Barlick wakes to the Merlin’s roar

One of the few remaining Merlin engines made by Rolls-Royce was on display at Bancroft Mill in Barnoldswick on Sunday.
One of the few remaining Merlin engines made by Rolls-Royce was on display at Bancroft Mill in Barnoldswick on Sunday.

One of the Second World War’s greatest sights and sounds woke Barnoldswick with a roar on Sunday afternoon.

The Merlin engine powered the Hurricane, the Spitfire and the Beaufighter and the historic piece of engineering erupted into life again at Bancroft Mill at its monthly steam day.

Crowds flocked to the mill in Gillians Lane to see the engine which is one of the few built by Rolls-Royce which still survives in running order.

The engine on show has been lovingly restored by Peter Grieve who came in person to demonstrate the engine and show just what a thousand horsepower sounds like in action.

The aero engine was one of two notable pieces of engineering at Bancroft at the weekend, as the mill itself houses the largest working steam mill engine in Lancashire, still in its as-built condition and in the hall made for it in Barnoldswick’s last steam powered cotton mill constructed nearly 100 years ago.

A glorious afternoon helped draw in visitors to the delight of Ian McKay. He said: “It was a good turnout, the weather certainly helped.

“Additional entertainment was by the brilliant performers Peter and Barbara Snape, who sang traditional and other songs.

“Also on site were a number of fascinating cars from the Lakeland Historic Car Club, whose members enjoyed one of the free tours of Bancroft Mill which are a feature of the steaming Sundays.”