Cheffins Fowler Roller 15965 Auction Results

I visited the Cheffins auction at Easter Compton today. This was a altogether smaller affair than the big auctions at Cheffins Cambridge site which most are more familiar attending. One engine was offered, Fowler T3 Road Roller 15965 “Irish Lady”. This engine has been owned by the Tarmac organisation for a good number of years, see my previous post.

Prior to the bidding getting underway auctioneer Bill King explained that VAT would be liable on the purchase price paid. This was on account of the engine being owned by a VAT-Registered company. Obviously this level of markup affected bidding significantly.

Bidding started at £30,000 and was relatively brisk and split between 4 people. I didn’t see all those bidding but I know 2 were existing engine owners. Bidding reached £38,500 whereupon the hammer fell. The vendors were looking for £40,000 minimum so the engine remained unsold.

The £40,000 asking price + VAT is pretty much in-line with the cost of a good Fowler roller, I understand the engine is sound boiler-wise but needs work to the cylinders. Another factor in it’s none sale may have been the relatively short time the engine was advertised as and inclusion in the auction. A deal may well have been struck after the auction seeing as the gap between the reserve and highest bid was £2,500 – since the rain was falling heavily I didn’t hang around to find out!

Wm Kerr Steam Road Haulage in Scotland

I have recently purchased a couple of books about Scottish transport which have a couple of great pictures of Wm Kerr engines at work in Scotland.

The first shows Road Engines and Kerr delivering a 40-ton transformer to the Loch Tummel power staion in Perthshire in 1930. Kerr’s owned four McLaren Road Locomotives which they had purchased from the War Department at the end of WWI. They had a habit of switching around registration plates so identifying their McLaren’s in any pictures of their activities is difficult, and in this picture no registration plate is visible so an identification is not possible. The four they owned were McLaren 595 of 1897, McLaren 1594 of 1917, McLaren 1600 of 1917 and McLaren 1627 of 1918. The engine is assisting a chain driven Scammel with the load.

The second picture is taken 17 years later in 1947 and shows their engines Burrell 4092 ‘Simplicity’ and Fowler 20223 ‘Supreme’ hauling a railway engine built at the North British Locomotive Company through the streets of Glasgow. The was destined for the Egyptian State Railways, Kerr’s undertook a number of jobs like this and there are various pictures in existence. Both engines were of course former Showman’s engines built for the Deakin fairground family in Wales, both also hold the distinction of being the ultimate showmans engines built by their respective companies.

I am trying to piece together a history of this interesting firm to post online a some point in the future.

Cheffins to Auction Fowler Steam Roller 15965

This Saturday, 27 February 2010, sees the first auction of the year where Cheffins will sell Fowler T3 Roller 15965 at an auction near Bristol. The engine has been owned since the mid 1970’s by Tarmac Roadstone who acquired it following the acquisition of another company. They have now decided to sell the engine, a guide price of £40,000 to £50,000 has been given by the auctioneers.

I am hoping to go along to the auction and will report back if it sells and post some pictures.

Picture of the Engine and Brief History


“15965 was supplied new to Antrim County Council in April 1923, original records indicate that a tar sprayer was also supplied at the same time. It is understood that the engine was worked up until 1957 when it was laid up. It was not until 1965 that it was acquired by Jim & Trevor Wasson of Carnmoney, Co. Antrim. The engine was subject to an extensive restoration and rallied by them for several years. It is believed that the engine was named ‘Irish Lady’ by the Wassons. By 1972 and following the death of Jim Wasson the engine was sold to The Limmer & Tinidad Lake Asphalt Co for promotional purposes. Shortly afterwards the company was purchased by Tarmac Roadstone, after which it continued to be used at rallies and other events for promotional purposes.”

Further details of the sale including timings and location can be found on Cheffins Web Site.