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Post: Madge’s Marvellous Makeover at Bradford Industrial Museum

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Madge’s Marvellous Makeover at Bradford Industrial Museum

We are delighted that Chris, our Visitor Services Assistant at Bradford Industrial Museum, has written a blog post about ‘Madge’ – one of our marvellous machines!

At long last I finally have another one of our machines working again for people to see here at Bradford Industrial Museum, after a lot of head scratching, research and correspondence with other like-minded people. It had been bugging me for ages since working here until all the pieces of the puzzle came together. Much to my delight once the final piece was in, she started. She hadn’t been running for 7 years prior to that day so you can imagine the sigh of relief as it started its continual strokes. If it wasn’t for the encouragement and faith from my colleagues this may never have happened.

The machine is a Crossley Type SE 126, No 84239 gas engine, named Madge after the owner’s daughter, made in 1924. It was used at an engineering company named B. Smith & Son which was based in Bingley here in Bradford. Its purpose was that of powering line shafting for their machines much like the line shaft we have here but on a much bigger scale.

Of course it ran much faster in that factory at a rated 64hp compared to the speed it runs at here but it still sounds great to hear the exhaust strokes. It used to be fuelled on producer gas which is a by-product of coal but here it’s been altered to work on our compressed air line along with several other machines we have. Gas engines had the advantage of not requiring an expensive boiler, boiler house or chimney to operate. I would have loved to have seen it running at full working speed.

I’ve been working here now for a couple of years and love working and maintaining our machines with the tlc they deserve. Having an engineering background and also as a steam enthusiast, it’s a great environment and enjoyable role to work in. There’s always something to do with the upkeep of our machines from, running, oiling, greasing, cleaning, general maintenance and ‘barring’ over our steam engines on a weekly basis keeps me busy!

Onto the next challenge!

May Half-term with Bradford District Museums & Galleries

Looking for something to do  over half term? 
Have a look at our families events – follow the links for more information

28th May Dreams and Songs to sing
Cartwright Hall
Meet author Richard O’Neill for traditional stories and handicrafts

29th May –
Put yourself in the picture
Bradford Industrial Museum
Visit our “Bairds TV” display, help to make an old fashioned TV and become a news presenter or star in an advert!

30th MayLocal Myths and Legends
Bolling Hall
Listen to traditional stories and design a mythical creature.
Details here

1st June Within Nature
Cliffe Castle
Meet the artists & take part in associated family activities.