The latest steam engine to be offered for sale by auction is 1919 Wallis and Steevens Traction Engine No. 7683 7nhp Single Cylinder (Expansion type) "Eileen the Erring". If ever a traction engine could be described as "iconic", "Eileen the Erring" would be a top contender. Eileen will feature in Cheffins' Vintage Auction on Saturday 22nd April.
In the hands of Doc Giles Romanes, this famous Wallis and Steevens traction engine took part in the first traction engine races at Nettlebed, Oxon in 1951 against the Marshall of Arthur Napper, the man responsible for the traction engine rally as we know it today.
Wallis and Steevens of Basingstoke exhibited this 7nhp traction engine at the Newbury Show on the 12th August 1919 and sold it to a local man A.C. Cole of Woodhay in Berkshire. The engine was named "Eileen" after the driver’s daughter. In 1928, she was sold to a neighbour H.W. Henderson also of Woodhay, before passing to the Hampshire War Agricultural Executive Committee in 1939. Giles Romanes a young, newly qualified eye surgeon from nearby Bray bought Eileen for preservation in 1947 and it was to be the first of several engines owned by him.
On his way to the famous first traction engine race at Nettlebed, Giles was stopped by the police in Henley on Thames for carrying a motorcycle on the trailer he was towing (transport to get home). This was deemed as not being agricultural equipment. He was later prosecuted and fined £5! The headline in the local Maidenhead Weekly read "Eileen the Erring", which was later adopted as the engine’s name.
Giles Romanes sold the Wallis in 1958 to Frank Upton of Maidenhead who in 1976 sold it to Ray Osborne of West Tilbury, Essex. The following year the engine was fitted with a new firebox. Since that time Eileen has attended local rallies and has always been meticulously maintained and presented. It carries a current boiler certificate dated 03/05/16 and the next hydraulic test is due in 2018.
Eileen the Erring will feature in Cheffins' Vintage Auction on Saturday 22nd April at our Machinery Saleground at Sutton near Ely, CB6 2QT. Please contact Willem Middlemiss, Cheffins' Steam Engine Consultant, (mobile - 07801 229129) if you have any specific questions about this steam engine.