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Vintage Shell Boiler Repairs + Rebuilds

Shell Boiler Rebuilds and Repair Steam Boiler Specialists

Download the Data Sheet

Heritage boiler repair datasheet

Vintage Shell Boilers such as Lancashire and Cornish Mill Boilers were once the heartbeat of the industrial revolution and kept boilermakers constantly busy. Today their numbers have drastically reduced, but steam organisations around the country have preserved a great number of them, and from time to time repairs, big or small, are required.

These types of repair range from rivet replacements to the reclamation of plate surface wastage and, in some cases, much larger shell and furnace replacements. No matter what size of job, McEwen Boilermakers have the skills to keep these remaining examples of early shell boilers alive and steaming.

Traditional Shell Boilers

shell boiler website

Shell boilers, or flued or fire-tube boilers as they are sometimes referred to, are some of the earliest forms of industrial steam boilers. They were named due to the cylindrical shell traversed by one or more large flues. Most commonly used in the steam plant operations of industries such as textiles, shell boiler designs can also be found in early locomotives, ship and steam vehicles.

Shell boilers are described as fire-tube boilers as the heat from a fire travels along the tubes inside the boiler heating the water outside and producing steam. Commonly found examples of vintage fire-tube boilers include the Cornish and Lancashire boilers. Over the years, we have been fortunate to undertake major restoration projects on both these types of boilers.

Traditional Water-tube Boilers

water tube boiler website

Vintage water-tube boilers work in almost the opposite way to shell boilers in that the water circulates in tubes within the boiler and is heated by gases from a furnace to generate steam. These types of boilers were often used in high-energy applications where super-heated steam is needed to drive turbine engines for power generation.

In 2018, we completed a major refurbishment of a Babcock & Wilcox wrought-iron front (WIF) water tube boiler at Twyford Waterworks heritage museum, returning the 100-year-old boiler to steam for the first time in many decades.

Read the story here


Shell Boiler Rebuilds
Shell Boiler Furnace Replacements
Shell Boiler Reclamations

Heritage Boiler Repair Projects

We have carried out restoration projects for leading museums and organisations in the country such as:

  • Twyford Waterworks
  • Beamish
  • Wigan Pier
  • Bancroft Mill
  • Crofton Pumping Station
  • Kew Bridge, London
  • Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester
  • Bradford Industrial Museum

Get in Touch

When it comes to service, quality and safety, our record speaks for itself. We are competitively priced without any compromise on quality. To find out how we could help, please contact us:

By Phone
01535 634674

Contact Form


Case Studies: Heritage Repairs and Rebuilds

Heritage Repairs and Rebuilds Gallery