Wallis and Steevens Engineering Company, Basingstoke 1856-1981
Wallis and Steevens was a family business, founded in Basingstoke in 1856 to sell agricultural machinery in the rural hinterland. By the 1880s they marketed Basingstoke built machines world-wide. In the 20th century, the company manufactured road rollers for the home and export markets and guaranteed their market share by major design innovations in the 1920s and 1960s. The company closed its Basingstoke business at Daneshill in July 1981.
The engine to the left (works no. 7498, reg. no. HO 5629), was manufactured in 1916 for the Ministry of Munitions and was used on various duties associated with WW1 including hay tying of fodder for horses which was then shipped to fighting forces in Europe. In 1951 it was working in Duncton Quarry, Petworth, Sussex where conditions caused excessive wear and tear on its gears. In 1958 it was offered to the National Traction Engine Club to help raise funds for its restoration. A raffle was held which was won by a teenage boy who chose to have the £100 cash prize instead as his family had nowhere to keep the engine.
From 1963 to 1977 it stood unused with various owners until 2002 when extensive restoration began and it made its first working appearance in June 2008. This photograph was taken in June 2018 at the Bloxham Steam Rally, Oxfordshire where it was driving a log sawing bench.
For images of other machines produced by the company see the links below and for a detailed history of the company and its production see:
Content derived during research for the new VCH Hampshire volume, Basingstoke and its surroundings.