LDTA Networking – Claymills Pumping Station

On Thursday 11 May a group of LDTA members met at the Claymills Pumping Station near Stretton on the outskirts of Burton on Trent

The weather was kind to us and on this sunny afternoon we were met by a friendly team and a delicious selection of sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee organised by Lesley one of Claymills Volunteers, from a team of approximately 60 who give up their own time to work around the site, help retain the engines in working condition and preserve the history. The volunteers have recently been awarded the Queens award for volunteering.

The volunteers are also keen to offer education and group visits, working with Staffordshire Schools and vulnerable adults and offering education tours based on Science, Technology in Engineering and Mathematics

Open to the public regularly on Thursday’s and Saturdays, and on several occasions throughout the year the public are invited to see the pumps in action. The next public Steaming Weekend will be 28-29 May, and then again at August Bank Holiday

We were guided around the site by very enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides and met other volunteers around the site as they indulged in their hobbies of fixing and maintaining the engines.

The site had stood mothballed for several years until the 1980’s when a group of enthusiasts got together to bring the site back to life – it took a good ten years, but in 1994 the site held its first open day, and first steamed again in 2000.

We learned that in 1885 to improve public health the pumping station was built away from the town centre to direct the huge amount of waste produced by breweries away from the town centre. In 1920’s and 30’s most of the town centre homes were connected to the mains sewage and this was also pumped through to the pumping station. The Beam Engines continued to pump the sewage until 1968/69 when the current sewage treatment works was commissioned.

We were taken into the Dynamo House which houses the oldest working electrical generator and powers lighting on site. We saw the Blacksmiths workshop, from which everything had been removed and stood derelict – this has now been rebuild and original equipment replaced

We were shown around the Engine House containing the impressive Beam Engines and climbed up the four floors to view them at all levels, then into the boiler house, where the coal would be shovelled to drive the engines. Claymills had hosted a Royal Visit from the Duke of Gloucester, who had rolled his sleeves up and shovelled coal with them. We also saw a Victorian bath area where workers would have washed at the end of their working day – a luxury for employees at this time.

Following the tour we had time for further networking and an extra slice of cake!

 

The Next meeting will be the AGM

Wednesday 14 June – 6pm

Elford Hall Gardens

 

 

 

 

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