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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

A Settle-Carlisle saw bench?

A while ago, Robert Bell of Langcliffe Hall asked me if I would like a saw bench.   He cautioned that it was big - very big -  and no longer complied with 'elf n' safety' -  indeed it was positively frightening (think James Bond!).

In fact it weighs in at 1.3 tonnes - not the sort of thing you buy at B&Q.   As soon as I saw (sorry) it I wondered about its age - and location at Langcliffe Hall.   It was originally a steam driven saw - very much the sort of thing that would have been used in the building of the railway.   The makers, WB Haigh of Oldham were in business at the time the line was being built.

Steam saw benches of this size would have been needed in the line's construction.   The viaducts, Ribblehead specifically, were wooden structures, encased with stone.   This required these massive saw benches - far in excess of the needs of the Langcliffe Estate.   This bench could have been bought at the huge sale of railway equipment at Settle after the line was built.

The steam engine has long gone, replaced by a 12 1/2 horsepower electric motor.

Anyway, it was today removed from Langliffe Hall and now nestles in the navvy hut at Settle:

 click to enlarge
From Google research I believe this may be a real discovery - very rare, complete but for the steam engine, and in the fullness of time it may find a place of honour at Ribblehead, where it may well have seen service.   Meanwhile I shall restore it and cherish it.

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