Steam Museum   Engines   Steaming Dates   Museum News   Steam History   Technical Info   Related Links


'AGNES' a tandem compound mill engine

A horizontal, tandem, compound, condensing engine, which was built in 1909 by Pollit & Wigzell , Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. It was commissioned by J.A.S. Watkinson & Sons Ltd. to run the machinery in their woollen mill at Washpit Mill, Holmfirth, Yorkshire. The engine was ordered as 500 HP at 70 rpm with a steam pressure of 120 psi, at an initial cost of 1637. Some time during her working life Agnes was upgraded to 700 HP, by increasing the working steam pressure to 160 psi and increasing the speed to 80 rpm.

On 16 Jan 1980, after some 70 years of hard toil, the engine was stopped, Westwood Yarns being the owners at that time.
Agnes was generously donated to the museum by Brian and Ann Priest of Westwood Yarns in 1998.
A team from the museum then had the difficult and challenging task of dismantling the engine and transporting it to the museum at Brodsworth. Often working under cramped conditions and very little in the way of lifting beams etc. they achieved their goal in just 8 weeks.

By now a band of dedicated volunteers had been formed to help with the development of the museum. Before work could start on the rebuilding, a special pit had to be dug out and concrete foundations and pillars constructed to support over 60 tons of engineering excellence. She was first steamed in the museum on 20 Oct 1999, just 12 months from the start of dismantling. A remarkable achievement by the full time and volunteer workers.

The Rescue & Rebuilding of Agnes

Technical Details

Type of Engine:- Horizontal, tandem, compound, condensing
Builder & Year:- Pollit & Wigzell, Sowerby Bridge,Yorkshire
Cylinder sizes:- High Pressure (HP) is 18ins diameter
Low Pressure (LP) is 35ins diameter
Stroke:- 48 ins.
Valves:- Corliss valves on both the HP and LP cylinders.
Unusually, there are three eccentrics. One operating
all the inlet valves, the other two operating the HP
and LP exhaust valves respectively.
Flywheel:- The ropewheel is 16 ft diameter, 40ins wide
and weights in the region of 25 tons.
It has 8 spokes and segments with 18 rope
grooves to drive 1.75ins diameter cotton ropes.
Governor:- A Lumb governor controls the cut off to the HP inlet
valves only, (originally a 4ins Whitehead governor
was fitted). The cut off to the LP inlet valves
is set manually.
Other Information:- A Pollit & Wigzell, in line, condensing air pump,
18 ins bore, was fitted from new.
For further information about Agnes, there is a A4 paper backed book, 'Agnes, a 500HP Corliss Valve Steam Engine', by PJM Southworth, on sale in the museum or from the author at Southworth Engines, 6 Kennet Vale, Chesterfield. Tel 01246 279153

Top of Page