Category Archives: Watts Orbit

Watt’s Orbit Workshop

Students at South & City College got a chance yesterday to hear a preview of Bobby Birds  Watt’s Orbit installation / performance,  set up in the College Auditorium, followed by  Q&A session. The day was presented by Nils Edstrom,  lecturer in Creative Live Sound at the college, as part of an Art in Music module.
The premier of Watt’s Orbit will take place at St Mary’s Church Handsworth on 29/10/2016

Photos by Joseph Potts


Papplewick Pumping Station

Recording the Bolton and Watts Beam Engine at the beautiful  Papplewick Pumping Station in Nottinghamshire at the weekend went well, helped by the accommodating and friendly team of volunteers, and director Ashley.
After Bobby & Nils set up a range of microphones throughout the building, the engine was started up, and all present maintained silence for nearly an hour while the recordings were made.

Then the doors were opened to the public for a vibrant Steampunk themed day!

Crofton Beam Engines

Bolton&Watt1812 contact-mike

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

boiler -record03A 6 a.m start to record the lighting of the boilers