Coleham Pumping Station
From the start of the 20th century Coleham Pumping Station lifted Shrewsbury's sewage up to the new sewage treatment works situated a short distance outside the town. The pumps lifted the waste to a height of approximately 35ft, where gravity took over on the rest of the journey to the treatment works.
The station was equipped with two woolf compound beam engines, supplied by W. R. Renshaw of Stoke-On-Trent, these engines moved the town's effluent for over seventy years until the fires were finally drawn in the early 1970's. Although the steam engines had retired, the pumping station continued to move the town's sewage to the treatment works even after the steam pumps had been withdrawn. Submersible electric pumps took over after steam's demise until these were replaced by a new electric system, still on the same site, in Autumn 2003.
Although two steam engines are present they were only ever used one at a time, except under severe flood conditions. Whilst one engine was in operation the other could be maintained and kept ready for use; the same situation existed in the boiler room. The pumping station is equipped with two Cornish boilers, originally hand fired. In the 1960's underfed mechanical stokers were added to the boilers which reduced the man-power necessary to run the station; it was then only the water level that needed to be maintained manually.
In 1974 the building and its contents were passed to the Borough Council. For many years the building was occasionally opened to the public by a single dedicated enthusiast. When he died the building remained closed due to insufficient funds within the museum service. In 1992 the Shrewsbury Steam Trust was formed to take on the restoration of the engines with the aim of returning the pumping station to steam, an aim finally achieved in late 2000. In 2001 it was finally possible for members of the public to see the station in operation.
A lot of tasks still remain to be completed in the restoration of the pumping station; however, the 2005 season saw the second engine in operation again for the first time since its decommissioning in 1970.
|All photographs are the work and copyright of Ian Cooper.|