I’m so excited by this news (The press release can be found at Greenwich Industrial History’s Blog ) But though the Crossness Trust may have swanky board members, the day-to-day restoration is carried out by a team of volunteers who spend their lives crawling around sewers blocked with rust, a century of crap, and the sand that was used to prevent them collapsing when they stopped being used, cleaning them out and trying to get them working again – and they’re the real heroes of this.
You only have to look at the single engine they’ve restored to its original condition to see a) how bloomin’ beautiful something that should by all rights have been a purely functional piece of engineering is and b) how far they’ve still got to go. And none of them are getting any younger.
This picture demonstrates. In the middle, the fabulous cathedral-like atrium of painted ironwork. To the right is the shiny steel of newly-restored steam engine. To the left is the bit they haven’t got to yet. My inclusion of the random hard-hatted head at the bottom is deliberate of course. It’s Art. Obviously.