Back to All Events

Watt’s rotative steam engines

  • Library of Birmingham Floor 4, Heritage Learning Space Centenary Square, Birmingham B1 2ND (map)
Chester engine.  Reproduced with permission of the Library of Birmingham (MS 3147/5/8)

Chester engine.
Reproduced with permission of the Library of Birmingham (MS 3147/5/8)

Join researchers Bill Whitehead and Chris Hodrien to hear about early rotative engines.

In 1788, Ecton Copper Mine was the deepest mine in England. The challenge in using an early Watt engine for bringing up the copper ore is powerfully documented in letters and drawings of the time. The correspondence between mine manager Cornelius Flint and Watt's assistant John Southern, tells of disagreements and a battle of wits. The Ecton engine house and mine still exist in the Manifold Valley, Staffordshire, and can be visited

The world’s first successful public steam flour mill was at Chester in 1785. It was powered by a 14HP Watt rotative beam engine. The Chester mill expanded into a large complex of 4 and 5 storey buildings and eventually became disused in the 1950s. In 2002 an opportunity for recording and archaeology occurred when the remaining buildings were converted into apartments and the base of the original Watt 1785 engine house was uncovered. Drawings and letters from the James Watt archive relating to this engine and mill will be shown.

Cost: £5

Booking via Eventbrite

Later Event: August 15
The Six James Watts