To celebrate our 150th Anniversary in 2019, we built a steam engine, but not just any steam engine, we built a really BIG one! A Talisman Fowler B6 road locomotive which in its time was one of the "Kings of the road".
We started the build from scratch, from the wheels up, using original technology with the help of friend and customer Alex Sharphouse, and Jack and Roger Dibnah, sons of the late, great Fred Dibnah and our brand ambassador Guy Martin also lent a hand.
The last time one of these steam engines was built was way back in 1931.
Returning to Shrewsbury in its complete and working state for the very first time, the arrival of Talisman to the Shrewsbury Steam Rally was a landmark occasion for Shrewsbury’s Morris Lubricants.
Celebrating the end of the first phase of an epic project that has so far, taken six years to complete; the re-birth of one of the most iconic steam road locomotives of the 1920’s coincides with the celebration of 150 years of successful business for Morris Lubricants.
Conceived in a Cumbrian workshop by steam enthusiast and engineer Alex Sharphouse, the dream to begin a project that would recreate an authentic Talisman Fowler B6 road locomotive sparked the interest of Morris Lubricants, who wanted to become a key part of such a significant project.
Edward Goddard, Executive Chairman at Morris Lubricants comments:
“As a family of steam enthusiasts ourselves, when we heard of Alex and the work that he was undertaking we were very keen to get involved. To build and bring such an iconic engine out of the history pages and back into present day life was not just an irresistible challenge that we wanted to be a part of, it also coincided with the 150-year Anniversary of Morris Lubricants. Illustrating our respect to the skills and expertise of the past and our commitment to innovation and the future, we felt that Talisman was the perfect fit for us.”
Rolling into the Morris Lubricants headquarters in Shrewsbury on the 23rd August, Alex and his wife Charlotte having transported the 19 tonne steam engine from Cumbria on the back of a lorry, stoked the fire bringing Talisman to life for the first time in front of two generations of Morris Lubricants’ Goddard family. All direct descendants of company founder James Kent Morris, Father David Goddard with his sons Edward and Andrew Goddard, Executive Chairman were the first to set eyes on a working Talisman this century. A significant moment for the Goddard family, Alex and his team alike, the project had come full circle, from concept to reality back in Shrewsbury town:
“After all this time and hard work, we are extremely proud to be bringing Talisman to Shrewsbury in its complete and working state, to take pride of place at the Shrewsbury Steam Rally. It is proper old-fashioned engineering at its finest and we are very proud of what we have achieved. The support we have received from Morris Lubricants has helped us greatly throughout the entire course of the project, so to be able to show the family the finished article is a pleasure.” Said Alex.
Giving engineers of today and the future the opportunity to watch and learn how to create the different elements of Talisman with the techniques, materials and skills of the early 1920’s, each step of the project has been recorded and documented for posterity. Supported by Morris Lubricants brand ambassador Guy Martin, who has, through his keen interest in the project become an avid follower of its progress, Talisman has become an important piece of living history.
Taking pride of place at Shrewsbury’s annual Steam Rally, Talisman and her crew enabled the crowds to see for themselves the epic size and the engineering involved in the reconstruction of the road locomotive. Scouring the UK for parts, materials, craftsmen and a host of partner organisations to enable the authentic recreation of new and retrieval of original Talisman parts, Alex’s dedication to the project has allowed a new generation of steam enthusiasts to view an engine that would have otherwise been lost.
Capturing the hearts and the imagination of Shrewsbury Steam Rally judges and visitors alike, at the end of two days of exhibiting, Talisman made its journey back home to Cumbria with the award for ‘Best in Show’.
Set to begin the next part of its journey, plans are in place to see Talisman embark on a tour to various locations in the UK. Demonstrating its engineering excellence as well as its aesthetic beauty, the story for Alex, Morris Lubricants and the 2019 Talisman has only just beginning.
“We are excited to be a part of what comes next for Talisman. We have already achieved what at first we thought was impossible through the building of this iconic road locomotive, so now we know that we can achieve anything we put our minds to. Watch this space, Talisman is coming!”
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Follow Talismans progress
Alex Sharphouse became the owner of John Fowler works acquiring all the intellectual property which includes all the patents, copyright materials, trademarks, and drawings for all the Fowler steam engines.
Having obtained a full set of engineering drawings for this engine from Reading University, the project kicks off.
When the last Talisman was scrapped by Pickfords it went into Alan Knights scrap yard. The majority of the engine was chopped up leaving the boiler disused for many years. The remains were rescued by a steam enthusiast who researched and indentified the remains to be Talisman.
Alex acquired the existing Talisman parts and incorporated them into the build.
The scale of the project is juge and should not be under estimated with thousands of man hours and substantial material costs.
After a meeting with Morris Lubricants it was decided that Morris would partner the build offering financial and morale support. The plan is to finish the Talisman for September 2019 for a tour of the UK.