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Tyne and Wear HER(2596): Usworth, Bowes Railway, Blackham's Hill Engine - Details

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Usworth, Bowes Railway, Blackham's Hill Engine






Early Modern


Extant Building

Blackham Hill's Engine, built 1826, on the summit of the Pontop and Jarrow Railway/Bowes Railway (HER 1007). This stationary engine was built to haul loaded wagons from Mount Moor Colliery to Springwell. It worked the inclines on both sides of the hill. Contained steam-driven engines until 1854 when they were replaced by a recycled beam engine built by Thomas Murray of Chester-le-Street. The complex included the hauler house, boiler house and coal and equipment store. The beam engine was replaced by a new steam engine made by Andrew Barclay of Kilmarnock in 1913/5. The hauler house was replaced at the same time by the present building. Brick built with a pitched roof. Boarded up windows. The steam engine was replaced in 1950 by electrical apparatus and the boiler house and landmark chimney removed. The hauler house is substantially intact and the machinery is still operational. The track which services the engine house and links the hauler to Springwell Bank Head is intact and well maintained. Restored in 1993/94 with the roof repaired, brickwork repointed, window shutters replaced and substantial internal rendering and repair. Completed with the assistance of English Heritage, European Regional Development Fund and City of Sunderland grant aid. Heritage Lottery funded works toof place at the Bowes Railway in 1999. This included repairing the kip at Blackham's Hill Engine House. The interior walls are whitewashed. The underside of the roof is planked with timber cones sitting beneath the roof vents to help air circulation. The roof is supported by a steel frame. Transverse steel girders bedded into the walls secure and support metal framework which in turn secures machinery and equipment. The machinery comprises the electric winder which powers two separate drums, one for each each incline and the apparatus to control speed. The ropes for both inclines exit the building through the west elevation. The Springwell incline rope is wrapped around an underground horizontal return wheel 100m from the building. The driver's cabin is located in the building on steel columns to provide an elevated view along the inclines. Externally, an old boiler acts as a water tank and the frame used to hoist the machinery in and out of the building in 1950 is still attached to the west elevation. A small brick-built bait hut sits at the south end of the site.




<< HER 2596 >> 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map, c.1855, 6 inch scale, Durham, 7; Tyne and Wear Specialist Conservation Team Annual Reports 1993/94 and 1998/99; North of England Civic Trust, January 2009, Bowes Railway - Blackfell Hauler House Conservation Statement; PLB, 2007, Feasibility Study for Bowes Railway; John Elliot, 2000. A Guide to the Bowes Railway; Colin Mountford, 1976, The Bowes Railway (Industrial Railway Society/Tyne and Wear Industrial Monuments Trust);; North of England Civic Trust, 2009, Bowes Railway Conservation Statement

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