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Boiler at Crofton Pumping Station | by Anguskirk
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Boiler at Crofton Pumping Station

Situated in the Wiltshire countryside 6 miles from the picturesque market town of Marlborough, this Grade 1 listed building houses two magnificent Cornish beam engines, one of which (the 1812 Boulton and Watt) is the oldest working beam engine in the world still in its original engine house and capable of actually doing the job for which it was installed.

 

Crofton Pumping Station was built in 1807 to provide water to the summit of the Kennet and Avon Canal. The first engine installed in the building was a 36 inch bore Boulton and Watt which had a wooden beam and began working in 1809. In 1812, a 42 inch bore Boulton and Watt engine was installed beside it. In 1846, the 36 inch bore Boulton and Watt was replaced by a Sims Combined Cylinders Engine constructed by Harvey of Hayle.

 

Both the 1812 Boulton and Watt, and the 1846 Harvey engine (in its final form) are in working condition, and are steamed publicly on several weekends through the summer months from a coal fired Lancashire boiler. When the Pumping Station is in steam, it actually carries out the job for which it was built, the electrically powered pumps that now normally do the job being switched off.

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Taken on April 9, 2007