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Yorkshire manufacturing company manager helps revive the golden age of steam engines

Mark Angus, who works as a tool room manager at Ellis Patents, based in Rillington, North Yorkshire, enjoys building steam engines in his spare time.

For the past eight years he has been working on a full-scale replica of a Foster steam engine, which was originally built by William Foster & Co in Lincoln at the turn of the 20th century.

He said: “I’ve been fascinated by steam engines since I was in school, and building them was something I dreamed of when everyone in my class undoubtedly dreamed of scoring the winning goal in the Cup final at Wembley.”

“Reasonably I started small, building four miniature motors before moving on to a 6” scale model of a McLaren traction motor which I finished in 2014. When that was achieved I think my family hoped that would be the end of my obsession but I already had the Foster in mind.

With the exception of the drawings and the engine boiler, he completed the entire construction project from home, including the machining of all castings and components. His daughters, Tilly and Jessica helped with the work and are commemorated on a plaque on the engine that says ‘M Angus & Daughters Engineers’.

Since completing the Foster he has traveled around the country for shows and steam rallies showing off his handiwork.

“The Foster’s top speed is 8 mph, so you really have to plan ahead when you agree to go anywhere,” Mark added. “We went all the way to Masham a few weeks ago but luckily we hitchhiked on a low loader otherwise we’d still be on our way back.”

Ellis Patents Toolroom Manager Mark Angus (left) with MD Danny Macfarlane

And what is Mr Angus’ next project?

He said: “There will definitely be something but I haven’t decided what it will be yet. I’ll just make a note to check with me in about eight years and see what I find.

Ellis Patents is one of the largest manufacturers of cable ties in the world.

Its products designed and manufactured in Yorkshire are exported to 50 countries where they are used to secure high voltage electrical cables in oil, gas, power and infrastructure projects.