Pumping station lower floors to be opened up

An ambitious plan to open up the pumping station has been unveiled.

Coleham Pumping Station, Shrewsbury’s original sewage pumping station, was opened in 1899 in order to clean up the town’s river.

At present it is open on a handful of days throughout the year allowing visitors to see the steam-powered beam engines and pumps as well as giving children the opportunity to stoke the boiler, which has just passed its inspection test for the 115th year.

The station, which will be steaming-up for Heritage Weekend on September 12 and 13 from lOam to 4pm, is described by English Heritage as one of the finest and most complete examples of its type in the UK.

Now, volunteers at the station, which is in Longden Coleham, are preparing for the next phase of work and hope to open up the two lower floors of the engine room to let people see close up the pipes and pumps which originally handled all of Shrewsbury’s output, an impressive 3,000,000 gallons a day.

Mike Evans, Shrewsbury Steam Trust volunteer, said: “This new project will mean creating a new pathway and entrance into the building, installing handrails and steps, lights and other safety equipment, and cleaning up 50 years of neglect.

“All the work will conform to the style and materials of the original building. When it is finished, we will be able to take small groups of hard-hatted visitors down into the “underworld”, where they will see the real function of the pumping station.

“On the Heritage Weekend two large steam-powered beam engines will be driving 16ft flywheels and four pumps. It is a really interesting and instructive museum piece. Also on show will be other live steam-powered machines, stationary engines, and usually some model railway layouts or similar exhibits.”

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