Heritage Award for Watt’s surviving historic Dundee engine
2 Sep 2019
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers has presented its Engineering Heritage Award to one of only four surviving Boulton and Watt rotative engines.
Douglasfield Engine in Dundee is located close to its original workplace, William Sandeman’s Douglasfield Bleachworks, just outside the Scottish town.
IMechE past president William Edgar unveiled the commemorative plaque on the 200th anniversary of inventor James Watt’s death.
He said: "The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is delighted to be presenting this award to such an important piece of engineering heritage, the only surviving Watt engine to have worked in Scotland and the only one that remains close to its original place of working.
“It is especially significant given that today is the 200th anniversary of Watt’s death.’’
The machine helped ensure that at the beginning of the nineteenth century Douglasfield retained the majority of Dundee’s bleaching trade, an important element of the thriving local linen industry.
Based on National Archive calculations, the £517 it originally cost would be equivalent to c£23,000 in today’s terms; the engine was ordered from Boulton and Watt in February 1801 and was installed at the bleachworks in March 1802.
Gill Poulter, heritage and exhibitions director for Dundee Heritage, said: "The Boulton and Watt engine is undoubtedly the star exhibit of the stunning High Mill at Verdant Works so we are thrilled it has been recognised in this way.
“Having it on display here has enabled the Trust to expand our learning programmes into science and technology themes, showing the importance of mechanical engineering to modern life and hopefully inspiring the next generation of Scottish inventors’’.
Photo: IMechE past president William Edgar and Gill Poulter of Dundee Heritage