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Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 12:31 am
by Cardiarms
Just watching industrial revelations on discovery where the hydraulic power that was used in London and newcastle has been described, pre electricity, miles of pressurised water network to provide lifting etc, Was there any such system in Leeds?

Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 12:44 am
by dogduke
I've seen the London one - extensive !Never heard or seen anything like it locally though.

Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 9:47 am
by jim
There was no "public" system in Leeds similar to that in London, but there were several fairly extensive railway owned systems, and I feel sure that there would have been many others in firms that did heavy engineering of the forging and plate and boiler work type. They, however, would usually only been known to those who worked at the specific factories.To move to those known to me. I came across factory systems at Claytons Moor End works ( gasholder and platework ), and another Claytons firm at the top of Pepper Road. I don't know if there was a connection between the latter and the former. As I remarked, there would certainly have been lots of other systems.A firm in Leeds, Tannet Walker, who had a works on Dewsbury Road on the left hand side going out of Leeds just before you reach Jack Lane made water hydraulic machinery of all types and sizes. Most of the local railway plant was certainly of their manufacture, and dated from the mid 1880s to late 1890s.Railway systems included Hunslet Lane goods yard, another system that I believe served Gott's Field yard and the two Holbeck stations, Marsh Lane goods yard that also served Leeds City South, and Hunslet East goods yard. The latter was still pumping with steam power until closure in the 1960s. "Mini" systems working loco wheeldrop pits were to be found at Neville Hill and Farnley Junction engine sheds.To move farther afield, other railway systems were to be found in Bradford at Valley Goods, Bridge Street goods, Adolphus Street goods, and City Road goods ( also with a steam plant ).The "piece de resistance" is at Huddersfield Fitzwilliam Street, to the north of the station. Here the engine house, accumulator house with the accumulator still in situ, and the goods shed hoist which took full railway wagons up to the first floor, can still be seen from passing trains. During my railway career I worked at one time or another on all of these systems except the Gott's Field establishment, which presumably closed down when Holbeck High and Low Level stations closed in the mid-1950s. As a fitter, Hunslet Lane and Marsh Lane were my sole responsibility for periods of around two years each, and I was foreman over the staff at Huddersfield for a similar length of time. Every one of these fascinating systems had shut down by the early 1970s with the closure of railway goods yards, due to the move away from single wagon load traffic. Machinery worked included lifts, cranes, traversers, capstans, jiggers, and the dumb-waiter in the Leeds City South refreshment rooms!        

Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 10:18 am
by Cardiarms
Thanks for the info, I'm surprised they were operating so long!

Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 10:37 am
by jim
Hi Cardiarms. I believe the Huddersfield system was the last in the area. The others went in the 1960s.I forgot to mention that, nationally, docks were a major ( and early, 1850s at least ) user. Even small docks, such as Briton Ferry, used hydraulic power for their cranes, lift and swing bridges, and lock gates, until later replacement by electricity. In particular, the massive "Tom Pudding" hoists at Goole were hydraulically operatedFor those interested in learning more on how water power at 760 lbs psi or more was used for a hundred years, I can recommend "Hydraulic Power Engineering" by G.Croydon Marks. Originally published in 1900, brand new paperback copies are still available from Amazon and other sources.        

Posted: Thu 18 Nov, 2010 1:21 pm
by jim
The book recommended above is a contemporary description, with many drawings, of how all the various machinery worked.For a general overview of the field from an industrial archaeology standpoint "Hydraulic Power" by Ian Mcneil, David and Charles 1972 is very good, and is an illustrated history of the field without the involved technical element. If not in print, it should be available second hand at reasonable price. ( that's how I got mine ) In it I see that the British cities with public mains were London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Hull, Newcastle, and Glasgow. Plans of the supply mains in London and Manchester are shown in this book.    

Posted: Tue 23 Nov, 2010 10:25 pm
by BIG N
Jim - My farther was a senior railman at Huddersfield and recall being taken into the engine house at Huddersfield to have a look around, probably in the early 70's (time fades the memory lol). If I recall correctly there were two engines in there, i seem to remember that they were still well maintained at that time and were both resplendent in shiny black paintwork, i might of course be incorrect in saying there were two engines but i certainly recall my visit.I have often passed that engine house since and wondered if there is anything left in there these days.One thing that really surprised me, although now it makes sense, was the fact the water for the system came all the way from the resavoirs on the hills above Marsden, when i was younger that seemed an awful long way lol.

Posted: Wed 24 Nov, 2010 12:51 am
by jim
Hi Big N. As far as I know the engines have gone, but, as I said, I believe the accumulator is still in situ.    

Posted: Wed 24 Nov, 2010 1:08 am
by dogduke
Jim -in the shed at Hunslet Lane where they loaded what was classed as 'smalls or sundries' i.e. less than a wagon load there was a system of capstans and traversers.The capstan would be used to pull the vanfit onto the traverser which then crossed to a sort of 'middle road'for despatch.the capstan then was used to bring more wagons into place.The capstan hook/line was attached to the brake hanger gear.The shed would be set up on a morning for loading by shunt engines and then reset via this method later in the day.The capstans were activated by a foot pedal,never realised that it was hydraulic.Offices were on the first floor, accessed from a verandah which overlooked this shed.Best I can remember from the early sixties.

Posted: Wed 24 Nov, 2010 2:22 am
by jim
Hi Dogduke. The traversers, cranes, and lifts were hydraulic too. Our main workshops at the time were in what was Heinz's warehouse, just past the Bonded Warehouse on Kidacre Street.