As a young man I used to watch the steamroller at work in Ogwy Street between the Blaenogwr Farm, Nantymoel Workmen’s Hall, Drew’s shop and the Blaenogwr Hotel.
Mr John Jenkins of Porthcawl, (who many years ago I knew had worked as a shunter on the Wyndham Colliery to the Washeries, both at Ogmore and Margam), knew I was from the Ogmore Valley, so he informed me of a young lad, 21 years of age, who had recently purchased a Steam Roller which he knew had been obtained “Brand New” by the Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council on the 21th June 1933 and he was very interested in finding any history about this steam roller.
I knew they kept the Roller at Ogmore and when working in Nantymoel, it was kept in the Council yard on the hill between the Blaenogwr Hotel and the School, with a tarpaulin over it at night. The Steam Roller was green in colour and weighed approx. 8 tons, which as schoolboys we would watch for hours going back and forth, bellowing smoke everywhere, which quite honestly we rather liked the smell of.
So now I had started to research something which as far as I was concerned was exciting and very interesting; after all it had been “our” Steam Roller and it was nice to know where it had ended up after all these years, not simply scrapped so like so much of our past.
The early history of the Roller was contained in the Minutes of the Ogmore & Garw Urban District Council, which I obtained from the Glamorgan Record Office in Cardiff, with the following extracts taken from them:
Minutes of a Meeting of the Finance Committee held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Thursday, the 14 05 32.
Garw Steam Roller
“The surveyor reported that the Garw Steam Roller whilst engaged on work in the Ogmore Valley fractured its waistplate
and it was necessary to employ a Boiler smith from Messrs. H. Richards & Co. Ltd. of Newport to effect temporary repairs to the damaged plate, but they suggest that the roller in its present condition should not be used for scarifying purposes so as to avoid further strain to the damaged part.
The Surveyor also pointed out that eventually it will be necessary to have the roller overhauled and a new waist-plate fixed and it was resolved – that the Surveyor invite tenders for this work when necessary”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the Finance Committee held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Thursday, the 20 04 33.
Repairs to Steam Roller
“Resolved – That the Surveyor obtain from the two foremen a report upon the time the road roller and Sentinel wagon drivers tum out these vehicles on the road in the mornings”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the Finance Committee held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Thursday, the 08 05 33.
Repairs to Ogmore Steam Roller
“The Surveyor submitted tenders which had been received for this work, and it was Resolved – That the consideration of these tenders be deferred until the next meeting of the Finance Committee and that the Surveyor in the meantime obtain prices for the purchase of a new 8-10 ton Steam Roller and what (if any) would be allowed for the old roller in part payment.
It was also Resolved – That the Accountant submit to the Finance Committee a report on the amount spent for repairs to this Steam Roller during the past five years”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the Finance Committee held at the Isolation Hospital, Blackmill, on Thursday, the 25 05 33.
“The Accountant reported that the cost of spare parts for both steam rollers for the years ending 31 03 33 amounted to £4/4/0”.
TENDERS – New Steam Roller
“The Surveyor submitted tenders which had been received for the supply of a new Steam Roller, and it was: Resolved – That these tenders be referred to a sub-Committee consisting of Councillors Llewellyn Jones J.P., T.W. Job, John Williams and John Braund, together with the Surveyor, to consider and recommend to the Council”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the COUNCIL, held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Monday the 29 05 33.
TENDERS – New Steam Roller
“Messrs. Wallis & Steevens, Limited, of Basingstoke, England for the supply of one of their “Advance” Steam Roller, 8-ton Model, fitted with Scarifier, and in accordance with their specification and design, at the price of £695/0/0, less £175/0/0 allowance for the Council’s “Aveling & Porter Compound Steam Roller No. 4857″, Viz: £520 Nett., and their offer to accept payment by deferred payments of one third of total Nett cost on delivery to Bridgend Station, one third twelve months from delivery with interest on the balance at the rate of 5%, and one third 24 months from delivery with interest on the balance of 5%; the Surveyor to endeavour to have the rate of interest reduced”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the COUNCIL, held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Monday the 12 06 33.
Page 33. Para 3. – New Steam Roller
“I have communicated with Messrs. Wallis & Stevens, Limited, of Basingstoke informing them that their tender for the supply of one of their “Advance” Steam rollers has been accepted in accordance with their offer and in reply they state that although the rate of interest quoted of 5% is the figure which they themselves have to pay for Bank Overdrafts they are anxious to meet the Council and are prepared to make a special reduction i.e. 4½% on the deferred payments. The new roller will be delivered early next week”.
Minutes of a Meeting of the COUNCIL, held at the Council Chamber Brynmenyn, on Monday the 26 06 33.
Page 52. Para. 3. (b) New Steam Roller
“The Surveyor reported that the new steam roller had not yet been delivered, and it was Resolved – That the company
be informed that unless the new Roller is delivered to Bridgend Station in accordance with their tender within the next seven days the order for same will be cancelled”.
Whilst no other records have survived the new Ogmore & Garw Urban District “Advance” Steam Roller (No. 8089), must have been delivered as it was put to work in the Ogmore Valley up to the outbreak of World War II, when the Roller was parked up for the duration of the hostilities. I myself was called up for the Civil Defence Force.
When peace was restored and the men came home, there was still no work for the roller and it was laid up covered in sheets until 1960, though a young lad, Mr Bill Shattock, on his demob from the Army painted the Roller in it’s familiar “Enfield Green” livery and it is down to the great work that Bill did in 1945 that helped to ensure the good condition the Roller is in today, as well as the relatively little use it had from 1939 until the late 1960’s.
The drivers of the Roller from 1933 until 1940 were; Mr Cyril Hole, Mr James of Nantymoel and Mr Tommy Clifford of Brynmenyn. From the late 1960’s until it was sold in 1973 the driver was Mr Len Griggs, who as foreman, loaded the Roller onto the low loader for its final trip down the Valley when it was sold to “Woodends” of Hincaster, Westmorland, via “Lambes” of Tardebigge, Worcestershire who owned the Roller for approx. 3 years.
A Steam Roller enthusiast Mr Tom Kearton of North Yorkshire, who subsequently kept the roller in a shed for 25 years or so, purchased it during the 1970’s and Mr Kearton and his family kept the Roller, No. 8089, (now renamed the “Dallam Star”), in great condition by regularly polishing the now brown livery.
Finally in 2002, a young 21-year-old Steam Roller enthusiast, Mr Kevin Parkin of Castleford, West Yorkshire, purchased No. 8089 and worked on it all through the winter of 2002 to prepare the Roller for the summer season of Steam Rallies.
The Society have the complete minutes of the Ogmore & Garw Urban District Council and were able to extract the following additional information on the Ogmore Valley Steam Roller:
Minutes of a Meeting of the COUNCIL, held at the Council Chamber Brynrnenyn, on Thursday the 13 04 33.
“The surveyor reported that the Councils road Roller t Nantymoel after being put into the Councils yard for the night on Monday, the 10th. April, was tampered with by some person or persons at present unknown and set in motion, thus causing considerable damage to the roller and other property. he had reported the matter to the Police who were pursuing same. He had also taken up the matter with the Councils Insurance Company and as it was necessary to have the repairs to the Roller carried out before it could be moved from the road he had instructed Messrs. H Richards, & Co. Ltd of Newport to have the necessary repairs carried out at a cost of £40.
This would appear to have been the last action the Aveling & Porter Compound Steam Roller No 4587 was involved with as in the Council meting of 09th May 193 3 the Councillors called for the cost of repairs for the two current Steam Rollers up to March 1933. As can be seen from Mr. Nichols’s accounts of the meetings, they received the costs and resolved to purchase a brand new roller in their meeting of the 29th May 1933.
It wasn’t quite the end of the matter of the damage to the Aveling & Porter steam Roller however as the meeting held on the 29t May 1933 also reveals the following:
5 Clerk’s Report and Correspondence
(a) LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
The clerk reported that Police Court Proceedings had been taken against Thomas Grenville Robinson, William Glanville Lloyd, Edward Thomas James, Dennis John Fitzgerald and Arthur Howe, of Nantymoel for doing malicious damage to a Steam Roller and other property of the Council and that the defendants were placed on probation in the sum of £10 each for 12 months and the parents ordered to pay 10/- costs. “
It would appear from the Council’s meeting of the 20th Nov 1941 that the “New” Roller was also involved in some expensive repairs:
Damage to Steam Roller.
“The Chairman reported that he had accompanied the Surveyor on a visit to Newport on the 5th November, in order to inspect the steam roller which had recently been damaged as a result of an accident and which had been forwarded to the Engineering Works of Messrs. Richards & CO., Newport, for repairs of damage sustained, in accordance with the request of the Insurance Company. It was ascertained that the Insurance Company had undertaken to bear the whole of the expenditure to be incurred in replacing the broken front fork and re-tubing the boiler. Upon ajustments were
necessary due to wear and tear and that this work should be carried out in order that the roller could be put into proper working order and to comply with the requirements of the Insurance Company. A subsequent letter had been received from Messrs. Richards & Co., giving a statement of the essential works which are estimated to cost approximately £200. The Chairman stated that he had authorised the firm to proceed with this work. “