Master Li and I discovered that The Elsecar Heritage Railway do steam hauled Cream Teas on Wednesdays during the month of August. This naturally appealed to two gentlemen of taste and discernment like Li and myself, so yesterday we went over the border into South Yorkshire to partake of this delight. The trip, and cream tea, were excellent, they even trundled to and fro for a while to make up for the shortness of the line and to give passengers time for a second cup of tea.

Two other things played a part in the decision to make the trip. First was that we wanted to see in the flesh the legendary ‘Mardy Monster’, the most powerful Industrial loco ever to work in Britain. Secondly we wanted to see the Newcomon Engine, the only one still on it’s original site anywhere in the world. Been there since 1795 and ran until 1923. Puts todays throw away culture to shame, especially with all that guff about saving the planet.

Top pic ‘Mardy Monster’

Lower pic. Master Li admires Newcomen Engine.

Mardy Monster HERE 

Newcomen Engine HERE


Images from a book I have had for a while but only got the opportunity to give it a proper read while on a trip the past weekend.

The book is: A History of the Growth of the Steam Engine by Robert H. Thurston. Published in 1886.

It is available from Project Gutenberg here.

The images represent (clockwise from top left): Savery’s Engine (1702), Newcomen’s Engine (1705), Fly-ball governor (circa 1780), Boulton & Watt’s Double-Acting Engine (1784) and Corliss Engine (circa 1850).

Thomas Newcomen invented the Newcomen engine (atmospheric engine) in 1712 to get water out of mines and was a improved upon by James Watt to get us the steam engine, industrial revolution etc.

He gets a street named after him in London.  Can’t say it’s a brilliant street…cigarette buts, chicken wing bones, napkin and top to it off, puke splatter on the wall.


While wandering around Kiev we found this extremely cool little bar, Steam Bar Newcomen.

On entering, we were greeted by Max, the barman who i couldn’t seem to photograph with his eyes open, who told us that there was only dark beer available as they had sold out the previous night due to a gig.

That’s fine with me, I like dark beer, and there was plenty of Rum and Coke for Claire.

The place was quiet, so we got chatting with Max about music, his trip to Scotland, our time in Ukraine and all the usual stuff you chat about. When the conversation turned to Mogwai, and Max who had never heard them, allowed us to stick our MP3 player into their soundsystem and play Young Team in it’s entirety we knew we were sticking about for a while!

The bar was decorated with some fantastic pieces of Steampunk inspired artowrk, all put together by the owner who was working around the place and fixing all the bits and bobs that need doing.
While a seperate room, with chilled out “Lounge FM” playing in the corner was filled with these excellent UV paintings

Listening to Mogwai in a strange city, in a dark bar with good company - you really can’t ask for more than that! Next time i’m in Kiev, I will certainly be looking to catch a gig there!


History Meme

[3/3] Inventions - The Steam Engine

The history of the steam engine stretches back as far as the 1st century AD; the first recorded rudimentary steam engine being the aeolipile described by Hero of Alexandria. Over a millennium after Hero’s (or “Heron’s”) experiments, a number of steam-powered devices were experimented with or proposed, but it was not until 1712 that a commercially successful steam engine was finally developed, Thomas Newcomen’s atmospheric engine. During the industrial revolution, steam engines became the dominant source of power and remained so into the early decades of the 20th century, when advances in the design of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine resulted in the rapid replacement of the steam engine by these technologies. However, the steam turbine, an alternative form of steam engine, has become the most common method by which electrical power generators are driven. Investigations are being made into the practicalities of reviving the reciprocating steam engine as the basis for a new wave of ‘advanced steam technology’ . [x]