James Melville, driver, and his Crew

Edinburgh Corporation

Steam Roller


James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller

©  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Margaret Eliot                                                                                    Photographer not known


Enlarge this photo

   James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©


Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller

Thank you to Margaret Elliot for sending me the photograph above.  I don't know where or when it was taken.

Margaret wrote:

James Melville

"I am attaching the picture of my grandfather, James Melville (second from the left), with his his crew and his Edinburgh Corporation roller. My grandfather, was the driver of a steam roller.  He retired in 1960."

SC 8149*

"In the mid 1980s, I found an Edinburgh Corporation roller at a steam show at Birtley near Newcastle.  I think itís registration was SC 8149*."


"I would love it if anyone could tell me if SC 8149* or SC 7488 was his roller."

Margaret Elliot, West Sussex, England:  September 11, 2010

In fact, the registration number of this roller was SG4189.  See 2. below

Reply to Margaret Elliot?

If you'd like to send a reply to Margaret, please email me, then I'll pass it on to her.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  September 11, 2010



Mark Fellows

Cornwall, England

Thank you to Mark Fellows who wrote:

SG 8149

James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©

"The roller in this picture is a Fowler roller,  Its registration is SG 8149 and works number 16008.  It and was one of Edinburgh Corporation's fleet.  It still survives today, I believe now in the Midlands area."

Steam Tractor

"Unfortunately, it is now in the form of a steam tractor as somebody has converted it.  Basically, they have removed the rear rolls to put traction engine style wheels on and completely removed the front forwards and put a traction engine front on.

Some elements of the steam world unfortunately carry out this practise which is quite a Ďtouchyí subject in the preservation world. (Note, I say preservation not history destroyers!!)"

SC 7488

"A question was asked about the roller with the registration SC 7488.  This is the engine that is still owned by the locally authority.  To my knowledge, it has never travelled too far away from Edinburgh. It's now in the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum."

SF 5348

"We own the 3rd Edinburgh roller, down here in Cornwall.  Our registration is SF 5348.  After leaving Edinburgh, we lived in the Darlington area until around 1993.

   Former Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller, Reg No sf 5348 - now owned by Mark Fellows, Cornwall ©

Here is a picture of her taken this year.  She moved for the first time in six years in July 2010."

More information?

"If Mrs Elliot has anymore information / pictures etc on regarding her grandfather and the Corporation I would be delighted to hear about them."

Mark Fellows:  September 12, 2010

Reply to Mark Fellows

If Margaret Elliot or anybody else would like to contact Mark Fellows, please email me, then I'll pass it on your message to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  September 14, 2010




Margaret Elliot

Cornwall, England

Thank you to Margaret Elliot, sender of the photograph at the top of this page, for adding:

Where and When?

   James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©

"Iím afraid I canít give you much more information about where and when this photo might have been taken.

I see no distinguishing features in the photo to suggest location and I have no idea when the photo was taken;  but if I had to hazard a guess I would think in the late-1930s or possibly early-1940s, judging by the look of my grandfather who was born in 1894."

Margaret Elliot, West Sussex, England:  September 12, 2010






Thank you to 'Benzyl', Edinburgh who replied:

SC 7488

"SC7488 is a 1930 Marshall that lives in the Exhibition Hall at the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum near Dunfermline in Fife, and is still road registered with that plate.

To see a photo that includes the steam roller, go to this page on the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum web site, then click on Reg No GFS329"

SC 8149

"I can't find any sign of SC8149 although the steam roller in the photo at the top of this page appears to be a 1920s Fowler."

Benzyl, Edinburgh:  September 12, 2010




Margaret Elliot

Cornwall, England


Margaret Elliott who sent the photo at the top of this page has replied asking me to thank Mark Fellows for his contribution above.  (I've now thanked him.)

Margaret added:

SG 4189

"I remember visiting this roller around 1954, when I was about 4 years old, at the corporation depot in Russell Road in Edinburgh.

I remember my grandfather saying that it was challenging when he was rolling Drum Brae!  I also remember him resurfacing my own street when I was about 5 or 6. 

He was my much loved grandfather and I will continue to think of him with the roller and that lovely oily, smoky smell which comes from these old engines.

Steam Tractor

Itís nice that the roller is still, in essence, in existence but I am disappointed that it been has changed to a tractor.

Maybe sometime in the future I may find it at a steam fair in its new incarnation.

Margaret Elliot, West Sussex, England:  September 20, 2010



Ian Young

Hawick, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Thank you to Ian Young who wrote:

SG 8149

James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©

Fettes Avenue?

"This photo looks like it could have been taken in Fettes Avenue looking south towards St Lukeís Church where Broughton High School is now.

Before the school was first built the land was used as a sports ground for the Dental College and there were allotments at the Comely Bank end.

On the right looks like what could be the backs of the houses in Comely Bank. Due to the width and unlike now, the lack of traffic, Fettes Avenue was often used for large heavy vehicles. Pickfordís heavy transporters often parked overnight probably en route to/from Parsons Peebles"

Ian Young, Hawick, Scottish Borders, Scotland:  September 28, 2010



Archie Cairns

Thank you to Archie Cairns who wrote:

SG 8149

James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©


"My father was a Road Roller driver with Edison Plant (Gilmerton).  One day, he came home driving an 'old lady' possibly this one. Seeing this photo just brought all the memories flooding back.

She was painted green, and steam was belching from the pistons and black smoke from the stack.  The big flywheel was spinning with the little jenny whirling too, and standing on the footplate pulling on the whistle cord was my dad.

I don't recall him ever working for Edinburgh Corporation but on that day I am pretty sure he was just taking the 'old lady' on a joy ride to show her off.

 All the kids on the street came rushing out to see what all the hooting was."

Archie Cairns:  November 26, 2012



Rosanne Mackness

Bedfordshire, England

Thank you to Rosanne Mackness who wrote:


SG 8149

James Melville and his team with an Edinburgh Corporation Steam Roller ©

"I can update you on the whereabouts of "Shifty".  My husband Ian Mackness has just bought the engine a few weeks ago from the Bloom collection.

We have been out on it once to the 'pub' and had an smashing time as the engine steamed and ran very well.

We hope to take it to 'Shuttleworth', Bedfordshire, next year and possibly to other shows."

Rosanne Mackness, Bedfordshire, December 1, 2012



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