Lydia Grace - Savage 657 following restoration

Savage no. 657 is a Centre Engine named Lydia Grace built by Savage Bros of Kings Lynn, Norfolk, England in 1896 for a Fairground ride. The engine is currently operating a small organ engine attached to the front and can be seen at several steam events in the UK. The engine is transported on a custom adapted former car recovery/breakdown truck.

Engines historyEdit

Built in King’s Lynn in 1896 by Savages this engine, then named ‘Doris’, was originally fitted into Danters Galloping Horses fairground ride. It is thought to have had quite a history travelling to fairs, which were extremely popular from the 1880’s to 1950’s. The Danters gallopers are believed to have burned down around 1921 and little is known of the engine’s whereabouts from 1921 to mid 1930’s, but we do know it was sold to Porthcawl Recreations before the Second World War. It was sold on again to John Crole at some stage after the war. Many engines were removed around that period when gallopers were converted to run on electricity, but when ‘Doris’ was removed she was rescued and sold to Ben Kent, although at that time she was in poor condition.


The engine was fully restored by Ben Kent in the 1950’s and almost fully completed for display at Boston Trades Fair in 1964. It did appear, in steam, at Carrington Rally around 1961 or 1962. A new fire box door and front smoke box were fitted during this restoration but the engine was little used for the next 50+ years. Further restoration was commenced by Steve Kent in 2008 to get the engine back to full running condition. Work included a boiler re-tube in 2009, fire box stays were re-fitted correctly, and as the front tube plate was rather thin it was built up with weld and four stay tubes welded into place to increase its strength. Top works were completely refurbished, cleaned and refitted. The engine passed its first inspection and was certified in 2010.

Centre engines usually sat on a trolley with wooden wheels which formed the base for the galloping horses; the smoke going up from the engine through a central chimney within the ride. On this engine, renamed Lydia Grace in 2011, wheels have been added and the smoke box modified with a chimney, to make it portable – although it would be a simple task to return it to the original condition. The rear wheels are from a second world war tank ( most likely a Centurion) and were the rubberised wheels for the tracks. The front wheels were possibly also from a tank but might have been used on an ammunition cart.

The small steam engine situated on the front and used to drive an organ, dates from 1881 and was fully restored in 2009. This is one of the earliest Savage engines still in existence.

Events attendedEdit

Some of the events that this engine has attended include;

please add any other events attended by this engine to the list
Early rallies


add other photos here

  • At Pontefract Steam Rally in 2011
  • Savage no.231 Organ engine mounted on centre engine Savage no. 657
  • thumb|Name plate and crank with makers plate on the motion support backet
  • thumb|Lubricator and motion slide, Governor behind

See alsoEdit

References / sourcesEdit

  • photos from events
  • History and photographs from Steve Kent (owner)

External linksEdit