Lichfield Waterworks Trust – 140 Year of Sandfields Pumping Station

Lichfield Waterworks Trust – 140 Year of Sandfields Pumping Station. A podcast by Alan Hill of the engineering Team

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust April Newsletter

As you are no doubt aware of the current global coronavirus pandemic the trust, as with many other organisations has had to suspend its onsite activities and meeting.

From its initial inception, the trust has always put the safety, health and wellbeing of its members first and foremost. Therefore, we will be following government and heath professional guidelines to keep everyone and the NHS safe.

As soon as the lockdown restrictions are lifted, please be assured we will re-commence work on site at the earliest opportunity.

The trustee would like everyone to know that we are thinking of you all and looking forward to the days when we can resume some normality.

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Two trustees met with Persimmon on Tuesday 5 November to discuss the lease. The trustees have also met to discuss the offer made by Persimmon Homes Ltd. While the overall details of the lease still need to be negotiated and there are still some outstanding issues that need to be addressed. The trustees have a great deal of confidence in the teams of volunteers who are making things on site happen. The trustees have also carful considered the enormous and significant contribution the members have made to this project, therefore the trustees believed that it’s time to stop kicking the problems back and forth and instead to move things forward.

We have therefore agreed that we are able to move on with the lease. We have informed Persimmon Homes Ltd and are waiting for them to contact our solicitors.

The trustee would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your ongoing help and support.

Important Note:

After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage at Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.

The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.

Archive and Historical Research Team Report

The heritage of the modern water industry is almost entirely absent, despite its unarguable relevance to human development.

Document of the Month April 2020

Specification for a Cornish Beam Engine

William Vawdrey is the second son of the late Rev. A. A. Vawdrey, who was for many years Vicar of St. Agnes, Cornwall. Born at St. Day Vicarage on the 17th ‘of April 1840. As a youth he was sent as a student to Messrs. Harvey and Company’s Foundry at Hayle, where he remained seven years. He was then employed in erecting pumping and winding-engines for Messrs Eustace and Son and other owners.

In 1865, after passing the requisite examination, he entered the Royal Navy, but soon afterwards retiring from the service he was appointed assistant engineer to the South Staffordshire Waterworks under Mr. J. R.McClean.

Two years later he assumed full charge of the works and remained with the company up to his death on the 2nd of January 1895. During these 30 years of service Mr. Vawdrey proved himself a most able and energetic promoter of the company’s welfare and substantially developed the activity of South Staffs Water.

Vawdrey designed, specified and tendered the 65-inch Cornish Beam Engine at Sandfields Pumping Station, known today as engine number 4. The South Staffs Water archive still holds copies of the original engine specification written in hand manuscript. These documents are a treasure and will provide educational, study and research opportunities for many years to come.

Linda Shapiro has been studying Victorian culture for many years, her research work can be seen on her website Dewsbury Victorian Family’s. She has painstakingly transcribed this document and a number of others relating to the construction of the original impounding reservoir at Stowe Pool and a number of transactions from William Vawdreys’ daybook.

Here is a sample of the transcribed manuscript for you to enjoy. We will in due course be releasing a full version of this transcript for study, comment, a study day, booklet and a talk.

The Contract shall include the Engine Boilers, Pumps, Air Vessel, and other works and all duplicates. Tools and Materials hereinafter described with all needful 8888 and complete apparatus, appendages, attachments, appliances, and connections  jointed fixed and set to work; and comprise also all proper and necessary floor joists to support the stone landings of the working floor, and the plates for floor of Cylinder stage and other floors, together with access frames and plates for the same wherever required and also all holding down bolts washer plates, bed plates beams, spring beams, bearers, handrails, balusters and other matters and things whatsoever pertaining  incident or appurtenant to the Engine, Boilers, Machinery and other works and apparatus and their supports fixings attachments connections, appliances and conveniences respectively including all waste and other pipes to the outside of the buildings and all pump work as far as one pipe outside of the air vessel.

The Engine shall be of the kind known as a Cornish or single acting expansive condensing Beam Engine, and shall be made according to the most improved construction and arrangement in all its details and be finished bright in all parts usually so finished by the best makers of first class Water Works Engines, and the working gear shall be so arranged that the steam may be cut off at any point from one sixth of the stroke downwards as may be found desirable, and that the Engine may be capable of making fully ten strokes per minute  continuously, with a pressure equal to (135 lbs, one hundred and thirty five pounds) to the square inch on the pump bucket, and the Contractor shall so proportion and construct the Engine, Pump valves, Air vessel and other works as to enable the Engine satisfactorily to work through  a 24 ins diameter Main at the above named speed and pressure and throw at each stroke the full quantity of water due to the area of the bucket and length of stroke without loss through valves, and if upon trial the Engine shall not be found capable of doing this continuously the Contractor shall make such alterations in any parts thereof as shall be required to enable it so to perform the work aforesaid.

As you can clearly see, this is a beautifully written technical document with all the nuances of Victorian culture. It is a joy to read and study, so watch this space, there will be more to come.

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 by for tea.

Donations

The current global coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the trust. With no onsite activity, meeting, talks or raffles we are seriously down of income. We do manage our money very carefully and have no paid staff, therefore we will get by. But it would be nice to hit the ground running as soon as we get a return to normality.

We have lots of events and activities planned, so if you can give a small donation, we can get things on the moves as quickly as possible.

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

Membership

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 will 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.

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Corona Pandemic

As you know, the Corona pandemic has led to the government making stringent actions and giving strong advice on social distancing and self-isolation in order to minimise the impact of this virus.

As a result, the trustees have made the decision that we will cancel the April and May meeting and we will close Sandfields Pumping Station to visitors and volunteers as of immediate effect.  

The trustees are continuing with their meeting but taking place virtually through web-based conferencing and emails.

Please be aware that our finances are managed prudently. We don’t have any paid staff and rely on donations, raffles and talks to other groups and societies. This will have an adverse impact upon our financial position, so would ask you to donate via out online donation link here.  

We will of course get back to normal in due course once this crisis is past and will continue to give our regular updates and newsletters. We look forward to your continued support to the Trust. 

May we take this opportunity thank you all for the support you have given and wish you all well and that you each stay healthy during this crisis and beyond.

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Engine Team Progress Report for February 2020

Work to clean and lubricate the metalwork parts in the cataract chamber (this is the chamber immediately beneath the engine controls) is almost complete, and steelguard rust preventative has been liberally applied. The strategy has been to clean the metal parts of rust, but not to finish them to the standard adopted for the more visible parts of the engine, as this will take a long and it is more important that the parts are protected from corrosion and deterioration than to look “shiny”. The initial results from adopting this strategy have shown pleasing results

Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which returned cooling water from the condenser tank to the adjacent canal), in an attempt to “free-up” as many elements of the engine before we attempt to move it again. The cover on the pump was seized solid with corrosion. A gas torch was used to heat the cylinder body and with some “gentle” persuasion by driving wedges around the rim of the pump body we were able to break the bond and lift the cover clear.

Not surprisingly the pump was full of water, which we syphoned out. The internal bore of the pump body was badly corroded. After cleaning out lumps of corroded cast iron and other debris we were able to expose the upper face of the piston, complete with valve.


We should consider the application of a black bituminous-type paint to preserve the iron castings which form part of the cataract units, and other iron castings (such as pipework) in the cataract chamber (these have previously been painted in a black bituminous-type paint in order to protect them).

Working in the chamber in which the water-return pump is located, it is obvious that repairs are required to the brickwork (bricks need replacing & pointing is required). Work has started to replace the missing brickwork and consolidate the walls.
During the wet weather that we have experienced lately, sheets of water have been running down the wall in the water pump chamber. We should investigate to see if there is anything we can do to reduce/eliminate this problem of water seepage into this area, as it has a detrimental effect on the metalwork and brickwork in the immediate vicinity.

Cleaning and lacquering of the teak lagging, and polishing of the brass bands at the top of the steam cylinder continues. When this work, and the cleaning of the remaining area of outstanding chequer plate flooring is completed, the cylinder head floor should then be finished.

On the ground floor level in the engine house the floor plates are being cleaned around the base of the two columns which support the entablature, and work to clean the valve gear continues.


Alan Hill, 29-2-2020

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust December Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 9 March 2020 @7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344
 
Everyone is welcome to this social event so please feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

Do remember, the Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.
Latest News

Building Lease Update:

The Trustees met with Persimmon Homes Ltd on Tuesday 18 February. Our initial assessment of the meeting is, Persimmon have offered us a 50-year lease at £1.00 per year with a 5-year break clause.
This is a much more advantageous to LWT than we expected. The only really grey area is around the repair and maintenance point, which we can negotiate/argue about a bit further down the line.

The trustee will meet on Monday 9 March 2020 to discuss, and hopefully we maybe in a position to agree heads of terms. While we believe this is good news, it is important to understand that the building is in quite a poor state of repair and the trust will need to raise a considerable sum of money and considerable effort to bring the building back into reuse.

Saying that, we have a great team of people working on this project who are willing to go that extra mile.

 
Important Note: After the visit by Historic England on 16 Jan, the site has unfortunately been placed on the Heritage At Risk Register.

This is indeed sad news to see that this magnificent piece of industrial heritage is now officially at risk of permanent loss.
 
The trust is committed to continue working with the owner, Persimmon Homes Ltd to find a sustainable solution that will bring this building and its historic contents aback into a community use.
Tonight’s Talk Tonight’s talk is by a long-standing supporter and advisor to our project, Dr Jim Andrew. Jim is an incredibly knowledgeable individual on a wide variety of subjects Tonight he will be asking us “Could we learn something from the Victorians?



The Great Exhibition of 1851 was housed in the Crystal Palace, a temporary building in London’s Hyde Park, yet this was probably the largest single build construction the world had ever seen.  It was 19 acres with an 8-acre mezzanine housing some 100,000 exhibits, half from the UK and half from the rest of the world.  The building was only finalised in July 1850, but it still opened on 1st May 1851. No computers or telephones on emails so how did they do it?  Could we learn something from the Victorians?
 
Site Report The team are on site and in full swing mode. The office is now with the exception of rewiring, complete. The folks have done a splendid job. Walls and ceiling have been redecorated, the floors have been cleaned and oiled. The cold-water tank has been removed and the floor made good.

The room is looking clean, light and fresh. A perfect meeting room that will be a benefit to all.

Please do feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

The site is open for normal working on Friday’s between 10:30am and 12:30pm. As always you are most welcome to join us. Free tea and coffee is always available.
 
Engineering Team Report Work to clean and lubricate the metalwork parts in the cataract chamber (this is the chamber immediately beneath the engine controls) is almost complete, and steelguard rust preventative has been liberally applied. The strategy has been to clean the metal parts of rust, but not to finish them to the standard adopted for the more visible parts of the engine, as this will take a long and it is more important that the parts are protected from corrosion and deterioration than to look “shiny”. The initial results from adopting this strategy have shown pleasing results.



Team members have been working on the water-return pump (which returned cooling water from the condenser tank to the adjacent canal), in an attempt to “free-up” as many elements of the engine before we attempt to move it again. The cover on the pump was seized solid with corrosion. A gas torch was used to heat the cylinder body and with some “gentle” persuasion by driving wedges around the rim of the pump body we were able to break the bond and lift the cover clear.



Not surprisingly the pump was full of water, which we syphoned out. The internal bore of the pump body was badly corroded. After cleaning out lumps of corroded cast iron and other debris we were able to expose the upper face of the piston, complete with valve…

Download the full report here
 
Health and Safety Report Unfortunately, we had our first incident in three years working on site; a cut hand. While this was a minor cut, it goes to show that accident can and do happen.

We have met with the team members and had an honest and frank discussion about this incident. We are delighted to say that the teams have come up with a number of great suggestions that will help us improve and make good safety no accident.



A very big thank you to everyone for embracing a heath and safety culture. We will be undertaking more training in the new year, so watch this space.
 
Electrical Installation Team Report The electrical team are continuing doing some sterling work. We have now recommissioned the lighting in the 1870 building and have some temporary lighting in the 1960s building.

This was a tremendous help for Victorian Lichfield event.
 
The team continues to remove redundant and waterlogged damage wiring and is making preparations to install new submains in both buildings.



 
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



 
Donations Now that we find ourselves in a position where we feel we can enter into a lease agreement; we need to raise £5,000 to put the building to work to earn its keep. We have several ideas and events either booked or planned.

Despite the best efforts of the teams, the condition of the building is still poor and not the most user-friendly place. The one thing holding us back is funds to buy materials and some specialist works.
We need to install sub-mains in both the 1960 and 1870 buildings. Works needs to be done to the floors in the 1960s building to remove s the trip hazards and make the wells safe.

We need to make adapt the steel tables to make a stage for events. We have people willing to do this work, but we need to buy materials.

Therefore, if you can donate, please visit our donation page here.

100% of what you give goes into the restoration fund. This is a most exciting heritage project that will bring a benefit to the whole community. Heritage restoration project like this build new skills, engage with the community, bridge inter-age gaps, enable people to make new friends and improve health and wellbeing.

We have no paid staff; all of our volunteers are priceless.



 
We will also always invest in our people and have a volunteer training away day on the 27 March.
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
Membership  
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
Finally  
Thank you everyone for your continued support and helping to make a difference in our community.
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The Victorian pharmacy at Sandfields Pumping Station

The Victorian pharmacy will be open for business at Sandfields Pumping Station for one night only Thursday 2 April 2020 @7:30pm. Get your tickets here

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Take a moment to look at our newly redecorated community office.

Take a moment to look at our newly redecorated community office.

Haven’t the teams done a wonderful job.

Industrial heritage not only brings in a sense of the past, it brings in an opportunity for people to lean news skills, make new friends, engage with the community and do worthwhile work.

The team also saved all the historic archive documents that were on the verge of permeant loss. Documents that tell an invaluable story of our past. Documents that enable us to lean from our past mistakes and to also celebrate from our successes.

We too can now celebrate the work of the teams at Lichfield Waterworks Trust, and their legacy for the future generations.

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January Newletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 13 January 2020 @7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344

Everyone is welcome to this social event so please feel free to join us and be a part of an amazing community heritage restoration project.

Do remember, the Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

The staff at Sandfields Pumping Station c1937
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Lichfield Waterworks Trust Welcomes Apprentices

Lichfield Waterworks Trust are delighted to welcome apprentices from Dudley technical college electrical apprentices to Sandfields Pumping Station. This new and exciting joint venture will be an opportunity for students to work with the trust’s technical teams, to learn new skills in the workplace renovating one of the country’s most iconic grade II* listed buildings.

The trust says this is a fantastic opportunity for the students that showcases how our industrial heritage can offer educational opportunities for young people that will bring benefits and enjoyment to the whole community.

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It’s the Festive Season

The team at Sandfields Pumping Station would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

We will be open again on Friday 10 January 2020.

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