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Infrastructure - Drainage
 
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine

For many years the principal form of pump used to drain the Fens was a scoop wheel comprising an array of flat wooden paddles rotating in a narrow slot and capable of lifting a surprisingly large mass of water through a height of a few feet (eg, the pump at Dogdyke could raise 25 tons per minute).

Initially these scoop wheels were wind-powered then steam was introduced.

By the time that diesel engine power came into use the more efficient centrifugal pump had been developed and scoop wheels largely disappeared.

This example of a scoop wheel was photographed in 1972 at Amber Hill.

It is standing adjacent to the brick tower of the wind engine which powered it.

Chris Lester, 1972

Amber Hill, drainage, scoopwheel, windmill,
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine
Amber Hill, Wind Drainage Engine

Hundreds of wind-powered drainage pumps once lined the rivers and drains in the Fens, of which this is the principal survivor.

This engine was probably built in the late eighteenth century and was taken out of use when steam powered pumping stations were introduced in the 1840s. It was originally about twice the current height and would have worked with four sails.

The wooden scoop wheel has been restored in recent years.

Location of mill: TF 229 460

Peter Kirk Collection, 2002
Amber Hill, wind drainage engine scoop wheel
Belton (Axholme), Dirtness Pumping Station
Belton (Axholme), Dirtness Pumping Station
Belton (Axholme), Dirtness Pumping Station

Dirtness Pumping Station (SE 749098) was built in 1867 in polychrome brick on the North Engine Drain between the parishes of Crowle and Belton on the Isle of Axholme.

It housed two 50hp Watt engines driving a 33ft (10.1m) diameter scoop wheel which was capable of lifting 1200 tonnes of water per hour.

It is still in use with electric pumps.

Chris Lester, 2003
Belton Axholme, drainage, pumping,
Boston, Black Sluice Pumping Station
Boston, Black Sluice Pumping Station
Boston, Black Sluice Pumping Station

This sluice controls the tidal outfall of the South Forty Foot Drain, a major drainage channel running from the west.

There has been a sluice here from the mid-seventeenth century. The current pumping machinery was installed in the 1960s.

Peter Grey Archive, 1968

Boston, Black Sluice Pumping Station
Boston, Grand Sluice
Boston, Grand Sluice
Boston, Grand Sluice

The Witham Navigation was created in the 1760s and ended at the Grand Sluice, with the tidal haven beyond the sluice.

The Great Northern Railway crossed the river at this point and by the date of this picture the river was used for recreation rather than commerce, as these rowing boats show.

Postcard, c1912
Boston, sluice, navigation, witham,
Boston, Maud Foster Drain, Cowbridge
Boston, Maud Foster Drain, Cowbridge
Boston, Maud Foster Drain, Cowbridge
An angling competition is depicted alongside the Maud Foster Drain which is about two miles north of Boston town centre in the Edwardian period.

The road on the right-hand bank is the present B1183 to Horncastle; the public house on the extreme right is thought to be the Cowbridge House Inn.

Hundreds of anglers travelled by train from Sheffield and the Midlands for sport in both the Witham and the fenland drains at this time.

Undated postcard
Boston, angling, witham, drain,
Fishtoft, Hobhole Pumping Station
Fishtoft, Hobhole Pumping Station
Fishtoft, Hobhole Pumping Station

"In 1956, work started on a new outfall for the Hobhole drain, to the south-east of the old sluices.

A pumping station containing three Allen diesel engines was built, each driving a 88-inch (220 cm) pump.

The station could discharge 800 tons per minute (1175 Mld) when all three pumps were running.

Once the station was complete, the old sluice was blocked off ...

The Hobhole pumping station was modified in 1988, when the old sluice channel was reopened and the sluices were fitted with four 33-inch (84 cm) submersible electric pumps, manufactured by Flygt"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witham_Navigable_Drains  

DB 6 March 2020

Fishtoft, Hobhole Pumping Station
Marton, Trent Port, Sluice
Marton, Trent Port, Sluice
Marton, Trent Port, Sluice

A sluice and pumping station shown here on the OS 25 inch map published 1899.

Kelly's Directory of Lincolnshire 1885 has an entry "Torksey Commissioners of Sewers pumping station (Samuel Truran, engine driver)"

DB 24 June 2020

Marton, Trent Port, Sluice
New Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station
New Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station
New Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station

The fine steam-powered pumping station of 1867 has been retained, even though it was succeeded by a new structure containing diesel pumps in 1938, (seen here to the right background).

The pumps lift water from a large area of the East Fen into the Hobhole Drain, which runs south into the Haven SE of Boston.

New Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station, Hobhole Drain, East Fen,
New&nbnsp;Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station
New&nbnsp;Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station
New&nbnsp;Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station

This fine pumping station (TF 379 545), was built in 1867, to pump water from the East Fen into the Hobhole Drain which runs south to Boston Haven.

Diesel pumps were installed in 1940 but the boiler chimney from the days of steam pumping has been retained.

Hobhole Drain formed part of an extensive network of navigable waterways in the area and there are the remains of a lock alongside the pumping station.

This early photograph appears to show work completing the lock and the pumping station outfall.

Old Leake, Lade Bank Pumping Station
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station

The Pumping Station (viewed from the South) is situated by the River Trent at Owston Ferry.

It was built in 1910 to drain 5000 acres of the Isle of Axholme to the west.

The station contains an original Marshall of Gainsborough steam engine and later diesel engines by Ruston & Hornsby and
Lister-Blackstone.

Ken Redmore, 2008

Owston Ferry, pumping station, Marshall, Ruston & Hornsby, Lister-Blackstone,
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station
Owston Ferry, Pumping Station

The Pumping Station (viewed from the north) is situated by the River Trent at Owston Ferry.

It was built in 1910 to drain 5000 acres of the Isle of Axholme to the west.

The station contains an original Marshall of Gainsborough steam engine and later diesel engines by Ruston and Hornsby and
Lister-Blackstone.

Ken Redmore, 2008

Owston Ferry, pumping station, drainage, Isle of Axholme,
Owston Ferry, Snow Sewer / Warping Drain Sluice
Owston Ferry, Snow Sewer / Warping Drain Sluice
Owston Ferry, Snow Sewer / Warping Drain Sluice

"The Snow Sewer was cut, or re-cut, by Vermuyden in the 1620s-30s.

The flood gates were destroyed by rebellious local inhabitants in 1642 and the sluice subsequently repaired.

In 1764 John Smeaton reported on the Axholme drainage and following his recommendations the sluice was rebuilt with a lower sill.

In the C19 the sluice and drain were also used for warping the adjacent land, a process whereby silt was deposited by controlled flooding.

The sluice was largely superceded by mechanical pumps in the C20"

https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1083227 

DB 21 August 2018

Owston Ferry, Warping Drain Sluice, Snow Sewer
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum

Engine house with date stone reading "1833".

"The Pinchbeck Engine is a restored beam engine, an impressive reminder of the time when man relied on the power of steam to drain the land.

The Pinchbeck Engine was built in 1833 and is a 20 horse-power A-frame low pressure condensing beam engine"

https://www.wellandidb.org.uk/about-us/our-museum/ 

Located Grid Reference TF262261.

DB 13 September 2013

Pinchbeck Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum

"The engine is a 20 horsepower (15 kW) condensing steam engine with an overhead beam supported by an 'A'-frame.

It was built by the Butterley Company of Ripley, Derbyshire.

It has a single cylinder of 35 inches (89 cm) bore and 56 inches (1.42 m) stroke.

The flywheel is 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 m) in diameter.

The engine ran at up to 30 rpm"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinchbeck_Engine 

DB 13 September 2013

Pinchbeck Engine Museum, Butterley Company
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum
Pinchbeck, Engine Museum

"The engine is gear-coupled to a single scoop wheel in an adjacent compartment.

There are 40 paddles around the circumference of the 22-foot (6.71 m) wheel, which could lift a maximum of 7,500 imperial gallons (34,000 l) of water per minute through an 8-foot (2.44 m) lift.

The annual effort varied between 1,093,000 long tons (1,111,000 t) tons of water lifted, and 3,690,000 long tons (3,749,000 t).

Typically the engine was operated for around 180 days a year and an engine man was permanently retained, living on the site"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinchbeck_Engine 

DB 13 September 2013

Pinchbeck Engine Museum, drainage, scoop wheel
Timberland, Pumping Station
Timberland, Pumping Station
Timberland, Pumping Station

"The Timberland and Thorpe fens cover an area of 2,850 acres (11.5 km2) and were enclosed in 1785.

An Act of Parliament obtained in 1839 authorised drainage, and the first Timberland pumping station was constructed in that year.

A 26.5-foot (8.1 m) scoop wheel was driven by a 30 hp (22 kW) beam engine, discharging water into the Witham.

A high-pressure condensing beam engine replaced it in 1881, which was coupled to a 48-inch (120 cm) centrifugal pump.

Further upgrades included a Foster tandem horizontal steam engine in 1924 and a Ruston diesel engine in 1938.

When the equipment was replaced by electric pumps in 1976, the diesel engine and Gwynnes pump were retained, and are open to the public during the summer"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witham_First_District_IDB 

"The 106 foot high chimney used for the steam-operated boiler was demolished in 1937 after being struck by lightning"

https://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/Gateway/Results_Single.aspx?uid=MLI82850&resourceID=1006 

Located at National Grid Reference TF188583.

Geoff Swain Collection 24 June 1994

Timberland, Pumping Station