First of all I should like to apologise for the length of time it has taken for me to reply to your enquiry concerning your engine. I realise for some people it has been months so for that, I apologise.
With the best intentions I have been meaning to tackle the backlog of paperwork that has been building up this year but, as there is only me carrying out the administration work and running The Anson, it has been gaining the upper hand.
With the help of a loyal band of volunteers we have made terrific progress at the museum this year including the restoration to full working order of a Gardner 4T5 two stroke engine; building an extension to house a Lister display, a temporary archive and local history unit while we replace the current building; the retrieval of the large Ruston & Hornsby generating set from Ealing Studios (which weighs 60 tons!) and my moving into the bungalow on site - so I now live over the job. The numbers of visitors to the museum has increased over the year and to mark the end of the season, we are having a running weekend on the 25th and 26th October. I am planning an exciting range of events for next year and already have a grand re-opening planned for the year beginning Easter Sunday and Monday (11th and 12th April).
With all this going on it has meant the office work has not taken priority and enquiries about engines and records has taken longer than I would have liked. Each enquiry means that I have to take down all the details (many of which arrive without the 4 clear photos or particulars); go to the archive area for that engine type; go through a wealth of material (which is to date not fully catalogued or organised) to find the information needed; return to my office to draw the information together; then reply to the original enquiry. This can take anything from 1 hour to 4 hours for each enquiry. As I receive approximately 10 enquiries a week from all over the world, you can imagine how much of my time can be taken up replying to emails and letters. There is only me running The Anson and this voluntary service of dating engines and providing history details can become a huge drain on my time.
My intention is to reply to all the enquiries that I have to date before we open the museum again for next year. Any future enquiries will need to provide all the details I require to help me track the engine (I am drawing up a proforma for this) and will be asked for a nominal charge to help cover the cost of finding and copying the information. I will then set a target to get back to the enquirer within two months of their enquiry.
I hope you understand the need for this change but it should help me get standardised enquiry requests and help ensure genuine requests are replied to in an agreed amount of time.
The enquiry details I now have in my files will be receiving their information over the next few months and I thank you for understanding why there has been a delay to date.
Geoff Challinor Chairman & Curator The Anson Engine Museum