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Steam Traction Engines

Steam traction engines were quite common, as motor lorries were still at an early stage of development. They were used to drive threshing mills (picture courtesy of Bruce Kean) but could also be seen on the roads travelling from farm to farm and pulling heavy loads such as grain and stones. The Town Council minutes of the time have frequent references to the damage these heavy vehicles did to the streets and lanes. The base for William McKay’s steam engines (picture courtesy of Eileen McPherson) is now McLaren’s Garage.

Josephine Murray supplied this photograph of William McKay and his team, taken near Largue. “They are delivering coal around Craigmancie way, the Shire [the local name for that district] and Bridge of Marnoch and Largue, around 1907-08.
The man at the front is William McKay, the driver is his son James, the steersman is James Drummond [Josephine’s maternal grandfather] and the man beside the back wheel is Alexander Craig (‘Craigie’).”

The photograph below was taken by Newton of Cullen at celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on 22 June 1897. One of the events was a procession and here a steam traction engine is pulling carts containing tradesmen and their equipment across the Square with Morrison the Baker’s shop in the background. The Jubilee Fountain, donated by Provost William Auchinachie and inaugurated during the afternoon by his daughter, is on the right of the picture.
(Picture courtesy of Hilda Esslemont)