Internal Fire Museum Of Power
INTERNAL FIRE, MUSEUM OF POWER. During 2019 my wife Liz (MW6LIZ) and I, have had the pleasure of returning to The Internal Fire Museum of Power, in Tanygroes Ceredigion, on a number of occasions.
We first visited in 2017, en-route to our holiday in the south west and fell in love with the place. Tanygroes is on the coast road south from Aberystwyth, just a few miles north of Cardigan, and the museum is 150 m off the main road, well sign posted and with easy access.
The museum actually opened in 2003 after 2 years of planning and development has continued since then.
The purpose of the museum was to create authentic settings to display working engines, giving visitors chance to experience the engines in their original environment.
To begin with the museum had 2 engine halls with 6 working engines but through continued development there are now almost 200 engines on display and the majority are in full working order.
During its development, the museum has aquired many significant exhibits including the oldest working diesel engine in the UK, the entire Petter / Lister factory collection and the only large gas turbine engine to be run in a museum, a “Pocket Power Station” 4000hp Proteus generator set.
During 2016 / 2017 the new “Steam Hall” was constructed and a Cochran boiler installed. The star of the steam hall has to be the 1934 Hathorn Davey “baby” triple expansion engine, a huge engine, once the property of Wessex water. During 2019 the engines installation has been completed and on steam weekends it can often be seen working ( a real treat for engineering enthusiasts). As impressive as the Hathorn Davey is, my favourite engine is the Waller single cylinder unit, in use at the Bath Gas and Coke works until 1975. This little engine is a delight, lovingly restored and a visual work of art in action, running like a Swiss watch.
Every day that the museum opens, a selection of the engines are running, all are static engines that have powered anything from water pumping stations to BBC standby generators and each have been beautifully restored to original, by Paul and the volunteers at the museum.
An unusual but popular addition to the museum, in fact my favourite display, is the “Radio Rooms”. Ships radio rooms have been faithfully reproduced from The Pride of Calais and a typical merchant ship. There is also an operational radio room setup, available to licenced Radio Amateurs to try out. The museum has its own amateur radio call sign GB2MOP and can often be heard on HF, operated by local licenced radio amateurs, especially during the special event Museums on the Air. Alongside the radio room is a functional vintage telephone exchange, where visitors can make calls to each other from a large collection of vintage telephones and see how their calls are routed through multiple automatic switches in the exchange. A real look into past analogue telephone communications.
Finally, after having been around all of the halls, taken in each of the displays and viewed the interactive descriptions of the engines, we always stop in the coffee shop and gift shop run by Hazel. Liz and Hazel get on like a house on fire, leaving me to enjoy a coffee and cake and wonder around the shop doing my best not to spend too much.
The museum is a registered charity and relies on visitors contributions to survive and improve, so if you would like to visit just put the post code SA43 2JS into your satnav and take a trip out. I would recommend an overnight stay in the area as it can easily take two visits to appreciate all of the exhibits.
A final warning ! Be prepared to fall in love with this amazing museum (as we did). John Martin MW0VTK