Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Full Steam Ahead! Refurbishing the Newcomen steam engine

In 1712 Thomas Newcomen invented a machine which helped change the world… and it all began in the Black Country.

The Newcomen engine was the world’s first successful steam engine, pumping water from mines so that coal and metals could be mined from greater depths and it subsequently paved the way for James Watt’s steam engine. The site of the original engine is the subject of much debate but there is strong evidence to suggest that it operated on a colliery at Coneygree.

Over 100 Newcomen engines were built throughout Britain and Europe in the 18th century and now the Black Country Living Museum possesses the only full-sized working replica of the engine. Having effectively kick-started the Industrial Revolution, the replica of the Newcomen engine represents one of the Museum’s most historically significant exhibits and when ‘in steam’ is one of its most impressive sights.

Next year the engine will take centre stage in the 300th anniversary celebrations… but 25 years of service has taken its toll and it needs £60,000 of work to restore it to full working order in time for its birthday celebrations. This work will also mean that thousands more visitors can see it in action, learn about and enjoy it in years to come.

£30,000 has already been raised through the generosity of private trusts, companies and individuals. To support the campaign, you can:

·        Donate quickly and securely online here

·        Donate by cheque or credit card by downloading a donation form

Find out more on the Museum’s Newcomen blog here or by contacting Carolyn Pugh, Director of Development at the Museum: carolyn.pugh@bclm.com, 0121 521 3511.

Black Country Living Museum Trust is a registered educational charity no: 504481

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