Exhibition to celebrate epic journey by Sundew

An exhibition is being held to mark the 40th anniversary of the epic journey by the walking dragline excavator Sundew from Exton to Corby
An exhibition is being held to mark the 40th anniversary of the epic journey by the walking dragline excavator Sundew from Exton to Corby
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An exhibition is being held to mark the 40th anniversary of the epic journey by the walking dragline excavator Sundew from Exton to Corby.

The Randsomes and Rapier W1400 excavator inched its way to the town in the summer of 1974. Now, on Sunday, a special event is being held to commemorate the 13-mile journey.

The Rocks By Rail Living Ironstone Museum at Cottesmore, near Oakham, is holding the special event, which will run from 10am.

As well as the exhibition, there will be a timeline of the journey on display in The Sundew Cafe. There will also be a barbecue next to one of the dragline’s cabs.

Visitors will be able to find out more about plans to restore and preserve Sundew’s cab and there will be previously unseen photographs of Sundew on display which have been sent in by members of the public.

The excavator was named after the winning horse in the 1957 Grand National.

Weighing 1,675 tons, at the time it was the largest walking dragline in the world with a reach of 86 metres and a bucket capacity of 27 tons.

It moved with the use of two large moveable feet which could be used to “walk” the dragline forwards and backwards and its direction was controlled by a large circular turntable under the body of the machine.

Sundew worked at a Rutland iron ore quarry belonging to the United Steel Companies (Ore Mining Branch) until operations there finished in 1974.

Plans were made to move it to a recently opened British Steel quarry near Corby but dismantling it, moving it and rebuilding it at the new site was not viable.

It had taken two years to build and cost £250,000.

It was decided that the best option was to walk it to its new location and during the journey Sundew crossed three water mains, 10 roads, a railway line, two gas mains and a river before arriving at its new home north of Corby.

Sundew even enjoyed national fame when it was featured on the children’s television programme Blue Peter.

Admission to the exhibition is £5 for adults.