PRESERVATION of HISTORIC METALWORK and MACHINERY

I have experience in the installation, restoration and operation of a wide range of historic machines, including steam, gas and oil engines, early hydraulic and electrical equipment, traditional boilers, road/rail vehicles, vessels, and industrial, military and agricultural machinery.

I have designed, installed and commissioned modern drives to a number of large beam and colliery winding engines, written safety and operation guidelines, and provided operator training for several working museums. I have carried out condition surveys, prepared costed repairs schedules and advised on preservation strategy for many historically significant machines nation-wide.

For a list of consultancy projects please Click here to download this file

Here are a few examples of the many projects completed over the last 30 years.

Armstrong Steam Crane, Venice Dockyard 

     

 Development of costed conservation proposals for 'Venice in Peril' and the Arsenale, Venice.

Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.  

    

Two unique Victorian water-hydraulic lifting stages were surveyed and restored to full working order.  After a new power-pack was designed and installed,   the machinery was demonstrated in use as originally intended.

Ironbridge Gorge 'Enginuity' Exhibition machinery 

 .

For the Ironbridge Gorge's new 'Enginuity' interactive exhibition I erected a number of historic engines, provide new gear-teeth and electric drive, and designed, made and installed a device to enable visitors to pull a locomotive!

Bestwood Winding Engine 

A unique vertical winder in Nottingham, was restored by Dorothea Restorations Ltd under my supervision. I designed, installed and commissioned an automatic drive to turn the engine for demonstration-purposes, with a rope over the headgear and a replica cage.

GWR Workshops, Swindon 

    

The former GWR Workshops at Swindon still retain some interesting machinery from its early days, which I have surveyed and for which I have specified conservation work.

Winding Engine, Pool, Cornwall

 

The National Trust's winding engine at Pool, Cornwall, is driven by an electric motor acting on the large flywheel. Following a mechanical failure in 2013 Geoff Wallis surveyed the whole engine and specified repairs to the drive equipment.

Elsecar Beam Engines

   

Thomas Newcomen invented the world's first technically and commercially successful steam engine in 1712. The only example to survive on its original site is at Elsecar Heritage Centre near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.  In 2013 Geoff Wallis was appointed Lead Consultant on the Engine to plan and oversee delivery of a £400K HLF restoration project funded by English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Barnsley Council.  The Engine featured on a BBC2 programme presented by the Hairy Bikers Dave Myers and Simon King together with Geoff Wallis, seen here after hoisting out the steam piston.

      

The Elsecar Beam Engine and Shaft are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and listed Grade 1. The 35m deep shaft is flooded but still contains the original early nineteenth century cast iron rising main. This was inspected underwater by a side-scanning sonar (blue image), a remote operating vehicle, and subsequently by a team of divers to determine the layout and condition of the submerged metalwork. 

National Slate Museum, Llanberis, North Wales

 

The National Slate Museum at Llanberis in North Wales is housed in a former slate-dressing works that still contains an extensive range of workshops.  Machine tools are powered by a large waterwheel driving a long series of line-shafts. Over the years serious wear had developed in one heavily-loaded coupling which put the whole system out of operation.  Geoff Wallis specified repairs and personally carried out a critical on-site machining and key-fitting operations.

Tower Bridge, London

    

The 1,000 tonne bascules of Tower Bridge, London, were raised by hydraulic equipment built by William Armstrong & Co and completed in 1894. Two large steam-pumps supplied high-pressure water to raise two accumulators to store the energy fed to hydraulic engines which raised the bascules. All the historic machinery was surveyed by Geoff Wallis as part of the Conservation Management Plan developed for the whole site in 2013.

      

Conservation work on one of the steam pumping engines led by Geoff Wallis entailed replacing a broken 3ft diameter piston with an accurate replica, and manufacturing a dozen ornate bronze lubricators.

Underfall Yard, Bristol

   

The nineteenth century Floating Harbour in Bristol City Centre was maintained by well-furnished workshops sited at Underfall Yard.  The Victorian site survives intact, complete with Machine Shop with several rare machine tools driven by a steam engine via line-shafts, a well-furnished forge, a Carpenter's Shop, Pattern-maker's Shop and store , and three early 20th century hydraulic pumping engine with two accumulators.  Geoff Wallis surveyed all the historic machinery in 2013 and specified repairs as part of a Round 2 HLF funding-bid.