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The Burberry Engine taken in 1962 with a box Brownie

At the age of 15 I was staying with relatives in Angmering Green and we were travelling to visit The Devil’s Dyke and then Ditchling Beacon. We happened to pass by what was obviously a steam pumping station. Very cheekily carrying my box brownie of 1932 vintage, I went and asked if I could take some pictures.

The staff could not have been more helpful and were obviously very very proud of the engine which was immaculate. It certainly was a work of mechanical and engineering art. I was told that the engine was to be scrapped and the subject caused obvious distress. It looked like new and the engine house was spotless. These photos are the result of peering through a very dingy viewfinder!

The Burberry Engine
Photo by Mike Lee
The Gauge Panel
Photo by Mike Lee
The Flywheel and cranks
Photo by Mike Lee

Comments about this page

  • They are fantastic quality pictures for a Box Brownie.

    By Peter James (29/04/2009)
  • What excellent photos Mike! You may have already seen the article on this website about Jonathan Burberry, who was my great-grandfather. I have a photo of the engine, which was named after him and housed in the Patcham Pumping Station at Waterhall, but not the close-up shots pictured above. Is there any chance you could let me have copies of these please? Perhaps you could e-mail me at and I would of course re-imburse the cost.
    (If you haven’t already seen my article, just enter “Burberry” in the almost-invisible Search box at the top of the homepage.)

    By Alan Hobden (30/04/2009)
  • Those are very good quality photos for a Box Brownie. Mike, there is no vignetting at all at the corners, which you couldn’t achieve with mine! Have you any idea of the model number/name? What film might you have used by the way? Thanks.

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (30/04/2009)
  • I cannot remember the Brownie model number, but it took 8 negatives on 120 film and I generally used Ilford FP3 or Kodak Panchromatic film rated at 125 asa. Amazingly I have been able to blow up images taken in good light to 10″x 8″ with perfectly acceptible results, and in scanned form they project very well!

    By Mike Lee (30/04/2009)
  • Absolutely superb pictures. Leaves some of the present day cameras standing.

    By John Wall VK2GQK (02/05/2009)
  • Mike, was it perhaps one of the ‘folding’ Brownies, rather than the standard ‘black box’ models? I just find the quality exceptional!

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (03/05/2009)
  • No, it was a straight box, but it did have 3 “stop” (aperture) settings and I did rest the camera on surfaces to take these – it also was a very bright day outside. The camera had belonged to my grandfather, who had looked after it excellently – it was almost most like new. Credibility and callow youth drove me later to Halina 35X! I think the big difference was the negative size, and subsequenlty a little Photoshop enhancement and cropping.

    By Mike Lee (03/05/2009)
  • Well, they are very good – Photoshop, or not! They remind me of stuff I have taken with Ilford XP2 film – they have a pleasant ‘milky’ quality. I have always loved medium format negatives, but not just for the sheer size. I could get that quality with my Rolleiflexes/cords, but not my old Brownie! Thanks anyway!

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (09/05/2009)

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