As hasty as people seem to be to bulldoze so-called heritage sites and build (yet another) apartment complex, so there are groups across the country who are working tirelessly to preserve our unique industrial heritage.
One such project is taking place at Twyford Waterworks near Winchester in Hampshire. It’s a preserved Edwardian pumping station and is the restoration project of the Twyford Waterworks Trust.
At the heart of the waterworks is the Boiler House which was powered by steam and which the trust had been running between 1996 and 2003, when they were forced to remove the brick fireboxes because of dangerous levels of asbestos. Those still need to be replaced, and a full restoration of the entire steam plant also needs to be carried out.
Of course, that doesn’t come cheap. The full cost of the project is likely to be more than £700,000. Now there’s an eye-watering figure. The Trust has already received £63,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund but that’s only covered the cost of the evaluation of the work. Another application is going to be made to the Heritage Lottery Fund later this year and they’re pretty optimistic. With any luck, it’ll be full steam ahead by 2013.
You might ask why it’s so important to spend that much money on an antiquated system; it’s a fair question. At a time when we’re all worried about hosepipe bans and droughts (you wouldn’t think it to look outside) it’s quite poignant to be looking at reinstating a water system which transformed the lives of the Edwardians.
It had a tremendous impact on working and social conditions and nowadays, this ancient scheduled monument is being used as an educational tool for both children and adults alike as a chance to see a working example of life in Edwardian times.
Preserving British industry and working examples such as the Twyford Waterworks is something that’s greatly supported by HugoFox.com Founder Michael Thompson who runs engineering firm R E Thompson in Whitchurch, Hampshire, and recognises the significance in retaining historic sites like this for future generations to discover.
A key part of the restoration of the waterworks is keeping the punters coming through the doors and that’s where we can all do our part. By visiting them on one of their open days, we’re helping to boost funds.
To kick off the season there’s the popular Spring Rally Open Day on Sunday the 6th May. It’s a chance to see engines, steam, vehicles, displays and demonstrations. It’s followed by a Railways Gala Open Day with railways and trains of all sizes. For train enthusiasts there’s everything from models and miniatures to the big guys.