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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Sandfields Cornish Pumping Engine & People

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

In 1873 installed

Great, magnificent and efficient

50 years non stop performed

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

In the 20s put on hold

Sultzer Uniflow taking over

Victorian pumping days still told

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

Quietly rusting well away

Now home to lots of pigeons

Pumping days far far away

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

Coated in a thick layer of dust

Engine team are all over her

Polishing back all signs of rust

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

Housed in a building of grand design

Rotting woodwork, holes in windows

Maintenance team now putting right

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

No electric all in dark

20-19 saw the change come

Electric team now have the spark

Sandfield’s Cornish Pumping Engine

Remembering people and days gone by

Coming back to life again now

Working once again we’ll try

Katy Shore-Kapsis

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Lichfield Waterworks Trust October Newsletter

The next public meeting of Lichfield Waterworks Trust will take place on:  Monday 11 November 2019 @7.30pm, in the rear meeting room of the
 
The Bowling Green
Friary Road
Lichfield
Staffordshire
WS13 6QJ
 
Tel: 01543 257344
 
The Bowling Green serves some great food and real ales.

October meeting notes are available here

Latest News

Building Lease Update:

Two trustees met with Persimmon on Tuesday 5 November to discuss the lease. There are still a few issues to iron out, but we feel we made some steady progress. To be discussed at the next public meeting on 11 November.

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

Following on from last months talk from  David Moore who presented a talk about Digital Photography including video filming, producing time lapse sequences and drone photography. Our very own David Cross will be talking about the history of tidal power in the UK

David has had a very interesting and fascinating careerer in the power industry and so is well placed to deliver an extremely engaging talk, not to be missed

Site Report

Persimmon have now completed their repairs, and the team was back on site by 14 October.

Please feel free to pop in or lend a hand or just come a take a look around. We are open every Friday between 10:00am and 12:30 pm. Free tea and coffee.

Sandfields Pumping Station, Lichfield
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Ghostly goings on at Sandfields Pumping Station.

We all love a good ghost story, but does Sandfields have ghosts? Some of us who know the site well have witnessed ghostly gonging on, or at least unexplainable events at the site.

The site was built following the cholera epidemics of the Black country in the mid nineteenth century. Tens of thousands of people died in that terrible period of history, and many of them were buried in communal burial cholera pits. It was not until Sandfields came online pumping clean water did the cholera epidemics stop.

The site has always been staffed by quite a few people, who from our research have had quite long relationships with the site. Joe Plant and William Robinson both worked for South Staffs for over 50 years each. We know too that both of these individuals were very devoted to the work they did and loved the massive beam engines as if they were part of their family.

Our first encounter with some unexplainable events starts in 1975 when on a photographic study.

In the beam, to the right of the centre pivot you can see a face. At the time it was not visible but is very clear in the photo. The photo reminds us of Joe Plant, the foreman engine drivers who worked at the site since 1897.

In this second photo, you can clearly see the faded face of a man. We are not sure who he is, but he reminds us of William Robinson the chief engineer. Again, Robinson worked for SSW for over 50 year and lives adjacent to the site in a cottage with his family. Does this prove there are ghosts? Not necessarily, but we cannot explain the images in the photos either.

What is also unexplainable is an event that occurred on the night of the 31 March 2019. We run two data loggers on the site. Both Independent of each other and both in different positions in the site. On the evening of 31 March both loggers recorded a sudden rise in temperature to 61C between the times of 01.20am and 01.50am.

Either side of these two times values were perfectly normal. We could understand one device suddenly malfunctioning briefly, but for them both to do it at exactly the same time.

Do you think there’s something supernatural going on at Sandfields in the middle of the night???

There is only one way to find out….

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