This item was donated to the BWLR by Jewson Ltd., Maidstone. This firm have taken over a building that was once part of the Tilling Stevens complex in St. Peter Street, Maidstone, Kent and their yard backs unto the Barracks Railway Station. Pooley weighbridges were an everyday sight at Railway stations the length and breadth of the UK and at first it was thought that this weighbridge came from the Barracks Station but some investigation reveals that it was probably used in the Old Tilling Stevens’ building. The large plate being fitted in the floor of the building at the entrance, the scale was found in a corner close by this entrance.
The correct name for the item is ‘The Pooley Weighbridge Steelyard’ and it was made by Henry Pooley & Son Ltd of Birmingham, London and Liverpool. Pooleys were a firm of mechanical engineers, founded in Liverpool in the 18th century. Shown as Pooley of Liverpool in Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham. They started to make platform scales c1835. Their main office was at the Albion Foundry, Liverpool until c1890 (before 1907), when it moved to John Bright Street, Birmingham. In 1913 the firm became part of the Avery organisation, but continued as a separate firm. The firm was responsible for supplying and maintaining the weights and scale of many railway companies.
The Steelyard is in remarkably good condition and it bears a Victorian Crest. One thing that is missing is a cover over the lower rail which was embossed with Pooley’s name and address.
Enquiries of the Avery Historical Museum at Smethwick, West Midlands brought forth the following information: ‘The Steelyard restored by the BWLR would have been situated inside a building at ground level and attached to the weighbridge via a lever system. These weighbridges were originally used to weigh horse drawn carts witha load of approximately 3 tons’.