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Steam roller rises from the ashes

A Northampton-built steam roller has been returned to its former glory after being saved from a council depot nearly three years ago.

Steam enthusiasts from the Northampton & Lamport Railway in Chapel Brampton salvaged the remains of the Allchin steam roller from Northampton Borough Council’s Westbridge depot in July 2009 and secured a £50,000 Lottery grant for its restoration.

The hard working team revealed the restored steam roller to the public on New Year’s Eve.

Kingsthorpe resident Julian Skinner, who ran the project with his wife Sharon, said: “It feels great to see it like this and we know there are a lot of people who have been looking forward to seeing it at its best again.”

The roller is 113 years old and was used to build roads around Northampton until it was re-commissioned in 1954. It then appeared at Northampton’s annual carnival until it was left to rust at the council depot during the 1990s.

The roller was built by the William Allchin company and is now the only remaining roller of its kind left in the world. The roller has been renamed from Allchin Roller 1131 to “Northampton”.

Mrs Skinner said: “It’s part of Northampton’s heritage, so we didn’t want to name it after a person. We thought naming it after the town was much more fitting.”

It will be displayed at steam fairs across Northamptonshire this summer and it is hoped that it will be back at Northampton’s annual fair in 2012.

 

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