Lichfield Waterworks Trust – April Newsletter

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:-

If you cannot make the zoom meeting, then we also have a You Tube Channel where you can catch up on our talks. Click on the link below.

Our You Tube Channel

Re-opening of Sandfields

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.

Sandfields Freehold

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.

Sandfields Table

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.

Heritage Group  

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.

3D Walkthrough

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
WS13 8AB

Amazon Smile

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, 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.

Click the link below to play now to support Sandfields Pumping Station and the Lichfield Waterworks trust.

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.
Data Protection

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.
Our data protection policy is here


Lichfield Waterworks Trust: helping people to take responsibility for the local buildings and landscapes they love. Giving them the power to transform people, places, and communities.

Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in our community.

About Morturn

Historian – Photographer – Filmmaker Retired construction professional with a passion for public, social and industrial history. I believe in equality, dignity and integrity for all. Don’t like people who try to belittle the ambitions of others. I am of the opinion that my now life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
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