Museum wins award for rescue and restoration of historic Allen engine

Engineers with the Allen engine.
Engineers with the Allen engine.

A museum has won a prestigious award for the rescue and restoration of an historic steam engine built by the former WH Allen engineering company of Bedford.

Three years ago the single-cylinder Allen engine was discovered lying derelict in a farmer’s field in Upton Bishop near Ross-on-Wye. It was taken to The Waterworks Museum in Hereford it was stripped down, rebuilt and restored to working order.

David Allen, right, with Peter Heaton and Noel Meeke.

David Allen, right, with Peter Heaton and Noel Meeke.

The engine was made by WH Allen & Co Ltd for use on an Admiralty patrol boat in 1917. Of the type known as a fully-enclosed high-speed steam engine it had seen naval service until 1939 when it was converted for land use near Bristol. History between then and its discovery in a Herefordshire field is sadly non-existent.

The recovered engine has been stripped, rebuilt and completely restored to working order by Museum volunteer engineers. The Trustees are delighted to report that the restoration has been recognised by

the W H Allen Engineering Association.

The award was presented recently by David Allen, great-grandson of the company founder, William Henry Allen.

In presenting the award David Allen noted that the Allen Heritage Awards are made sparingly and the restoration has to fulfil a number of searching criteria.

He said: “I am delighted to say that the restoration of the Allen high-speed steam engine at the Waterworks Museum, Hereford amply meets all the criteria. It therefore gives me great pleasure to present a plaque for display and a cheque towards further restoration work at the Museum.”

Chairman of the Museum, Dr Noel Meeke, thanked David and the Allen Heritage Committee for making the award. He said that he was exceedingly proud to receive it, not least on behalf of the Museum’s volunteer engineers who had lovingly brought the derelict engine back to life.

He was especially pleased that the award had been made in the 40th Anniversary year of the Museum and that the Mayor of Hereford was present to emphasise the warm liaison ‘twixt the Museum and the City of Hereford.

The platform party then toured the Museum, guided by Derek Duffett, Trustee, and saw all the Museum’s magnificent engines working. Following which afternoon tea was taken with other Trustees and the engineers who had restored the Allen engine. The day was blessed with beautiful weather and crowds of visitors who witnessed the presentation and were able to see the Allen engine running.