Out & about with The Horsham Traction Company
Boadicea - McLaren 10NHP Road Loco 3 speed
Reg WF1864 works no 1652 built 1919
Horsham Traction Company
The Horsham Traction Engine Company who describe themselves as a 'Group of Friends that share the same interest in steam engines'.
If it is record breaking road runs you want, these are the guys and indeed girls, who do it and I am usually able to join them to get the pictures, what a great time it is with them all.
Les Searle is often seen driving Boadicea towing the 'man cave' behind, Dee Searle drives His Majesty with Della Fagg as crew and Ian Langley is often seen driving The Great North. The trio are normally seen with the Horsham Traction Company créche who seem to be growing up rapidly since I first knew them! They can be seen travelling behind The Great North in the images below under 'The Great North'. This was them travelling through Totton High Street in 2014.
It is a magnificent sight to see such huge powerful engines, making these journeys and being able to be part of the trips. Many thanks to the Searle family and their crews for allowing me to travel with them on many occasions and each occasion an event not to be missed. The Horsham Traction Company is known for travelling at night as it is much safer to move these great machines through the night and causes less holdups.
The photograph above shows the crew of 2017 arriving safely in the holding area at GDSF at 03:00hrs.
This engine was the last of a batch of 55 built by J & H McLaren of Leeds.
The War office specification was for hauling 9” Howitzers and other heavy artillery. Engine No. 1652 never saw active service. She was first registered BE7382 in January 1921 by George Roberts, Haulage Contractor of Calistor, Lincolnshire and then passed into the hands of E.A Foley of Bourne, Lincolnshire. Foleys sold her to Sharpe of Newbold where she was used for threshing for a short period of time.
It is documented that Corrigans bought her from a scrap yard for a sum of £100.00. The engine was taken to the premises of Teasdale and Metcalfe, family friends of the Corrigans. Over the winter of 1928/29 the Corrigan brothers and staff of Teasdale and Metcalfe, overhauled the engine. The wheels were fitted with rubber tyres, a dynamo plate was fitted with a suitable dynamo, a full length awning (which was supplied by McLarens) was added and the engine had a repaint. A boiler inspection and test proved satisfactory.
The Corrigan family considered that they now owned “A WONDER ENGINE”. She was re-registered WF1864 and named “GIGANTIC”.
At Hull fair Mr Shaw, of Shaw and Gaskell, approached Corrigans about buying “THE WONDER ENGINE”, as he thought it would be an ideal engine for transporting boilers to Hull Docks. After a long discussion it was decided as long as the engine passed certain tests it would be sold for £820.00. Shaws collected the engine from Hessle Fairground in May 1929 after the £820 had changed hands.
Shaw and Gaskell put the engine straight to work leaving the full canopy and dynamo bracket in place. Over time the canopy was cut in half and much later the bracket was removed. The engine remained with Shaw and Gaskell until their retirement.
The Searle Family bought the engine in 1995 and over the years have fitted her with a new boiler, various bearings and gears.
Many miles on the road have been completed with Boadicea and she has taken part in many of the Dorset road runs and the heavy haulage run in 2011.
His Majesty was sold to Hoopers in Cornwall but after a few months it was returned to Burrells to be resold to J Hickeys of Richmond.
The engine features in Steve Neville’s book the ‘Heavy Gang’ as it was used for many haulage activities and recovery jobs using the crane.
The remainder of its time was spent in the yard lifting and moving boilers. There are stories that it was chained to the ground to give an increased lifting capacity.
The engine was brought from the Hickey sale in 1964 and has remained in the Searle ownership. The Searle Family have fitted a new boiler, rubber tyres and various bearing and gears.
His Majesty has done many miles on the road often leading the road train, including the 2011 heavy haulage run.
In 2014 Dee Searle and Della Fagg completed over 400 miles having driven to Dorset then onto Bedford and finally driving through the centre of London to complete the journey back home.
The Great North was sold to Wilkinsons of Leith Docks, where it carried out various tasks in the and around the docks. The engine remained there until preservation. The Searle Family bought the engine in 1994 and since then they have overhauled the engine, fitted a new boiler, bearing, rubber tyres and gears.
Ian Langley normally rallies the engine for the Searle Family and it has completed many miles on the road.
Probably the most historical event since the Searles have owned it, is The Great North breaking the back axle in the middle of Southampton whilst being part of the heavy haulage 2011 run. The Great North was recovered back to Horsham, new axle machined up and was back in Dorset before the show started. Princess Marina Les Searle Seniors Burrell Showmans Engine came from Horsham and joined the heavy haulage run at Alderbury and took the place of The Great North all the way to Dorset.
On the main roads The Great North achieves 14 to 16 mph .
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