Full steam ahead for west leeds roller restoration

Pudsey Roller.
Pudsey Roller.
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IN ITS heyday the Pudsey Roller was the pride of the West Riding Council’s fleet of traction engines.

The steam roller enjoyed a second life when it was turned into a playground attraction in Pudsey Park in 1959, but in 1990 had to be removed due to health and safety concerns.

Now students from the engineering faculty of Leeds City College Technology Campus are among those working on its restoration while it is on long-term loan to the Road Roller Association (RRA).

The students, from the college’s Dewsbury Road site, are making a replacement smokebox door assembly, a new steering shaft and new canopy supports.

Several components, including the front rolls, have already been sand-blasted, primed, painted and returned to store, ready to be re-assembled in the future.

Many firms within the local engineering community are chipping in on the 10-year project funded by the Pudsey Roller Restoration Fund – the roller transferred from Leeds City Council to the RRA on a 25-year loan in 2007.

Brian Woolhouse, from the Friends of Pudsey Roller, said: “Lots and lots of people in the area have good memories of the Pudsey Roller when it was in Pudsey Park.

“Back in the day, youngsters had many good times on it. They climbed it, they got stuck in it, they fell down the chimney. It was in a council scrapyard and now we’re working to restore it to its former glory.”

A new smokebox and smokebox front plate are being made by Allied Fabrications in Morley and a new boiler barrel is being made by Israel Newton & Sons’ boiler works in Idle, Bradford.

A steering wheel has been donated by an RRA member, with two new thrust washers for the steering shaft donated by Andy Hopkins of Aire Bearings Ltd in Stanningley.

The Pudsey Roller was built in 1921 by John Fowler & Co (Leeds) Ltd at the Steam Plough Works in Hunslet.

The roller was supplied to Yorkshire’s West Riding County Council. In 1959 it was bought by Alderman Sir Walter Ward and presented to the Borough of Pudsey.

* Go to www.pudsey-roller.co.uk or call Derek Rayner on 01904 781519.

The George IV pub in Hunslet, Leeds, prior to its closure. Picture: Google

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