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Questions to an engineering and maritime conservator

conservators working on the Burrell road steam engine

Early morning steam raising - conservators preparing the Burrell to go out

What is the largest object you look after?

The largest object we care for is the Edmund Gardner pilot cutter built by Philip Dart and sons Ltd in 1953. With an overall length of 54m and a displacement (loaded weight) of 768 tonnes she is the largest object in all of National Museums Liverpool's collections.

Where do you find the spare parts for the ships?

In most cases when damaged components need to be replaced spare parts are not available. We have fully equipped workshops where replacement parts can be made to original specification.

Do you ever sail any of the wooden boats in your collection?

We made a decision some years ago to preserve the wooden boat collection in a secure dry store. Many of the boats are unique examples of local craft and we feel this is the best way to ensure they are still in existence for generations to come.

Do you still operate any steam powered vehicles?

We have a fully restored Burrell road steam engine that has all current boiler certifications and is registered for use on the road. It has been seen over recent years at several local steam gatherings.

I recently saw the 'Lion' steam locomotive in the Museum of Liverpool. Did you use paint spraying equipment to get such a smooth finish on the paint?

No, we have staff within the department with skills in traditional coach painting techniques. The paint is applied by brush in many separate coats each one rubbed down with fine abrasive paper before the next application. The final coat is applied with great care at just the right consistency by brush.