CHAIN MAIL

Issue 151    December 1st   to March 1st 2022

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Crofton Beam Engines

opened at weekends for a short season this year.  Visitors were welcomed back on 22 May in line with government guidance.  An amazing team of volunteers worked flat out to create a safe environment for viewing the static engines.  Visitors also had the opportunity to enjoy picnics beside the Kennet and Avon Canal.  It has been a season with many, many challenges, and it has been an absolute pleasure to help visitors enjoy their day out exploring the industrial past in the beautiful Vale of Pewsey.

The 200-year-old ‘Boulton and Watt’ beam engine was coaxed back into life in June (after 18 months stationary), and the Beam Team have provided a spectacle of steam at least once a month ever since, the last being at the end of September.  A real testament to all the dedicated volunteers and staff at Crofton, who bring a wide range of skills to keep this icon of Wiltshire’s industrial heritage in working order; still capable of doing the task it was created to perform over two centuries ago.

The site is now closed to the public and the volunteers will be busy behind the scenes until spring.  Visitors will be invited back on special Winter Open Days (dates to be confirmed) which will be a great opportunity to see the work being carried out.

BUT if Crofton is to steam again in 2022, work needs to be carried out on the boiler during the winter, which will cost around £30,000.  Although entry charges meet many of the day-to-day costs at Crofton, fundraising is needed to meet the cost of major repairs and projects.

The work will be undertaken by H A McEwen, who have carried out work on the boiler previously and are the leading UK contractor for work on heritage boilers.

A Boiler Appeal has launched.  All donations are welcome, no matter how small, to keep Crofton working for the enjoyment and education of visitors in the future.

There is detailed information on what work needs to be done, and how to donate, on https://www.croftonbeamengines.org/boiler-appeal-2021/ or cheques payable to ‘The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust’ to Crofton Beam Engines, Crofton, Marlborough, SN8 3DW.


At CROFTON the Archimedes Screw pump recovered from the canal at Hungerford in 1973 has received some TLC in the form of conservation treatments. Read all about it at
https://www.croftonbeamengines.org/conservation-in-action-2021/


WEST BERKS FOODBANK supports local people in crisis, providing 7 day nutritionally balanced food parcels.  The Hungerford Distribution centre is now open on Wednesdays 1-3pm at the Methodist Church Hall, offering a cuppa, a chat and signposting to other services.