Steam Engine - A Moving Experience.

Steam Engine in power house

I enter the engine house with world-weary trepidation. I have been on many tourist “experiences”. Will it be a film or perhaps a mock-up of how a steam engine worked? And am I about to have the history lesson about power at Masson Mill?

It is not what I expected.

As we step into the engine house, quietly, almost languidly, the old lady of an engine appears to be swimming through time, stretching out, waking up.

This particular engine hasn’t always been here. In a previous life she worked to drive a cotton mill in Lancashire, but she is almost the twin to the original Masson Mill engine, and so has been lovingly restored and given a new home here - and a new lease of life. And she doesn’t even use steam any more either - oh no, only green energy - hydroelectric power from the nearby river for her. She has not had a facelift in later life, but still looks magnificent and, may I say, almost sprightly now, speeding up gradually as I stand in awe of her.

I am captivated as she reaches out, faster, louder, stronger - like a boxer practising punches. Standing there I am suddenly surprised to feel a strange tightness in my throat.

That is not what I expected.

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