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Manufacturer Charles Burrell & Sons Ltd
Model Type 'Special Scenic' Showman's Road Locomotive
Name Dragon
Works No. 3912
Registration No. CO 4485
NHP 8
Year Built 1921
Gears 3-speed
Inviting offers in the region of £825,000

 

 

We are delighted to be offering for sale one of the iconic Burrell ‘Special Scenic’ Showman’s Road Locomotives which we are sure many of you are already familiar and for whom this engine may need no introduction!

Dragon is an 8NHP Showmans Road Locomotive and has become known as one of the ‘Special Scenics’. It is plated to weigh 17 ½ tons, was supplied new to Anderton & Rowlands in November 1921 and was registered for the road in February 1922. We are delighted to have Dragon available for viewing on our premises, near Exeter, fittingly only a 5-minute drive from Anderton & Rowland’s Exeter yard which was used for storing some of their Showmans engines when not on the road. We have sourced a photo from July 1921 which showed Dragon at the Royal Show in Derby in an incomplete condition, including on larger diameter, straked wheels and with no name plate. Dragon was supplied new, later in 1921, alongside its sister engine, Earl Beatty and was worked alongside Lord Nelson for running the Dragon Gondola Ride, throughout the southwest, until 1936.

We have records detailing that Dragon underwent a major rebuild at John Fowler & Co, Leeds in 1932/3, to include boiler work, a motion overhaul and repaint. It was allegedly during this rebuild that Dragon was fitted with the new, smaller diameter rear wheels bearing rubber tyres and no strakes. The fitting of these smaller diameter rear wheels was at the request of Anderton & Rowland to allow for the easier ascension of some of the steep, West Country hills in high gear. Between 1936 and 1943, this fantastic engine was used on the Brooklands Racers ride and the Dodgems before being sold to Sam Smart of Bristol to run a set of gallopers. According to the records, in 1948 the engine was in the hands of a dealer before heading to the current family in 1951.

Dragon was purchased by Winston Chamberlain, a butcher and early steam enthusiast, from Farcet near Peterborough. Mr Chamberlain spent several years restoring the engine to its former glory and it was at this point that the awning side boards were repainted to bear the famous ‘Pride of the Fens’ to celebrate its new home beside the Cambridgeshire Fen. In 2008 the driver’s side was reverted to the engines original ‘Anderton & Rowland’s Golden Dragons’ signwriting which is found on it today. In the years between 1978 and 1981, Dragon underwent a major rebuild by Bill Gale, the driver of Dragon for over 50 years and who has spent much of his life caring for this Scenic to a high standard. During this rebuild, it had a new firebox (by Wilcox Engineers, Oundle), a smokebox, set of tubes and tubeplate. Since this rebuild, Dragon has become a familiar sight in the steam preservation movement. In more recent years, Dragon was used for filming in the 2017 film of Paddington 2, during the fairground sequence. Unfortunately, Dragon did not make the final cut of the film aside from a chimney extension in one shot! Admittedly not the greatest claim to fame but certainly an interesting addition to Dragon’s ongoing life story. After 69 years of ownership by the same family, and with the current owners not being steam enthusiasts, the difficult decision has been made to put Dragon on the market to allow the new owners to begin the next chapter in its fantastic history.

The engine is, of course, a double crank compound road locomotive with 3-speeds. Fitted with a 110v dynamo and exciter as typical on the ‘Scenic’ Showman’s Road Locomotives. This example was originally fitted with the crane gear and pulleys for the rear which have since been removed (seemingly during the rebuild at the Fowler Works in 1933); despite this removal, Dragon is considered a ‘Special Scenic’ owing to its extended coal bunker sides and capacity for lifting gear. According to the build sheets, Dragon was fitted from new with a single injector and a water pump, matching what is on the engine today. Whilst many showman’s engines seemingly went through their working lives with very little in the way of brass and decoration, Dragon left the Burrell workshop with many of the brass decorations found on it today, including (but not limited to) the raised brass bands, the twisted brass columns supporting the awning, the brass ring on the flywheel and the rings with stars on the motion covers. It is certainly an example which has remained almost entirely true to the build sheet, a copy of which is made available for those viewing Dragon at our showroom and which makes a fascinating read.

There is no doubt that Dragon has been very well cared for during its time near Peterborough; those who have looked after the engine over the years have done a superb job of maintaining this fantastic piece of showman history. Inevitably, however, the work comes around eventually, and Dragon is no exception. The engine is now due extensive boiler work with the inspector suggesting a minimum of a firebox, throatplate, back head and tube plate will be needed, with the recommendation to further assess the remaining boiler once the firebox is removed. Whilst this work is not unexpected, it is certainly essential prior to the engine’s next steaming. The decision to sell without undertaking this necessary work was not taken lightly, however, the feeling stands that in carrying out the boiler repairs, the upcoming rebuild will give the new owner the opportunity to carry out any other work they see fit. The remainder of the engine can be considered to be in either good or serviceable condition, having been last used on the rally field last year with no major issues. To further assess the general condition of Dragon we would invite any interested parties to give us a call or send us an email to arrange an appointment to view the engine in person.

Due to the boiler work needed, we will only be allowing ‘cold’ viewings of Dragon and we will ensure all appropriate mudhole doors and access points are open for your inspections. We also have no problem with the commissioning of third-party boiler inspectors being instructed to look over the boiler on behalf of any interested parties. Any visits are strictly by appointment only and we ask anyone to contact us directly before making viewing or inspection arrangements. As mentioned at the start of this write up, Dragon is being securely stored at our showrooms in Exminster, near Exeter during the viewing and handover process.

This is a truly once in a lifetime opportunity to own an outstanding piece of showman history; this is certainly not an engine many of us have seen on the market before and we look forward to seeing where Dragon will go next.

  

We have been commissioned to advertise Dragon for sale and invite offers in the region of £825,000. Genuine offers for purchase will be submitted to the owners for their consideration and decision.

 

 

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MAVWe specialise in the sale of steam engines, both full-size and miniature, as well as the sale of classic motorcycles and cars. 

If you are looking to sell your steam engine or classic vehicle, we make both cash offers and sell on commission and we would be more than happy to discuss the sale of your vehicle with you. 

 

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Berrybrook
Dawlish Road
Exminster
Exeter EX6 8DN

Call us on 01392 833301

For Steam enquiries: steam@berrybrook.co.uk 

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