All posts by Roz Best

How you can support Grace’s Guide

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As a non-profit organisation, we rely wholly on the generosity of the people who appreciate and support the project. Without donations and sponsors, it wouldn’t be possible to publish the amount of historical content we do everyday.

There are many costs we have to inccur to keep Grace’s Guide online, from the running of the website, to the digital software and technology we invest in to reproduce digitized publications.

If you enjoy using Grace’s Guide and would like to see it continue,        please consider donating to us.

Whatever you can afford to give will make a great difference and will go straight to the upkeep of the website and maintenance of the archives. Read more on how your donations help us on our Support Page.

Every day we receive numerous emails with written contributions or photographs to add to our growing digital library of Britain’s industrial past. Many of you also donate important publications, magazines and specialised publications through the post, which we are always so grateful to receive.

This year we’re celebrating our 10 year anniversary, and we hope to continue going for many years to come.

Thank-you for your continued support.

‘Jurassic’ to Steam on Passenger Trains for Classic Car and Bike Show

Skegness Water Leisure Park, Sunday 17th September 2017

IMG_8959“Jurassic” at head of a two coach train seen in our wooded section returning to Walls Lane station. 19/8/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

Jurassic, the elegant and historic steam locomotive on the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, is planned to go back into service to pull its first public passenger trains in more than 30 years on Sunday 17th September 2017, in connection with the “Classic Wheels” event, the Classic Car & Bike Show, at the Skegness Water Leisure Park.

The Show will raise funds for the Skegness Lifeboat Station and the Lincolnshire Air Ambulance. Entrance will be £2. Train fares of £1 return and donations will go towards the upkeep of the line’s historically-significant collection, much of which is also owned by a charitable trust.

Jurassic is planned to steam on the LCLR’s tracks adjacent to the Show’s venue in the Park, in Walls Lane, Ingoldmells, PE25 1JF. Trains will run from 11.00 to 3.40 pm, with some initial services being operated by or in conjunction with one of the LCLR’s fleet of historic Motor Rail “Simplex” diesels, the design of which dates back to the First World War.

The third annual “Classic Wheels” event will feature

• Private Classic Car Collection displays
• Club displays
• Trophies and Awards
• Classic Motor Cycles
• Trade Stalls
• Refreshments and Bouncy Castle

The historic locomotive has been restored to working order by volunteers from the charitable trust which owns it, financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations. The 114-year old locomotive, has successfully operated three days of trial trains, as the restoration neared completion. Work to repair the boiler, smokebox and firebox was contracted out to the North Norfolk Railway”s workshops at Weybourne near Sheringham and some other jobs were contracted to local firms and specialist suppliers.

IMG_4864The boiler returns from the North Norfolk Railway works where it was refurbished, and is carefully lowered into place in the locomotive frames by crane. 25/1/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

IMG_4953The team look relieved after the boiler is successfully reinstalled in the frames. 25/1/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

She was built in 1903 in Bristol by Peckett and Sons Ltd., for the quarries and cement works of Kaye and Company in Southam, in Warwickshire, together with similar locomotives named after prehistoric geological periods.

Jurassic runs on tracks just two feet wide, which made her a perfect fit for the rails of the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway, who bought her in 1961 to help operate their services linking the bus terminus at Humberston, near Cleethorpes, with the local beach and holiday camp. When that location closed in 1985, she was moved into store and then to the LCLR’s new location in the Skegness Water Leisure Park, close to Butlins, Ingoldmells, north of Skegness. The line reopened to passengers in 2009, since when the historical significance of its unique collection of rails, locomotives, carriages and wagons from the trench railways of World War One and industry and farms in rural England has become more widely recognised.

In 2016, the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded Jurassic’s charitable trust, £43,000 for her restoration and for interpretation of her significance to Britain’s economic and transport history.

The first task was to dismantle the locomotive, so that the boiler and firebox could be sent to the North Norfolk Railway.

_MG_6055The safety valves are refitted to the locomotive by Richard Shepherd (L) and Paul Walkinshaw (R) 3/5/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR).

Once these repaired “vital organs” were returned to Lincolnshire, they could be reunited with Jurassic’s frames. Her long elegant chimney has been put back in place; the injectors (which allow cold water to be transferred to the boiler, to produce steam) have been repaired and refitted, as has the connecting pipework for steam and water. The gauge glasses (which show how much water is in the boiler); the regulator (which governs speed); the reversing lever (which controls the direction of travel) and associated fittings, have all been refitted and tested._MG_6152The locomotive has its first test steaming prior to the refitting of the cab and water tank with LCLR engineer Paul Walkinshaw.  31/5/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

The large cab (which can accommodate four adults, including the driver and fireman) has been sand blasted to remove 114 years of accumulated soot, grease and grime; the saddletank (which carries reserves of cold water) has been repaired and put back in place. The loco’s insulation, boiler cladding, a new whistle, brass dome cover and other fittings which replace originals stolen several years ago, have all been fitted.

The careful repainting of the whole locomotive – red for the buffer beams, and Middle Brunswick Green for the cab exterior, saddletank and cladding; black for the chimney, smokebox and running boards, has been complemented by lining out in black and gold, producing a strikingly beautiful finish.

Meanwhile, work continues to extend the LCLR by approximately 200 yards, to include a new run-round loop, which will accommodate Jurassic more readily and enable longer trains to be operated. It’s hoped this will be completed in time for the 2018 season.

Railway spokesman, John Chappell, said: “We’re thrilled that visitors to the third annual Classic Car and Bike Show should be able to take a steam train ride with Jurassic – truly a case of ‘Classic Wheels’.”

IMG_8808-2“Jurassic” and two coach train at Walls Lane station (Skegness Water Leisure Park) following its successful performance on the one coach train earlier in day.  2/8/17 (© Dave Enefer/LCLR)

“Jurassic has been attracting visitors to the railway from throughout the UK, many of whom might otherwise not have been aware of the many attractions of Skegness and our hope now is that she can operate many of the Railway’s services in 2018”.

Full details on the Jurassic story and the Lincolnshire Coast Light Railway on

Bell Rock Lighthouse: Stevenson’s Greatest Work


Every beautifully rugged coastline holds stories of the past and keeps secrets rich with hidden heritage. Shrouded in legend, Inchcape or ‘Bell Rock’ is no exception.

Legend tells the reef of the coast off Angus, Scotland, was so named ‘Bell Rock’ when an Abbot of Arbroath attempted to secure a warning bell to ward off unsuspecting sailors from the dangers hidden in the waves. The bell would ring in storms and high winds, warning seamen from the hazardous reef. Sir Ralph the Rover was a Dutch sea-pirate who envied the fame Abbot had gained from his good work. His desire was to pillage vessels along the coast, and so to put them in more danger and uncertainty he stole the bell, plunging the dangerous rocks once again into silent exposure. Little did Rover know he had sealed his own fate in doing so. One day he too became a victim of the rocks when his vessel crashed into them in the midst of a storm.

The poet Robert Southey captured the legend in a beautiful poem published in 1802. It was published in The Engineer on this day (16th May) back in 1879, and described “as narrated with exquisite grace and graphic power”:

imInchCape Rock Poem

The warning bell referred to in the poem caused the name ‘Inchcape Rock’ to fall into disuse, and become substituted with ‘Bell Rock’, a name chosen for the lighthouse that was to be built there.

Now renowned as the world’s oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse, Bell Rock (or Inchcape) Lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson between 1807-1810. It stands in the North Sea, 11 miles east of the Firth of Tay, and watches over Scotland’s wild coast of Angus.

Bell Rock was underwater most of the day with a few hours exception at low tide. Stevenson needed to produce a design that would withstand the wildest of storms and roughest ocean waves, but simultaneously shelter the men working on the structure during the fairer months of the year. Perhaps this remarkable work that’s survived 200 years without adaptation or replacement played a part in it eventually being hailed one of the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World.

Becoming a Member of Grace’s Guide

Book Study 2We’ve made a few changes to the way you view our digitised publications.

Now to view any of our digital pdf files, you will be prompted to register with Grace’s Guide to continue viewing the content. Registering will include entering a few personal details.

Once registered, you will be able to log in and continue to read our digital journals, and next time you visit simply log in again to view the pdfs.

This does not apply to the majority of pages and material we have on the site – only the journals we have digitised and made available in pdf format. So you won’t have to register if you’re simply browsing through the company/ biography pages we have.

Why do I have to register to view the pdfs?

We’re asking readers to register to view the pdf files simply to keep a track on which digitised journals/ documents are being found and used. This better helps us understand how to improve and develop the website by analysing which digital journals are being read or downloaded and how frequently they’re being viewed.

Why is Grace’s Guide collecting my details?

When you register to become a member of Grace’s Guide for the first time, you will be asked to enter you name, surname and country of origin.  We use this information to communicate with you when we send you your registration email for example, and for us to analyse the scope of our project.

We will never share your details with a third party or send you unnecessary advertising or unwanted mail.

Every month, Grace’s Guide attracts half a million page views – and every day, around 4,000 visitors. Every day our team of volunteers works hard to update the site so that every time you log in, there is more historical information to discover.

If you have any problems or concerns please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the contact form, or use the problem form to raise an issue.

Thank-you for all your support.


Grace’s Guide Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

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 This month we celebrate a decade of archiving Britain’s industrial heritage.

The team at Graces Guide has spent the past 10 years collecting fascinating extracts from The Engineer, The Engineering Times, Mechanics Magazines and The Autocar to name a few, preserving them digitally for many years to come.

See our archive page here.

Our online archive includes over 186,000 images and over 122,000 web pages, on Britain’s industrial achievements, companies and engineering pioneers. The project also boasts 40,000 pages of biographical notes and over 500 industrial categories for researchers, academics and enthusiasts alike, to explore.

Im20140416-AIT                                              Andrew Tweedie – Founder and Editor

Grace’s Guide originated in March 2007 when Andrew Tweedie, founder and editor-in-chief, directed his attention to a long-term passion – industrial history. Motivated by his belief in the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations he was inspired to begin an extensive collection of historical material and publications. This new venture launched within days of the birth of his grand-daughter Grace, seemed too providential not to name the project “Grace’s Guide”.

The Engineer began publishing engineering developments and achievements in 1856 and has continued to record engineering history ever since. Sourcing these rare and early Engineer volumes to photograph and digitalise soon became a core purpose of Grace’s guide.

In 2014, the project reached an important milestone when not only did it become a registered charity, but 100 years worth of Engineer volumes had been photographed, digitalised and published online and free of charge to view and download.

There is currently no other online archive offering an entire digital run of these volumes in such an accessible way.

Many Engineer volumes were sourced from Grace’s Guide’s private collection, but many were also kindly loaned from Bristol Reference Library, The Institute of Mechanical Engineers and The Engineer (Centaur Communications).

The website attracts some 4,000 visitors each day and around half a million page views a month. Our team of volunteers help contribute to the website daily, so there are constant updates and new information to uncover with every visit.

Thanks to a continued sponsorship from Applegate Marketplace, Grace’s Guide will continue to provide people worldwide, from every generation, a free online resource to explore Britain’s rich industrial past.

Andrew Tweedie comments:

“We would like to thank all of those who have contributed information and publications to Graces Guide during these past 10 years. Without sponsorship and donations, we would not have been able to build such a vast encyclopaedia of industrial history. It’s wonderful to know there are so many people out there who share our dedication to maintain Britain’s great industrial history. As we look forward to the next 10 years we hope to expand the project by including more digitised publications and welcoming more contributors.”

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From rags to riches: The story of a real life Dick Whittington

Benetfink and Co was a great London emporium in it’s time, and its impressive storehouse dominated curious passers-by in popular Cheapside. Describing themselves as “furnishing ironmongers” they offered shoppers everything from baths and stoves to tea-trays and cameras, and won over gentry with a variety of goods to stock any mansion. They successfully traded for the best part of 60 years from their establishment in the 1840s to 1908 when they were merged with A. M. Gamage of High Holborn – perhaps better known as Gamages, arguably one of the most successful and renowned toy stores in Britain.

The story of the founder started far from the fine commodities of his business. Samuel Alexander Benetfink was a foundling. He was discovered on the steps of the St Benetfink church, of which he was named after. Despite his uncertain start in life he strived for an education. When he reached 28 years old, after serving an apprenticeship to the ironmongery trade, had saved enough to enable him to start business.

Benetfink Advert

And so Benetfink and Jones were founded as furnishing ironmongers in Cheapside, and subsequently became Benetfink and Fox before Benetfink and Co in 1855. By 1860 the business had gained an international reputation and millions were attracted to visit notorious Cheapside.

After Mr Benetfink passed away in 1869, his legacy was continued by Mr George Evans for almost a quarter of a century. The store maintained its successful reputation and enjoyed being a pinnacle of London’s retail trade.

When Mr A. W. Gamage acquired the business in 1908 the business had already developed additional departments devoted to cycle and motor accessories, sports and athletics. He became governing director of Messrs Benetfink, and the company became Gamage’s City Depot.

The London City Press once compared Benetfink’s story to that of the literary legend Dick Whittington. It certainly is a powerful reminder and inspiring example that proves every child can achieve success in life, no matter how humble their origin.

Can you help us identify this family?

A  few years ago, we received an e-mail  with the attached photographs of this family supposedly relating to Beans Industries Ltd – Engineers and Ironfounders of Tipton in Staffordshire.

They are captioned ‘The Bean family’ in our records and the photographs are noted down as being between 1937-38, although we’re almost sure these dates can’t be accurate for both photographs.

If they are members of the Bean family, who are they? Can you help?

Please contact the editor if you have any information for us.



Kirkstall Forge with a “Pie and Pea Supper”

Kirkstall Forge talk, colour

From axle production for horse-drawn vehicles, to military vehicle component manufacture throughout the hardships of war, Kirkstall Forge has an incredible history. With iron production at its heart, Kirkstall Forge was to become one of Leeds’ most iconic engineering businesses starting a fascinating industrial journey hundreds of years ago in the company of monks at Kirkstall Abbey.

The Friend’s of Pudsey Roller are to present an illustrated talk this November by Joe Northrop, covering all aspects about Kirkstall Forge and the thousands of people who worked there through the ages.

The Friends of Pudsey Roller are a dedicated group, united in the passion to see the famed steam roller restored back to working condition again. The organisation meets twice a year to continue the successful fundraising ‘Pie and Pea Suppers’ for the project to a “Transport and Steam” theme.

This traditional “Pie and Pea Supper” will commence on Thursday 3rd November at 7.45pm and tickets are £6. Money raised from ticket sales will go towards the cost of food, and the rest to the Pudsey Roller funding.

For more information on the local area of Pudsey with articles on its heritage, read the latest “Squeaker” stories. See the poster above for details about the talk.

Don’t miss another “Pie and Pea Supper” fundraiser…

Pudsey Roller 2016


In 1921 John Fowler and Co, renowned agricultural engineers of Leeds, built a magnificent steam roller. When its working life came to an end in 1959, it was placed in the playground of Pudsey Park for generations of children to enjoy and it became affectionately known as The Pudsey Roller.

In 1990, it was removed from the park for safety precautions, and inevitably was left to face years of neglect.

The Friends of Pudsey Roller are a dedicated group, united in the passion to see it restored back to working condition again. The organisation meets twice a year to continue the successful fundraising ‘Pie and Pea Suppers’ for the project to a “Transport and Steam” theme.

Money raised from ticket sales will go towards the cost of food, and the rest to the Pudsey Roller. This Spring the Friends will be meeting on 26th May 2016 and all are gratefully welcome to the event which is of local interest to people who live Stanningley and Farsley.

Read more about the project: