Crossness Pumping Station

Dawn OConnor

Rochester, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

Work commenced in 1985 to restore the Engine House and the engines to their 1899 condition, (the year in which the engines were upgraded). In 1988 the Crossness Engines Trust replaced the original Preservation Group in order to put the enterprise on a sound business and legal basis.
The Crossness Engines buildings are on a much larger site owned by Thames Water Utilities, but the Trust has the area round the original buildings on a long lease.

The Beam Engine House contains four engines – Prince Consort, Victoria, Albert Edward and Alexandra. Prince Consort was last run in 1953 and is the engine on which the current restoration activity is concentrated.

When the buildings were abandoned, the pumps and culverts below the Beam Engine House were filled with sand to reduce the risks from methane. This has meant that some 100 tons of this sand has had to be excavated from around and underneath the pumps before there was any hope of moving the beam and flywheel. Further, there was a considerable ingress of rain water which has resulted in serious rusting of the engine parts.

The restoration work is broken down into several groups covering:

Engines
Pumps
Auxiliary plant
Decorative cast iron work
Buildings and Services
The restoration progress to date can best be summarised as follows:

The engine cylinder heads and valve gear have been removed.
The valve gear is being restored to the original bright steel state, and is being re-installed.
All the pistons have been removed for renovation and re-emplaced.
The High/Intermediate piston rod was removed and has been skimmed, by an outside contractor, to remove rust which would otherwise destroy the steam-tight glands. The low pressure piston rod has been similarly treated.
The steam governor has been removed, stripped, restored and reassembled for display.
The steam-driven barring engine has been fully restored and is operating on a small boiler acquired from a laundry.
The hand-barring ‘engine’ has been restored in order to move the flywheel and beam when the pumps are clear of sand.
Sand has been excavated from the culverts and from beneath both pump plungers.
The water and air pumps have been stripped and the steam pipes removed.
The beam has been moved over almost the complete range, rust has been removed by the use of needle guns and repainting is in progress.
The flywheel has been needle-gunned and is being repainted.
The cast iron screens are being cleaned of rust and repainted in the original colours, together with many of the ornaments on the capitals of the columns.
A number of the cast iron flooring panels have been removed, cleaned, painted and replaced.
The high level iron work in the Beam Engine House has been shot blasted and repainted.
The Triple Expansion Engine House (an 1899 addition to the Beam Engine House) has been drained and cleaned of accumulated debris.
A suitable area has been set aside for the Museum and has been decorated – the exhibits are progressively being added to.
A centre for visitors has been created and this is being improved.
Extensive re-wiring has been carried out in the Beam Engine House and the Fitting Shop.
For the future, there are some immediate areas of concern:
The unique Grade 1 Listed building requires considerable work to restore the fabric and the interior.
Considerable further work needs to be done on the engines to bring them into steam.
The work towards establishing a Museum of Sanitation Engineering is progressing, but more work needs to be done.

The above is taken from The Crossness Pumping Station website
http://www.crossness.org.uk/sites/20030922PJK/r...

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