Tom Varley

Last updated

Tom Varley
OccupationCaravan park operator
Known forPreserving steam wagons
Home townGisburn
ChildrenDavid, Terence, Catherine

Tom Varley was a collector of steam-powered road vehicles, known for the Tom Varley Collection, a steam museum mostly of steam wagons, "a lasting legacy of which [British steam road enthusiasts] can be proud". [1]

His business was in running Todber Caravan Park at Gisburn, in the high Pennines of Lancashire. [2] The steam museum was housed in a barn alongside the caravans. [3] The collection was best known from its frequent appearances at steam rallies through the 1970s and '80s. Varley's wagons were recognisable from their fine paintwork and signwriting, each named and prefixed Pendle ....

Six of his rarer, and often unique survivors, were re-imported from Australia before restoration. [4]

Tom Varley died December 12th 1990. His contribution to the preservation of steam vehicles in the UK has been widely recognised. [1]

List of vehicles

These vehicles have at one point formed part of the Tom Varley collection. Since his death, some have now been sold on to other owners, and may have been renamed.
NameMakerTypeYearWorks NºRegistrationDetails
2 Pendle Queen Yorkshire 3 ton steam wagon 1917940U4245
Yorkshire steam wagon, Pendle Queen.JPG
Tom's second steam wagon, rebuilt in 1970. [5] Now owned by Tom's son, David Varley, repainted red and exhibited under his name. [6]
3 Pendle Prince Fowler steam wagon193119708UB8660
Fowler Steam Wagon "Pendle Prince" (1931) - 14981335971.jpg
Rebuilt from remains found in scrap pile in Leeds. [7] [8] Now owned by Tom's grandson Jason Varley. [9]
5 Pendle King Sentinel DG6P steam waggon19318562FD6603
Sentinel DG6, Pendle King.jpg

11 ton Sentinel DG6P. [note 1]

7 Pendle Maid Yorkshire 2 ton steam wagon1905117CA170
Yorkshire wagon CA170, cropped (Tractors wikia).jpg

Rebuilt in 1973 by Tom Varley. [10] Restored from bare chassis recovered in Wales. Now owned by John Ward and renamed as Denby Maiden. [5]

8 Pendle Laddie Yorkshire WG Tractor19272118UA1163
Yorkshire steam wagon, Pendle Laddie, front.JPG
Yorkshire WG flexible six wheeler, 'Pendle Laddie'. Rebuilt by Tom Varley from parts recovered by Walter Fearnley. This vehicle was supplied to the Leeds Corporation Electricity Department as a cable carrier. [5]
9 Pendle Knight Robey & Co. 'Express' steam tractor 192943388VL983
Robey steam tractor, Pendle Knight.jpg

Later fitted with pneumatic front wheels. [11] Now renamed as Kernow Knight. [12]

12 Her Majesty Atkinson steam wagon191872CK209The last known surviving Atkinson steam wagon. Exported to Western Australia and recovered by Tom Varley in the 1970s. [13] [14] [15] Now owned by Preston Steam Services in Kent.
18 Yorkshire Lad / Queen Anne Yorkshire WG steam wagon19272128UA1788
M G Wines Transport (UA 1788) 1923 Yorkshire steam wagon, 2003 Great Dorset Steam Fair.jpg

Shaft-drive Yorkshire wagon. [16] [17] Originally a chain-drive WG model, this was restored by Walter Fearnley using the shaft-drive gearbox from a later WJ model before being purchased by Tom Varley. The original gearbox and drive was then used for WG 2118. [5] Now owned by M.G. Wines of Somerset as 'Yorkshire Lad' [18]

His Lordship Burrell 10NHP Showman's Road Locomotive 19133444CK3403
His Lordship, Burrell Showman's engine.jpg

Sold in 1996 to J. G. Atkinson of the Scarborough Fair Collection. [19]

Foden Colonial steam wagon19134086M48485 ton "Colonial" steam wagon. [20] Sold new to C H Curtis, Manly, Australia, then to "Glenreagh " Lake Cargelligo. Recovered and restored by Tom Varley in the 1970s. [21] Sold later to Germany, then returned to Mike Plumb, Norfolk. [22]
Aveling & Porter FGPA steam wagon19229282D3777FGPA steam wagon built by Garrett at Leiston. Exported to Australia and recovered by Tom Varley in 1978. Later sold to Peter Rigg of Todmorden. [23] [24]
Pendle Princess Garrett 4CD showmans tractor191933705BJ4788
1919 Garrett Showmans Steam Tractor 33705, Mibu Bandai Museum, Japan.JPG
New to Stone Court Brick and Tile Works, Pembury, Kent as tractor. Converted to showmans tractor in preservation before being bought by Tom Varley. Now in Japan at the Bandai Museum.
Lady Betty Fowler 8NHP Showman's Road Locomotive 19029381WR6770Originally supplied to John Smith's Brewery at Tadcaster with short wheelbase, and converted in working life to showman's engine. Converted back to road locomotive and used for agricultural purposes before being re-converted in preservation.
Pendle Lady Sentinel S4 steam waggon19349003VE9963
Pendle Witch Aveling & Porter Class BTD Road Roller19168727TC2173Exhibited at the 1916 RASE Show, New To Morecambe UDC, later John Ball of Forton, Isaac Ball of Wharles and then to Walton Le Dale UDC. Purchased from them by Tom Varley in 1969 for use building the roadways around his Caravan park. later passed on to Alwyn Rogers, Alan Mountfield and Currently owned by Graham Townsend of Southport.
24 Howard two-speed traction engine1872201Re-imported from Australia in 1980 [25] [26] [27] Sold, along with the Aveling & Porter, to Peter Rigg of Todmorden. [28]
Foster 5 ton steam wagon192114470SV5506The last surviving Foster wagon. Re-imported from Australia by Tom Varley in 1983. [29] Now named William Tritton [30]

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    1. Tom had a Sentinel waggon from the Aberdeen Coal & Shipping company. This may be the same waggon.
    1. 1 2 Derek Rayner (2003). Steam Wagons. Shire. p. Foreword. Dedicated to the late Tom Varley, whose personal devotion to the acquisition of rare and unique steam wagons – sometimes from far and distant lands – and their subsequent restoration has left British steam road enthusiasts a lasting legacy of which they can be proud.
    2. "Memories of Gisburn".
    3. "Glorious Gisburn". Old Glory (8): 11–12. May–June 1990.
    4. "List of known exported engines" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 March 2011.
    5. 1 2 3 4 "Surviving Yorkshire Steam Wagons". Michael Walters.
    6. "U4245 (David Varley)". Flickr.
    7. Ran Hawthorne (ed.). Steam Wagons & Tractors. Steaming. National Traction Engine Club. p. 6.
    8. Sandymain @ Flickr. "UB 8660 (Tom Varley)". Flickr.
    9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2012. Retrieved 8 September 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
    10. "CA 170 (Gisburn)". Flickr.
    11. "VL 983 side". Flickr.
    12. "Kernow Knight".
    13. "CK 209 (Lake Goldsmith) side". Flickr.
    14. "Chariots of Fire". Old Glory (1): 10–15. Summer 1998.
    15. Aus exports, 8
    16. "UA 1788 (T Varley) front". Flickr.
    17. "UA 1788 (T Varley) side". Flickr.
    19. "Burrell 10NHP Showman's Road Locomotive 'His Lordship'".
    20. "M4848 Foden Colonial". Steam Scenes.
    21. Aus exports, 59
    22. "Plumb loco!". Old Glory. No. 204. February 2007. pp. 54–60.
    23. Aus exports, 2
    24. "Aveling & Porter Steam Wagon 1921. Cumbria steam gathering (Peter Rigg)". 2005.
    25. Aus exports, 80
    26. Marcel Gommers (1987). "Howard No24".
    27. "Howard No24". 1990. also a three-quarter view
    28. "J & F Howard Traction Engine 24, 1872. Cumbria steam gathering (Peter Rigg)". 2005.
    29. Aus exports, 75
    30. Rayner (2003), p. 16.