Hayward Tyler Hot Air Engine
A small group of SEAMS members have taken on the restoration of an old derelict 1/2hp Hayward Tyler hot air engine at High Beeches gardens. I say small group because three people can be a tight squeeze in the old pump house, the engine itself is far from small standing about 6 ft tall and is a considerable lump of iron.
After recognising the importance of the derelict engine during a visit to the gardens in 2013, I approached the gardens asking if they would be interesting in its restoration. The engine is owned by the Grade II listed High Beeches gardens which operate under charity status.
The previous owners, the Boscawen family still live on part of the site. They had recognised the importance of the engine and put a new roof on the engine house as the old roof had collapsed decades ago. They also intended to restore the engine but recognised that this was unlikely to happen so were keen to allow us to restore it. The engine pumped water to the old High Beeches Mansion from one of the ponds.
The old Mansion built in the early 1800’s was burnt down in 1943 after a Canadian Halifax returning from a leaflet raid over Stuttgart clipped the top of a chimney causing it to fall and set the house alight. The incident resulted in the death of the cook and two other staff. It is not known when the engine was installed but it is known to be there before 1910 and ceased working in 1926. It is a rare example of this type of engine and possibly unique to be still in its original place of work. Most engines of this type now reside in private collections or museums. We intend to get the engine running again as an historical feature linking the gardens to the original High Beeches mansion.
The gardens, started in 1906 by the then owners the Loder family, contain several national collections and are open to the public every afternoon from the middle of March until the end of October (check their website for opening times). There is also a licensed tea room on site which can be visited for food and refreshments. Their website is www.highbeeches.com