Grant to help preserve historic Papplewick Pumping Station dubbed 'cathedral of steam'

Historic England has awarded a grant of £9,450 to help fund the costs of assessing the condition of the Victorian Papplewick Pumping Station, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, near the village of Papplewick.

By Martin Hutton
Monday, 18th July 2022, 2:44 pm
Papplewick Pumping Station
Papplewick Pumping Station

The site is home to several buildings, including the Grade II-listed and highly ornate steam-powered engine House, which earned the station its moniker.

The Grade II-listed boiler house and surrounding parkland are owned by Seven Trent Water, but managed by the Papplewick Pumping Station Trust.

The site has operated as a museum since 1976 and runs eight steaming events each year, when the engines and boilers are fired up.

Papplewick Pumping Station

It is also a licensed wedding venue and a popular destination for school trips.

The engine house’s stunning ornate interiors are a homage to the life-giving properties of water, with images of fish and water lilies decorating tiles and stained-glass windows.

It is surprising these interiors exist, given that at the time of its use it was not open to the public and, due to its then remote location, was rarely visited by anyone other than the workers.

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The site was recently added to the Heritage at Risk register as areas have suffered age-related deterioration, including the boiler house’s chimney, the engine house porch and flanking boundary walls.

The modest grant to the Papplewick Pumping Station Trust covers the cost of initial assessment work to ascertain the repairs needed.

The site’s main structures, including the boiler house and the Grade II-listed deputy manager’s and superintendent’s house, are in good condition.

Ashley Smart, Papplewick museum director, said the areas in need of repair require specialist skills.

He said: “We do as much as we can, but there comes a point with buildings such as the station where you need to call in specialists.

“The trust does not have the finances to cover the significant financial costs involved and so we welcome the station going on the Heritage at Risk register as it flags up the needs.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​