This unusual and fascinating museum used to be one of the best kept secrets among Cheshire’s many attractions. Over the past few years it has undergone some major changes and is now recognised as one of the Country’s leading specialist museums.
Situated just south of Manchester on the site of the old Anson Colliery, it is the result of Les Cawley and Geoff Challinor’s years of hard work collecting and restoring engines.
The museum is a registered charity and does not receive government or public funding towards its running costs. To date most of the work has been carried out and funded by the volunteers and Friends of the museum. It was described by one of its visitors as ‘run on a shoestring and fuelled by enthusiasm’.
Despite this the award winning museum has flourished and now houses a unique collection of over 250 gas and oil engines, many maintained in running order. Ranging from early Crossley gas engines through to more modern diesels. Engine enthusiasts from all over the world come to visit this fascinating museum.
The Les & Ena Cawley Memorial Building is home to a fantastic display showing the development of the internal combustion engine. The museum has secured many early examples from other major museums eg Science Museums of London, Edinburgh, Birmingham & Bristol. The collection tells the story of the engine from the cannon to the sophisticated, electronically controlled engine of the future.
The museum also has a steam section with two Robey engines; an A frame and a beam engine. Pride of place goes to the Stott engine that used to drive a cotton wadding mill in Hazel Grove. It was rescued by the museum and has been lovingly restored to working condition by the volunteers. It ran in 2011 for the first time in over 50 years.
The museum opens to the public one weekend a month from Easter until end of October. Engines run every day the museum is open and every month engines in the steam section can be found “in steam” also down at the Craft Centre demonstrations are given by blacksmiths, bodgers and wood turners.
The museum also boasts a local history section where a giant scale model of Poynton (c1900) has been built by the volunteers. In Spring 2012 over 5,000 hours of work had gone in to perfecting the model. The area also has display of photographs, maps, mementoes and keepsakes from the Vernon Estate and Anson Colliery.
Repeatedly the museum volunteers are told by visitors they had no idea it was so big or there was so much to see. We recommend you plan your visit for a minimum of two hours. Some visitors bring a picnic and make it a full day out. There is so much to see.
Anson Engine Museum
Events webpage: http://www.enginemuseum.org/events.html
See attraction’s website for current prices and opening hours.