For nearly 30 years, the Pudsey Roller was a big draw for children.

Youngsters would play on the old steam roller from 1959, when it was first installed in Pudsey Park, to 1990, when it was removed.

Now, the Friends of Pudsey Roller are trying to raise at least £30,000 for its restoration, to bring it back to steam for a new generation to see. The current fund stands at around £16,000.

The Pudsey Roller was built in 1921 by John Fowler & Co Leeds at the Steam Plough Works in Hunslet.

Its registration number is WR 7508, and it is known to have been given the name Majestic. The roller was supplied to Yorkshire West Riding County Council, and when its working life ended in 1959 it was bought by Alderman Sir Walter Ward, presented to the Borough of Pudsey, and placed in the playground of Pudsey Park.

Several years later, Pudsey man Keith Wear noticed the roller in a storage yard waiting to be scrapped. With his intervention, it was moved to alternative storage premises and saved from the scrapman. In 2007, it was agreed by the Road Roller Association and Leeds City Council that the Pudsey Roller would be loaned for a period of 25 years.

Brian Woolhouse, of the Friends of Pudsey Roller, says the roller is now almost completely “stripped to its bare bones”.

“The last remaining item still to be removed is the badly-wasted inner firebox where coal goes to heat the water to make steam to power the machine,” he says. “This had significant-sized holes in it as a result of excessive corrosion that has taken place over the many years the roller has been out of use.

“The penultimate large item to be detached was the already condemned boiler barrel, this has been sent to Israel Newton & Sons’ boiler works at Idle, who have a contract for a replacement to be made.

“A new smokebox tubeplate pledged by Newton’s at the commencement of the project in 2007 will be manufactured at the same time.”

Last autumn, Leeds City Council representatives inspected the roller, which is being restored by volunteers.

“The indication was that the council was satisfied with what they had seen,” says Brian. “Several components, including the front rolls and other front-end components, have now been sand-blasted, and have been primed, painted and returned to store.

“Reassembly of these items will be carried out when time permits. Arrangements are now in hand for the rear rolls to be commercially sand-blasted.”

Other work to be carried out include making a new smokebox, new thrust washers and a replacement steering wheel, newly-cast from an original item borrowed from a Friends member’s similar Fowler steam-roller.

A new canopy will be made by Leeds City College students to replace the one removed when the roller was in Pudsey Park.

* For more information about the restoration project, or to make a donation, visit