Kelham Island Museum receives grant to fix historical steam engine

Kelham Island Museum where the River Don Engine is on display

By Khaled Hejrej @k_hijris

River Don Engine awaits new boiler to be fitted, as it will play a central role in a project revolving around life and steam work during the First World War.


Kelham Island Museum received a £428,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund in order to fix the engine.


Built by the Davy Brothers in 1905, the River Don Engine is the most powerful steam engine in Europe, and is a symbol of Sheffield’s industrial history.


Kath Walker, 52, who works in visitor services at Kelham Island said: “The River Don Engine is the only remaining engine. Many people don’t realize how big these engines used to be since everything nowadays is computerized.”


The engine’s new boiler is anticipated to be installed by May in order to ensure it is functional for the on-going event.


The River Don Engine will be playing a crucial role in reeling in visitors for the Sheffield 1916: Steel, Steam and Power project which explores life in Sheffield when Zeppelins were bombing the city.


It is set to include a power lab to encourage Sheffield’s youth, who are interested in engineering or science, memories of the River Don Engine, and a ‘Power House’ that will enhance visitors’ experience and understanding of Steam Power.


Mrs. Walker said: “It’s quite important for children, who are used to everything being computerized, to realize the hard work and size of machinery so they can appreciate what they have now.”


A 1916-style ‘house’ will also be featured, giving visitors a flavor of life beneath the zeppelin raids and Sheffield during the First World War.


The museum’s community participation officer, Maria Flaude, is looking for volunteers to help organize and run the activities, or to share stories or words relating to experiences of the engine or visiting the museum, which will be used in the exhibition.


Flyers and posters calling on volunteers have also been put up around the museum.

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