The building team have been busy today at Sandfields Pumping Station. They have made a great start of reinstating the block paving after the drain repairs. Other members of the team have been tidying up the overgrown shrubs and the garden areas.
Excellent work folks, well done.
We are always on the look out for volunteers who want to learn new skills, make new friends or just come along for some social chat.
Following the Governments latest advice regarding the current pandemic the volunteers recommenced work to the external fabric of the building and gardens on Tuesday 30 March 2021.
Back on Site – outside only!
What a lovely first day back on site. Chris Rose had a go at breaking the plinths, but this was not practical, a larger device is needed to break up the concrete, he is getting a quote for hiring a digger with a breaker attachment. He then greased the crane as this had become difficult to move.
Ricardo and Mike worked on using the surplus rubble from the drain work to reduce the man size gap under the railings by the substation, two jobs in one (clearing the rubble and blocking a hole!).
Ian measured up the hole around the drains for replacing the pavers and estimating the number required. Then worked on levelling up the sand for laying them.
As a trust we will always put the safety, heath, and wellbeing of our members first, therefore we will limit the number of people on the site to a maximum of 6 people. Out health and safety manager has prepared a procedure for this outdoor work.
The trustees will visit the site on a regular basis to carry out regular security and safety checks during this period of lockdown.
Thank you for your understanding.
Keeping in Touch
We will be continuing to continue to keep in touch with all of our members so will continue holding regular Zoom online meeting to keep everyone up to date with events, exchange ideas and invite guest speakers to give interesting talks.
The online Zoom meeting will start at 10:30am each Friday so please register your interest by clicking this email address below:-
We all want to return to Sandfields as soon as it is both safe and legal to do so. The government guidance on this, unlike the last lockdown where volunteer organisations and heritage sites were specifically mentioned and given their own separate guidance, is included in the general guidance for the country. I find this does not really cover what we want to do and as yet there is no specific guidance from the professional bodies we belong to.
So the definites are: from 29th March up to 6 people will be able to meet outside the pumping station and carry out gardening and paving repairs. So on 26th march at our weekly meeting we will see if there is any interest in starting to refit the block pavers and mow the lawns. It is not clear if we will be able to meet in a covid secure way, in groups of 6 people or less on 12th April or whether we have to wait until the 17th May. Watch this space and as soon as it becomes clear I will update everyone.
On 21st June we should all be able to return to the new normal.
Jobs on re-opening When we do reopen, here are some of the higher priority jobs we will be tackling; The engine team will be carrying on their clearly defined plan The transformers need draining of oil and disposing of. There is lots of lovely copper inside we can sell The two redundant plinths require removal and the floors making good. The decoration in the amenity block requires some attention. Loose plaster skim in the 1960’s building requires making safe. Redundant cabling needs stripping and the copper selling. We will invest in a skip and have a good clean out Many electrical projects including moving the distribution box in the amenity block require progressing. That should keep us going for the first week or two.
As we said in our March newsletter, the trustees have passed a resolution to accept the offer of the freehold and a dowry. While we believed that this is great news, and a significant step forward, there is still a lot of work to do.
Persimmon Homes ltd are seeking to be released from their section 106 obligations and have now made a proposal to Lichfield District Council (LDC) to do this.
LDC are now in a due diligent process and are seeking legal advice to agree this proposal.
Those of you who live locally to Sandfields may have noticed the fence along the western boundary has been on the move. The owners, Persimmon Homes Ltd., need to ensure that we have the right boundaries, hence the to-ing and fro-ing with the fence. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan and that later this year the Trust becomes the proud owner of Sandfields Pumping Station.
The trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have supported us in our endeavours.
We have now received an offer of £150 for the table. Many thanks to everyone who have made offers of donations.
Ghostly Goings on at Sandfields.
Peter Maddison from the engineering team has been diligently monitoring temperature, humidity, and dew point with remote sensors since 2018. The aim of this research is to gain a fuller understanding of how we can manage the environment of the 1873 building to best preserve the contents.
The detectors take a reading every 30 minutes and have picked up a sudden jump in the temperature from 10.8 degrees C to 65.8 degrees C then to 66.1 degrees C and then back to 10.6 degrees C. We have recorded similar temperature anomalies in 2019 and 2020 too.
Clearly there is an opportunity for additional research as to what is going on. If you have an interest in paranormal activity, please od get in touch.
2023 – Celebrating 150 Years since the Sandfields Cornish Engine was Started
1873 is a notable year, John Robinson McClean (the great engineer who started the South Staffs Water Works company) died, as well as the fourth engine at Sandfields being commissioned. A group of us have now met up to start planning events to celebrate this anniversary. We have collected ideas from the Friday volunteers. Now we are working through them to pick out a variety. We are looking at hosting a selection of arts event as well as tours and a meeting up of descendants of the men who worked for SSW. The aim to put on a series of events that will appeal to a wide audience; young and old, and those who know Sandfields Pumping Station well and those who have not experienced this extraordinary place before.
The Heritage Group is working on a number of projects. One of them being writing up life stories of men that worked at Sandfields Pumping Station, giving a sense what it was like to work then, a Voice From The Past. We’ve focused on the people in the wonderful 1893 photograph, taken on the steps of the Pumping Station. We don’t know for sure, but maybe taken as a celebration of 20 years running the Cornish engine. It will be 150 years since the starting of the engine, in 2023… time for more celebrations!
The Dishonest Company Secretary
If you stand in the main doorway at the top of the front steps to the Sandfields Cornish House and look inwards and slightly upwards you will see four fixing holes in the opposite wall. These were used to support the plaque that was unveiled on the 26th of October 1858 by the Earl of Dudley at the official opening of the Sandfields Works. Of course, the Cornish House didn’t exist then so the plaque would have originally been in the 1858 pumphouse that was demolished in the 1960s. It was removed from the Cornish House in 1997 following abandonment of the station and has been kept at South Staffs Water’s HQ in Walsall ever since. A photo of the plaque is shown below. If you look closely at the bottom right-hand corner, you will see that one of the inscribed names has been chiselled off. Why was this done? you might ask – well here’s the reason: –
Josiah Churchill was appointed Company Secretary in 1855 and one of his responsibilities was to sell shares in the Company, which he did with great diligence, travelling around the area in a pony and trap. However, he failed to return the receipts from some of his sales back to the Company, obviously the cash he held proved too great a temptation. He was found out in 1863, the total amount he owed to the Company was almost £1,170, a considerable sum in those days. He managed to leave the country before a warrant for his arrest could be enforced. He wrote to the Company from Spain in June 1863. The affair was not settled until 1869, the Company received only around £175 of the debt owed to them. Josiah Churchill’s name was subsequently chiselled off the bronze plaque!
Out of interest there are another two plaques that were removed from the site in 1997 and are retained by SSW. One dates from 1927 when the filtration plant (also now demolished) was opened and the other one was unveiled when the 1960s pumphouse was built. Perhaps one day when the site is secure all three can be repatriated.
Dudley Technical College has been extremely kind in producing a 3D Walkthrough for the trust. This is an amazing piece of work that not only showcases the site, it also provides an opportunity to those who are unable to visit the site or climb the stairs
Please click on the image below
History West Midlands – Podcast
History West Midlands have produced a stunning podcast titled – Making Cholera History in the Black Country.
Presented by writer and broadcaster Graham Fisher and Directed by Andy Partington, featuring David Moore, the podcast gives a detailed history of both Sandfields pumping Station and the story of clean water.
Please click on the image below
With over 4,000 volunteer working hours, (equates to more than three full time equivalents) and over £28,000 spent in cleaning equipment, materials and scaffold since 2017. This year has seen quite a drain on our bank balance. Looking at the engine and buildings now, as opposed to how it looked in 2016, the volunteers have made some remarkable progress.
We will also always invest in our people and we are planning further training days soon. All these costs soon mount up, so if you can donate, then please visit our donation page here.
Any amount is helpful, is well appreciated and will be carefully spent preserving our industrial past for our future generations, developing skills for our people and making our community a better place
Please make cheques payable to; Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and send to our address:
22 Walsall Road Lichfield WS13 8AB
We are delighted to announce that we have set up an AmazonSmile account so you can also donate to us for free when you shop with AmazonSmile
What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support Lichfield Waterworks Trust every time you shop, at no cost to you.
How do I shop at AmazonSmile?
On your first visit to smile.amazon.com, you need to select Lichfield Waterworks Trust as the charitable organization to receive donations from eligible purchases before you begin shopping. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make through AmazonSmile will result in a donation.
AmazonSmile will occasionally contact you about donation amounts disbursed to your chosen charity or about the program. Simply the link below to activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon account and choose Lichfield Waterworks Trust as your charity, it is a simple as that.
Lichfield Community Lottery
To help rise some much-needed funds, we have now launched our Lichfield Community Lottery Page.
Lichfield Community Lottery is an exciting weekly lottery that raises money for good causes across Lichfield District. All good causes supported by the lottery will benefit the area of Lichfield District and its residents.
Play the lottery, support good causes across Lichfield District – it’s that simple!
Tickets for the lottery cost just £1 per week, with a top prize of £25,000.00! A weekly draw takes place every Saturday night. Match all 6 numbers and you win the JACKPOT!
From every £1 ticket you buy, 60p will go to local good causes in the area and Lichfield District and improving our community.
The first draw of Lichfield community lottery takes place on the 10th April. If you want to support the Waterworks Trust and be in with a chance of winning then tickets cost £1 per week. At the moment we have sold 12 tickets which will give us an annual income of £312.
Do we have your correct details? We do our best to get things right, but occasionally something slips of the tray. Please let us know if we have your correct contact details, or you would like any additions or amendments.
We would like this opportunity to welcome a few new members.
Thank you for joining the Lichfield Waterworks Trust. We hope you will enjoy your membership and become part of a very exciting heritage project that will benefit the people, the place and the community. It would really help us if we develop and grow our membership. If you are not already a member and would you like to be a part of one of the region’s most exciting heritage projects then please, join us now by filling in Membership Application Form by going to our membership page here. It is free to join and be a part of this incredibly exciting project.
We hold only your Name, email address, phone number and contact address. We only use these details to send you a monthly newsletter, invitations to meeting and the occasional progress update. There is only one copy of your data held on a secure computer that no one else has access to. We never share your data with anyone else, and it is not available to third parties.
My Charity Lichfield Waterworks Trust is in the process of renovation the beautiful Grade II* listed Victorian Waterworks at Sandfields, Lichfield.
We aim to get the place open to the public this year as a community museum and community events space. The work we are doing will be completed by local volunteers, so this is a true community-based project, there are no paid staff.
We need to mend the floors and to raise funds to buy materials to do this. To support this project, I will be building a handmade traditional small coffee or bedside table from solid oak. I am donating my time and also funding the material as my contribution.
If you wish to become the owner of this unique piece of handmade future, pledge a donation to the trust in the comments section below, the highest bid take it.
I will of course document and photograph the build as it progresses, so the highest bidder will not only get a piece of unique furniture, but they will also have the back story to go with it.
This piece of furniture will be built to last a lifetime and can be handed down the generations taking with it a special story. So, be a part of a very special community-based project and make a bid on the table.
Following on from the Governments latest advice regarding the current pandemic the trustees have agreed to suspend operations at Sandfields pumping Station until further notice as of Thursday 5 November 2020.
We appreciate that this news will be a bitter disappointment for you all, especially following all of the hard work that has been completed on the site.
As a trust we will always put the safety, heath, and wellbeing of our members first, however as the covid situation is again worsening and a further countrywide lockdown has been announced, we will be closing the site to all visitors and volunteers until the 3rd December.
The trustees will be visiting the site on a regular basis to carry out regular security and safety checks during this period of lockdown.
Please do bear with us in this difficult time, we will do our utmost best to ensure that we can open again and work together safely.
The team have now completed a very careful cleaning and repair of the reservoir level recorder. This piece of equipment was quite badly vandalised when the site was inaccessible to the trust.
Today the team was threading through the new cable for the electrics in the facilities end of the 1870s building. The crane came in handy again (utilised on Wednesday to clear the scrap from the lower floor and lift it up to the mezzanine floor and into the trailer).
This time to suspend the large wooden drum of cable so it could be unrolled and threaded under the metal grills in the 1960s building. It took 5/6 of them to make it happen, wrestle the cable from the drum, and thread it under the floor. Chris R to connect it up to the board in the 1870s building and leave some spare cable as positioning in the future may change.
In the 1800’s, great great granddad’s time An epidemic surged across the world A new and strange disease swept every clime Whole families with stomach pains were curled Like foetuses, and many died before their time Too many in communal graves were hurled
After disease had spread throughout the land Imagine all that dread back in the day Of a waterborne disease and no cure planned And tens of thousands passed away Industry and business left unmanned The Black Country on its knees to pray
When Sandfields Pumping Station started up Its Cornish Engine, forged in Tipton, huge machine, Fear of Cholera banished from their sip and sup And oh what joy for Walsall to have seen New standpipes for to fill each cup With crystal clear fresh water, pure and clean
At seven strokes a minute, all the day It plunged its piston deep below the ground Fetching up a ton of water straightaway Pushing it through pipes to Walsall town Where thirsty populations shout “Hooray!” To the huge machine that barely made a sound.
Once more the industries of Walsall could survive No more would each business fear to shut Once more relief and bliss of staying alive No more to haul their drinking water bucket from the cut And we need celebrate this engineering feat That brought such health, and wealth And happiness to dance in every Walsall street.
Commissioned by content editor Heather Wastie for Bostin News.
When done well, industrial heritage renovation projects can give so much back to the community. This was the state of the office at Sandfields Pumping Station in 2017 when the trust was granted a licence to enter the building to do some very basic renovation work.
The site has been neglected since 2005 and following several incident of metal thefts from the roof, unauthorised entry and vandalism, the office ended up looking like this.
For years un-cared for and for years un-loved.
Fortunately, the volunteers were able to see the potential opportunities of this room and what it could give back. They rised to the challenge. They could see opportunities to learn new skills, make new friends, work with others and engage with the community.
It was thier way to give something back and make things better for others.
You will agree, the transformation is astounding. A whole team of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. This was a team effort of individuals coming together to create a stunningly beautiful multipurpose room that will give a benefit to the communty for years to come.
There is still some work to complete, lighting, heating, overhead projector and screen. The team have successfully raised funds with a grant from the Millennium Point Foundation to install the new sub-mains. The teams will also be working with apprentices from Dudley College, to share their skills with young people.
This project will enable these young people to showcase their newly learned skills on a heritage building, that in time, they can show to their children and grandchildren.
This is a small part of a significant project that will see opportunity for all, potential fulfilled and talent fully utilised. So, how much will this fully equipped beautiful multipurpose room cost to hire?
Here at the Lichfield Waterworks Trust, money will never be a barrier to opportunity. So, all we ask is that you take what you need and give what you can, a donation will be fine.