Christmas 2020

The Team at Lichfield Waterworks Trust would like to wish all of our volunteers, friends and supporters a very safe and happy Christmas.

While it has been a quite year onsite there have been lots of things happening in the background. If all goes to plan, 2021 promises to be a very exciting year.

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust – November Newsletter

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.

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Another very productive Friday

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.

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Rising From A Pandemic – Written & read by Al Barz (Bright Fork Poetry Media)

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.

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An Amazing Transformation That Gives Back to the Community

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 Office in 2017

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.

Our volunteers are not paid, they are priceless

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.

A stunningly beautiful multipurpose room that will give a benefit to the community 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.

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Heritage Opendays – Crupmwood Ram Pumphouse

I never fail to be impressed with the effort’s individuals go to, to promote our industrial heritage; today was no exception.

Our very own Chris and Sue Pattison designed and built a set of very impressive interpretation panels outlining the history of Uttoxeter’s water supply. Their display was set up at Crupmwood Ram Pumphouse near Dentstone, Staffordshire for Heritage Opendays, and working with members of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust they managed to engage 95 visitors on the day to a very interesting story of clean water and the canal system.

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Rust, Humidity and Temperature Measurements

Over the last two and a half years the trust has been carefully monitoring and measuring the temperature and humidity at Sandfields Pumping Station. The aim of this study is to gain a fuller understanding of how best to preserve the bright works on the Cornish engine and to understand the factor that cause rust along with the idea conditions and treatment to prevent it.

Here is the latest report form the engineering team:

The one working humidity/temperature data logger was left ticking over in the ground floor of the engine house from mid-March until a couple of weeks ago when I returned to active service. I’ve attached a screenshot of the data- at least it makes a change from graphs of Covid-19 infection rates. It’s interesting(ish) because it shows the pattern of variation over an extended period (nearly 6 months), whereas previously I’d been looking at chunks of time of only 2 or 3 weeks.

As can be seen, for much of the time the %RH was in the range 60-70%, with values above and below this range mainly coinciding with spells of particularly warm or cold weather. Keen observers will also notice that there was another incidence around the end of March when a temperature spike of 60+ degrees was recorded- the spirit’s still about.

60-70%RH is in the range where some atmospheric corrosion of iron/steel would be expected. However most of the engine remains relatively unaffected, helped I’m sure by the Steelguard we’ve applied.

I’ve also included “then and now” photos of three areas I taped off in October 2018 (is it really two years ago?) and left untreated. In two cases there’s very little difference, whereas where the pump rod attaches to the beam there’s noticeable corrosion. I think this is more likely to be down to differences in material (eg chemical composition) rather than in location. I’ll leave the data logger to record for the next 6 months to get a comparable picture over winter.

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Saving Industrial Heritage – Back from the Brink

Its been three years since the Lichfield Waterworks Trust have gained access to Sandfields pumping Station, Lichfield. A unique The Grade II* listed Victorian Waterworks that is now on the Heritage at Risk Register.

With the help of a couple of small grants and a mass of generosity in the form of donations and sheer hard graft from both the public, visitors, and small social organisations, the trust has undertaken a significant amount of work.

Looking inside of the building now, it is hard to imagine the state of dilapidation that the trust inherited in 2017. In this sixth podcast, Alan Hill talks us through the work undertaken to date and the plans the trust has going forward.

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Would you would like to be a part of this challenging and exciting community heritage project

Lichfield Waterworks Trust is helping people to take responsibility for the local buildings, heritage, and landscapes they love, by giving them the power to transform, places, people, and communities.

If you would like to be a part of this challenging and exciting community heritage project, then subscribe to our newsletter now.

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Alexander Parks – A Forgotten Engineer

Alexander Parks (29 December 1813 – 29 June 1890) was a metallurgist and inventor from Birmingham, England. He created Parkesine, the first man-made plastic.

A podcast made by Lichfield Waterworks Trust and presented by Katy Shore-Kapsis

A podcast made by Lichfield Waterworks Trust and presented by Katy Shore-Kapsis

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