter Prickwillow, OuseFest Family Day and joined in the celebrations of the restarting of the Vickers Petter after two years restoration works. - Credit: Archant

Families and engine enthusiasts turned out to see the Vickers Petter stream engine bought back to life.

OuseFest Family Day and joined in the celebrations of the restarting of the Vickers Petter after two

OuseFest Family Day and joined in the celebrations of the restarting of the Vickers Petter after two years restoration works. - Credit: Archant

Families and engine enthusiasts turned out to see the rare 1921 Vickers Petter stream engine bought back to life at Prickwillow Engine Museum.

Restoration works were made possible thanks to a grant of £5,749 from the Association of Industrial Archeology (AIA) as well as private donations and countless hours put in by volunteers.

The engine comes from Southery Fen and is believed to be the only preserved example of its engine type.

The free re-launch party, which was part of OuseFest 2016, included a percussion workshop, RSPB nature trail and face painting.

The original Vickers Petter

The original Vickers Petter - Credit: Archant


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Paul Dunham, chairman of Prickwillow Engine Trust, said: “It was great to see so many people enjoying themselves, particularly the young, who will be the lifeblood of the museum in the future.”

Oscar Thomson, aged 10 and a regular visitor, said: “It was awesome – watching the flames start up the engine again was amazing.”

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John Jones, treasurer of the Association of Industrial Archaeology, said: “This is a superb restoration of a historic engine and it is great that we have been able to assist the museum in giving the engine another life.”

Bob Lucas, volunteer engineer at the museum, said: “It was so rewarding to see the Vickers Petter back in action after all the hard work - the spontaneous applause from the visitors when it was started up made it all worthwhile.”

Why did it need restoring?

Paul Dunham, chairman of Prickwillow Engine Trust, said: “The very rare 1921 Vickers-Petter engine at Prickwillow Engine Museum developed a major fault in 2014.

“It has always been a favourite with visitors since it requires blowlamps to heat up the cylinder heads before it can be started.

“The engine developed a lubrication problem which resulted in damage to the main bearings and one of the big end bearings which all needed recoating with white metal. “After the engine was dismantled to discover the full extent of the damage, and funding secured, the bearings were sent away to STM Engineering to be machined, remetaled, peaned and machined back to size, complete with oil ways.

“During the works to rebuild the engine, by the Museum ‘Tuesday gang’ volunteers, all gaskets have been handmade (20 Oring & Main Copper per cylinder).

“A new oil pump has been installed and the cooling water rerouted. New blowlamps were needed and these were recast with a purpose made pattern by East Coast Casting.

“The fuel injectors needed to be sent away to be re-machined by Colchester Fuel Injection Ltd, at a generous discounted cost.

“When the Vickers Petter was being put back together and trialled, water leaked from the seals on the cylinder heads.

“Two cylinder head gaskets had to be specially made by East Anglian Sealing Company Ltd to solve the problem.

“Following a few ‘teething problems’ needing adjustments, the engine is now restored and working better than it has for many years.”

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