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Can you help fix iconic machinery from Grantham's engineering heyday?

A vintage piece of machinery made by a Grantham firm in the town’s engineering heyday is to become an iconic symbol of a Suffolk vineyard.

Michael Roberts, a director of the Dedham Vale vineyard near Colchester, has bought an Aveling Barford Model GA.1 motor roller which he found near Swindon. It was made in 1953 and was used for pavement work.

Now Mr Roberts is keen to get it back to full working order and is looking for some help.

The 1953 Aveling Barford roller acquired by Michael Roberts. (9521655)
The 1953 Aveling Barford roller acquired by Michael Roberts. (9521655)

He said: “It is a very attractive little roller developed principally for pavement work but is going to be perfect for rolling our drive from Green Lane into the vineyard. It is planned to be a working roller!”

Mr Roberts said the previous owner had got it running but there were a number of things that needed attention. He is now looking for some expertise to bring it back to pristine condition.

Mr Roberts said: “She is frail from years of non-use and a lack of TLC. But how to make sure that the right expertise is deployed? It occurred to me that there may be still folk in the Grantham area who have forgotten more about these wonderful pieces of equipment than I will ever know. If anyone among the Journal readers or their friends would be prepared to help or advise how we might restore her to robust working order and make sure we know what to do to ensure she is properly maintained, then we hope they would get in touch. The skills and know-how must still be around and if anyone was willing to share them with us it would be most appreciated.”

He added: “The roller will become a feature of the vineyard, which is set in 40 acres of lovely countryside on the Suffolk Essex border just north of Colchester. It is mature vineyard and we offer wine tours and tastings alongside hosting private events. We intend that the Aveling Barford becomes one of the vineyard symbols, alongside our lakes, woodland and three guinea fowl who are the oldest residents.”

The first owners of the roller were Hitchin Borough Council. Mr Roberts says: “It appears quite original with only the ravages of age on the seat and the screens andit still has most of its tool kit, though it is rather rusty.”

If you can help Mr Roberts with the vintage roller call him on 02077 807254 or emailmwr@dedhamvalevineyard.com

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