ONE OF the great things about Verdant Works, the former European Industrial Museum of the Year which tells the story of Dundee’s textiles heritage, is that it has not stood still as it ‘comes of age’ at 21.
The museum is housed in an 1833 timecapsule in what was the most densely worked part of the city, between the Hawkhill and the Lochee Road, where the first flax and linen mills brought production from hinterland handlooms into the mechanising manufacturing town.
Last year, Verdant Works was boosted by the opening of the adjoining High Mill. The new space allowed the installation of a stunning Boulton and Watt engine from 1801, which had been kept in storage since the days of the old Dudhope Castle museum.
The engine, one of only four remaining in the UK, originally drove the machinery at Douglasfield Bleachfield in Dundee.
James Watt was a remarkable inventor and engineer. His engines dramatically increased the power that could be generated through steam. By entering into partnership with Matthew Boulton in 1774, Watt was able to channel the vast resource of Boulton’s Birmingham foundry. Their partnership was so successful that the firm powered the Industrial Revolution.
So to Lindsay Burns’ sale in Perth on Tuesday and Wednesday and an appearance of a late 19th/early 20th Century mahogany and brass model steam engine, probably by Boulton and Watt.
Housed on a rectangular plinth base, and some 21in wide x 17in high, the engine boasts beautifully-cast brass columns, a steel beam and a typically-large propelling drive wheel.
Victorian steam models are highly collectable, and this could easily eclipse pre-sale hopes of £700-£1000.