Museum of Internal Fire, West Wales

Have been surprised that there has been no mention of the recent formal opening of this new Museum in these columns. Paul Evans is
being too shy for his own good!
Paul's virtual museum & websites (Internal Fire, Semidiesel) are pretty well known, but the real thing is now here ......... close to Cardigan, in Ceredigion. To help the geographically-challenged, that's in a triangle bounded by Aberystwyth/ Fishguard/ Carmarthen, surrounded by Great Little Trains. I'm fortunate enough to live very close to the Museum, & have watched progress in building the museum -- a mammoth task.
Worth a quick mention, to catch the eye of anyone coming to Wales for holidays or for the Croesllan show. I wrote something about the Museum for the ATIS Stationary Engine List, following up a Dave Croft mention, so I've added a modified version here (but left in the political guidance I gave our US friends!).
It is truly amazing how Paul's dedication, & the determined support of his wife & other dedicated helpers (especially Keith), have created this super museum specialising in large heavy oil & diesel engines. That a few folk can do so much is rather humbling to idlers like myself. I struggle just to rebuild the odd Blackstone or Gardner.
Their effort has been prodigious, & the result will be a museum in several barns containing a range of what most of us would see as impossibly large engines to restore. Amazing to see Hazel, Paul's wife, getting stuck into knocking up concrete, rendering & paintwork. The stuff of dreams in most households!
It's easy to forget all of the build stuff & only think about the engine restorations, but the combined effort is pure sweat, toil, & perseverance -- & capital. It's obvious you will need a decent workshop, but then add in a JCB, a couple of cranes, a road roller, a tractor or two, & you begin to get the picture. The amount of concrete they consume is enormous -- not just for the engine foundations, but for car parks, access ramps, toilet facilities, shops etc.
Mainly industrial, rather than farm engines. Range up to 2000hp. Most from 20's-30's, with examples earlier & later. My favourite is a big Tangye open crank horizontal twin of somewhere around 170hp. Several Petters, with some new aquisitions coming to swell the collection. Most engines are British, & many are very rare. Many manufacturers represented, & Paul is an extremely knowledgeable guide. He's one of the few folk who really know what makes big diesels tick (literally!), & understands the design innovations of all of his collection.
Paul has also bought the world's first aircraft-engine-powered standby electricty generating station -- which was started by dial-up in the late '50's. Hope their 'phone lines were more reliable than my ISP can manage. Uses Bristol (later Rolls Royce) Proteus gas turbine engines, as used in the Bristol Britannia airliner (the whispering giant), & by large hovercraft such as the SRN4 cross-channel car transporters. Not on site yet ......
There are a scattering of oil & gas engines as well, just to keep folk like me happy. Probably has the least common use of a Lister D I've ever seen, driving a quite delightful early brass diving pump. I've not counted, but there must be over 20 complete engines on site, plus many others awaiting tender loving care.
The area of West Wales in which the museum is located is picturesque, but short of engines, so these rare beauties are very welcome! Wales itself has a huge number of industrial archaeology sites, especially for gold mining, coal mining, ironworks, steam railways & is well worth a family visit. Loads of museums, ancient earthworks, great beaches, good beer -- but take your chance with the weather -- although as I write this it's hotter than Florida & quite delightful. I didn't expect that when I moved here from Florida!
BTW, contrary to US folklore, Wales is not part of England. It is part of the UK. It's a very small country, but with huge pride. Referring to it as England in a local pub is a good way of finding your pint poured over you ...... historic friction!
Welsh is the oldest surviving language in Europe, & is quite unintelligible without serious practice -- but everyone takes your money in English with no trouble, & the natives are very friendly. Strongly recommended, & very much rural & unspoilt. Great roads for driving -- the most adventurous can enjoy single track roads, with 25% grades, hairpin bends, blind hill crests & scenery to cry for. Better than your average freeway.
The Museum got good coverage in the local press when it opened. Always pleasing to see another successful push to get the message of the delights of engines over to the masses...... well worth your support in person, or by spreading the word amongst us oily anoraks -- & amongst visiting families wanting to add to the variety of their holiday.
Colin Osborne
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Colin has said it all so well that I can only say hear hear. I blagged a visit during a recent fishing trip and was awed by the effort, money and shear perseverance that's gone into it, and still is. I look forward to frequent return visits to sample the hospitality again and see the ongoing development. ttfn
--
Roland Craven
nr Exeter Devon, UK
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Worth a quick mention, to catch the eye of anyone coming to Wales for holidays or for the Croesllan show. I wrote something about the Museum for the ATIS Stationary Engine List, following up a Dave Croft mention, so I've added a modified version here (but left in the political guidance I gave our US friends!).
Much better than my efforts Colin! Paul deserves all the support we can give. Have you posted to ATIS & Oldengine yet. I haven't see anything.
-- Dave Croft Warrington England http://www.oldengine.org/members/croft/homepage / http://community.webshots.com/user/crftdv
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