Marshall Engineering Drawing Collection Project

As some of you may already know the Gainsborough Heritage Centre houses one of the largest collections of original Marshall engineering drawings in the country. For almost as long as we have owned this collection, we have been supplying copies of these engineering drawings to enthusiasts around the globe to assist with the restoration of Marshall Traction Engines, Steam Road Rollers, and Portable engines.

Within the last year the association invested heavily in a large format scanner that will allow the eventual digitisation of all the drawings we hold, and in this, the hope is to be able to provide more access to the collection in digital format.

AO Large Format Digital Scanner

That phase of the project is some way off, but we have made major headway into the scanning of these historically important documents, with some 1200 drawings now having been scanned, renamed and in many instances digitally cleaned.

In recent weeks we have been scanning some drawings of particular interest to Ian Palmer who is currently working on another book, this time on the RD Series Diesel Road Rollers. We have scanned and digitally cleaned a series of general arrangement drawings of these machines that replaced the steam road rollers. With some interesting discoveries and devices being highlighted within these detailed plan views.

78604 Gen Arrgt of 8 RD Diesel Road Roller

Digitally cleaned scan of original drawing no.78604 General arrangement of 8RD Diesel Road Roller fitted with surface levelling attachment.

We have also been working on a number of general arrangement drawings of a number of different traction engines in order to start the production of a series of mounted prints in varying sizes. These are available direct from the Heritage Centre as well as being available at various events such as the annual Father’s Day event in Marshalls Yard.
The drawing collection itself covers many aspects of Marshall’s work and we are constantly making interesting discoveries (even finding a plan for a Field Marshall Series IV). We have part drawings and general arrangement drawings from all era’s and these cover Bed Engines, Traction Engines, Portable Engines, Diesel Crawlers and even some Field Marshall and other Tractors.

6HP Smokebox Door

Digitally cleaned scan of original drawing no.46479 Smoke Box Door details for 6HP Single Cyl & 7HP Sing & Compd Traction Engines.

Just prior to Covid we were in talks with the Science Museum regarding another collection of drawings sent to them in 1958 by Henry Marshall. The Science Museum got in touch after speaking with MERL who suggested the drawings should come back to Gainsborough and the Heritage Centre. Negotiations began for the return of these drawings, and I am pleased to say that we are now custodians and within the next month or so they will be back on Lincolnshire soil. Once they have arrived the mammoth task of cataloguing this collection will begin in earnest and they will join the project for digitisation.

The project is of course no small feat and will take many years to complete but it is a fascinating project and has already highlighted some previously unknown gems and we hope it will continue to do so.

6HP SC Traction Engine Class Q with Air Compressor

Digitally uncleaned scan of original drawing no.50247 Arrangement for 6HP S.C. Traction Engine (Class Q) and Air Compressor

If you want to know more about the collection itself or would like to visit please get in touch with the Chairman at the Heritage Centre on [email protected] Likewise if you would like to see if we have anything in our collection then please get in touch on the same email providing as much detail about the engine as possible and our team will then see what we can fine, by the way Build Sheets are a massive advantage in assisting with this if they are available. If you don’t have a build sheet you can always contact Robert Crawford’s to see if they can help.


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