Roger Lees bought a ten ton steam roller when he was 15. Born in 1948, one of three sons of a well respected eye surgeon and cast iron foundry secretary it was clear from a young age this was a man leaning towards his mothers background of heavy engineering. Shying away from the intricate workings of the human eye, Roger, aged 20, with a group of school friends took on the task of moving the last remaining steam navvy in Europe from Hull to Beamish for restoration and conservation.
This would be the first of many large scale projects which would see this group of friends form the company Dorothea Restorations in 1974. Riding the wave of Britain’s growing desire to preserve industrial heritage the company grew in all directions, taking on northern and southern premises restoring, moving and servicing everything from wrought iron gates to entire steam trains. Roger and his now business partners'success were featured in the Financial Times in 1994 but something of a free spirit his future wasn’t to be in Dorothea.
Today the company is still going strong but in the 90’s Roger sold his shares and became a steam boat pilot, and boiler designer, and steam carriage driver. His work on replicas of Richard Trevithick’s steam carriage and Walter Hancocks Enterprise has been well received at Goodwood and numerous TV shows.