Treve Holman devised the plan to buy and re-erect the Cornish beam winding engine from Rostowrack china clay works and re-erect it running under compressed air, at Camborne. Holman’s plan was to have the beam and wheel exposed over the outside street, but the Council vetoed it, fearing road crashes from distracted drivers! Dad and the team rebuilt the engine though, but inside, in 1953.
In about 1957, a wagon (sometimes called the ‘directors’ wagon, because it had seats) from the Poldice to Portreath tramway was discovered in a barn at Scorrier and Treve Holman gave it a home in the Holman Museum. It had to be mounted on track, so Dad and a colleague (and me) were dispatched in a Holman van with picks and shovels to Mawla, to dig up sufficient granite setts to make a stretch of genuine tramway in the original style. There is no closing date for the Poldice to Portreath tramway, but we know from newspapers and other sources that it was abandoned and unused by about 1866. The granite setts on which the ‘plates’ were laid are still visible in many places today.
Holmans’ foundry made the appropriate ‘L’ shaped rails (‘plate’, I suppose, is the proper term = platelayers) and the wagon stood resplendent in the museum until it closed in the 1970s. The wagon (and ‘our’ track) now reposes at Truro museum.
The Holman museum was a sad loss: the Rostowrack engine seems to have been lost, too.
Many thanks for that Roy - I remember your father, he used to do quite a bit of walking - usually to Tesco's to keep fit. This article is, in a way, a tribute to him. Any idea from anybody where the Rostowrack engine is?