Farewell to Grantham’s famous road roller

This is what Granthamians hoped would become of the road roller back in 2008.
This is what Granthamians hoped would become of the road roller back in 2008.
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When a 1922 Aveling and Porter road roller was presented to Grantham in 1963 by Eddison Plant, having reached the end of its working life, it became a popular feature in the play area at Wyndham Park.

Children enjoyed clambering over the 8 ton C type roller, and many generations can recall shunning the swings for the unusual playground piece.

Now, it could be back in full working order within the next two years. Unfortunately, this means it will leave the Grantham area for Wiltshire, despite a 2008 campaign through the Journal asking that it be kept for the benefit of the people of Grantham.

The road roller is instilled in the childhood memories of many Granthamians. And many will recall that back in 1999 it was removed following an injury to a child who fell from it and rescued from scrap by Grantham engineer Tim Harris.

Although it was stripped down and various parts inspected, he was unable to proceed with the restoration until South Kesteven District Council finally gave him the official ownership of the machine in 2010.

He said: “That was only after I sent them a bill for £16,500 and offered to deliver the heap of parts to their depot.”

Mr Harris explained how it had become a financial burden, “a millstone with a bottomless financial pit” and was relieved to find a Swindon businessman willing to take charge of it. Otherwise it might have ended up as scrap or spare parts.

At that point the expense of the rebuild was estimated to be between £16,500 and £22,000 - twice what was estimated following the initial boiler inspection in 2002.

It will be moved to its new home today (Friday).