Bradford Industrial Museum Visit

5 members arrived at CRFC for the trip and we all piled into Richards car for the trip over to Bradford.

It was good weather for the drive and on the way we passed a member of the club protesting at Chorley Hospital trying to keep the A&E Department open!

Arrival was at 12:00 as expected and a 6th member joined us having come via a working trip to sort a carburetter on a friend‘s car!

After a quick lunch in the refreshment area we were encouraged to go down to the ground floor where the big Newton, Bean & Mitchell, horizontal, single cylinder, uniflow, steam engine from Linton Mill at Grassington was about to be started under steam for the first time since a restoration. Immensely powerful but silent in action, it is an interesting engine being quite modern by steam power standards (1920s), it is uniflow and has a condenser cylinder. We were lucky to be invited to look at the governor on the engine which is a very complicated system of clutches used to vary the valve timing but it seems to have worked very well running the mill and generating the electricity to power the village of Grassington into the 1950s.

In the Transport museum were a collection of vehicles made by local companies. There were 2 Scott motorcycles (Shipley), 2 Panther motorcycles (Cleckheaton) and a row of Jowet and Bradford cars and vans (Bradford). A quirky 3 wheeler Jowet was also there and only a few were made as they tended to roll over in corners! One of our number got permission to go inside the display area to photograph details of one of the panthers as he has the same model and wants to ensure his is correct after its restoration.

In the tram shed was a tram and trolley bus and although there were rails and overhead lines outside they didn’t appear to be able to be utilised. In the main motive power hall were exhibitions of power tools used to make parts of the mill machinery and steam pumps for various purposes plus barring engines to start the bigger engines. Some of these engines were steamed while we were there. There were also a couple of gas engines.

Upstairs was the weaving floor with some of the machinery in motion. Incredibly complex machines combed different types of wool and spun it to different requirements for all sorts of cloth. This mill was mainly associated with Worsted yarn and cloth. Although the wool weaving machines were similar to cotton looms the wool preparation machines seemed to be much more specialised and complicated to cope with differing wool types. An exhibition room on the main floor was displaying photos and artifacts brought home by Yorkshire explorers in Victorian times.

At the far end of the exhibition was the print room where printing machines of all types and ages were exhibited. The wall of this exhibit chronicled the rise of paper printing from the earliest Chinese block printing through to the modern day and was very informative.

Another rest for refreshments was taken and then we went outside where we visited the 1920s era terraced houses and the smithy and an exhibition of all the tack and operations carried out to maintain a large fleet of horse drawn wagons. It was pointed out that the sad fact is that over 100,000 horses were disposed of in 1947 as the internal combustion engine finally made the horse in industry redundant. Some very well maintained carriages wagons and a horse tram were on view in the yard. Further down the yard was a working forge where a large crowd had built up to see a blacksmith at work and we couldn’t get in so as the time was approaching closing time we climbed into the car and returned home to CRFC.

Everyone thought it had been a very interesting day out and all seemed to enjoy the experience.