12th July 2018
History was made at the Land Trust site at Pleasley Pit as the south engine was turned on for the very first time.
The engine has been restored through the hard work and dedication of the Pleasley Pit Trust and was turned on at an event attended by volunteers and local businesses who have been involved in the restoration, as well as chief executive of the Land Trust, Euan Hall.
Land Trust estates manager, Charles Langtree, paid tribute to the incredible work of the Pleasley Pit Trust to get the engine running once more:
“Since the Land Trust took on management of the site it has been an absolute pleasure to work with the Pleasley Pit Trust as we continue to work to restore this site to its former glory.
“Their hard work and dedication to the site is inspirational and their contribution has been essential, and the real driving force, in putting Pleasley Pit back on the map, and it was amazing to see the south engine up and running once more.”
Pleasley Pit was the deepest pit in the East Midlands coalfield, opening sometime between 1872 and 1875, with the colliery finally ceasing production in 1983.
In 1995 a group of enthusiastic volunteers formed Friends of Pleasley Pit and started the gargantuan task of restoring the site.
Nine years later the north winding engine, first manufactured by Lilleshall in 1902, was restored and run for the first time in December 2004.
The Land Trust took ownership of the site in 2011, with work beginning shortly afterwards to renovate the larger south engine which had been made by Markham Engineering in 1922.
A number of parts were missing, with the volunteers making patterns which were used to cast new parts, and then machined at Pleasley.
The pistons, which were rusted and pitted, were sent away to Markham Engineering who restored them to their original condition, while many hours were spent by the volunteers putting together the many parts of the engine.
Using the experience learned from running the north engine, plans were put in place to make an electrical drive system to run the south engine and this work has now been completed.
With both engines now up and running for the first time in 32 years, the long term plan is to have them running on steam.
The first public running of both engines will take place on Sunday 15 July, with members of the general public invited to attend.
Being active and outdoors, volunteering, gives me a sense of well-being, as well as satisfaction.
Hannah Bagguley, AB Agri volunteer
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