Lord Lascelles


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Reproduced from a 1923 Sales Leaflet conferring the title 'Special Scenic' to versions produced with a car lifting crane.

“Lord Lascelles” Burrell Special Scenic

            Showman’s Road Locomotive             

First Registered 13th April 1921 - XF 8162 - Works No 3886

This web site is all about 'Lord Lascelles' Burrell Special Scenic Showman's Road Locomotive, its history, its electrics, a recent practical load test and of course C.Richard Marsh's rebuild.   There is also a Photo Gallery with over 30 pictures including sections on work in progress, specification details, and a number of different views of this magnificent machine.   Simply click on the link to view these pictures.


The catalyst for the rapid evolution of travelling fairs was undoubtedly the introduction of steam powered showman’s road locomotives.

To put this into perspective, we should be aware that travelling fairs have been part of our heritage for generations but say around year 1800 a visit to the fair would not mainly be for entertainment as it is today.  The central and most important areas would then be set up for trading in produce and animals with stalls selling basketwork, clothes and toys for example, indeed more of a market.

Only when the serious business of the day had been completed would traders and visitors drift towards the edges of the fair where canvas covered areas had been erected for eating and drinking.  A few simple entertainments would have been placed along the perimeter too, for example jugglers, acrobats and throwing games.  Some simple rides, manually operated may too have been in evidence and occasionally a pony or horse powered ride for the adventurous.  The whole paraphernalia had to be regularly moved from site to site of course, just as it is today.  An important difference then was that only human muscles were available for lifting and animal powered carts for transporting.  This positively guaranteed that only lightweight structures could be used for fairs of that period.  However, all this would change before the start of the next century, triggered by the arrival of the new king of the showground – the showman’s road locomotive. 

Before year 1900 locomotion by steam power was well established for railways, agriculture and road haulage.  This had not gone unnoticed by travelling showmen who began to recognise that they could utilise steam power to develop the most radical change ever to their time worn industry.  Some makers of road haulage locomotives responded by offering a specifically designed version for showmen’s needs.  These had water and coal carrying capacity to maximise their range between halts, a large electrical generator mounted at the front and a full-length awning to protect mechanism and crew from adverse weather.

Although numbers were later reduced, it was initially legal to couple up to nine trailers into a road train and even burdened to this extent, the hauling power of an 8 N.H.P. showman’s road locomotive was adequate.  They were in fact rated to haul a 40 ton load up a 1 in 20 hill in high gear.  This was an overwhelming advantage over  former horse transport but it was not the only benefit of steam power.  After arrival on site (always to a schedule) they could draw themselves or other equipment into precise position, using their own powerful winch even under slippery conditions.  Finally, once everything was set up correctly, their dynamo could be belt driven by the engine to provide electrical power for the fair.

Flare and other oil burning lights on the fair began to die out following the availability of electric lighting, then novel and great curiosity in its own right.  Bioscope moving picture shows, mechanical organ music and electrically powered amusements were soon introduced.  Furthermore, transporting heavy equipment was no longer an issue and resulted in the development of large impressive rides to the obvious delight of the public.  Annual holidays were not so extended or taken away from home as frequently as we do now.  The arrival of the travelling fair on a regular week each year provided many citizens with an opportunity for excitement and relaxation.  Indeed for some it would provide the highlights of their holiday period so it was not surprising that ever imposing rides met with enthusiastic public approval.

Showmen could only transport and power the new equipment on the fairground if they operated with showman’s road locomotives.  The only drawback was the considerable financial outlay necessary.  In fact, each one was approximately the same cost as four new semi-detached houses of the day.  Even so showmen considered that the potential by moving with the times, far outweighed the cost and few considered there was a viable alternative.

Never had there been such a vital piece of equipment to inspire fairground development.  Many showmen were understandably elated and happy to demonstrate their feelings and pride of possession by individually naming their steam locomotives.  Additionally they usually had them coach painted, decorated and lined with 24 carat gold leaf and adorned with polished brass; justifiably focusing on their importance.  Without doubt, they were the single most vital piece of equipment on any showground.

However, after gracing fairgrounds for almost 50 years and piloting the most profound changes that could be envisaged, their days of supremacy came to an end like horses before them.  They were superseded by easier managed but less appealing diesel powered units still in use today.

Whilst the above introduction is appropriate for almost any of these same historic vehicles the website that follows is centred round one in particular, The Burrell Special Scenic Showman’s Road Locomotive “Lord Lascelles”.  As it happens this was made towards the end of the period over which they were produced although they remained in use for years afterwards.  Consequently, “Lord Lascelles” represented the peak of Burrell’s design both in refined construction and by virtue of several additional features which were unique to this “special scenic model”.

Today the few survivors of this premier model are highly treasured.

                                                                                                     C. RICHARD MARSH

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1. Origins of the Gray Family Travelling Fairs in London
2. Travelling Scenic Railway Fairground Rides
3. Frederick Gray's Purchase of Lord Lascelles
4. Extracts From Preserved Burrell Records and other Notes
5. Introduction to Second Generation Harry Gray and Lord Lascelles
6. In Ownership of J.W. Hardwick and sons 1951-1952
7. In Ownership of J. Hickey and sons 1952-1964
8. In Ownership of Steve W. Neville 1964-1980
9. Lord Lascelles - Arrangement of the Electrical System
10. Lord Lascelles - A Practical Electrical Load Test
11. Lord Lascelles - C. Richard Marsh's Rebuild 1981-1993
12. Lord Lascelles - Picture Gallery
13. Lord Lascelles - Souvenir Contacts
14. Certificates - History Validation.  Volt/Ammeter Calibration, Hits

Burrell Special Scenic S.R. Locomotive – Lord Lascelles

The History 'Origins of the Gray Family Travelling Fairs'

By 1920 Frederick Gray was a well-established London Showman operating travelling Fairs in the London area and with a permanent site in the vale of Health adjoining Hampstead heath. Frederick was born in 1862, in his early days it is said he worked as a centre engine man on a set of Gallopers owned by Hancocks in the West Country. He subsequently purchased a half share in a second hand set of Gallopers with a Tom Whitelegg, but at some later date Frederick sold his half share to Whitelegg and moved to London. There he built up a sizeable travelling fair enterprise which was well known and respected in London and the Home Counties.

Travelling Scenic Railway Fairground Rides

First devised by Savage Bros. in 1910 this new idea developed into production of the largest and most elaborate rides ever conceived to date. Basically a switchback roundabout with eight coupled carriages (known as cars), these moved round a circular undulating rail track but unlike any previous rides were entirely electrically powered.

Previously the centre space on switchback rides had been occupied by the steam centre engine and the related spinning frame mechanism necessary to mechanically move the cars on their circular tracks.

Savage Brothers used this now vacant space to accommodate a mass of painted scenery formed into landscapes, jungle scenes and caves including a waterfall powered by an electric pump with circulating watercourses. The whole was enhanced by some electric light illumination and in due course a mechanical organ.

These rides had elaborately carved cars fashioned as Dolphins, Whales, Dragons for example and also of course Motor cars which were novel at that time.

Some had a full compliment of more than 100 passengers who not only experienced the switchback ride but  the concept of a journey through a scenic landscape, unique in its day.

Each car was driven independently by a 4 H.P electric motor and picked up remotely controlled current from a live rail.

The combined weight of eight loaded cars exceeded 16 tons. This needed a heavy current to move them from rest, which had proved difficult to regulate smoothly. It was predicted that a practical improvement would result if cars could be reliably slowed down to creep speed rather than by a stop/start method for passenger loading and unloading. This would avoid jerks and smooth out each acceleration cycle.

For various reasons the dynamo output from a typical showman’s road locomotive was not capable of regulating a scenic railway ride to this standard. The heavy current necessary to drive the cars needed a precise method of controlling its voltage to regulate with this degree of precision.  Additionally a proportion of the power requirements of a scenic railway ride simultaneously demanded fixed 110 volts to power the waterfall pump, the illumination and the organ.

The extra labour to erect and dismantle the scenic rides and the number of truck loads to move them added greatly to showman's overheads.  Nevertheless after inception, scenic railway rides rapidly became popular and very soon Orton and Spooner of Burton-on-Trent started manufacture too and subsequently dominated the market. Many orders were placed for new machines and for conversions of old rides to the new all electric drive with the same elaborately carved cars and exterior sections.

Two men, Lewis A. Hackett of Southport and Ernest W. Whattam of Lincoln recognised the potential for such an improved electrical generating and control system on Showman's road locomotives. Their design for an improved arrangement to satisfy the requirements of an all electric scenic railway ride was granted patent No. 28899 on the 23rd of December 1912.

Prior to this, Showman’s road locomotives were equipped with only one self-exciting dynamo but the new patented system utilised two, a main and an auxiliary. With the engine governed at a constant speed the main dynamo now became capable of supplying heavy current at varying voltages and simultaneously the auxiliary could supply a fixed 110 volts.  This was achieved by taking a small proportion of the auxiliary dynamo's electrical output and regulating it using a new patented control gear.  This then energised the field coils of the main dynamo to control the acceleration of the cars and maintain the best creep speed.

The control gear was small and needed only light gauge wiring for connecting to the dynamo's output, making it convenient for remote location in the pay box.  The attendant could operate the ride manually or by using the automatic option, efficiently accelerate the cars and return them to a pre-set creep speed.

The former use of resistance type controllers had resulted in throwing off driving belts at intervals especially if the operator misjudged starting loads.  The new 'Scenic' type control system greatly reduced this risk.

These were the ideal characteristics required to power a scenic railway ride from a single Showman’s road locomotive. In the days of Steam there were no rides more demanding than this and a Showman's road locomotive made to the so called ‘Scenic’ standard were never surpassed and capable of supplying the power demanded by any ride.

Scenic Engines are easily recognised by their twin dynamos. The term ‘special’ preceding ‘scenic’ implies the addition of a rear portable jib crane to aid erection and to lift the heavy cars.

It is said that the relative sophistication of Hackett and Whattams new control, compared with the rugged former type, proved difficult for some showmen to manage.  The unavailability of experienced on site staff to repair and maintain the new control gear in the 1920s was probably the cause, rather than any fault of this new design.  However, reverting to the former resistance type controller remained an option for those prepared to sacrifice preset creep speeds and refined car acceleration.

A copy of the original provisional specification for patent No. 28899 is reproduced below for an overview of the control system.

Burrell special scenic 3886 Lord Lascelles is one of only eleven surviving engines made new to this premier specification excluding a few that were converted later to ‘scenic’ specification.

Click on the images below to read provision patent no.28899.  (The complete specification is not reproduced here.)

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Frederick Gray

Between 1919 and 1921 Frederick Gray not only ordered a new scenic railway ride but a 110 key Gavioli mechanical organ and two new Burrell special scenic showman's road locomotives.

One of the Engines, 3884 Gladiator, was delivered 14/3/21 and 3886 Lord Lascelles, one month later on 13/4/21. The savage built scenic railway ride incorporated eight 10-seater motorcars.

Burrell 3886 was ordered to full 'special scenic' specification.

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Frederick Gray's Motor car scenic railway

An interesting story regarding the purchase of the organ was related in recent years by living descendants of Frederick Gray.

It seems that an organ suitable for incorporation into the new scenic railway ride was located for sale by Chiappa Ltd, organ builders of London.  This was a 110 keyless organ then operated by paper rolls, made C1908 by Gavioli of Paris and was believed to have played in a Belgium dance hall prior to the First World War

Frederick Gray decided to sail to Belgium with his son Harry to inspect and if suitable negotiate to purchase this instrument.  He was a shrewd man and well aware that the best deals are usually arranged with ready cash at the point of sale.  With this in mind they took with them sufficient money in gold sovereigns and for security reasons they had them sewn into their jackets.

On arrival in Belgium they were shocked at the cost of overnight hotel accommodation and for economy reasons  booked into a cheap room belonging to a street café.  Eating in the café prior to retiring for the night they suspected that as business men they had attracted unhealthy attention to themselves in surroundings that seemed full of ruffians.

Fearing a robbery and to defend themselves they did not retire to bed but sat up all night in their room with a chair wedged against the door handle.

However the night passed without incident and during the following day they were able to secure a deal and relieve themselves of sufficient gold sovereigns to seal the purchase.  Before incorporation into the new scenic railway ride, the organ was converted to read the more common 98 key book scale

Preserved Burrell Records State

For- F. Gray Hampstead Heath London

Double crank compound 3 speed Double geared sprung Locomotive

No. 3886 – Made up to order No.4393 – Sent away to order no.1344

Detailed Ref Book No.23 Pages 393-400

Sent away 18-4-21 Reg. No. XF 8162

Extracts from Detail Ref. Book 23 include

Gilded on each side ‘Fred Grays New Scenic Railway’

With Main Dynamo and Auxiliary Dynamo Platforms Rails and screws

With Rear crane jib, pulleys and set of parts

With Swingletree and details i.e. Ash Spreader Bar for lifting scenic cars


Dynamos were not included on Burrell’s list of parts as they were presumably intended for later purchase and fitting by Davenport and Hackett Electrical Engineers.

It has been stated that the fitter involved with the original building of 3886 was named Saxby but this is unconfirmed to date.

Frederick Grays Scenic ride and organ travelled extensively until 1936 after which it remained permanently erected at the Vale of Health, Hampstead.  After the outbreak of World War 2 in 1939 it fell into dereliction.  The ride was scrapped in 1954/5 but the organ, badly water damaged, was removed with preservation in mind.  The Jonas family of Cornwall have been owners since 1957 and have restored it to its original key specification which makes it the only 110 key Gavioli in Europe, and one of only two world wide.  The restoration carried out in several stages is now well advanced and has already almost regained the organ's original playing standard.

Harry Gray

The eldest son of Frederick Gray was named Harry. Operating an entirely separate travelling fair with a base in Battersea and later Mitcham. Harry had built up an equally impressive selection of rides and road locomotives. Although working independently, both Grays combined their resources when appropriate to do so and certainly did so for Bank Holiday fairs on different parts of Hampstead heath. Their largest rides were sufficiently different to compliment rather than compete with each other on such occasions.

It has been said that due to many relatively short distances travelled between sites some London showmen were able to move their loads using road locomotives in relay. Additionally that London showmen frequently loaned their road locomotives and drivers to each other and generally helped each other more than was possible with more widely dispersed showmen.

Certainly this was an established fact between Frederick and his son Harry which was not surprising anyway due to their close relationship. It is said that Frederick had given Harry entire rides and other equipment, presumably to help him become established in his own right and borrowing equipment one to the other was normal practice.

Soon after Frederick had taken delivery of the new Burrell scenic 3886 ‘Lord Lascelles’ we understand Harry asked if he could use it. We were informed by descendants that Frederick, recognising that Harry really needed an additional road locomotive, offered him the choice of his fleet as a gift. Not surprisingly he chose the new scenic 3886 and so far as we know it then remained with him except during periods when engines were borrowed from one another. One piece of evidence to illustrate this co-operation between the two Grays remains with us to this day.

The two scenics, 3884 with Frederick and the 3886 then with Harry had hind wheels slightly different in their spoke construction. Burrell drawing No. 957 shows that 3886 had each spoke head riveted to the wheel T irons with 5 rivets. Today in preservation, 3886 has the 5 rivet version on its offside but a 4 rivet version on its near side hind wheel. Conversely we understand that 3884 has the opposite. It is reasonable to assume that even though it did not affect their function, Burrells would not have turned out two new locomotives with opposite odd wheels.  We must therefore assume that in their working days, wheels were exchanged between the Grays and never restored to their original source.

We also note that Harry Gray did not display the name on Burrell scenic 3886 or on his Foster 14382 and his father used unnamed engines too in his fleet.  This would have confused all but those with intimate knowledge of the two fleets.

It seems that it was not unusual for showmen to purchase new road locomotives without dynamos for they usually bought direct from the agents of the dynamo makers. In this case the evidence is clear because the main Mather and Platt dynamo displays a brass plate reading – Davenport and Hackett Manchester No. 569. Lewis Hackett was one of the patentees of the scenic electrical control system.  On a list of dynamos supplied by that organisation both Frederick and Harry Gray’s names appear as purchasers, but dates are not stated.

The brass plate referred to also displays ‘Owner H Gray’ which certainly indicates that the electrical generating equipment was purchased by Harry even though the scenic locomotive itself was ordered by Frederick and initially lettered ‘Fred Gray’s New Scenic Railway’.

This evidence confirms that Burrell 3886 was taken over by Harry Gray soon after its delivery and excepting for occasional use by Frederick was primarily used with his Battersea and later Mitcham Based fair.

When new, 3886 had metal tyres and strakes but in the late 1920’s these were over clad with solid rubber tyres. About this date new legislation had restricted metal wheeled road locomotives to 5mph but permitted a legal speed of 12mph when on rubber tyres.

During its working life 3886 was frequently observed and noted hauling and powering all Harry Gray’s principle rides. We can read now that some of these were indeed magnificent fairground rides and we know they included Four abreast gallopers, Coronation ark, Dodgems, Swirl, steam yachts and other major rides introduced over its 18 year operational life.

By 1937 it was noted that not all Harry Gray’s hauling and generating was by steam powered road locomotives for by then he had introduced Armstrong Saurer diesel powered tractor/generator units. Two years later more Saurers had been purchased and only the scenic Burrell 3886 remained in regular use as their last link with steam power.

Rumour has it that its last working appearance was at a fair in Hatfield, Herts from where it was observed travelling along the A1 towards London at a good pace following the declaration of war on September 3rd 1939.

Thereafter, it was laid up at the rear of Harry Gray’s Mitcham yard.  Subsequently the main dynamo was removed for secondary use on a Scamell lighting set. Fortunately this dynamo remained traceable from its Brass plate bearing H Gray’s name, and indeed many years later it was identified and reunited with Lord Lascelles.

Owned by J.W. Hardwick & Sons, West Ewell Surrey, 1951-52

After 3886 had been laid up for about 12 years J.W. Hardwick, metal merchants, purchased it from Harry Gray in 1951 excluding the Mather and Platt main dynamo.

After getting 3886 back in steam it was partially repainted including the sideboards on which J.W. Hardwicks name was presented. Across the front bulkhead the derby winners name ‘Tulyar’ was displayed too.

It was in this condition that it took part in the South London Coronation celebrations in 1952 being sold immediately afterwards to J Hickey and Sons.

Owned by J. Hickey & Sons, Cheshunt. Herts, 1952-1964

An old established concern, Hickeys specialised in boiler making, repairs and installation and in heavy haulage utilising a 50 strong work force by the early 1960s.

They had intended to restore 3886 to its original showland state and with this in mind had purchased a similar but burned out dynamo removed from the Burrell 3887 (Prince of Wales).

On arrival at Cheshunt, 3886 was fully dismantled including removal of the firebox inner plates from the boiler. As refurbishment progressed parts were placed into stores but all the rest of the locomotive found refuge in various sections of the outside yard. Sadly in 1954 with work only partly completed the senior director, Mr Hickey, died.

Eight years later in 1962 the late Steve W. Neville joined Hickeys. He already had an interest in steam locomotives, indeed 4 years previously had purchased the Mclaren road locomotive ‘Boadicea’. Naturally he was concerned about the dismantled state of 3886, which had not progressed since the death of Mr Hickey and he made it his business to collect it together in the hope that the late Mr Hickeys son would resume the restoration but a series of events prevented this.  After his marriage and moving home to Cambridgeshire a second tragedy occurred, for at the age of 44 young Mr Hickey died too, which so altered the distribution of the Hickey family holdings that it triggered the demise of the whole business and led to a voluntary liquidation of the company.

As a senior employee Steve Neville was authorised to oversee the winding up process. His mandate was to retain staff until they found new employment, to dispose of assets by private treaty or through the auctioneers and to look after the interests of the shareholders. It was during this process that he purchased for himself the Burrell 3886 in pieces, including the burned out P8C dynamo off ‘Prince of Wales’. The dismantled engine was collected together and moved away to various locations pending decisions on restoration. For the record we note that in the same year, 1964, Steve Neville started his own business ‘Eastern Boiler Work Ltd’ in Saffron Walden.  

In this venture he was joined by Ted Smith, one of Hickey's time served skilled boiler makers.  As a side-line they had previously worked together on boiler repairs to the Mclaren road loco. 'Boadicea' owned by Steve and later on had commenced the preliminary work to replace the firebox on 'Lord Lascelles' too.  

Ted continued to work for 'Eastern Boiler Work' Ltd on boiler consultancy and repairs until the late 1970's.  He then moved overseas where he specialised in boiler work for over twenty years before returning recently to the UK.

Owned by Steve .W. Neville, Saffron Walden, Essex, 1964-1980

Obviously an important early task that Steve Neville needed to organise was the construction and fitting of a new inner shell to the firebox.  A priority for Steve was to arrange riveting and staying of the new liner to the firebox.  For this work he turned to James and Crockerell Ltd of Durrington, near Salisbury, Wiltshire.  This civil engineering company owned and operated a fleet of steam rollers for the road making and surface compaction parts of their contracts.  Through the experience gained over many years of maintenance and refurbishment of their own plant they developed a niche market for this type of work for a variety of new owners in the early days of steam engine preservation.  Mr. N Bailey of Bulford, Wiltshire states that by the early 1960s they had already completed more than 15 reboxings with related work and ultimately by the 1970s when they ceased trading, this figure had tripled.  Complete boilers were also made for 10" scale rail locomotives.  

Additionally, in their own right, James and Crockerell had entered the preservation era by purchasing the Burrell scenic S.R.L. 'Prince Of Wales' 3887 which they had also reboxed.  Incidentally this was then minus its main dynamo following Hickey's purchase of the original, as previously recorded.

Following Steve Neville's arrangement, the various processes to complete the reboxing were carried out by Mr. Bob Bailey, a key employee who lived locally and was a specialist in this work.

We can now turn to the evidence provided by Cornhills insurance report dated November 1964 which logs the boiler details and also refers to the new firebox under construction.  This states 'the new firebox is formed from 1/2" plate with the tube and fire hole plate formed from 3/4" '.  Comparing this with Burrell's drawing No. 4101 we see that the original wrapper plate and fire hole plate were 7/16" thick and the tube plate was 5/8" thick.  This increased metal thickness will undoubtedly extend the durability of the fire box in preservation.  

The satisfactory hydraulic test was completed almost a year later by Cornhills in October 1965.  At some stage Steve Neville had arranged for James and Crockerell to continue with the rest of the mechanical refurbishment and to reassemble 'Lord Lascelles' into a working condition.  Again it was Bob Bailey who was principally involved in this work.  The writer has been informed that even now (September 2001) Bob can produce his original time sheets and photographs of the work in progress.

No doubt the presence of the similar Burrell scenic 'Prince Of Wales' on the same premises proved to be a valuable reference during this period bearing in mind that 'Lord Lascelles' had been dismantled by Hickeys many years previously.

Meanwhile, Steve Neville whose home base was perhaps 150 miles from James and Crockerell arranged for some of the work to be completed elsewhere.  Walter Gowers of Bedford superbly replated the front tank and it was noted with amazement that Steve successfully transported this on his Land Rover.  On such occasions Steve was able to keep his eye on the process and render any physical assistance he could.

When 'Lord Lascelles' was finally handed over to Steve Neville it was able to steam out of the yard under its own power having been fully painted and gilded etc by the late Jimmy Hopwood.

Further work was undertaken by Steve Neville at Saffron Walden of course.  This included experiments with a Railway locomotive type brick arch in the firebox.  For safer driving after nightfall he fitted electric headlamps powered by a 'Stones' 24 volt steam driven generator.  He also replaced the boiler feed pump with a second injector and mounted a mechanical speedometer driven by the pump gearing, in its place.  In due course these features were all removed to maintain authenticity.

Undoubtedly other refinements were carried out by Steve Neville at Safron Walden but details are not known at the time of writing.

Steve Neville also informed the writer about the flywheel replacement he was obliged to arrange. The original one had sustained a fracture and was therefore beyond sensible repair. A pattern was made and a new flywheel was cast and machined by Robey and co. Ltd of Lincoln who had been traction engine makers in their own right.  The material used for the new flywheel casting was Meehanite, which is a very high-grade tough iron and superior to commercial iron.

At some time Steve had been able to purchase the original Mather & Platt P8C main dynamo from Harry Gray who took the burned out one taken from 3887 in part exchange presumably for ultimate scrap, or was it?

By reconstruction we can work out that Steve rallied Lord Lascelles in preservation for about 12 years until he sold it in 1980. In addition to working on 'Eastern Boiler Work' contracts Ted Smith actively participated on the rally circuit with Steve for most of this period.  There is no doubt that 3886 was driven far and wide between sites and indeed it has been said that during this period, Steve drove further on the road under steam than anyone else in preservation. Even overseas to Ireland, Holland and Germany.

He made the engine work hard on the road, frequently driving it to its limit of almost 20 mph, when safe to do so. The adventures and incidents that Steve attracted with Lord Lascelles were legion. Even now 20 years after he sold it, people on the rally scene still relate notable occurrences that befell this engine and man in the 1970s.

Undoubtedly Steve loved steam engines and during his years of Lord Lascelles ownership he extracted more fun out of it than anyone on any engine we know.

In December 1980 C.Richard Marsh of Romiley, Cheshire purchased Lord Lascelles from him.

Burrell Special Scenic S.R. Locomotive - Lord Lascelles

The Electrics

Burrell scenic showmans road locomotives have refined and patented generating equipment, which includes an additional Dynamo with special control gear as stated.

Assuming the crankshaft is governed to 166 RPM when generating, the belt driven main dynamo is designed to rotate at 750 RPM and by means of the second driving belt the auxiliary at 1350 RPM.

The Mather and Platt P8C Dynamo will continuously produce 270 Amps and the auxiliary P3C Dynamo 80 Amps but are capable of handling a 100% overload briefly and 25% overload for 2 hours.  This equates to a main dynamo load of say 340 amps plus 100 amps from the auxiliary for a 2 hour duration.

Used independently each dynamo is self-exciting and designed for 110 volts DC output. However on Lord Lascelles a switchable option interrupts the self-excitation circuit of the main dynamo and substitutes part of the power output from the auxiliary dynamo for finely controlled excitation. This is achieved by regulating the current to the field coils through a small rheostat, which infinitely varies the output of the main dynamo voltage, up to its rated 110 volts.

As wired the auxiliary dynamo supplies the 100 lamps surrounding the canopy as well as current to feed the main dynamo field coils when switched to do so.  With all lamps included, this generally absorbs about 60 amps.

This control is accessible off the footplate. It includes the switch to allow self or independent excitation of the main dynamo, a Rheostat with adjacent volt meter to regulate and verify the output voltage of the main dynamo and a central knife switch to cut off the canopy lighting circuit. The lighting voltage can also be adjusted by means of a separate rheostat and second volt meter.

Adjacent to the main dynamo is the main knife switch, an ammeter and further voltmeter registering the main dynamo output.

Some 30 metres of two core electric cable is stowed adjacently to carry the output of the main dynamo.

The dynamo driving belts are endless, leather faced, and have a sandwiched reinforcement, which positively prevents stretch. These are capable of transmitting several times the load they would ever be required to perform on any possible overload.

A Recent Practical Load Test

Boiler steaming capacities, engine performance, belt transmission and electrical capabilities are simultaneously tested on a showman's road locomotive by accurately measuring the dynamos output and converting the results into KW and brake horse power.

With this test in mind and in order to observe and verify the accuracy of newly calibrated volt and ammeters for the main dynamo these tests and observations were arranged in Hyde, Cheshire on July 22nd 2000 with the following results.

Present – J Watson, R Houghton, L Fisk, M Allcroft, B Fisk, C R Marsh

Independent observer – A Woodward (With digital checking equipment)

Boiler fuel used – Welsh Steam Coal

Steam Pressure During Test – Controlled at 190-200 PSI

Reversing Lever – 2nd notch then 3rd and finally 4th on overloads

Voltmeter – 0-150v calibrated and NAMAS certified on 20-4-2000

Ammeter – 0-500A calibrated and NAMAS certified on 20-4-2000

Main Dynamo – Mather and Platt P8C Rating 270Amps continuous, 340Amps 2hrs, 540Amps briefly

Auxiliary Dynamo – Mather and Platt P3C Rating 80Amps continuous, 100Amps 2hrs, 160Amps briefly

Belt Drives – Endless leather, reinforced

Engine Revolutions – Under control of Governor at all times.

Excitation of Main Dynamo


 - From auxiliary for first test
 - Self excitation for second test

Results All at a full 110 volts.         Main Dynamo Output

Electrical Load (Amps)


Net. BHP





Dynamo at its continuous rating capacity




Dynamo at 25% overload (its 2 hour rating) All systems managing well.




Dynamo at 63% overload. No voltage drop. Engine power still to spare.

Electrical Loading – Metal plates immersed in a water/soda solution.  Variable by increasing or decreasing the solution strength

500 amps was briefly loaded on the main dynamo during the test procedure

It was noted that the steam raising properties of the boiler were more than adequate for this range of tests. Consumption of water was satisfied by the boiler feed pump only with no recourse to use the injector.

The Governor would pass sufficient steam at all times to satisfy the electrical loads imposed.

The Governor response over its range was tested by disengaging the knife switch suddenly when the dynamo was on full overload.  Then the opposite, by engaging the knife switch suddenly, taking the load instantly from 0 to 440 amps. This was repeated several times and the governor was observed controlling correctly under all circumstances.

A few seconds of overspeed would follow instantaneous shedding of 440 amps to zero.  This would last only until the inertia forces had decayed enough to allow the Governor to take control.  However we must accept that this extreme test is well outside the scope of normal duties.

The same instantaneous zero/max/zero load switching also tested the transmission properties of the reinforced leather driving belts.  The power from the engine was at all times transmitted by leather belts to the dynamos without stretch, tracking, slip or squeal.  The high electrical output was readily absorbed by an adequate load cell with an upper limit well exceeding 500 amps.

In addition to the above main dynamo loads the coupled auxiliary dynamo on this occasion had a reduced lighting load and including the current used for excitation was estimated at 18 amps in total.

When the maximum overload was applied for this test it was notably beneficial to even out the power stroke peaks by engaging the reversing lever into fourth notch.

The above measured test was conducted only to prove the prime condition of the rebuilt engine and its ancillaries, although surprisingly high maximum loads proved sustainable on test, it would not be prudent to consider these extremities for routine use.

The specially built load cell may be borrowed at their own risk by engine owners when available.

Subsequently the main dynamo was switched from auxiliary dynamo excitation to self excitation and further tests in this mode proved almost identical with the same governor setting. Fine-tuning of the output voltage was achieved in either mode by using the Rheostat and voltmeter on the footplate.

The newly calibrated volt and ammeter agreed with the on site digital checking, but the ammeter indicated slight stiffness near the centre of its range which read correctly when the instrument was tapped (since corrected). It was noted with satisfaction that 440Amps at 110 volts output equates to 65 net brake horse power not counting the power absorbed by the auxiliary dynamo. This performance is not likely to have been exceeded even when the engine was new in 1921.

Belt drives are vital links to convert engine horsepower to dynamo kilowatts. The superior driving surface of leather was at one time sustained with stretch resistance properties when the best belts were made from along the spine of selected hides.  These properties have now been restored and indeed exceeded by leather faced belts reinforced with a non stretch internal laminate.  Endless belts with their inherent safety can now be sensibly adopted as a result of the same non stretch internal properties.  The old rule of thumb formula of 7 h.p. per inch of belt width in these circumstances is now well underrated.

Burrell Special Scenic S. R. Locomotive - Lord Lascelles

The Rebuild 1981 - 1993

By 1981 ‘Lord Lascelles’ was 60 years old. From preservation point of view events have not been kind to it. Eighteen years of hard showland use were terminated by the outbreak of war in 1939, however it had endured a further 25 years either laid up in various yards or scattered about in pieces. It was only in 1964 when the late Steve W. Neville took possession of the pieces that its future looked promising.

After reassembly etc by James and Crockerell it was extensively steamed in preservation by Steve until 1980 when it was sold to the present owner. We should not be mislead into thinking that Steve's interpretation of preservation was an easy option; for he drove ‘Lord Lascelles’ almost as hard and long as it has been in showland use.

The new owner decided that this ‘scenic’ Burrell, their foremost model, now deserved an exceptional effort to completely restore it to near new condition. Starting with the advantage of a lifetimes experience in machine construction and practiced in all the engineering processes involved, Richard Marsh commenced the rebuild in 1981.

The firebox and boiler were confirmed sound as expected except for minor remedial work in the smoke box. Otherwise the whole road loco was dismantled down to its component parts. Every piece was checked for authenticity and inspected for damage and wear to support the decision to restore or remake it. Bushes, journals, slides and keyways and the like were all checked and as necessary restored to legitimate fits before reassembly

Copies of every preserved Burrell drawing relevant to scenic models were obtained in order to check and keep details authentic. Missing information was pieced together by correspondence, research and the help of fellow enthusiasts .

Some of the tasks were challenging and time consuming, frequently requiring the construction of special equipment so that various engineering process could be carried out on a home workshop site.

The hind wheels were dismantled, replated, restraked and reriveted. Then, after remachining the brake rim diameters, the bores and outside diameter of the strakes to restore concentricity, they were retyred using Dunlop fork truck tyres.

These needed to be cut, opened to a bigger radius and joined together again into larger endless hoops before pressing onto the wheels. This latter process very much stiffened the whole wheel construction.

Cylinder bores were honed, new crosshead guides made which were carefully lined up and squared to the crankshaft and cylinder bores. All link pin and motion bores were honed and repinned, including hand lapping the quadrant slots to remove wear and making new quadrant blocks to suit.

The hind axle, front axle and second shaft were all replaced but only after rebushing and in line boring the axle, second shaft, crank shaft, brake shaft and boiler feed pump drive bores in situ.

All spur gears, compensating bevels (now known as differential bevels) and steering worm and wheel were either built up prior to recutting or renewed and splines were restored to reasonable fits by electro-plating and lapping. The high gear spline flights and root diameter were reground in position after making special equipment for the task and before fitting the replacement high gear drive pinion.

Whilst the mechanical and electrical rebuilding tasks absorbed the majority of the 19,000 hours necessary for the whole job, the work to derust and restore pitted surfaces to the standard attained for a Burrell class 'A' show finish certainly occupied 10 to 15% of this time.

Areas considered at risk from future rusting were blasted and hot zinc metal sprayed prior to painting (the best anti-corrosive pre-paint treatment known to the writer). By far the most time consuming tasks on the paint finishing process was the elimination of corrosion and bruising especially on the riveted wheels. Various paints were used to good effect on finish coats. These included Tecaloid, Taylors Epifast, Thornley & Knight and Masons Brush Varnish.

The painted surfaces at year 2000 are now on average 12 years old. Their present condition is proof that time taken in careful preparation prior to final coats is justified in the long term.

Excluding only the gilding and lining, all the work has been undertaken by the engineer owner and his helpers in a purpose built home workshop or to his detailed instructions.

Having completed extensive shed testing under steam, "Lord Lascelles", finally emerged from its workshop on 13th April 1993, its 72nd birthday after a 12 year rebuild.

Whenever the opportunity and time permits it is now driven under its own steam on public roads. Single runs up to 35 miles to and from its hilly Pennine home base are made at comfortable open road speeds of 12 mph, (its legal limit) to average about 8mph over typical journeys, excluding stops.

Accuracy and History Certifications

Click on to an image to enlarge.


Certofc1.jpg (27108 bytes)

History Certificate

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Certofc2.jpg (24990 bytes)


C. Richard Marsh August 2000

Magazine Features



'Old Glory' - May, June and July 2001

'Road Locomotive Journal' - May 2001

Website Constructed August 2000 Running total of visitors to this website  Hits Hit Counter



Updated October 2000 August 8th 2001
  December 18th 2000 September 12th 2001
  February 1st 2001 January 31st 2002
  March 24th 2001 July 8th 2002
  May 12th 2001 September 21st 2002


Internet Links

National Traction Engine Trust www.ntet.co.uk
Road Locomotive Society www.roadloco.org
Fair Organ Preservation Society www.fops.org
The Traction Engine Pages www.traction-engines.com