North Staffs and Cheshire Traction Engine Club

Crossley Engine

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History of the 1928 Crossley Diesel Engine

The engine came from Swythamley Hall near Wincle Staffordshire which was the family seat of Sir Philip Brocklehurst. Sir Phillip Brocklehurst was an Antarctic explorer who took part in Edward Shackleton’s 1907-9 expedition to Antarctica on the ship The Nimrod. Sir Philip Brocklehurst died in 1975 and his heir John van Haeften, broke up the estate in 1977. The hall, with its parkland, was bought by the World Government for the Age of Enlightenment, followers of the Indian mystic Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and was opened as a training centre for teachers of Transcendental Meditation. It was sold in 1987 to Mr. R. M. Naylor. Mr Naylor expressed a wish that the Crossley engine should be saved for preservation and contacted Mr Phillip Myatt to ask if he knew of anyone who might save the engine. Thus followed a concerted effort by Pete Massey, John Nixon, Derek (Pip) Phillips and Philip Swindlehurst and other members of NSCTEC to move the engine as soon as possible.

The engine wasn’t purchased new by Sir Phillip Brocklehurst but was bought second hand in the early 1930s from the exchange and mart of the day as a generating set. When the engine was installed the lights of the hall had an interesting flicker effect. Following this Crossleys were contacted who sent an engineer to inspect the installation who said “that it was mill engine and not a generating engine!” So Sir Phillip Brocklehurst had some modifications carried out to try and even out the flicker effect and in this form it powered the Hall until his death in 1975. When the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi followers took over, the engine was still maintained to a high standard and run at regular intervals to provide light to the hall. To this day the engine remains a very original example of its type.

Removal of the engine

On our first visit we measured the fly wheel and the door and couldn’t see how the engine could be removed without damaging the door way as this was a grade 2 listed building this wasn’t acceptable. However Phil Myatt managed to find the electrical engineer who had helped to try and rectify the generating problem he said that the fly wheel came through the door tilted on its side with a stone removed from the bottom corner of the door frame. His other parting comment was “on no account fiddle with that dynamo - it’s as good as it gets.”

The engine was removed and installed at Klondyke Mill. It runs on every open day and event.

Click on the picture to view a slideshow of photographs of

the removal of the engine and its installation at Klondyke


crossley slide show