PPS drawing

A Tour of the Pumping Station

The Engine House is entered through a fine porch with a massive oak door, decorated  with elaborate hinges and furniture. Examine the panelling on of the back  of the door.

Facing you, are the massive beam pumping engines, thought to be the last built by the  famous firm of the James Watt and Co. of Soho works, Birmingham and London.

Looking over the rail into the basement, the heavy timbers cover the 200 ft deep well, cut through the sandstone to the water bearing area. It is oval in shape, 18 ft by 7 ft and is connected by a horizontal tunnel to the original pilot well near to the main gate. The function of these steam engines has been superseded by submersible electric pumps in the pilot well, 6 ft in diameter  and 200 ft deep, still supplying the Nottingham area with water.

One can see the copper tops of each of the pump rods. These are fitted into 21 inch  diameter tubes, secured to each side of the well. The Pump rods were fitted with valves and lifted one-and-a-half million gallons of water to the surface each day. This was then forced up to the storage reservoir on the hill behind the station. You will also see the air pump; the boiler feed pump and in  the basement are the condenses for the engines. The Steam winch was used for servicing the well. The basement area is not accessible to visitors.

You will no doubt been impressed by the elaborate decoration; the delicate foundry work on the supporting columns; the stained glass windows and the hanging paraffin lamps. Electricity was not used until 1922.

Facing you are the engine cylinders, insulated and a clad with polished mahogany strips  and polished brass bands. Each cylinder is of 46 inches internal diameter and is surrounded by a Steam jacket. Each engine develops 140 hp. when working, running at 11 and a half rpm. After being started by hand, the speed is controlled by the Watt's Patent Governor, as seen on either side near to the massive flywheels used to maintain a regular rhythm.

If you now proceed upstairs, passing the valve gear of No. 2 engine, noting the Watt's nameplate and the starting handles on the valve gear, you will be on the "Packing Flat". The tops of the cylinder of visible together with Watt's Patent parallel motion. Also on this level are the tops of the chests containing the Steam valves.

Upstairs again to the beam floor, passing a fine example of the stained glass windows. Note the cast iron stairs. You will notice the thickness of the walls and the fine roof. The Engine beams pivot on heavy the bearings; note the stroke counter box attached to the side the each bearing.

The restored hand operated winches are used in conjunction with block and tackle attached  to the roof beams for the machinery maintenance. You will see the various oiling devices attached to the beams, also the construction of the Watt's parallel motion. The show cases contain various tools; patterns; records and artefacts relating to the pumping station. Heavier tools and gauges  are near to the winches. A portfolio of copies of the original drawings  is available for inspection on the tool chest. Copies of drawings related  to the water undertaking in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are also displayed  on the walls. There is a half scale sectioned model of one of the submersible  electric pumps now in use, together with an explanatory drawing.

Now proceed downstairs and pass through another heavy door to the boiler house. You will see a lofty building with fine roof trusses. This house's 6 hand fired Lancashire boilers, insulated and covered in brickwork. When that the station was working, three boilers were in use at any one time and the pipework  is arranged so that any of the boilers can be connected into the system.  About 2,000 tons of coal were used to each year and all the coal and ash was moved by hand. One boiler only is now needed to work the engines. Firing  the boiler is a skilled operation, maintaining the correct water level; steam pressure and an even fire.

When you entered the boiler house, you would be standing on the main flue from the boilers. Note the adjustable damper for each boiler. At the front of the boilers, note the Victorian floor tiles and the wide sliding doors for the stokers wheelbarrow, observed also the stokers fire irons.

At the far end is a Steam driven Workshop, still used today by the volunteers.

Now we suggest that you go across the courtyard to see the Forge, Visitor Centre, and other  exhibits. On the way the covered coal store, rebuilt in 2004, replaces the cover dismantled many years ago.

The buildings are of Mansfield stone; Bulwell bricks and with ornate decoration in terracotta. The roofs are in 2 colour slate, seen to best to effect on the boiler house and the small dormer ventilators on the roof of the stable block, together with the decorated guttering, complete the Victorian design. The iron finials were of a standard design, manufactured and catalogued by Macfarlane's Foundry of Glasgow. These items together with the fine entrance gates are specified  on the original drawings for the pumping station. At the left-hand end of  the stable block is the original forge and that the other end of the old stable and carriage shed, now housing the National oil engine.

The 120 ft high chimney, like the Cooling Pond, was built to serve two pumping stations, the second one was never built.

Beyond the chimney (take care when crossing the railway) lies the new visitor centre and, to the left, the Linby Colliery Winder, the Stanton Ironworks engine  and the two steam driven A.C. generators from the Players Factory in Nottingham. The Visitors' Centre was built in 1991 / 92 with the generous help of Severn Trent Water plc. It's ground floor houses refreshment, toilets and workshop space,. Upstairs there is an exhibition area.

Re-erected in the bank of the road leading to the reservoir, is the inscribed granite stone bearing the names of the Waterworks Committee in 1879. It was placed in its present position when Valve House of the original reservoir was demolished.

When the pumping station complex was built, the Superintendents House, near to the main gate; the Deputy Superintendents House, at the other end of the site and a group of three stokers cottages adjacent were built. These buildings are all in the ornate Victorian style and are worth inspecting, from a distance as they are privately occupied.