A short history, compiled by Gerry Mason, Custodian Papplewick Pumping Station.
Mansfield's water supply was originally obtained from hand-pumped wells drawing water from the many springs that feed the river Maun.
In 1872 a small waterworks was built and opened on Nottingham Road.
Two 8 H.P. Horizontal steam engines were installed driving single acting lift pumps, delivering water from the 60 ft deep well into a cistern, this was then forced by belt-driven pumps up to a 240,000 gallon reservoir.
Until 1895 this was Mansfield's only permanent pumping station, supplying the growing industry of the town as well as private users.
In 1889, plans were being made to tap further supply's, but it took until 1893 for the contracts to sink wells at Rainworth to be awarded to Messer's F. Price, of Nottingham.
The main well was 110 ft deep, with a further 300 ft of boreholes of 10 ins diameter. There was also 160 yards of horizontal headings. The sinking of the well and boreholes took five months, the maximum yield from the well was nearly 2 million gallons per day, this was considered excellent.
The contract for building the waterworks at Rainworth was awarded to Tomlinsons, Civil Engineers, at a cost of £33,000, this included all permanent buildings, boilers, engines, reservoir and 2 miles of pipework.
The pumping machinery consisted of two `A` frame compound beam engines made by Easton & Anderson of Erith, London.
They had slide valve cylinders, the High Pressure cylinders were of 16 ins bore x 32 ins stroke and the Low Pressure cylinders were of 24 ins bore x 48 ins stroke.
These engines drove bucket and plunger pumps, delivering 750,000 gallons of water per day.
But by 1905 this had become inadequate, authority was then given to construct Clipstone Waterworks. The well sinking was done by Rollinsons of Basford, Nottingham, to a depth of 150 ft. The buildings were constructed by Lane Bros. of Mansfield and included the boiler house, engine house, coal store and fitting-shop.
The pumping machinery at Clipstone consisted of two horizontal compound condensing steam engines by Tangyes of Birmingham.
These engines had cylinders of 12 ins bore H.P. and 21 ins bore H.P. with a 24 ins stroke.
They drove a three-throw geared well pump and was steamed by two Lancashire boilers at 125 p.s.i.
This plant delivered a further 750,000 gallons of water to Mansfield Woodhouse Reservoir. This waterworks remained steam powered until 1953 when electric pumps were installed, the steam pumps were then scrapped.
The steam plant at Rainworth waterworks remained in service until 1944 when a new borehole was sunk and a 150 h.p. Sulzer electric pump was installed. The steam plant then classed as for standby use only.
In 1953 the first stage of a modernization plan was commenced, starting with the scrapping of the steam plant and installation of further electric pumps, three Harland booster pumps were also installed.
Stage two consisted of demolition of the original buildings, and erection of a new pump house in 1956, together with further new pumps.
This building remains in use by Severn Trent Water, pumping water from the three boreholes.