Bancroft Mill Engine Trust has, since its start in 1982, operated a policy of self funding for the day to day running and maintenance of the Museum. From time to time it has been necessary to obtain grants of money from various bodies in order to make considerable improvements, or to carry out essential work, so that the Museum may continue to run as a working experience for the benefit of the public. The Trust is staffed entirely by volunteers who have a large variety of skills and experience, and much of the work and improvements have been carried out by them.
Each year, the volunteers carry out a programme of continuing improvements to, both the engine and the buildings. Ongoing, is the Bradley Engine project, which the Trust has made the subject of a special fund, as it is such a large and long-term project. Throughout its existence, apart from some minor funding from mainly local bodies (such as the Civic Trust and Green Lantern) for smaller improvements, the Trust has received grant monies from Pendle Council (£2,000 in 1991 and £3,000 in 1996), and from The Heritage Lottery Fund (£66,000 in 1996), which helped to fund essential work on the Cornish boiler, chimney and buildings, needed to keep the Trust in operation. Further funding was granted, in 2009 and 2010.
The Trust started 2006 with £814 and £1,500 in the Bradley Engine Account. Further funding was necessary to continue with the Bradley Engine installation. As a result of funding from PRISM, installation of the Bradley engine commenced. The foundations are effectively complete with the two bed halves mated, levelled and cracks repaired in one of them. To enable work to continue in a satisfactory and safe way a grant was obtained in late 2010 to provide up-to-date lighting and a ring-main in the Bradley Engine House, the work has been completed to a high standard including extending the fire alarm system to cover the Bradley Engine House.
As well, members installed ducting under the mill yard to provide a means of cabling the new supply and a path for eventual steam piping. Additionally a 3-phase supply has been installed to provide a barring facility since the Bradley engine had none. Amongst a few missing parts are most of the brasses for the main bearings whilst severe wear to the piston rod gland/bearings during the engine's last years of operation mean that these parts should be replaced during assembly. A water supply to the Bradley engine condenser is planned, and the older gable end of the building requires civil engineering work. The original sliding doors are planned for replacement by traditional engine house windows rescued from Cross Lane Mill at Bradley.
From 2006 to 2011 much work has been completed including improvements to the reception area and to the Bancroft engine including new bearings to the LP Corliss inlet valve shafts. The Trust's repair and maintenance capability is being strengthened with the addition of a centre lathe (a gift from a member) and larger drilling capacity will be provided by the installation of a pillar drilling machine already held.
Membership numbers have increased over 2007-2011 allowing time-consuming projects such as the Bradley Engine installation to continue without seriously depleting the hours available for maintaining the Bancroft Engine, its auxiliaries and the infrastructure. Funding from members has thus increased. We have been gratified by the efforts of several, perhaps temporary, volunteers who have worked on various projects over the winter 2010-2011.
Additional attractions on steaming days are now a feature and have proved popular, these include visits by the Craven Radio Amateur Group and local entertainers.
Printing of our posters by LCC libraries has ceased, steps have been taken to minimise the effect of this but some additional costs are involved.