100 signatures reached
To: Canal and River Trust
Save the Engine man’s Cottage at Claverton Pumping Station
Make the engine keeper's cottage available to the volunteers who maintain the pumping station so it can be restored and maintained. Please don't sell our heritage for pittance.
Why is this important?
Claverton Pumping Station is an important part of our British industrial history. In 1813 it began pumping 10 million litres of water a day into the Kennet and Avon Canal from the River Avon, 15 metres below. A masterwork of engineering from the industrial revolution, using only power from the river itself it kept the important cargo route navigable. To pump enough water it required an incredible 5.5 meter diameter waterwheel which is over 7 meters in width. After falling into disrepair in the 1950s, volunteers restored it to working condition in the 1970s and a team of volunteers maintain the pump to this day.
Alongside the pumping station, a cottage was built specifically for the engine keeper and his family to live in. From 1813 until 1953 each of the four engine keepers lived in this cottage while they maintained the pumping station, and many would argue it is as important to the pumping station's heritage as the waterwheel itself. However, the Canal and River Trust will not let the volunteers who expertly restored the pumping station to now restore the semi-derelict cottage. Instead the trust plans to auction off the property to raise money. The cottage is in a poor state of repair with no road access and next to a loud and very busy train line, hardly desirable as a residential property, and will raise very little money for the trust. Unlike the pumping station, the cottage is not a listed building and could easily be torn down by its new owner. If the cottage was made available to the volunteers who maintain the pumping station, they would restore and then maintain it. By reuniting the living quarters of the engine keepers with the still working engine in the pump house itself, Claverton Pumping Station would become whole again. As the only canal pump in the country where the living quarters still stand it is truly a unique and important heritage site.
Saving and restoring cottage would be of great value to the pumping station museum. As part of the still working engine museum, visitors would get a feel for the life of the overworked engine keeper, on call 24 hours a day, living with the windows open listening to the waterwheel for signs of a problem. The cottage would also bring much needed facilities to the site such as a toilet for the public which is dearly needed, and as a storage location during the winter when the pump regularly floods.
The Canal and River Trust have two choices here, to irreparably damage our heritage for a quick but small payout, or to put their trust yet again into those who spend their weekends and retirement preserving our heritage for countless future generations to come. Please sign to persuade the Canal and River Trust to make the right decision. You could even contact the Canal and River Trust directly via https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/contact-us/ways-to-contact-us