Road Steam


See our collection of road engines and steam rollers.

Traction engines and steam tractors were employed on the roads to move goods from place to place. All types of loads were carried from light goods to heavy haulage.

Usually goods would be loaded onto one or more four wheeled trailers which would be attached behind an engine. For particularly heavy loads, two or more engines would be connected behind each other to provide additional power, sometimes with another engine behind the load to provide extra braking.

Hollycombe has two steam rollers: a Wallis & Steevens Simplicity roller Christopher of 1932 and David, an Aveling & Porter 10 ton roller built in 1921.

Steam Rollers are one of the best-known road engines. They would travel between jobs towing a living van for the crew to stay while away working on road building and repairs.

Christopher is a Wallis & Steevens Simplicity roller, No. 8023 of 1932. It has an unusual design with a sloping boiler to ensure the firebox remains covered with water at all times. Only 15 of these light, three ton engines were built, intended for use on sports grounds, private roads and drives. Six survive with only a few in serviceable condition, Hollycombe's being one.

David is a typical steam roller of its age and has been working on Hollycombe's roads and driveways since 1961. It was built in 1921 and worked for Islington Borough Council until 1955.