I live in a camper van with a West Highland Terrier for company.
My passion is creating images but it is a work in progress.
I am always willing to share what knowledge I have and can be contacted through the comments on this post or e-mail ADRIAN

Thursday 3 November 2011

MONSTERS (03/11/11)

Today is sunny in bits…….when it isn’t sunny it really rains. It rains rain it’s hard to breath in.

We have been back to the pit. It is only half done but awe inspiring. I’ve never seen such big steam engines.Untitled_Panorama1

pleasley2 Two HDR views of Pleasley Colliery.  These look almost the same. I couldn’t fit it in a stitched HDR panorama so moved on a bit. I didn’t like the first because it was boring and I like the second because it it is more dramatic.

The volunteers that are restoring this colliery work Thursday and Sunday mornings. They were drinking tea when I arrived but I got a cup of tea and a trip round. It’s a challenging place to capture.

The engines are twin cylinder steam engines Not cmpound and only utilized the pressure of steam from a mixture of Cornish and Lancashire boilers. Fuel was not a problem………they would burn unsalable screenings. Dirty? Not really, as the fire bars or grate would have hollow bars……I forget how they were made but air was forced through the hollow fire bars and injected under the fire bed ensuring complete combustion. We have only to look back to learn.

Steam locomotives don’t have the same problem. The opposite. Their fire bed is awful short and thin. The movement  shakes ash through. They have no, or little, natural draft so they expend used steam into their chimneys to create  the necessary draught and heat in the fire bed. If they have no used steam they have a steam injector to give the fire a jolly on.

Pleasley Colliery welcomed me with open arms and I had a good nosey round. For any who are interested then have a look at a very competent website. The words and music can be found here PLEASLEY COLLIERY. The web site like the restoration is far from complete. I have the feeling both will be wonderful soon.

It’s a wee bit cramped in the engine house………..a bad photographer always blames his environment, his assistant or the light. I’ll just blame me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  This is what a winding engine should look like. This is a miniature replication and is superb. The image will enlarge with a click and I enhanced the writing so you can read it with a click. It has a perspex case. So not easy to convey the beauty it’s creator achieved.

Now to full size.


_B038931_2_3_4_5_tonemapped_edited-1   Work in progress………..The thing to the left is the winding drum the stuff to the right is paint,,,,,,,,,,,Oh! And a seven foot stroke steam cylinder. It has a twin on the left but the light beat me and the camera.

_B038941_2_3_4_5_tonemapped_edited-1 Valve gear on the south engine which will now work. Or would if they could afford a boiler or three. Whoops, I almost forgot and to pay for the fuel to run it. Thatcher wasn’t just a milk snatcher…….she was a vandal…..north sea oil and gas arrived to save her, a bit. Then she sold the silver. There is still so much mineral wealth under our wee country.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Looking from the working end. In the foreground is the crank that drives the winding drum, a bit of which can be seen upper right.

I love these places. I could have had it to myself………….I did for an hour or more but still didn’t do it justice. One day I will learn how to shoot in difficult light. I am coming back here so will give it another mauling. There is a preserved winding engine not six miles away and it is a vertical engine, goes up to heaven it does.

Now I have a poser………….What is this?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It’s a wee shrub and has loads of yellow berries. They have planted lots. The leaves look blueish in a morning.

Help please!


  1. Wow, I didn't know there was so many things in a colliery, and it must been so beautiful just be working with it in the dark years. Superb photos.

  2. Your mystery plant is 'Sea Buckthorn', Hippophae, to be posh.

    That looks a great place to wander around Adrian; and good of them to let you have a look round.
    Second shot is excellent.

  3. Lucky you to be able to look around like that, just wonderful. Great photos as well.

  4. A good set of Industrial Photographs Adrian. I love these type of Photographic subjects..lot's of interest and a time now past.


  5. It looks like a fantastic place to visit... Great images Adrian it's good to see preservation.

  6. It sounds as if you had quite a treat having your personal visit + tea of the installation!
    That looks very interesting and I had a look at their site, it's very user friendly, simple and efficient. It brilliant when you have volunteers who devote s much of their time effort and passion restoring old machines or else! Nice post Adrian!
    P.S. We were not so lucky with the weather in the south! :(

  7. Hi Adrian...Isn't it interesting to see how all the parts worked, and I think of the men that worked in and around all this machinery, it must have been hard work ..people today don't know what it is like to work hard!!
    How great you got a bit of tea and a trip around the place !!
    Thanks for showing your nosing around with your photo's ...I like the second to ...more dramatic ; }
    The web site is well done ....loved the colored schematics!! : }}


  8. That really is some biiig machinery there Adrian.

    Built in an age where things were made to last, a bit different from today's "throw it away and get a new one" approach!

    Thanks for all the pictures and info, an engaging read.

    Excellent HDR work especially 'pleaseley 2'...[;o)

  9. Bob, this is just a small part. Screens, washing plant, water pumps and fans. So little left.

    Keith, thanks for the ID. Anyone can look round. You just have to ask.

    Horst, I was lucky they were there.

    Trevor, I will have to make a list of these places. They are usually difficult to capture as the light is so awkward. This one is one of the better ones.

    Andrew, they have just won an award for their efforts. The chap showing me around wasn't sure who from.

    Dee Bee, the sun didn't last here. It was only a personal visit because I was the only visitor. Anyone can call in.

    Grace, by the time it closed it wouldn't have been such hard work. Boiler stoking had been automated for many years and the coal was cut by machines.

    Trevor, thanks I like the second HDR.
    It is big machinery. It is difficult to restore as there is so little room to work.

  10. I also enjoy visiting old buildings to take photos of industrial objects. They are shaped so interestingly.

  11. Olga, many are works of art as well as having a beauty of form and function.

  12. Great opening images. I am surprised you were allowed in to photograph them but then again if they knew your business then it's extra publicity for them. I know it's not quite the same thing but I've had a similar experience of thanks with a Scottish B&B.

  13. Jay, I suspect anyone can go in. They are very friendly as most of these preservation people are. i just wandered up and asked.