British Engineerium steam engine

British Engineerium steam engine

British Engineerium cooling pond + leat

British Engineerium cooling pond + leat

The British Engineerium (originally named Goldstone Pumping Station, then Brighton and Hove Engineerium, before taking its present name in 1981) is an engineering and steam power museum in the West Blatchington area of Hove, part of the English city of Brighton and Hove, located just north of the Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium. As well as the restored pumping station equipment, the complex has a wide range of exhibits: more than 1,500 were in place less than a year after it opened. These include a 19th-century horse-drawn fire engine, traction engines, veteran motorcycles, Victorian household equipment and old tools. A French-built horizontal steam engine dating from 1859 is the principal exhibit. The Engineerium has always used its exhibits to educate and promote the study of industrial history: it has been called "the world's only centre for the teaching of engineering conservation".

 

Brighton and neighbouring Hove, on the English Channel coast between the South Downs and the sea, were built on top of a vast aquifer of chalk. A regular supply of naturally pure water was always available from this natural reservoir, and in the settlements' early days many wells were sunk to exploit it. The rapid growth of Brighton in the 18th and early 19th century, followed by similar expansion in Hove, put pressure on the local authorities to provide more sources and a better supply system, though: wells became increasingly contaminated by sewage from cesspits, and some had to be blocked because they were so polluted, reducing the two towns' water supply further. The first local water company—the Brighton, Hove and Preston Waterworks Company—was founded on 16 June 1834 by means of an Act of Parliament; it built a waterworks on the road to Lewes and provided piped water for two hours per day to a few wealthy customers. This facility had two 20-horsepower beam engines

 

By the 1850s, more water was needed for the continually expanding population: the intermittent supply from the Lewes Road waterworks was the only alternative to wells and boreholes. In 1853, a new company was formed with the aim of introducing a large-scale, consistent supply to Brighton, Hove and surrounding villages. The Brighton, Hove and Preston Constant Water Service Company bought its predecessor, the Waterworks Company, in 1854. By the time it was in turn acquired by Brighton Corporation in 1872 (by means of another Act of Parliament), it was pumping 2,600,000 imperial gallons (12,000,000 l) per day to 18,000 houses in Brighton, Hove and the surrounding villages of Falmer, Hangleton, Ovingdean, Patcham, Preston and Rottingdean. The company employed eminent civil engineer Thomas Hawksley to find a suitable site for a new pumping station. Hawksley built more waterworks than any of his Victorian counterparts: he oversaw more than 150 schemes in Britain and abroad. In 1858, he advised the company that the shallow chalk valley at Goldstone Bottom, at the south end of West Blatchington village just outside Hove, would be a good candidate for exploratory drilling. Test wells were sunk, and confirmed his impression. The company bought the 3.5 acres of land in 1862, and in 1865 it was granted permission to build a pumping station on the site. By this stage, the Lewes Road facility was suffering from pollution, and the opening of another pumping station at Falmer and the building of more reservoirs had not been sufficient to satisfy demand

 

Work took place during 1866, and the facility opened in that year with the name Goldstone Pumping Station. The Brighton, Hove and Preston Constant Water Service Company operated it until their acquisition by Brighton Corporation. In its original form, the complex consisted of a boiler house and adjacent engine room, coal cellars and a chimney described by one historian as "truly monumental", all built of polychrome brick. The engine room housed a 120-horsepower beam engine made by Charles Amos of London-based manufacturer Easton and Amos. It was a compound engine of the type patented by engineer Arthur Woolf. Water was drawn from a 160-foot well which started immediately below the engine, which was known as the "Number 1 Engine". It was driven by three Lancashire boilers with twin furnaces, which were fed by two coal cellars. Up to 130,000 imperial gallons of water could be pumped per hour. In 1872, ownership of Goldstone Pumping Station and all other water facilities in the Brighton area passed to Brighton Corporation, who formed a new committee called the Brighton Water Corporation to operate them. Demand for water continued to rise, so in 1876 the Corporation undertook a major expansion of the pumping station. A second engine room was added, and a separate coal storage shed was built in the grounds. Workshop facilities were also provided, with a range of machine tools, forge, lathe and planer and a separate Easton and Amos steam engine (apparently left over from The Great Exhibition). The new engine house was equipped with the "Number 2 Engine"—a 250-horsepower Woolf compound unit built by the firm of Easton and Anderson and with a pumping capacity of 150,000 imperial gallons per hour. It was powered by three more Lancashire boilers. Mayor of Brighton Henry Abbey fired up the engine for the first time on 26 October 1876; his visit, with members of the Water Corporation committee, was recorded on a plaque in the engine room. A network of arched tunnels were built to link the new coal shed, the workshop and the firing platform of the boiler room. The subterranean passages were used by coal trucks.

 

The next extension took place in 1884. A cooling pond and a leat (an artificial waterway) were built on land behind the pumping station, and a new 1,500,000-imperial-gallon underground reservoir was built by J.T. Chappell. It ran for 1⁄2 mile westwards from the complex. Brighton Water Corporation spent £11,000 on this work and on the building of two other reservoirs in Brighton, at Dyke Road and Race Hill. All three were built of tile, brick and Portland cement. They were constantly replenished by a 1,000-imperial-gallon per minute inflow from numerous natural fissures in the chalk. Because the surrounding area became substantially urbanised in the interwar period, the water was treated with ozone from 1937 to disinfect it. Meanwhile in 1934, the boilers powering the Number 2 Engine were replaced by four new models of the same type, built by the Blackburn-based Yates and Thom company. Their capacity was greater: they could each generate 6,000 pounds-force of steam per hour. The pumping station soon went into decline, though. Electric pumps became available in the 1940s, and one was installed in the Number 1 Engine room; the engine itself was decommissioned at that time. The four new Lancashire boilers were in full-time use for only 18 years: Number 2 Engine was taken out of service in 1952, although it was maintained for a further two years in case it was required. Several pumping stations had been newly built or rebuilt since World War II - at Aldrington, Falmer, Mile Oak, Newmarket Down (near Lewes), Patcham and Sompting - and the old Lewes Road source, closed in 1903 because of pollution, came back into use. The Corporation increased its supplies further by acquiring waterworks in Peacehaven and Lewes in the 1950s The Goldstone Pumping Station was considered outdated and no longer required, and in 1971 the Corporation announced plans to build a small electric pumphouse on the site, demolish the 19th-century buildings and scrap the steam-era equipment. Jonathan Minns, a London-based steam and engineering expert, immediately set about trying to save the buildings and their contents.

 

The Engineerium has hundreds of exhibits relating to the history of engineering and steam power. One exhibit is a Corliss steam engine built in France in 1859. American inventor George Henry Corliss patented the design in 1849 and became president of The Corliss Steam Engine Company. The valve gear he invented improved the efficiency of horizontal reciprocating engines more than any other innovation. The Engineerium's example was assembled in 1859 by the Lille-based company Crepelle & Grand. It was shown at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889, where it won first prize. It was then used for more than 50 years at L'Hôpital Émile-Roux in Limeil-Brévannes. It was bought by Jonathan Minns, taken apart, brought to the Engineerium and reassembled in 1975. The engine can generate 91 horsepower; its 13-foot , 4-long-ton flywheel turns 80 times a minute; and the whole machine weighs 16 long tons. The Engineerium also has a horse-drawn fire engine dating from 1890. Originally owned by the local authority in Barnstaple, Devon, the Shand Mason & Company vehicle was bought and restored by the museum's employees. It is a vertical steam engine with two cylinders and a pair of pistons flanking a central crank. A steam traction engine built in 1886 by Marshall, Sons & Company has also been restored. A range of veteran motorcycles are on display; the oldest is an Ariel Motorcycles vehicle built in 1915. Elsewhere in the complex, smaller steam engines are on display, alongside Victorian tools and domestic equipment such as stoves. Much of the equipment in the workshop is also original, such as the main forge and a heavy-duty metal lathe. The single-cylinder Easton and Amos steam engine used to power the belts which drive the machine tools in the workshop was already several years old when the Goldstone Pumping Station acquired it in 1875. From the beginning, the overriding purpose of the collection of exhibits was to portray and explain the history and development of civil and mechanical engineering and British industry, through both the restoration of the pumping station's original equipment and the acquisition of other pieces associated with industrial pioneers such as James Watt, Michael Faraday and George Stephenson. An example is a model of Stephenson's Locomotion No 1 engine. The Museum is currently closed for restoration.

 

Steam powered fire engine

Steam powered fire engine

Corliss steam engine - 1859

1859 Corliss steam engine

Location : The British Engineerium, The Droveway, Hove BN3 7QA, UK

Transport : Hove (National Rail) then bus (5B or N5). Bus Routes : 5B, 21E, 56E, 59A and N5 stop outside

Opening Times : Closed for Renovation

Tickets : To Be Announced

Tel. : 01273 557972