Gladiator is one of the big Burrell showman’s steam engines that usually lives in the Hall of Transport, but this week she moved out to take a little holiday to Dorset.
Gladiator was moved by tractor to be taken on a trailer to the Dorset Steam Fair who are celebrating their 50 anniversary.
Here is a little bit of information about her.
‘Gladiator’ was completed on 14th March 1921 and supplied new to Fred Gray, a London showman based in Hampstead. Originally called ‘Wonder’, her name was altered to ‘Gladiator’ at some stage in her career. When her working days with Gray’s were over, she passed through four owners from 1955 to 1988, when the engine was occasionally rallied, before a major overhaul was required. In 1988 ‘World of Country Life’ bought her and decided to restore her to her former glory. A new firebox was fitted but the rest of the engine was in quite good mechanical order. A new dynamo pulley was fabricated, new cladding sheets were made, additional fluted brass work was obtained and end fittings cast and machined, finishing with a full re-paint and coach lining with gold leaf.
Nigel Lee, Managing Director of World of Country Life recalls it was indeed the late Michael Oliver who was founder of the Great Dorset Steam Fair who officially opened the World of Country Life Museum on 31st March 1978 – 40 years ago this year!
Have a great time in Dorset Gladiator!