On the afternoon of a very hot Friday 25 August, members of our club made a pre-arranged visit to the National Trust’s Killerton Estate. This had come about after one of our members recalled that there was a vintage Ruston and Hornsby stationary engine there that had been restored by our former member, the late Ernie Luxton. Upon enquiring of the Clerk of Works, Bill Baker, it transpired that it was started periodically to maintain it in running order and he kindly invited a group of us to attend on the next ‘working day’ and to have a tour of their carpentry and joinery workshop. Space limitations restricted our number to around 25.
On the day, there was an initial delay [Waiting] as there was a problem with the auxiliary Petter engine which charges the air cylinders to start the larger Ruston. This was resolved when several members put their heads together, produced the relevant tools (that they ‘happened’ to have with them) and, after a bit of tinkering, the Petter ran long enough to produce sufficient compressed air to start the main engine [Engine]. This was really quite impressive as the large engine, which historically was used to power the sawmills and timber yard for the estate, is now ‘retired’ to a comparatively small brick building.