Courtaulds – Caliban

Renshaw has focused his area of attention on the industrial heritage of the Courtauld factory after discovering that one of the two steam engines commissioned for sole use on the site is currently being restored in Preston after many years of dereliction.

Caliban, (named after the character in Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ ) is a Peckett saddle tank completed in 1937 and commissioned to shunt raw materials around the Redscar factory site. After over 30 years of neglect, the engine was gifted to The Furness Railway Trust who have stripped it down and have set to work restoring it back to its former glory.

The name Caliban refers to one of the central characters in the play often depicted as half-human, half-monster and essentially a slave to Prospero, the protagonist of the play. Caliban is a contentious character whose tale has multiple readings- he is capable of wicked deeds although he is often thought of as a loyal servant, tireless, and at times interpreted as symbolic of colonial oppression.

Renshaw has depicted Caliban in its current state, spread across the engine works in various levels of assembly. Some parts untouched while other sections are fully painted and refurbished. The imagery, like Caliban, is fragmented: some components are massed together while others sit in isolation, corroded abstracts from a larger hulk.

The long term project of bringing Caliban back into service is being undertaken by a handful of dedicated volunteers who painstakingly dismantle, rebuff, weld, fabricate, repaint and reassemble. Soon Caliban will once again be out running again and will be based in Preston as a lasting legacy of the industrial heritage of the Courtaulds factory in Redscar.

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