The Smethwick Engine steams again after restoration

The world's oldest working steam engine is back in action, more than three years after it ran out of steam.

The Smethwick Engine was installed on the Birmingham-Wolverhampton canal in 1779, and saved water by pumping it back up a series of canal locks at Smethwick.

It lifted the equivalent of 1,500 buckets of water each minute and refilled the canal, so that 250 boats packed with materials could pass through the locks each week.

The engine, designed by Birmingham industrial pioneer James Watt, is now on show at Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum.

The £45,000 restoration project work has been completed ahead of a year-long commemoration of the bicentenary of Watt’s death in 2019, led by the Lunar Society.

Video journalist: John Bray

BBC News