Allchin Steam Rollers

The following is from an information sheet sent to Northampton Council.


The above image was taken by traction engine enthusiast Peter Williams and appears in a book recently published by the Road Locomotive Society entitled The Traction Engine Archive - Volume 3 - The Transitional Years, by John H Meredith. The caption in the book - on page 20 - says: "Looking after their local industry, the County Borough of Northampton bought and operated a pair of Allchin rollers. This is Borough Highways Department No 1, works No 1131, a 10 ton single cylinder roller built in 1900 and registered NH 3416 [in around 1921]. It is in the Corporation's Depot at St James on 14 July 1951. This was the first of just a handful of rollers built by Wm Allchin Ltd."

In the commercial days of roadmaking, Allchin rollers were something of a rarity. Just eleven were built by the firm plus one convertible traction engine, and one is now a traction engine converted later in life for the owner. Northampton Council had two rollers, Nos 1131 and 1187 and both of these fortunately survive. Thus the importance of No 1131 - in the Council's care - cannot be understated. It is sad that No 3858 - which was a steam roller - is no longer in its historically correct form since it has been made into a 'traction engine' and it would therefore be a tragedy if No 1131 were not now given the tender loving care that it so richly deserves. At best it is one of only two surviving Allchin steam rollers - and the oldest - and it is a great pity that it has not received better care in the recent past. The opportunity now exists for something to be done regarding No 1131 and it is hoped that a satisfactory arrangement can be made to secure the future of this very rare Northampton product for future generations of local people to enjoy. It is their heritage and both it and they deserve better than at present. The national and international organisation - the Road Roller Association - is prepared to assist in securing this steam roller's future. Please let us bring our expertise to help resolve this potentially embarassing situation.