Rolling Restorations Part 6: Barford & Perkins - The Research Continues...

Rolling Restorations Part 6: Barford & Perkins – The Research Continues…

A bit of an eclectic mix of information in this post, covering some recent material of relevance to the ‘Rolling Restoration’ thread on this site. In due course I will create some galleries to go with these posts, and will also add more catalogue material to the relevant section here as well.  Meanwhile, hopefully the information below will be of interest to followers, and also researchers as it is largely information that I have been unable to find elsewhere on the internet…

We start with a collection of images from Bill Dickins’ collection, showing D4 rollers in various guises and forms and which David Watchman kindly restored to enable their wider use.  Bill has extensively researched Barford & Perkins (among other firms) and I am grateful to him for enabling the use of these images here.

Below: These three views are of great interest and value to our restoration of R025, showing as they do a D4 fitted with Albion four cylinder petrol engine.  The details showing the canopy, driver’s seat and toolbox (note that the first view shows a D4 sans the toolbox section) are of particular use, also the magneto ‘kill’ switch on the bulkhead inboard of the engine and the gearbox casing (on the longer engined four cylinder versions this was forced to straddle the frame member). The link on the frame member on the off side is intriguing, I take it to be a fitting to enable a gang mower to be towed by the roller (I’ve seen a photo of this somewhere and Barford & Perkins were keen to stress the flexibility to carry out such a role in their sales literature).  Also useful is the positioning of the registration number, with one example having the small alloy casting ‘Pioneer’ badge curved to fit the headstock with the registration number split either side of this.  I will shortly order drawings for the seat/toolbox from the archive at Lincolnshire (see for access to the extensive online catalogue of both Barford & Perkins and Aveling Barford material), have castings for the various missing plates and plaques made (using my own as patterns) and Chris has taken a look at the footplate work, steering column repair and new construction of the canopy and reckons this is feasible for him to carry out this year.  So R025 is progressing, and these amazing photographs certainly add greatly to our knowledge about the type.  I managed to purchase appropriate switches from eBay, one of which will be used as the mag-kill (I had only a photo from a Q Series catalogue to go from so was pleased the photo below confirmed the type fitted). Bill Dickins Collection


Below: As an interesting comparison, here is a D4 with a two cylinder Albion engine fitted.  Whilst similar to those shown above, note the gearbox is able to fit entirely within the frames (unlike the four cylinder version where the longer engine forced it to straddle the off side frame member).  Also, the absence of a radiator, cooling instead being effected by the chamber and fins beneath the driver’s seat. Bill Dickins Collection


Below: Also from Bill’s collection are these views – again these are almost certainly D4 models, with the two cylinder engines originally fitted, firstly by Simms, later Albion.  The first two views look like factory shots, whilst the third looks more like a family photo album view.  Bill Dickins Collection.


Below: A recent addition to my collection is this superb photograph from the 1931 Public Works Exhibition (where?) showing Barford & Perkins very Art-Deco stand, with a Q Series middle background and A 2 1/2 Series in the foreground, note that it has already had a notice affixed showing it has been sold. Left and right I think are Y Series rollers (aimed primarily at sportsground owners).  To the rear left is a large roller from the T Series (TH, TWJ and TWK – ranging from 8 to 12 tons).  On the adjacent stand to the left is the Aveling & Porter display, with whome B&P were closely tied in this year, B&P moving from Peterborough to Rochester to share works space with A&P,  Thomas Aveling having died.  Both firms were part of the troubled A.G.E (Agricultural & General Engineers), formed in 1919 and set to collapse amid controversial circumstances in February 1932.  Edward Barford then set about recovering A&P plus B&P from the receivers, with assistance from Rustons, to form Aveling Barford at a new location in Grantham in 1933.

1931 Public Works Exhibition Image

Below: I have also added this catalogue to the collection, a late publication by B&P but a colourful and rather interesting one, apparently issued to guests visiting the Peterborough works.  I will add this, along with a number of other catalogues, to the blog shortly, meanwhile here are some interesting pages from this publication.

B&P What We Make Catalogue_0001

Below: A busy scene of a busy erecting shop, with A 2 1/2 rollers to the fore.  I will look in detail at the A Series in a future post, but essentially they can be catagorised thus:

  • A              1.75 ton 4 foot wide rolling width with two speeds in each direction (2 and 4 mph)
  • A 2 1/2  2.5 ton 4 foot wide rolling width with two speeds in each direction (2 and 4mph)
  • A3           39cwt 6 foot wide rolling width for grass rolling with two speeds in each direction (2 and 4mph)
  • A4           2.25 – 2.5 ton 3 foot wide rolling in tandem form with with two speeds in each direction (2 and 4 mph)

Later variants, with a ‘Q’ suffix indicated that they were fitted with quick reverse gearboxes. All but the A4 variant were of a three roll form, with one at the front (formed of two roll sections) and a roll each side of the frame and engine to the rear.  The 2.5 ton examples had a heavier rear roll to increase the weight, and all but the A4 had interchangeable rear rolls to change them to any of the three variants.

B&P What We Make Catalogue_0010

Below: This view is interesting, showing the test hill at the works, but also note the tracked and crane jib contraptions in the background.  Also of note is the narrow gauge railway, with side tipping wagon and possibly a locomotive in front of it – can anyone add anything to this location as a base for railway activity in the 1930s?

B&P What We Make Catalogue_0018

Below: The caption is pretty self explanatory!

B&P What We Make Catalogue_0024

Below: I wonder what became of this model? A T, A and Q Series all being represented.  Aldwych house was the headquarters of the A.G.E group.

B&P What We Make Catalogue_0033