An appreciation by Bob Potter

It is with regret that we have to record the death of Peter Southworth on 3rd March 2012.

I was a friend of Peter's for well over 20 years learning many aspects of model engineering along the way. I met Peter when I bought a set of tapping tool castings and have since built and example from each of Peter's ranges. Peter had an infectious enthusiasm for all things steam but specifically its use in industry and in marine applications and was always willing to pass on his knowledge.

To list Peter's achievements would take a long time but most recently he won a Silver Medal at last December's Model Engineer Exhibition with his Penn Oscillating Paddle engine. He was last working on a gauge 1 version of his 5" Turbine Loco.

Peter was born in Coventry and was brought up in the countryside nearby while going to school in Nuneaton. He arrived in Chesterfield in 1946 aged 16. His first job was at George Kenning on Vicar Lane. He trained as a motor mechanic at the depot of Shentalls, a grocery company with a large fleet of vehicles.  Between 1957 and 1972 he worked as a draughtsman at the Chesterfield office of Rolls Royce Ltd and then in 1972 he and Ivan Law set up their own company, Model Engineering Services supplying castings and materials for a variety of machine tools and accessories, principally for model engineers. Peter later formed his own company, under the name of Southworth Engines, supplying castings and materials for a number of model stationary engines and pumps. Peter taught Automobile Engineering at Chesterfield Technical College until 1975.

He was a very keen and prolific model engineer, starting with a Burrell traction engine, and continuing with models of various stationary and marine engines, most of which won awards at Model Engineering exhibitions and some of which will soon be on display in museums at Newcastle on Tyne and Chesterfield. All were built to official drawings or, if not available, to contemporary lithographs from various engineering publications plus such dimensions as were available. Ever an innovative engineer, he built a locomotive with Stumpf Uniflow cylinders, and then followed with the steam turbine powered loco which has been well documented.

He was working on a Gauge 1 turbine powered loco which he had hoped to run this summer.

Peter's death was unexpected caused by complications following  knee surgery. Just before Christmas Peter ask if I would take over the Mill Engine part of Southworth Engines as he was finding some of the items on the heavy side. He intended to carry one with his range of pumps for the time being. However, following his death he left Southworth Engines to me in its entirety including Engines, Pumps, Tools, O rings and the books he wrote.  

I can be contacted on 0114 2818595 or 07802 437026

141 Chelsea Road

Sheffield S11 9BQ