We are fundraising for the 10-year overhaul of our narrow-gauge 1905 steam engine Polar Bear.
Polar Bear was built for the Groudle Glen Railway on the Isle of Man by W.G. Bagnall of Stafford in 1905, works No. 1781. Polar Bear, the larger of two locomotives, remained in use until the closure of the line in 1962 and was acquired by the Brockham Museum Association in 1967. The locomotive came to Amberley Museum with the Brockham collection in 1982 where the restoration started at Brockham, was completed. Polar Bear was the first steam locomotive to be used at Amberley Museum.
Having been extensively rebuilt in the early 1990s, receiving a new boiler in time for a visit to the original home at Groudle Glen in 1993 where Sea Lion, the earlier of the two locomotives, built in 1896, was by then back in use on the restored line. Three subsequent visits took place in 1996, 2005 (when Sea Lion also visited Amberley) and 2016. The Groudle Glen Railway has recently completed a replica of Polar Bear named Brown Bear using original drawings.
Polar Bear was taken out of service on 29th October 2022 with the expiry of its 10-year boiler certificate and now needs a complete mechanical and boiler overhaul, including retubing and restudding of the boiler and a new main steam pipe.
Following a successful fundraising campaign for extensive repairs for our 1918 Bagnall Steam Locomotive Peter, which came back into service after major boiler repairs in June 2022, we now need to raise £25,000 for Polar Bear, which is hugely popular with our visitors, running at many events including Halloween.