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Pumping station reaches a restoration milestone

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 26, 2013

  • Claymills Pumping station

  • Old photos of Claymills pumping station

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A PIECE of Burton’s history is celebrating the 20th of anniversary of when hard-working volunteers decided to help return it to its former glory.

Claymills Pumping Station, in Meadow Lane, Stretton, has revealed that it is now 20 years since the Claymills Pumping Engines Trust came into being to ‘promote and preserve’ the 19th century attraction.

It opened in August 1885 and the station was instrumental in the sanitation of Burton during its brewing heyday, when waste from the breweries swamped the River Trent, alongside human waste, leading to disease.

Roy Barratt, a volunteer at Claymills, said: “It is now 20 years this year since local people first went along to Claymills with their overalls and tool bags and, my, what a difference they have made.

“The place is now one of Britain’s largest restored steam pumping stations with more than 26 operational steam engines, a large Victorian steam-driven workshop and the oldest working electrical generator in Britain.

“All this lot is driven by steam which is still provided by one of the original Lancashire boilers.

“The workshop is still fully operational and you can watch and chat to the engineers and the blacksmith.”

The pumping station was designed by the eminent civil engineer, James Mansergh, as part of a wider network of sewers.

It used steam power to pump the five million gallons of sewage produced by the town every day down to the newly built sewage plant in Egginton, near the site of the modern-day Toyota factory at Burnaston.

The pump, which was one of the largest in Britain, continued to run right up until 1971.

In 1993, a group of volunteers formed the Claymills Pumping Engines Trust and began restoration on the site after it was handed over by Severn Trent Water following safety work – a date which is now being celebrated with an event this weekend.

On Sunday and Monday, the pumping station with be running for a celebratory steaming, between 10am and 5pm.

Further information is available by visiting www.claymills.org.uk

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