A great trip to Crofton Beam Engines in Wiltshire over the May Day weekend, to make sound recordings of the 1812 Bolton and Watt beam engine : “The oldest working beam engine in the world, in its original location and able to perform its original task”.
Maintained by a dedicated team of volunteers & enthusiasts, this is a wonderful place to visit for anyone interested in James Watt and the history of steam power.
A few recordings were made during the day, using contact mikes, but the best bit came when the beam engine was kept running for an extra hour after closing time, so that it could be recorded without picking up any additional sounds from the visiting public. Given the enormous size and power of this engine, which moves over a ton of water with each stroke, the sounds were surprisingly subtle and mesmerisingly hypnotic. More pictures here
A 6 a.m start to record the lighting of the boilers