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Lubricating Beam Engine

Lubricating the Engine 1967

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Watt à Bolero

This is a black & white film, set to Ravel's Bolero, of a unique Victorian stationary rotative beam engine used at Papplewick Station, near Nottingham, to pump water into the public water supply.

The film was made in 1967 while the engines were still in regular use. There were two engines in the engine house, only one of which was needed for pumping on the day of the film. These Victorian engines were built in 1882-1884 and are believed to be the last engines built by the famous firm of James Watt & Co. from Soho, Birmingham. The engine house was built at the same time as the engines were assembled. The engines had been in continuous use for 85 years when they were retired in 1969. They are now preserved in working order.

The film shows the cooling ponds in the well-kept gardens outside the engine house, the entrance to the engine house, the working engine and the boiler. We see the enginemen carrying out servicing tasks while the engine continues to operate.

When I entered the engine house I just knew I had to set the film to Ravel's Bolero music, so the film was shot with this music going round and round in my head. This same music would be made famous 17 years later by Nottingham's famous ice dance skaters Torvill & Dean, performing their record-breaking Olympic Games routine.

This film is featured on the DVD "Britain in the Days of Steam"

Watt à Bolero Date of Film: 1967 6 Minutes



The View from the Entrance to the Engine House 1967

The View from the Entrance to the Engine House 1967

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