Visit to the Robey Trust in Tavistock, 18th Nov. 2017
Text by John Moore; photos and video by Mike Brett.
A group of our members visited the Robey Trust, in Tavistock, on Saturday 18th November.
The Trust has an interest in Robey machines with an overall commitment to the preservation, restoration, operation and display of steam vehicles.
We met up with our tour guide and Trust founder Dave Davies who was very enthusiastic and wished to pass on his skills and knowledge to us and his volunteers. Robey steam powered machines were built in Lincoln up to the mid 1950s.
Part of the entertaining introductory talk by Trust founder David Davies
They ranged from small stationary engines, road rollers, road vehicles including steam lorries and road locos.
The Robey Trust in Tavistock was created following the Town Council no longer having a use for their Robey steam roller. Mr Davies and the Trust have now developed expertise in restoring these machines to working condition and their reputation is now well known throughout the steam preservation movement and they have received support from many organisations particularly the Heritage Lottery Fund.
We as a group were particularly impressed by the willingness of the Trust’s engineers to pass on their life-time experience to the younger volunteers they have recruited. This way the Trust is not only protecting its own future, but these younger trainees are gaining specialist engineering skills which are simply no longer available in main stream education.
The machines were all very accessible to us as visitors. We could all ask questions freely and prior to the end of our visit the stationary machines were all ‘fired up’ not by steam but by compressed air using a Gardener diesel engine driven compressor. When machines are fully restored and painted to their original standard they are used in local carnivals etc. The purpose built centre is open to the public every Thursday and Saturday by appointment for their enjoyment and education as we experienced on the day.