SOLD - 1920 John Fowler & Co (Leeds) Ltd Class R3 8nhp Showmans Road Locomotive “Bertha” No. 15116. Reg No. CB 3062.

This special road locomotive is one of only a few Fowler showmans engines in preservation to be built as such, most being converted to showmans spec in their working day. The engine was supplied new on April 1st 1920 to showman John Wyatt of Stoke on Trent, who used her for 23 years with his travelling amusements, first to work with his four abreast gallopers and later with more modern rides. The engine was finished in Crimson Lake with Primrose yellow wheels.

In 1943 Bertha was sold along with a Swirl ride to Mrs Sally Beach of Maidenhead who used her for some years before being superseded by a diesel tractor. After lying derelict for a time at Longford, Middlesex, she was purchased for preservation by an enthusiast the Reverend David Atkinson of Gerard’s Cross, Bucks, who stored her in a farmyard at Chalfont St Giles. Later she was sold again to George Evans of Wiggington near Tring.

From there the engine was owned firstly by Lt. Com. Baldock of Liphook, Hampshire, then Messrs Pegden Bros of Elham in Kent. Both these well-known early preservationists carried out some substantial renovation work in time to appear at the legendary Shottesbrooke Park steam fair in 1964.

Messrs Pegden sold Bertha to the Bagot family at Levens Hall in 1967, where she has been on display to visitors since that time, having been in steam on Sundays from April to October.

After over 50 years the family have regrettably taken the decision to sell the engine, but before parting with her, decided to honour her with a complete and total boiler restoration, with the hydraulic test having been completed in October 2019. The work, which entailed among other things a brand new flanged and riveted firebox and new boiler barrel, has been completed to a very high standard by the well-respected steam engineer George Hudson who himself looked after Bertha for several decades. 

The engine is sound mechanically and the original gears are in remarkable condition considering the work they have done. The dark blue paintwork is now in a mature condition- some would favour this patina that only time can bestow, whereas others would choose to carry out a top quality re paint. Either way this is a superb looking engine with beautiful proportions. 

“Bertha” has been under offer for several months, but due to the fact that the potential buyer was unable to complete the purchase, it is now back on the market. We are seeking offers in excess of £450,000 plus 5% buyers premium for this important engine. We feel this represents fantastic value for money considering its pedigree and condition. It may be useful to compare this figure to that of the recent one achieved at Bonhams Auction for the Fowler Showmans engine “The Lion”.

NB a short video clip of the engine in steam prior to fitting the canopy can be viewed.

All enquires to Willem Middlemiss on 07801 229129 or

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