Wiltshire’s own steam museum is back and better than ever, as 2024 steam experience dates have been announced.

Crofton Beam Engines, located just outside of Marlborough, offers the opportunity to stoke a huge coal-fired boiler and operate the oldest fully working beam engine in the world.

The 1812 Boulton and Watt and the 1846 Harvey engine are both in working condition and are steamed publicly on several weekends throughout the summer months from a coal-fired Lancashire boiler.

Visitors attending the steam experience can work alongside a Duty Engineer to go behind the scenes of operating a steam engine and get stuck in.

But due to the old age of the engines, and the Grade 1 listed building that the steam museum operates in, the whole site closes for Winter while maintenance jobs are carried out.

“Before any of this work can be carried out, a routine process of winterisation must be completed to examine the condition of the engines and plan for any deterioration that may have occurred during the summer season,” said a spokesperson for the steam museum.

It's now getting on for that time of year again when winter works are coming to an end and our brilliant volunteers and staff are getting the site and station ready for another open season.

“Booking will go live in the next few months, and we look forward to welcoming you to Crofton this year.”

The oldest working beam engines are gearing up as the public will be welcomed back on Sunday, March 31, and you can see them close up and in person on the following dates:

  • Sunday, March 31 and Monday, April 1
  • Sunday, May 5 and Monday, May 6
  • Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27
  • Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30
  • Saturday, July 27 and Sunday, July 28
  • Sunday, August 25 and Monday, August 26
  • Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Crofton Beam Engines is home to the oldest working beam engines in the world.Crofton Beam Engines is home to the oldest working beam engines in the world. (Image: Newsquest)

Crofton Pumping Station, built between 1807 and 1809, is one of the most significant industrial heritage sites in the United Kingdom that invites you to step back in history to a time when steam was king.

The two working steam pumping engines still at Crofton were both in regular service until 1952 and have been preserved and maintained throughout the years.

The Boulton and Watt, purchased in 1802 from the West India Dock Company, arrived at Crofton in 1807 and was at work by 1809.

The No 2 Harvey of Hayle engine was installed as part of the mid-nineteenth-century modernisation of Crofton.