The Steelyard Weighing Machine

Steelyard Weighing Machine 1929As part of the Fountain, the Steelyard Weighbridge survived a fire on the 4th May 1900 along with the Fountain Justice Room and were the only two remaining buildings that survived. Originally know as The White Lion, The Fountain is believed to date from the 15th Century.
Reputably erected in the 17th Century, The Steelyards are believed to be one of only two working examples in the country, the other being at Woodbridge in Suffolk. They were used for weighing up to four tons of agricultural produce such as hay and straw to an accuracy of within two ounces. It was used up until 1879, when the Ely to Newmarket railway line was opened, enabling farmers to take their goods to Newmarket for weighing instead.

They were overhauled by Messers Fuller and Johnson in 1929 and were renovated again in 2001 by Mr Jonathan Hall-Smith & Mrs Carole Hall-Smith, the previous Landlords of The Fountain Public House.


Steelyard Weighing Machine

With the help of a grant from East Cambridgeshire District Council, which funded 40 per cent of the total cost of the renovations. Mr & Mrs Hall-Smith, gave the go-ahead for contractors to begin work on the building's restoration at the end of October 2001 and it took around five weeks to complete. The painstaking restoration work included replacing roof tiles, restoring much of the wood panelling along the sides of the building and decorating the wood in black and white to return it to its former glory.

The work cost several thousand pounds to complete as many of the authentic materials needed were very old and rare and could not be mass produced, such as the roof tiles which are hand-made. Mr & Mrs Hall-Smith said the building looks much better and will probably attract even more interest from tourists who can regularly be seen taking photographs of it.

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