Lichfield Waterworks Trust August Newsletter

All the latest news and views from Lichfield Waterworks Trust at Sandfields Pumping Station.
While it is still yet possible to hold our monthly meeting and talks, we are able to continue with our onsite renovation works. The teams have continued to be exceptionally busy in July and have undertaken some serious and challenging renovation work.
We have now extended out opening times to Tuesday and Friday morning 10:30 am till 12:30 pm and the first Sunday of each month. 10:30am till 12:30pm. At this moment in time due to covid restrictions, the site is only open to the work team who are undertaking planned work.
If you wish to join the work teams, please let us know. There are a couple of formality’s we need to complete. Just a basic site safety and volunteering induction, all quite painless and brief. We look forward to hearing from you.

Building Lease Update:

No news is good news…?
Other than what we have set out below, we are still waiting for Lichfield District Council to released persimmon from their section 106 obligations.
We are confident of a resolution so please watch this space. The Trust has passed a resolution to accept Persimmons’ offer of the building freehold and a small dowry. Persimmon are seeking to receive a conformation from Lichfield District Council that they have now fulfilled their section 106 obligations for this site.
Lichfield District Council have now been in touch with the trust and are insisting that we sign a three-way agreement between Persimmon Homes Ltd, ourselves and Lichfield District Council. The agreement sets out a framework of responsibility for each party going forward.
Both the Trust and Persimmon have declined to do this on the basic of it being a binding agreement that holds no benefit to the trust or Persimmon. However, as a progressive organisation the trust is prepared to bring something to the party and as such submitted an alternative Memorandum of Understanding so that Lichfield District Council will:
Be satisfied that there is a mechanism for protecting and safeguarding the future of the Pumping station.
Support the LW Trust in the necessary works and consequently have the Pumping Station formally removed from the national Buildings at Risk Register.
Work with the LW Trust to support bids for additional funding required to deliver a facility that serves to meet the stated objectives of the Trust and helps sustain the physical integrity of the pumping station and its on-going public use.
The good news is that Lichfield District Council is now happy to progress on the basis as set out.
Clearly the devil is in the detail, but it is another step in the right direction. Thanks, to you all for your continued support.

Another Month of Even More Sheer Hard Graft

The Plinths 3
July saw the members make a start on one of the most challenging jobs to date, removing the reenforced concrete plinths that used to support the electric pumps.

We are pleased to report that after a massive effort the plinths have now gone. Now for the hard part, making the floor good and fit for use. Floor screeding is a skill by itself. But with some advice and guidance the teams multitasked again and delivered the goods.

This really was a team effort that bought together the wider community to complete a super job to a high standard.

Everyone got stuck in.

What a super effort by everyone.

Engineering Team Report

In the weeks since work restarted at Sandfields, in late April, the main focus of work for the various teams has been the removal of the concrete engine plinths, scraping of the walls in the 1960s building and clearing of the floor area. The Engine Team have assisted with scrapping the walls and have supplied “labour” for the mixing of concrete to level the plinths in readiness for tiling them level with the remainder of the floor area.
The removal of the concrete plinths has resulted in the production of a lot of dust which has had free access into the Cornish engine house via the two “balcony” openings and the doorway. The team have been involved in cleaning and mopping the top, middle and engine house floor levels to remove the dust layer, which in places was thick enough to clearly write ones name!

Whilst this cleaning has been going on, the opportunity to tidy the floors of the various maps, plans & illustrations, as well as tools, which have been stored/dumped in the engine house has been taken. These items have been removed to safer and more appropriate locations, such as the small office and tool area. The grey filter material, which was used as a “carpet” to protect the floor on the middle level in the engine house, has been removed so that the floor could be given a thorough clean.

The scaffolding tower has been erected at the valve gear end of the engine, on the engine house floor level, to provide access to the valve gear. Some parts of the valve gear were not cleaned when the scaffolding was originally erected here, and the opportunity to clean these elements of the engine is now being taken. The valve gear is also being given a general clean and protection, using steelguard protective oil.

What a super community project where everyone learns, and everyone wins.

Archive and Historical Research team Report A-Z of  Victorian/Edwardian men who worked at South Staffs Water company
The Heritage group is researching the lives of some of the people who worked at South Staffs Water company. As an introduction we are running a series The A-Z of Victorian/Edwardian men who worked at South Staffs Water company.
A is for Architect, Edward Adams. Perhaps aptly, the designer of the original Sandfields building, from the very beginning of South Staffordshire Water Works in 1858:
Edward Adams was born 1814 Walsall Staffs.  He worked first for Thomas Cubbitt an eminent builder (so impressed he made him supt. erecting a factory in Pimlico).  Then independently in 1846 with support from John R McClean (whose work remained closely connected to him thereafter). He designed many buildings apart from original Sandfields pumping station, railway buildings for South Staffs and Furness (including Lichfield Station, picture), churches, houses and schools in Walsall and Cannock Chase, Paris bathhouses and many others.  Although his work was based in Kensington where he lodged, by 1871 he rejoined his wife, Eugene Charlotte and 7 children who lived in St Pancras, where she was from. He died in 1875.

We feel privileged here at Sandfields because it is one of the rare industrial building that still holds a comprehensive archive of materiel form the past. The archive record held at Sandfields Pumping Station is an invaluable record and a window to the day-to-day activity of operating a waterworks. Here we see evidence of working practices and skills, now lost.

If you hold an interest in history or are just curious about the past and want to learn more, then why not drop us a line.

Building Renovation Team Report  

The main work continues in the 1960s building, with the focus  on levelling the former plinth areas with concrete, so it can be tiled.  There are four smaller areas that used to have  the motor controls mounted on them.  The concrete on these has now been broken up, so these too will be tiled in due course.


Health and Safety Report We are pleased to say that June was another accident free month. A very big thank you to everyone for embracing a heath and safety culture.

We never stand still with health and Safety, Good Safety is no Accident.

We will be undertaking more training in the new year, so watch this space.


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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